Earth Day 2012: Middle School students take final step in river stabilization project

Arriving at the river. (Chris Currah)

(Lander) – About 115 students from Lander Middle School returned to Red Canyon Friday to plant over 500 willow cuttings that they had harvested April 3rd. The willows will stabilize river banks along the Popo Agie River.

Spearheaded by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and the Popo Agie Anglers, students not only had a chance to replant the willow cuttings, but participated in fly fishing and other placed-based lessons from Trout Unlimited, The Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the Popo Agie Conservation District.  The willows were replanted on the NOLS Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus and along fishing accesses in the canyon where erosion has eaten away the streambanks.

(Click on images to enlarge)

Orientation. (Chris Currah)









Fly fishing lesson. (Chris Currah)









Spreading out to practice casting. (Chris Currah)









Private lesson. (Chris Currah)












Important lesson: how to watch for, identify, and stay away from snakes, scorpions, etc. (Chris Currah)












Learning about insets from the river. (Chris Currah)












Comparing insects with tied fishing flies. (Chris Currah)












Planting the willow cuttings. (Chris Currah)













A tub of willow cuttings ready for planting. (Chris Currah)













Zip lining willow cuttings across the river, (Chris Currah)












Bugs!! (Chris Currah)












Closeup of a river insect. (Chris Currah)












Overlooking the scene from a high bluff. (Chris Currah)












Planting willow cuttings along the streambank. (Chris Currah)













Using steel rebar to make a hole for a willow cutting. (Chris Currah)









Close up of making a deep hole for a willow cutting. (Chris Currah)













Getting down and dirty. (Chris Currah)









Using a power washer to loosen hardpacked soil to aid planting. (Chris Currah)










Planting willow cuttings on heavily eroded streambank. (Chris Currah)









Getting their feet wet. (Chris Currah)









The willows will reduce erosion such as that illustrated in this photo. (Chris Currah)













Fun on the river. (Chris Currah)