weather icon Windy

Latinos find their roots at Lake Mead

Conservation and nature are near and dear to Diana Tapia and Cecilia Arteaga. So the pair, who are interning this summer as Lake Mead National Recreation Area communication specialists, set out to create an event to combine their love of nature and their goal of celebrating Latino heritage.

The Find Your Roots event they organized Saturday morning helped start Latino Conservation Week. Tapia and Arteaga, who landed their gigs through the Latino Heritage Internship Program, joined four volunteers to clean purple sage seedlings and transplant plants in the park’s nursery.

Tapia and Arteaga said their grandparents always recycled and conserved, storing salsa and beans in old sour cream containers and forgoing the dryer to hang laundry out on a clothesline.

“It’s still keeping our Mother Earth in mind,” Arteaga said.

Find Your Roots began around 8 a.m. with a short hike in the cactus garden, led by Tapia. Tattoos of a compass on her right forearm and mountains on her left biceps stood as emblems of her navigating skills.

She showed off some of the plants native to the desert, including the brittlebush. In the summer, its leaves are washed out and gray. But in the spring, the leaves are a vibrant sunset orange.

The brittlebrush’s colors lingered with Tapia, but Arteaga remembered creosote’s scent.

“It smells like desert rain,” she said.

Down the road inside the park lay a cream-colored greenhouse: the Song Dog Native Plant Nursery, named for the coyotes that scatter mesquite seeds around the desert.

Saturday’s group gathered outside to hear Kelly Wallace explain the importance of saving native plants. Because a portion of Interstate 11 is being built on part of the park’s land, Wallace and her team salvaged plants that could have been destroyed during construction and kept them to replant later.

“We pay attention to the genetics of a particular area,” said Wallace, biologist and nursery manager. She said the nursery manages a collection of at least 200 species of seeds, keeping them in a walk-in refrigerator.

“It’s like the Fort Knox of seeds,” Tapia said.

In the nursery, four-wing saltbushes that germinated and grew their roots in a cone-shaped container were transplanted into a bigger pot for more room to grow. Turning the container upside down, volunteers grabbed onto the root and placed the plant in new soil.

“Ah, it collapsed on me,” said Juan Robledo, a volunteer with Chispa, a League of Conservation Voters subset that caters to Latinos and families and aims to influence policymakers.

Robledo found the root and righted the plant.

Just as they hope to help the plants grow, organizers from Saturday’s event hope awareness of nature will grow during Latino Conservation Week.

“We’re trying to pretty much come together to get people to experience their natural lands and develop that dialogue with the Latino heritage,” Tapia said. “It’s part of our culture.”

Contact Briana Erickson at berickson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5244. Follow @brianarerick on Twitter.

Look, up in the sky…

Ron Eland/Boulder City Review

Council hears plan for golf course turf reduction

Reducing water usage in Southern Nevada has been a subject that has affected the look of clean, green Boulder City multiple times in the past year.

City confirms fire chief no longer employed

After more than two weeks of inquiries by the Boulder City Review, late Tuesday afternoon the city confirmed that Boulder City Fire Chief Will Gray is no longer employed.

Residents weigh in on 99 Cents Store’s shuttering

In what came as a surprise to many who are frequent shoppers, officials from 99 Cents Only Stores announced last week that all of their 371 locations will be closing over the next several weeks.

Four suspects arrested in graffiti case

On Jan. 22, many residents were shocked by a rash of graffiti throughout town, which included the historic Boulder City Theatre.

99 Cents Only store closing in Boulder City

The owner of 99 Cents Only said it will close all 371 of its stores in the U.S. The deep discount retailer has more than 20 stores in Southern Nevada.

BREAKING NEWS: Four arrests made in BC graffiti spree

BCPD has announced a series of arrests in the graffitti vandalism incidents that plagued the city earlier this year. According to a release provided by the PD, two of the charges are felonies due to the monetary level of damaged caused by the tagging. The higher dollar amounts were largely driven by the tags left on at least one historic locomotive at the Nevada State Railroad Museum.

Veterans Home loses 5-star rating

As multiple experts said they expected after news of the most recent inspection of the Southern Nevada State Veterans Home by federal authorities came to light, the home located in Boulder City has lost its long-held and vaunted five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.