IVGID, IBM, Tahoe youth gather to protect Tahoe’s environment | SierraSun.com

IVGID, IBM, Tahoe youth gather to protect Tahoe’s environment

Special to the Bonanza

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Friday, Nov. 14, brought the convergence of scientists and students to the Incline Village trails surrounding the Recreation Center for a day of experiential learning and applied science with a focus on environmental conservation.

The event was co hosted by IBM, Incline Village Parks & Recreation and "Rooted in Hope" a nonprofit organization that focuses on planting trees, protecting trees and promoting environmental awareness.

The IBM team — led by Cathy Rodgers, IBM Vice President and Nevada Senior State Executive — was joined by top research scientists from Nevada's Desert Research Institute, 17 fifth-grade students from Lake Tahoe School, and 14 seventh-grade students in the technology class from Incline Middle School.

The morning discussion with Lake Tahoe School focused on why science, technology, engineering and math are such important areas of study.

Dr. Beverly Ramsey, Environmental Science and Ecosystem Scientist at DRI, talked about how she had always had a love of the outdoors and had been inquisitive as a young adult, becoming fascinated in how things grew and the interdependency among soils, water, sun, plants and animals. Her early passion become her life study.

Dr. Linda Delbridge of IBM shared her story of how math and computer science transformed her life and catapulted her career at IBM. Linda stressed the unique role technology and innovation are having, and how the ability now to collect and analyze large amounts of data and translating this data into important insight enables people, businesses and communities to make better decisions, reduce waste and be more efficient — thus helping us create a smarter planet.

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Hal Paris, Parks and Recreation Director for IVGID, reinforced the very special environment that exists in the Tahoe Basin and why protecting the trails, the trees and the vital water shed is so important to us all.

The combined team, under the leadership of Samantha Gough, IVGID Parks Supervisor, spent the next two and a half hours doing trail restoration around the Incline Village Recreation Center.

Shovels, rakes, wheel barrows were distributed to all, and the group divided into two teams to put science into motion. Work included installing waddles (those netted hay berms to prevent soil erosion and silt accumulation in the adjacent creeks), raking mulch into some areas that had been eroded due to excessive runoff, cleaning rocks and pine cones off the designated trails, and raking the trails and adding turf stones to improve drainage, thus preventing damage to the forest while ensuring everyone can enjoy the beautiful trails while preserving the fragile environment for generations to come.

The students and scientists all shared a common passion for the environment and a great day away from emails and being outdoors on the hiking trails.

The field work culminated with the planting of a beautiful 10-foot living Christmas Tree outside the Rec Center that, in additional to helping combat climate change by sequestering carbon, will be enjoyed for years to come by all who frequent the Rec Center.

Ruth Glass, Headmaster at Lake Tahoe School commented after the day's activities: "We are always eager to find ways to help within the community. As you know, finding appropriate tasks for students is not always easy. Thank you so much for working with us. I look forward to continuing such projects."

This article was provided to the Bonanza by Cathy A. Rodgers, Vice President, IBM Global Engagement Office.