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Desert Blooms: IYR Alum Creates Wildflower App

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Spring is just around the corner, and spring is a great time to visit Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, between Arco and Carey in Idaho. You'll avoid the heat of summer and you just might catch the season's first wildflowers. Craters of the Moon is the home of many unique native plants, but you won’t have any trouble identifying what’s blooming in those lava fields—because there’s an app for that. The park’s free wildflower app was developed by an Idaho Youth Ranch alumnus.

Ben Nash was the first IYR scholarship recipient to graduate from college, earning a BS degree in Biology from Boise State University in 2008. In 2012, During a Student Conservation Association internship at Craters of the Moon, he studied and restored native plants while creating a database of text and photos for the app, now available free for download at: http://www.nps.gov/crmo/photosmultimedia/index.htm.

The app can be used for both self-guided tours and ranger-led tours. Peak bloom time for most park wildflowers is mid-June through early July. Ben credits the time he spent at the Idaho Youth Ranch with helping him find his life's direction and purpose.

"The Idaho Youth Ranch has done more than I can express to help shape the person I am today," he said. "They gave the me the personal skills, social skills, and education I needed to create a better future for myself."

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