The Pahrump Arts Council’s (PAC) Keeper of Wheeler Well project, phase two, closed with the publication of two books and a teacher’s guide. Two grants from the Mt. Charleston License Plate program funded the project over a five-year period, with the focus on promoting children’s understanding of the natural world around them.
Pahrump resident Dick Senior, known as the “Keeper of Wheeler Well,” inspired the project, according to Loretta Lindell, project coordinator. Since 2001, Senior has dedicated himself to monitoring and maintaining water sources for the mountain wildlife, particularly Wheeler Well.
“Dick’s story is one we thought needed to be told,” said Lindell. “He is a member of our community whose stewardship of the land and respect for the natural world are positive attributes that children can learn as a model for their own behavior.”
“A Day With the Keeper” is a storybook with pictures, suitable for pre-K-1. A companion teacher‘s guide contains an outline and resources for classroom activities along with a key to Common Core State Standards and coloring book pages. “The Keeper’s Plant Guide West Side of the Spring Mountains,” features full color photographs and information on more than 120 flowers, trees, shrubs, and cacti commonly found in the area.
Seventeen kits containing books and teaching materials were presented free of charge to Nye County School District administrators on Nov. 13. As with phase one of the project, every elementary school in the district will receive a kit, as well as the district’s three pre-school/early childhood programs. In addition, books will be donated to the Pahrump Library and other libraries in Nye County.
The two phases of the project brought together a diverse group of people to help tell the story. “Artists, writers, quilters, educators, botanists, government agencies, a Native American, a rancher and the Keeper.
All had a part to play,” Lindell said. The Keeper of Wheeler Well project was geared primarily toward elementary school students. However, the new plant guide, based on the original guide created in phase one for classroom use, is for older students and adults and is sized for use in the field. The books were printed in Las Vegas.
Any remaining books went on sale to the general public on Nov. 17 at the Pahrump Arts Council office, 2340 E. Calvada Blvd, Suite B. The office is open Monday and Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call 775-751-6776 to reserve a copy.
The cost is $15 for the plant guide, $10 for the children’s book or $20 for both when purchased at the same time. The teacher’s guide will be available on request for $20. Funds raised by the sale of the books will be dedicated to PAC’s Youth Arts program.