Esperanza school to sell commemorative bricks for its garden

[Source: Coty Dolores Miranda, AZ Republic] – When Kyrene de la Esperanza fifth-grade teacher Sylvia Rios goes through the elementary school’s 2-year-old Discovery Garden, it’s a walk down memory lane. Lining the meandering pea-gravel path are engraved bricks honoring some of the students she has taught the past 14 years. Her two daughters – Gabriella, who attended Esperanza, and Liliana, a first-grader – share her pride in the garden and the engraved bricks that were first installed last year.

“As a teacher, it’s exciting for me to walk through and see the engraved bricks of former or current Esperanza families and staff members,” she said. “I’ve witnessed students in the garden and the first thing they look at are the bricks.”

In 2006, Esperanza applied to the Arizona Game and Fish Department for a $10,000 Heritage Fund grant, funded by Lottery ticket sales. The school received it in May 2007. The following spring, after construction of three new Esperanza classrooms, the Discovery Garden began taking shape with the help of parents, staff and community volunteers as well as $5,000 in private donations and another $10,000 of in-kind donations for plantings and landscaping.

Though other Ahwatukee elementary schools, such as Kyrene de las Lomas and Kyrene de los Cerritos, also have gardens, Esperanza’s is unusual with its 25-foot pond and pump to recycle water in a free-falling stream over rocks – a feature made possible with the assistance of Paul Holderman, Pond Gnome founder and creator of the Phoenix Zoo koi pond [to read the full article, click here].

Heritage Fund gives head start to Chiricahua leopard frogs

[Source: AZ Game & Fish News Media, 2-23-2011]Celebrating 20 years of conserving Arizona’s wildlife

One of the most beneficial sources of funding for Arizona’s wildlife and outdoor recreationists is the Heritage Fund. Two decades ago, Arizonans overwhelmingly approved the creation of the fund, which, among other things, directs money from lottery ticket sales to the Arizona Game and Fish Department to invest in conservation efforts like educating children about wildlife, acquiring critical wildlife habitats for sensitive species, and protecting and recovering many of the state’s imperiled wildlife.
One sensitive species benefiting from the Heritage Fund is the Chiricahua leopard frog.  This medium-sized frog was once abundant throughout the White Mountains of eastern Arizona. It has a green-brown skin color with numerous dark spots on its back, thus its name “leopard frog.”

Reductions in the frogs’ distribution the past few decades prompted their listing as federally threatened in 2002 under the Endangered Species Act. Reasons for declines of wildlife species are not always clear, and several interacting factors are often at play. Biologists generally agree that predation by introduced species, especially crayfish, American bullfrogs and sport fishes, and chytridiomycosis, a fungal skin disease that is killing frogs and toads around the globe, are the leading causes. Other factors have also contributed to their decline, including degradation and loss of wetlands, recent catastrophic wildfires, drought and contaminants [to read the full article, click here].

Fort Verde gets a new roof

[Source: Steve Ayers Camp Verde Bugle]

VVN/Steve Ayers

Your typical household roofing job will run in the neighborhood of $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the size of the house and the material of choice.

But if the roof you are replacing is made of shake shingles and happens to protect a 140-year-old adobe building, the costs can go considerably higher.

Such is the case with the roofing job at Fort Verde. Starting last week and continuing for the next month or so crews are replacing the cedar shingles on the four remaining builds and putting new asphalt shingles on the restrooms.

The cost of the project is $185,000.

“We were very fortunate to receive some of the last of the Heritage Fund money that was not swept by the Legislature,” says Park Manager Sheila Stubler.

The Commanding Officer’s Quarters, the one with the Mansard roof, will be the most expensive, costing about $55,000.

The historic records show that the original cedar shingles came from the Black Hills, south and west of the fort and were made at the Army’s saw mill located in the community of Cherry.

The red cedar shingles were brought in from British Columbia

This time the clear heartwood red cedar shingles had to be brought in from British Columbia.

“The buildings are on the National Historic Register of Historic Places, so any work has to conform to the Department of the Interior guidelines,” says Margy Parisella, a project manager and architect with Arizona State Parks.

That means they have to be the same product, same size and the same spacing.

The final look will be the same but this time the nearly 50,000 shingles will be applied with the latest and greatest methods and materials.

According to Dan Settle with Brown and Sons Roofing, the contractor on the project, they will apply an additional layer of breather material before nailing in the shingles.

“I had never seen the material until about five years ago,” says Settle. “It has become pretty popular back East where they see a lot more moisture. We are putting it on because we believe it will extend the life of the shingles by allowing air to pass beneath them.”

Prior to the roofers showing up, a group of local volunteers led by George Dvorak donated over 650 hours replacing the wood around all the dormers, fixing cracked window panes, painting and rebuilding the old shutters.

According to Stubler, the project should be completed by the end of March, weather permitting.