Every Tuesday during Summer Scholars, the students took a field trip to the site of the Rodeo-Chediski fire. This horrendous fire started in the early afternoon hours of June 18, 2002 and was not declared contained until July 7. Total burn area acreage was reported at 467,066 acres. With this years' theme being fire, it was a great learning experience for the students to be able to witness this area up close.
During the time spent at the burn site, students were very curious about the fire and asked many questions. The questions asked were formulated throughout their PBL sessions and were geared at helping to understand the concept of fire better. The students also inquired about the different methods of prescribed burning, how it works, the pros and cons of it and the different ecosystems it affects. With the help of excellent tour guides and knowledgeable professionals, most if not all of the topics were covered and many questions were answered.
Throughout the field trips, different tribal and BIA forestry employees accompanied the students. These people ranged from the Tribal Forestry Director to the Director of the Burn Area Emergency Recovery (BAER) program. Each with their individual job responsibilities, the tour guides were able to provide the students with valuable insight on various aspects of the fire and it's restoration efforts.
Tribal firefighters were on hand to share the experience of being on the front line of the fire. They were also able to break down the fire progress by day and hour. Pictures of the fire were provided and gave the students a visual of what the firefighters were up against and how enormous this fire was. These same firefighters were also part of the BAER program and gave descriptions of the various tasks being carried out to restore the area as close as possible to its natural state. These jobs included implementing log erosion barriers to help eliminate water run off and seeding the area with various grass species to aid in the detainment of water.
The Rodeo-Chediski field trip provided the students with a once in a lifetime experience, for most of the White Mountain tribal members are not permitted to enter this area. Therefore, the Summer Scholars program was on a privileged basis and made a successful effort to make the most of the trip. Students walked away with a better understanding of the life of a fire and it's aftermath.
Environmental Education Outreach Program (EEOP)