Idaho inmates help save sage grouse habitat by growing sage brush from seeds to plant in the desert

Idaho inmates grow sage brush
Posted at 8:29 PM, Oct 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-17 22:29:36-04

The effort to save the sage grouse goes right through Idaho's prison system.
    For four years now, Idaho inmates have been growing sage seedlings to plant in threatened ecosystems.
    This year the "Sagebrush in Prison's" program produced it's one millionth plant.
    And  the inmate's efforts have been rewarded in more ways than one.

"They've been growing seedlings the last 6 months." says Ambrose Richardson with IDOC.
30 thousand seedlings to be exact, all ready to make a difference for a threatened species.
And for the first time ever, the hard work of these female inmates is being rewarded with the opportunity to actually plant the seedlings at Lucky Peak.

"Its a nice way to bring full circle they mix the dirt and tend the seedlings to actually putting the plants in the ground and helping out wildlife," says Nancy DeWitt, contractor with the institute of Applied Ecology.

"Its going to be fun.  It'll be a whole new experience for us," says project supervisor Laura Lane,  "It gets us out of the mundane routine of classes and stuck inside."
Beyond that, IDOC says the process of growing and prepping the plants gives these inmates some skills that can help them get jobs upon release.

"it gives them an idea of what they can do when they leave," says Richardson, "We're always encouraging people to thing about what life looks like when they leave because everyone is in close proximity to release."
The inmates will plant the seedlings tomorrow at Lucky Peak.