NAVAJO FORESTRYNAVAJO FORESTRY » DEPARTMENT Fri, 02 Aug 2013 23:20:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 “Native Plant Garden Cultivates Fort Defiance, Ariz” Fri, 02 Aug 2013 22:56:30 +0000 Forest FORT DEFIANCE, ARIZ – Navajo Forestry Department nurtures one of the most beautiful gardens near the capital of Navajo Nation, for nearly 30 years the ‘Native Plant Garden’ has flourished in Fort Defiance adjacent to the Forestry Administration Building.

In 1986, Amanullah K. Arbab, manager of Navajo Forestry Reforestation & Disease Control transported the first pine tree from the Chuska Mountains to the ‘Native Plant Garden’ in Fort Defiance, Arizona. Arbab arrived to Navajo Nation in 1979 with only $0.10, with an educational background in Plant Painology and Botanical studies from Purdue University, he gravitated to Navajo Forestry Department and began his adventure as a botanist among the Navajo people.

The greenhouses at the Native Plant Garden maintained by Navajo Forestry Department, provides one of the best botanical environments to grow healthy seedlings year round. Currently, Navajo Forestry Department already has a commitment from U.S. Forest Service to grow over 31,000 seedlings to help with replenishing the Coconino National Forest.

Northern Arizona University also utilizes the greenhouses in Fort Defiance for seed processing and transported for planting. Arbab works with many organizations to encourage native plant growth across the southwest region, he is a firm believer in having a healthy garden to keep the mind, spirit and body healthy.

Arbab welcomes the community to visit the Native Plant Garden and thankful for all the Navajo elders who have guided him thus far. “I envisioned a garden for young people to come and think, to find peace. This garden is unique because it holds a Native American ambience as you walk around here,” said Arbab. Each plant is useful to Navajo, either for medicinal use, to eat, basketry, making weapons or ceremonial use.

“This is a Native Plant Garden built by Navajo people and Navajo companies, I simply wanted to put my knowledge about plants to use by establishing a garden for the Navajo People,” explained Arbab. I am originally from Pakistan, living here among the Navajos is quite rewarding and I enjoy my work everyday, this is my office, added Arbab.

With over 110 plants at the Navajo Forestry’s Native Plant Garden, visitors will be amazed to see the years of dedication and planning sculpted by the Reforestation & Disease Control for future generations to enjoy. Species include; Ponderosa Pine, Douglas Fir, Alligator Juniper, Apache Plume, Curlleaf Mountain Mahogony, Russian Sage, Wolfberry, Santa Rosa Plum, Fendler Bush, Utah Service Berry, Aspen Tree, Wax Currant, Sumac, Sagebrush, Joint Fir, Yucca, Cinque Foil, Creeping Mahonia, Cliff Rose and Peteria Scoparia known as the “Potato Medicine.”

Future plans include adding sculptures and gardening workshops for those seeking landscaping skills. Arbab envisions a small play area for school-age children near the courtyard, as he looks forward to the new school year and the many young people who will be visiting the Native Plant Garden, either for educational reasons or to simply find a quiet place to think, and meditate.

“The Native Plant Garden is a place where people, of all ages, can go and gain an understanding of all the native plant species that can be found on the Navajo Nation.  Our main focus is educating our young people and anyone interested in learning more about each plant,” stated Alexious Becent Sr., Navajo Forestry Department Manager.

Currently, the Navajo Forestry greenhouses have grown over 4 million seedlings, which have been replanted to rejuvenate the forest around Navajo Nation and over 1 million native plants seedlings for coalmine reclamation. For more information about the Native Plant Garden, visit www.dnrnavajo/forestry or call 928-729-4007.

Cliffrose at Native Plant Garden

Cliffrose at Native Plant Garden

Native Plant Garden- Navajo

(A.K. Arbab talks about the stonework and masonry near courtyard, July 30, 2013 at the Native Plant Garden. Photo by Geri Hongeva)

Native Plant Garden- Navajo

(One of the many greenhouses at the Native Plant Garden in Fort Defiance, Arizona, July 30, 2013. Photo by Geri Hongeva)


Entrance to Native Plant Garden

Entrance to Native Plant Garden


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Maintaining Your Campfire Tue, 30 Jul 2013 18:15:36 +0000 Forest 1. As you’re enjoying your campfire, remember these safety tips:

  • Once you have a strong fire going, add larger pieces of dry wood to keep it burning steadily
  • Keep your fire to manageable size
  • Make sure children and pets are supervised when near the fire
  • Never leave your campfire unattended.

2. Never cut live trees or branches from live trees

3. Extinguishing Your Campfire – When you’re ready to put out your fire and call it at night, follow these guidelines:

  • Allow the wood to burn completely to ash, if possible
  • Pour lots of water on the fire, drown all embers, not just the red ones
  • Pour until hissing sound stops
  • Stir the campfire ashes and embers with a shovel
  • Scrape the sticks and logs to remove any embers
  • Stir and make sure everything is wet and they are cold to the touch
  • If you do not have  water, use dirt. Mix enough dirt or sand with the embers. Continue adding and stirring until all material is cool. Remember: do not bury the fires as the fire will continue to smolder and could catch roots on fire that will eventually get to the surface and start a wildfire.

4. Remember: If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave!

  • Don’t burn dangerous things!
  • Never burn aerosol cans or pressurized containers. They may explode.
  • Never put glass in the fire pit. Glass does not melt away, it only heats up and shatters. Broken slivers of glass are dangerous.
  • Aluminum cans do not burn. In fact, the aluminum only breaks down into smaller pieces. Inhaling aluminum dust can be harmful to your lungs.

5. Pack it in, pack it out.

  • Be sure to pack out your trash. It is your responsibility to pack out everything that you packed in.


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