Students tour MAR5 Interpretive Trail led by Department of Environmental Quality
Gila River Indian News
Sacaton Middle School students learned about the importance of the Gila River at a tour of the recently opened Interpretive Trail at the Managed Aquifer Recharge Site #5 on May 10.
The seventh and eighth grade students were the first class to ever visit the trail, which is a culmination of efforts by the Community to bring back the river and the local habitat.
Willard Antone III, GRIC Department of Environmental Quality, Sr. Environmental Planner & Policy Analyst, gave a presentation about the MAR5 site and the features of the trail which opened on March 1.
“This is an opportunity for youth to learn about the culture and history and the importance of what water is to us. For your generation, you probably have never seen the Gila River run, so this is a reflection of what that is like,” said Antone.
Robert Johnson, Huhugam Heritage Center, Language Specialist, told the students about the use of the O’otham and Pee Posh language along the trail.
“We built this as an education center for you and for the members of the Community. Many of the signs have the language of the O’otham, the Pee Posh, and scientific names to describe the flora and fauna and animals as well,” said Johnson.
On the tour, Marcella Hall, Sacaton Middle School Culture Teacher, described the significance of the many plants along the trail.
She described the surrounding mountains and recited their names, and the oral history used by the Huhugam.
Charles Enos, DEQ Aquatic Scientist, was on hand to show the students the many water fowl that reside or pass through the area. He said the number of birds flocking the area is increasing.