The refuge is home to three endangered species: the naked stem buckwheat, a host plant for the Lange's metalmark butterfly; the Antioch evening primrose; and the Contra Costa wallflower.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Web site, the area that is now the Antioch Dunes Wildlife Refuge, located along the south shore of the San Joaquin River, was part of an expanse of 100-foot-high sand dunes left along the river after the Mohave Desert receded in prehistoric times. The refuge and a few acres of surrounding lands contain most of the remaining habitat for these three species and are all that remain of a 9-kilometer stretch of dunes formed during glacial periods.
"The population of the Lange's Butterfly has been poor since 1999," said Terrazas. "With a peak population of 2,342 butterflies seen in the '80s, there were only 45 seen in 2006. There have been 89 seen in 2007. So the population seems to be slowly coming back up."
The naked stem buckwheat has been pushed out by more invasive species, explained Terrazas, who has issued a call for more volunteers to help plant, pull weeds and conduct butterfly surveys. "The butterfly's lifecycle revolves around the plant," he said. "They lay their eggs there, the eggs hatch in the rain, and then butterflies grow around the plant."
Cruz, a student at De La Salle High School in Concord, said, "It would be nice to give back to the environment. I like camping and hiking, but have had no opportunity to really give back."
The Scouts and volunteers involved in the project were Tom and Jonathan Laird; Dennis, Scott and Stacy Lane; Steve Benson; Patrick Freitas; Yunis Cortez; Brad, Nick and Chris Davis; Daniel and Charlene Wadsworth; Justin Roman; Stephen Kohl; Jack, Bradley and Tom McNell; Robert, Bob and Sean McGuigan; Dave and Steve Anderson; Miran and Alex DeZoysa; Dave Martin; Daniel Pho; Matthew and David Satyadi; David and Chris Madrigal; Andy, Anthony and Monica Anjari; and Melchor and Nena Cruz.