Idaho inmates work to restore bird's habitat

The inmates have growing sage brush that will be planted on BLM land damaged by wildfires.

BOISE - Some inmates at the Idaho State Correctional Center are working to keep the greater sage grouse, a bird that calls Idaho home, off the endangered species list.

A group of volunteers at the prison have been growing sage brush that will be replanted to help restore the bird’s native habitat that has been damaged by wildfires.

Stacy Moore with the Institute of Applied Ecology says simply replanting native species will really make a difference in saving the habitat.

"This project provides hands-on opportunity for inmates to give back to the community and the environment," said Moore.

Back in April, the inmates planted seeds in thousands of containers, and today they boxed the seedlings and got them ready to send to the Bureau of Land Management for replanting.

Warden Randy Blades says the project is not only great for the environment, but for the inmates working to better their community.

"It means that they care about what they are doing, they get their hands dirty, they work hard, they have accomplished something by the end of the day, and that's just huge in their lives in this place," said Blades.

The plants will be planted by the BLM in effected areas in Twin Falls and also out West where land was burned by last year’s Soda Fire.

It’s work months in the making that some say goes beyond growing sage brush.

"If you think about it a guy gets out of prison, he can actually drive to a part of the state and see the fruit of his labor," said Blades. “So they have something positive to look back on.”

Copyright 2016 KTVB


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