Members of SCA’s Veterans Fire Corps Lead the Effort to Restore Fragile Desert Habitat
Over 90 SCA volunteers gathered at Rio Salado Habitat in Phoenix on November 8th to honor Veterans Day with hands-on service to America’s public lands.
It was a no-brainer that in 2010, in partnership with the US Forest Service, SCA expanded its programs to include opportunities for America’s young Veterans. SCA’s Veterans Fire Corps program helps military veterans transition back into the workforce by providing them with hands-on experience and training that prepares them for careers in wildland fire mitigation and resource management. From military service to serving our public lands, these Veterans continue to give back — and this Veterans Day, they came out to inspire the next generation of leaders in public service.
Led by member’s of SCA’s Veterans Fire Corps, volunteers from Mission Continues, Luke Airforce Base, and other local community groups set out to bag 600 lbs of trash and 660 lbs of invasive buffalo grass and Bermuda grass. They also removed brittle bush from an acre of land to make way for native species to thrive, and restored flow to an important waterfall by clearing an additional 100 square feet of invasive vegetation. Volunteers replaced the invasive plants with Arizona milkweed, a favorite meal for monarch butterflies.
Park Ranger and US Army Veteran Winston Lyons showcased the Rio Salado Habitat’s critical importance as a monarch butterfly migration waystation — and as a gateway to a lush Sonoran habitat used by over 200 species of birds and other wildlife including beavers, muskrats, coyotes, jackrabbits, cottontails, and javelinas. Through Veterans Day events in Phoenix and across the country, SCA honors both those who serve overseas and those who serve at home to protect the nation’s resources for years to come.
See project highlights below on SCA’s Twitter feed.