ISCC Inmates Participate in Nature Education, Habitat Restoration

Sagebrush Program Photo Collage
Nancy DeWitt, Institute for Applied Ecology Contractor

The Sagebrush in Prisons Program is a partnership among IDOC, the Institute for Applied Ecology, and Bureau of Land Management. Since 2015, men at the Idaho State Correctional Center have learned horticulture techniques by growing over 275,000 native plants for rehabilitating burned habitat for greater sage-grouse, pronghorn, and other wildlife.

The program also brings nature into the prison by offering monthly lectures about the ecology of the sagebrush-steppe. Classes have included presentations about desert plants, birds of prey, geology, lichens, bees, macroinvertebrates, reptiles, and bats.

A special treat this year was having Monte Tish bring Slim, a 35-year-old golden eagle, to the prison on August 27. As we entered the sally port a stunned voice came over the speaker asking "WHAT is on that guy's arm? That is the coolest thing I have ever seen!" Slim continued to impress onlookers and the 50 inmates and staff that learned about eagles and the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area.

Many thanks to teacher Vicki Wolters for hosting these sometimes messy programs in her classroom, to our hard-working sagebrush crew, and to all the inmates that come to the presentations eager to learn.

Story published: 09/10/2019
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