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A young girl's mission to protect the Sonoran Desert

Buffelgrass pull at Orange Grove Middle School
Posted at 8:42 PM, Feb 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-07 16:52:31-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — A young girl in Tucson is protecting the land around her school. Bridgett Walters, a seventh grader at Orange Grove, organized a buffelgrass pull when she saw so much of the plant around her school. Buffelgrass is a type of dense, dry brush, that steals resources from other plants, and can spread wildfires quickly.

"One of the worst things about buffelgrass is that not many people know about, so nothing is really being done," said Walters.

So Walters, decided to get the word out. She organized students, agencies and community members to pull bufflegrass from around orange grove middle school.

"The reason that these plants are so horrible, is that they grow back very quickly and they grow back very quick. And as you can see, there aren't really any native plants around here because the buffelgrass and the fountaingrass have taken over in this area," said Walters.

A junior ranger in more than 23 national parks, Walters said, preserving the environment for future generations is very important to her. Her interest in buffelgrass all started from a coloring book.

"I thought that, 'Wow, this is a really big issue for our desert.' And so I did some research and I found that if there was a wildfire, the buffelgrass can burn a football field of ground in under three minutes," said Walters.

She loved spearheading this project because she's passionate about protecting the state's deserts.

"Buffelgrass is such a pervasive problem in the Sonoran Desert and I know that people from all over the world come here to see our Saguaros because they don't grow anywhere else. And the buffelgrass actually grows so thick that it makes it near to impossible for Saguaros to grow and reproduce," said Walters.

A big problem for the Sonoran Desert, that this seventh grader is eager to fix.

"Its not easy work, but its necessary to help our desert and I think all the volunteers here know that our desert needs to be preserved so people can experience its beauty in all of the years to come," said Walters.