Rollin’ on the River | SierraSun.com

Rollin’ on the River

Spread out for miles around the Truckee River watershed, hundreds of volunteers helped to restore habitats, wilderness areas and trails.

In it’s seventh year, Truckee River Day attracted about 400 volunteers of all ages, led by approximately 40 unpaid group leaders, said Beth Christman of the Truckee River Watershed Council.

At Squaw Creek, volunteers revegetated the creek area with alders and willows; At Perazzo Meadows, volunteers did the same to stabilize the bank and improve the fish habitat.

But these were only a few of the projects going on Sunday.

Cub Scout troops inhabited the picnic area at the Martis Lake Refuge, where they built bird boxes from pre-cut wood.

“There’s something about building a home for the animals,” said Sarah Green, a group leader for the bird box project.

When the bird box group was done, some of the children ate lunch with their families, while others skipped around on rocks and tree stumps under the warm sun.

Nine-year-old Seth Lowenstern said he had the most fun “when I built the bird house.”

Tyler Cavaness, an eight-year-old participant, helped hammer his bird box to a nearby tree – with the help of a couple adults.

“Bluebirds can come in. Chickadees, robins, hummingbirds,” Cavaness said about the nesting area he built that day.

“It’s actually pretty fun,” Cavaness said. “You’re helping wildlife, plus you get to do it all by yourself, so it’s like learning.”

“There was some bloodshed, but that’s just normal hammering,” said Finis Glendenning, a parent at the bird box project.

His wife, Cheri, a Cub Scout leader, said the project fits right in with cub and Boy Scout activities.

“Truckee River Day is great for it,” she said. “Everything we do up here translates into cub scouts.”

Next door to the bird box building, Jacqui Zink, a ranger in the Martis Valley, and her group of volunteers used picks and shovels to overturn the rock-filled earth.

“Upwind from the dirt! Upwind from the dirt!” she said to some of her volunteers who were getting covered.

Zink and her volunteers were planting Choke Cherries and “willow sticks,” that will hopefully turn into trees in the next four to five years.

“I wanted to plant this area to make more bird habitat,” Zink said.

At the end of the day, participants and organizers met at the Granite Flat campground off Highway 89 South for a Lahontan Cutthroat Trout release, food and exhibits.

After a hard day of work, many of the volunteers headed home.

Christman said she’s grateful for all the time dedicated by the volunteers, and especially to the group leaders.