e-Newsletter of Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary | April 17, 2013 Twitter Facebook

Students provide service to Grand Canyon over spring break

Diane Husic, chair and professor of the department of biological sciences, led a group of ten students to the Grand Canyon over spring break, logging about 300 hours of service.

“The trip to the Grand Canyon was an amazing experience,” says Husic. “Our team helped remove tree hazards—trees damaged or destroyed by RVs or insect infestations, such as pine beetles. We also worked with the director of concessions to problem solve some issues they are dealing with such as expansion for the public in terms of concessions and recreation vs. protecting the natural resources, and serving as secret shoppers to evaluate the restaurants in the lodges in the park,” she adds.

Park rangers also asked the students to help them address and problem-solve two other issues. The first was the necessary expansion of stables for the mules that carry visitors down the canyon or along the rim trains. “Since the mule’s urine is acidic and has excess nitrogen, the run-off waste can potentially destroy the surrounding forest habitat. We tried to find a way to perform this expansion, so that waste is not an issue. We also had to make sure the expansion blended with the historic structures in that area of the park,” Husic explains.

In addition, the students examined the issue of mountain bike rentals within the park. The students worked with the rangers to determine ways to reconcile the need to ensure the safety of the environment while encouraging visitors to enjoy the park on bikes.

"The trip was a great experience,” says Sherri Hughes ’13. “The first three days we worked with Hazard Tree, a group that cuts down weak or diseased trees that could become a problem if they fall over, especially near walkways and buildings. We got to see a lot of the behind-the-scenes work that makes the park run smoothly for guests, learn a lot about the environment and have a lot of fun.”

“The students had a chance to learn all sorts of amazing things about conservation, the National Park Service and sustainability, and we got rave reviews from the park employees we worked with. They would love to have Moravian come back for an alternative spring break in the future,” says Husic.

The Campus Community Connection (C3) sponsored the trip. Additional funding was provided by the Cargill Grant.