January 9, 2018
The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC) is turning a former Brownfield site into an Environmental Education Demonstration Garden.
The site, formerly called the Beeline Gravel Pit, was a raceway-turned-disposal area that was transformed with the help of EPA Brownfields Site Specific Funds. SRPMIC completed cleanup of the site in 2016—and then began to reimagine its use.
The Environmental Education Demonstration Garden was inspired by the idea of having a new green space to teach SRPMIC Community members about the importance of protecting and taking care of the land and its resources. Rather than develop the site and then invite Community members into it, SRPMIC began site transformation with Community education in mind.
The first event held in the Environmental Education Demonstration Garden was a grassroots ground-breaking: students and teachers from Salt River High School helped SRPMIC staff plant 30 plants, dig out a pond for rainwater harvesting, and construct small gullies for erosion control. Not only did these students plant the seeds that will help the Environmental Education Demonstration Garden become what the Community envisions, but they also learned the history of the site, proper planting techniques, rainwater harvesting methods, and the importance of erosion control.
The next steps will be to seed the banks, continue planting, water and maintain the plants, and complete a second rain water harvesting system. From there, the Environmental Education Demonstration Garden will grow to host SRPMIC schools, Community government departments, and Community members to provide a lab for the Community to learn how to be good environmental stewards.
More information on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Brownfield Program can be found here.