Pleasant Valley Cub Scouts reseed burned area of Washoe Valley

Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal

Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal

Gusty winds over the weekend in Washoe Valley didn't keep a group of about 30 determined Cub Scouts from their goal of helping to reseed an area scarred by last month's fire.

Fanned by high winds on Jan. 26, the Washoe Drive Fire swept the north end of Washoe Valley and stormed through Pleasant Valley, destroying 29 homes and charring nearly 3,200 acres of land.

Saturday's scout project involved reseeding about two acres at the southeast end of Little Washoe Lake.

Dede Gardella, whose son is part of Pack 150, said many of the pack members go to school in Pleasant Valley, so the Saturday project was especially significant to them.

"We are working with the state park employees to regenerate the area and make it beautiful again," she said.

Pepper Freyman, cubmaster for Pack 150, said the boys, between the ages of 7 and 10, were looking for a community project.

"Cub Scouts are too little to help with big cleanup projects, so I tried to think of something they could do," Freyman said.

"This project gets them outside and involved in their community, and those who participate earn a Conservation Good Turn award," he said.

The Nevada Division of Forestry donated 150 pounds of native grass seed mix for the project, Freyman said, and the boys, assisted by parents, distributed the seed both by hand and with whirlybird spreaders, while others raked the seed into the dirt.

In some cases, reseeding is done using heavy equipment, Freyman said, but the Washoe Lake area is sensitive because of Indian artifacts that still can be found there, so hand seeding is a better way to go.

Corbin Stewart, 6, said his pack was planting seeds "to help bring the bushes back from the fire," and he was "raking to bury the seeds."

For 8-year-old Colby Scott-Smith, the project had special meaning. The fire came within a few football fields away from his house, he said.

"I was scared for my dogs, but they were OK. We live on a ranch, and my dad evacuated some horses," he said.

"We're reseeding the area to help the community so next summer and fall sagebrush will start growing. We're planting lots of it to help all the people get their sagebrush back, because that's what most people want," he said.

Anthony Gardella, 6, said he was brave during the fire.

"All the other people were crying on the bus, but I wasn't scared. We had no power, so we had to have a sleep-over with my dad's mom. We're spreading seeds because the fire burned all the other plants here," Anthony said.

Washoe Lake State Park Supervisor Jennifer Dawson said she was grateful for the work put in by the scouts and their families.

"It would be so hard to get 30 parks employees to do this, so instead, we've got all these energetic eager hands," Dawson said.

Saturday's gusty winds didn't hurt the project one bit, she said.

"After it's spread, then they rake it in, so the seed comes in contact with the soil. How well it does depends on precipitation. It's ideal to spread seeds if moisture is on the way and I think they're expecting rain or snow this week, so the timing is perfect," Dawson said.


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