Posted by Marc Wride on Aug 01, 2019
Pocatello Rotary Club partners with Fish and Game to create Nature Area!
Pocatello Rotary Club partners with Fish and Game to create nature area.
Members of the Pocatello Rotary Club, along with high school volunteers, spent Friday and Saturday planting 300 trees in what will become a nature area near Inkom.
Ian Riseley, president of Rotary International gave a speech. Marc Wride, a member of the Pocatello Rotary Club, sent an email. Jason Beck, a Fish and Game employee, replied.
A few weeks later, about 40 volunteers gathered at the Crane Creek fishing area on Old Highway 91 south of Inkom to plant 300 baby trees— the beginning of an expansive nature area featuring a walking trail and plans for picnic tables and benches.
“It’ll be spectacular out here,” said Wride, who is the tree committee chairman. “This is sort of one shingle in the whole roof, but this will be a really nice area for families to come to.”
When Riseley took over as president of Rotary International in 2017, he challenged all members to plant at least one tree.
Members of the Pocatello Rotary Club took it a step further and decided to create an entire nature area. They sent an email to Fish and Games alerting them of their idea and asking for information on a potential site.
Beck knew of a place immediately.
Fish and Game first purchased the land by Crane Creek simply for fishing access, so the large plot remained widely unused. Overgrown with weeds and dry grass and sitting directly next to a busy highway, Beck said it didn’t particularly “fit in” with the department’s usual wildlife management areas. But he saw untapped potential in the site and offered it to Wride and the Pocatello Rotary Club.
“This project we loved and jumped on for something local, an area people can enjoy,” said Kirsten Nickisch, president of the Pocatello Rotary Club. “And we also love partnering because we can pool our resources and be more effective.”
Anna Owsiak, regional habitat manager for Fish and Game said she also believed the partnership to be successful and mutually beneficial.
“This is a win-win,” Owsiak said. “We get a project done that we need, and whoever the volunteer group is gets to meet their goals too. We get the opportunity to interact with each other, learn from each other, get to know each other. And a lot of the time, that learning and knowing leads to bigger, better projects down the road. The wildlife benefits from it, the public benefits from it, and the agency benefits from it.”
After establishing where they would plant and build the nature area, Fish and Game and the Pocatello Rotary Club worked with many others in the community to make the dream a reality.
Keeven Shropshire, a local architect and member of the Pocatello Rotary Club, worked with Chris Adams, a local surveyor, to lay out the exact design of the area and used a geographic information system to ensure each tree was planted in exactly the right place.
Additionally, J.C. Wride, Marc Wride’s nephew, blazed all the walking trails and dug a realignment of Crane Creek.
According to Shropshire, Crane Creek has been steadily moving closer and closer to the highway and eroding the land near the road. Throughout the planning of the nature area project, they realized they could forcibly switch the creek’s direction to both stop the erosion and give their nature area some natural irrigation. However, Fish and Game is also installing drip irrigation to ensure the area is fully taken care of.
Pocatello Rotary Club members assisted in planting the trees, as did Century High School students who are members of Rotary Interact, the club’s high school chapter. Plus, Pocatello High School students helped with the project as a part of their annual day of service.
Excitement was in the air as volunteers dug holes, hauled dirt and planted trees. Shropshire pointed to a sandhill crane flying overhead.
“That’s why were doing this,” he said. “So that people can come out here and enjoy the birds and the landscape and the scenery.”
One of the challenges for our trees is water.  To get them established, we need to water several times weekly.
We installed a drip system and we water 600 gallons 3 times a week!