Burn scar from Weber Fire offers a teachable moment

With a magnifying glass, some curious, youthful eyes recently gazed at a tiny helicopter seed in new, nutrient rich soils.

On an after school tour of the Weber burn scar, a group of 16 students from Mancos witnessed first-hand that Mother Nature replenishes what she takes away. The outdoor classroom was held on Bureau of Land Management property in East Canyon.

"The students discovered a field of silt-like sand three-feet deep," said Tanya Brown, parent and community volunteer coordinator for the Mancos School District. "We wanted to show the students that just because the fire is gone doesn't mean the landscape would remain unchanged."

Perched atop large boulders, the students were asked to draw their own interpretations of the charred landscape as part of the districts after school program.

"Every opportunity the kids have to get outdoors is worthwhile," Brown said.

During the tour on a private ranch, students were also exposed to channels carved into the landscape from water runoff that occurred during the summer's monsoon season. One channel was twice the height of some students.

"So, this is what underground looks like," one student said standing among exposed roots.

Rebecca Samulski of Montezuma Firewise led the Weber burn scar tour for the students, which was proceeded with games and a video presentation.

The 2012 Weber Fire burned 10,000 acres in mountainous terrain south of Mancos, causing mass evacuations and property damage. A juvenile, who later apologized, admitted to starting the fire.