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The Paiute people of Nevada’s great basin have a particular ethos about living with nature in treating the land as if it were their own backyard. Instead of seeing nature as a resource, they cultivate the land for the benefit of it. Thousands of years ago, the Paiute dug irrigation ditches that routed runoff from melting Sierra Nevada snows into the valley. Unlike modern irrigation practices, the Paiute didn’t channel the water to serve specific parcels of land; instead, they looked at the entire landscape as a garden and made the valley bloom with wild, native plants. The extraction of various natural resources in the region surrounding Fly Ranch has been disastrous for the environment. Water resources have depleted through the canal, and mining and industrial farming continue to damage the ecosystem. Our proposal aims to restore this harmonious relationship between the Paiute people and the land.
To achieve our goal, we plan to use technologies based on autonomous infrastructure to harvest invasive species, plant native vegetation, and create an irrigation system on the grassland. These rewilding vehicles will collect invasive plants on Fly Ranch, grind them up, and pile the material on the ground in a pre-determined pattern. Once the piled organic matter has decomposed, seeds of native species will be spread on it. The pattern will slowly become visible as the native plants grow, thus forming a large-scale land art. The rewilding vehicle is a small, lightweight electric vehicle capable of having different tools attached to it, like an autonomous farming robot commonly seen today. The attached tools will be available for operations such as collecting and grinding the plants, piling the organic materials for decomposition and spreading native species’ seeds.