When Ms. Robin took me aboard as her intern, she wanted me to help with the Coati Kids Clubs, an educational event for children held once a month on Saturdays. This Saturday was the second one I assisted with, an off-site event.
Everyone started at the Desert Museum at the Baldwin Education Building. There were fewer families than usual this time around, maybe two thirds of the number who came last time. That was understandable, I imagine less people would want to drive out to the Silver Bell Mountains to stand out in the sun for two hours. A man who worked in preventing soil erosion near Marana gave a short lecture before anyone left. He spoke about bluegrass and fires and keeping dogs on leashes as Ms Robin passed a Desert Tortoise around to be petted. Soon I joined Ms. Robin and her daughter in an old and dingy Jeep, property of the Museum.
We drove for 45 minutes, following a trail of cars led by the lecturer. He stopped a few times to show everyone a patch of buffelgrass as well as the most numerously armed saguaro in the world.
When we arrived at the hills near Silver Bell Mountain, the lecturer walked out to a small garden on the side of the road where another man was working. He walked us around the area to show us his project: one rock dams.
One rock dams are a simple tool used to prevent soil erosion from rainfall. They’re constructed of a flat bed of rocks, one stone deep with each rock fit in with the others like a puzzle piece. The sheet of stones lets water flow over it, and over a few years soil will be washed between and over the rocks, creating a new patch of earth for grasses to thrive in.
The club was given a short lesson on how to make one rock dams, and then the kids and their parents were set loose to make some themselves. I wonder if part of the reason he agreed to teach the club was to get some extra hands to make more dams, but I imagine he’d have his doubts about the construction skills of ten year-olds. Still, for or vife one rock dams were swiftly laid out, and while, I’m no expert myself, they looked pretty good to me.
This day was a lot less involved than the last Coati Kids Club meeting, but it was still very informative. During my time at the museum, I’ve been mainly focused of fauna, so learning about the soil and plants of the Sonoran Desert was new. I didn’t have many opportunities to really assist in this club meeting, mainly because it was the men who worked to prevent soil erosion doing most of the teaching rather than Ms. Robin. Still, I’m very grateful that I was invited to come along for this Coati club event, and I’m excited for the next one in April.