Resource Tour Returns

Students at the Hobo Cedar Grove, which is a popular stop on the annual Sixth Grade Resource Tour. 

The deadline to register for the annual 6th Grade Resource Tour is Friday, May 31. The tour, which will be July 10 and 11, offers local sixth-grade students to visit local sites of interest and learn about the role natural resources play in our economy.

This is a fun filled two-day event with a camp-out at the Forever Green Tree Farm. It highlights the wealth of area natural resources, how the resources are managed, and their importance to the economy and vitality of the area.

The event is free to the students due to the generosity of local businesses, agencies, civic groups, and volunteers.

Activities for the first day of the tour include a visit to the Marble Creek Historic Site where students get to try their hand using a crosscut saw like in the old days; hiking through an ancient forest at Hobo Cedar Grove; digging for fossils at the Fossil Bowl; digging for garnets at Emerald Creek Garnet Area; and exploring Emerald Creek to learn about water quality.

The evening includes free-time games including volley ball and parachute games, as well as, a mock search and rescue/emergency event.

The second day’s plans include sessions to learn how to identify and measure trees, how to use a map and compass, about area wildlife, and about soil conservation. The Idaho Department of Lands firefighter crew will bring a fire truck and talk about their responsibilities as a firefighters. Students will be able lay out a hose line and see how it feels to spray out a fire. They will get to see first hand how a Christmas Tree Farm is managed, and will end the day with a tour of the Potlatch/Deltic Plywood Mill.

All sixth graders in St. Maries Middle School, Upriver School, Calder School, as well as, any home-schooled students in the sixth grade are encouraged to participate.

Home-school 6th grade students can contact the County Extension Agency at 208-245-2422 to attend.

The students will get to visit some unique areas that are famous nationally and even internationally including the Hobo Botanical Area, the Clarkia Fossil Bowl and the Emerald Creek Garnet Area.

Clarkia Fossil Bowl: Rare area where the public can dig for fossils that are more than a million years old with plant fossils from an ancient landscape that had plants that we have never seen in the area. It is unique because some of the specimens found have the actual live plant material preserved. They have actually been able to extract some DNA from the specimens. Check out the U-tube video: “Plants are Cool Too! Episode 2: Fossilized Forests”.

Emerald Creek Garnet Area is internationally renowned because it is one of two places in the world where rare star garnets can be found. Garnets can be found in many places, but star garnets are only known to be found in the Emerald Creek Garnet Area and India. It is open to the public during the summer (but in 2019 it is closed due to major renovations). Visitors fill buckets with garnet bearing sands and take them to a sluice to wash of the dirt so that they can find garnets.

Hobo Cedar Grove is a National Natural Landmark because it is one of the best remaining examples of an ancient forest. The Hobo Cedar Grove has nature trail through an ancient cedar grove with huge Ancient Cedars more than 500 years old. They are so big around that it takes anywhere from 9 to 12 people to encircle some of the bigger trees.

What is a National Natural Landmark (NNL)?

It is a natural area that has been designated by the Secretary of the Interior in recognition that the site contains significant examples of the nation’s biological and/or geological features. 

How is national significance for NNLs defined?

The site must be one of the “best” examples of a type of biological community or geological feature in its biophysiographic province. “Best” is gauged primarily on illustrative value and condition of the resource

Why are NNLs important?

Besides fostering the basic program goals of natural heritage protection and advancing science and education, some NNLs are the best remaining examples of a type of feature in the country and sometimes in the world.

How are NNLs selected?

The process to identify candidate sites, evaluate, and designate them as NNLs includes the following steps:

1. An inventory of a natural region is completed to identify the most promising sites.

2. Landowners within the area identified for evaluation are notified and their permission obtained prior to evaluation of the site.

3. A detailed site evaluation is conducted by qualified scientists.

4. The evaluation report is peer-reviewed by an additional three qualified scientists to ensure its soundness.

5. The report is reviewed by the National Park Service, and if the site appears to meet the criteria for national significance, the site owners are notified and comment is sought from the public on the proposal to designate the site as an NNL.

6. The National Park System Advisory Board reviews the evaluation report and public comments and makes a recommendation on the proposed designation.

7. All materials and recommendations are sent to the Secretary of the Interior, who may then designate the site as an NNL.

8. Landowners and the public are notified of the NNL designation by letter and publication of a Federal Register Notice.

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