Last week the Carson City botany crew had the opportunity to work at the Pyramid Lake Youth Camp, an environmental education summer camp sponsored by the Piaute tribe. Dean lead lessons on vegetation mapping, traditional games, and native stars. Our role was to lead small groups on an exploration of the Hardscrabble Creek area they had just mapped in the classroom. I worked with two motivated young women with big plans for their futures. After a bit of wandering and plant talk, one asked what the colorful stuff all over the rocks was and I had the joy of explaining to a rapt audience the magic of lichen. “I’ve always wondered what that was, and now I know!” The chance to give someone an Ah Ha moment such as that is a rare and beautiful thing.
Beverly, the camp director, was extremely hospitable and welcoming. We were invited to camp on the ranch, eat dinner with the campers, and participate in the games and lectures that followed our native plant walk. Dean taught Piatze, a delightful version of Sorry played with 30 rocks and a variety of sticks. I got squarely clobbered by a 16 year old but enjoyed my trouncing. Next we hiked up the hill to a view of Pyramid Lake and the Milky Way. The coyotes started to sing just before Dean told a story about their mischief.
I am very honored to have been a part of this camp. It clearly serves its purpose to connect native youth to their environment in both a cultural and scientific way. I wish them all the best in the years to come. I’m sure the camp will continue to be a success.
Carson City BLM