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Spring Breakers Swap Parties For Public Service

The "Alternative Spring Break" program allows college students to give back to the environment. (Jose Witt/Friends of Nevada Wilderness)
The "Alternative Spring Break" program allows college students to give back to the environment. (Jose Witt/Friends of Nevada Wilderness)
March 9, 2016

LAKE MEAD, Nev. - Instead of partying during spring break, this year dozens of college students will head out to the Nevada countryside and spend their week off giving back as part of the Alternative Spring Break program.

The sixth annual event, run by the nonprofit Friends of Nevada Wilderness and the National Park Service, recruits university students and even some in high school, to work on environmental service projects in the Spirit Mountain and Bridge Canyon Wilderness areas along Lake Mohave within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

Grace Larsen, southern Nevada stewardship coordinator for Friends of Nevada Wilderness, helped organize the event.

"We're going to be working to restore some roads that the National Park Service is decommissioning," says Larsen. "And so we'll help provide some more habitat for local species, bighorn, the desert tortoise."

The public service is unpaid, but the entire trip is free, including the camping gear, food and transportation. It is made possible by a $20,000 grant from Barrick Gold Corporation.

More than 80 percent of Nevada is public land and Larsen says the program hopes to inspire more people to make a career in environmental science.

"We absolutely need these type of people for Nevada's future," says Larsen. "Nevada has a lot of public land and it's a great place to start a career in environmental science. And Nevada's always looking for more people to help do that."

There are still a few slots left in the program an there's a meeting Thursday night at UNLV.

For more information go to nevadawilderness.org.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV