ESSAY: Prisoners. Growing Sagebrush. | Pagosa Daily Post News Events and Video for Pagosa Springs Colorado

This story of Frani Halperin was shared by the Colorado News.

For decades, Western cows and TVs have spent their cattle life in the country of Sagebrush – as far as the eye can see the uncomfortable and low-growing gray-green shrubs. Today, driving on a Western highway is a land of endless and insignificant land – you know, “a flying country.

But Gina Klingerman does not accept the person who calls Sajbruush’s home a wasteland. “This is a national treasure that people do not realize is here.” Gina is the project manager for the Land Management (BLM) Minerals Program in Wyoming. I was traveling with her on a very windy day in the southern part of the state, 100 miles north of the Colorado-Wyoming border. Landscaping you say is in danger.

“Sagebrush homes are being destroyed,” she said. The ecosystem, located in 13 states west of Mississippi, is now littered with roads and cities and is being eroded by manufacturing industries such as oil and gas and minerals. “Five hectares there… two hectares here ይጀምራል will start to grow over time.”

Current estimates: Nearly half of Siberbush ecosystems, the largest interconnected habitats in the United States, have been lost to human activity – including catastrophic fires, which have been exacerbated by climate change, drought and heat. With the disappearance of the sage, invaders such as fraud are happy to enter. Brought by European settlers in the 1800s, fraud was rampant and threatened the Sajd brush, which is important for wildlife fires. More fraud. It is a vicious cycle that is taking place in the Western world.

Making the Great Sage-Gross more
Gina estimates that the cyberburns lost between 100 and 150 years old during the wildfire near Little Hannah. But now she says, “They’re dead.” Disappear, forever. ” That is an irreplaceable loss for this ecosystem based on pronghorn, mule, elk and other wildlife. It is well known that the “Sage Brush Sea” is not only an integral part of Western heritage and culture but also home to more than 350 species of wildlife – some of which live nowhere on earth, such as the giant sagebrush, a key rock habitat for sagebrush habitat.

Due to the high carbon content of the plant, the loss of Sage brush habitat is also a disadvantage in combating climate change. Sagebrush, two to 12 feet tall, has about 13 feet below the ground. According to the Resilient and Connected Lands Map, developed by Nature Consortium, 77 percent of Wyoming carbon is stored in deforestation systems – in the plains and grasslands – and 1.1 billion metric tons. Once the Sagittarius ecosystem is damaged, it can take up to a hundred years for them and their carbon filtration to fully recover.

BLM wants to restore these habitats, which have been declining sharply in the past 50 years. The birds hide from predators under the branches of plants and survive the winter by eating their leaves. Gina says just scattering the seeds on the ground does not work to form plants – even if they try. And this morning I saw 12-inch-tall small yellow beehives in the middle of a black sagebrush on this scorching hill, with Gina and her colleagues planting seedlings one by one. Unlike other plants, it is possible to plant grass flowers in the fall to use a snow plow to plant the roots. From seed to trunk, it is tedious and time consuming, but with the help of an amazing source – prisoners from the Wyoming Prison.

The Sagebrush Project in Prisons
Levi George is being held in a low-security prison in Wyoming, Wyoming. Since last April, he and three other inmates have been busy caring for seedlings every day. Through the Sagebrush program in prisons, they have successfully grown Sagebrush plants from seed.

“By mixing the dirt and soil, we make sure the pH is at the desired level. Then we make the seedlings and then water and fertilize them all year round,” he added.

Levi said that he had never planted the plant, and I found the experience to be therapeutic. “It’s good to see him grow out of nothing.” He added that working with plants gives him a place of refuge. “In prison, just like everyone else, not everyone agrees. So it was very comforting to be away from everyone and to be with the plants and take care of them and watch them grow.

The prisoners, who grew up in six months, are now about three inches tall. It took about five years for them to reach the same height if they were to grow in the wild. Seedlings scattered on the ground are 40 to 70 percent more likely to survive and less than three percent more likely to survive. The prison program is to skip the renovation of Sagittarius and give prisoners a fresh start.

The Sagebrush in Prisons program was launched in 2014 by the Institute of Practical Ecology (IAA) and a program at Evergreen State College in Washington highlighted the importance of quality programming in prisons. The IAE also recognized the need for indigenous plants to restore land following wildfires, so they negotiated with their BLM partners to find a way to bring the two concepts together, and the Sagebrush in Prisons project was born.

Stessie Moore, an eco-teacher at the institute, said his first prisoner was a Snake River Rehabilitation Institute in Ontario, Oregon. Prison officials were initially skeptical of the funds being used to grow the weed plant, but its benefits to the inmates soon became apparent. The staff told Stacey that not only were they sold out, but they also wanted to double production next year. “That is what we did, The following year we moved from one prison to five. Then other prisons saw the benefits and put their hands aside. The charity currently works with 11 prisons in Wyoming, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada and California.

Saving natural habitat, saving human life
Stacey says she will be the first, if the only goal is to grow a sage brush, they can do it on their own non-profit. However, the ability to use adult inmates exceeds the limitations of working with inmates, such as background checks, unexpected locks, and recent COVID-19 restrictions. “These prisoners will soon be out of the community, they will be your neighbors, they will be the ones standing next to the grocery store. So we want to give them as much as we can before they are released.

The institute brings in experts from each prison to educate inmates – and even those who seem eager to learn – on topics related to the Sajbrush ecology. At the end of the competition, each participant will receive a certificate listing their skills. Stacey said she believes the program is enriching the lives of inmates – by supporting education, horticulture and social skills.

The program is very popular with inmates and there are currently not enough places for those who want to join. Probably a factor as to why they’re doing so poorly. Stacey heard from prison officials that the program had helped reduce the violence on the facility after the inmates worked with plants. The inmates tell him they like the smell of champagne (Artemia Tridentata) – Not the same as cooking sage (Salvia Official) Used in cooking. Some inmates report that taking care of seedlings reduces their blood pressure.

But the benefits can go far beyond reducing stress in a room. Officials say the program has rescued prisoners from the abyss. One example is a prisoner in Idaho, so worried that he could not go outside. But after participating in the program, he not only revived his spirit but also became a team leader. Prison officials said the program “saved him from the shell and saved his life.”

Experience has convinced Levi, who will be released in a few days from Wyoming Glory Farm, to apply for a job at BLM. “After I was released here, I still plan to continue working with them and try to help other people in my situation find a place to start because sometimes criminals find it difficult to get a job.”

Studies show that such programs reduce the likelihood of repetition because prisoners feel that they have the potential – and the value. They also explain how important it is to feel that they are giving to the community. “The only thing you can give to life is to know that you have a part in something that gives hope to other forms of life.” Levy is trying to put into words what the program means to him. “It’s a big deal.”

It is also great for a newly planted fig brush. They nurtured seedlings with the help of prisoners and in the process grew themselves.

Frenny Halperine is the Editor-in-Chief of H2O Radio.

Contributing Post

The Pagosa Daily Post welcomes submissions, photos, letters and videos from people who love Colorado. Call 970-903-2673 or email

Leave a Comment