Idaho Fish and Game needs volunteers to plant thousands of sagebrush and bitterbrush seedlings during March across Southern Idaho.
Volunteer planting projects are traditionally held in the spring and begin Saturday, March 1. More planting work days are scheduled for March 8, 15, 22 and 29.
Transportation and planting tools will be provided by the agency, which typically has more plants than it can handle with staffers. Volunteers are vital to the program and have restored native bitterbrush and sagebrush winter range over hundreds of acres in Southwest Idaho.
Volunteers have planted nearly three quarters of a million bitterbrush and sagebrush seedlings during the past 24 years, and saved F&G hundreds of thousands of dollars in planting costs, said Evin Oneale, regional conservation educator in the Fish and Game's office in Nampa.
Bitterbrush and sagebrush are native shrubs in Idaho, and throughout the West. They are important food for big game and other wildlife during winter.
Besides being essential for deer, elk and other wildlife, bitterbrush and sagebrush provide big-game animals with protective cover from the elements and hiding places from predators. The plants also provide nesting habitat for birds and small mammals.
Large animals like deer and elk also find shelter among mature stands of bitterbrush and sagebrush during winter storms.
Shrubs provide protection from wind and snow, allowing the animals to conserve precious body fat they need to survive the lean winter months, Oneale said.
The plants also provide stabilization for the soil and reduce soil erosion because of their deep roots, and also displace noxious weeds.
TO SIGN UP
For more information on the planting project or to learn about other volunteer opportunities with Fish and Game, contact volunteer coordinator Michael Young at 327-7095 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer information also is available on Fish and Game's website at fishandgame.idaho.gov. Click on the "volunteer" tab.