Archive | June, 2016

Thank You Dads of the Animal Kingdom

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Imagine growing up inside your dad’s mouth!

Hope you all had a happy Father’s Day everyone! In honor of this past weekend being Father’s Day Weekend, we at Havasi Wilderness Foundation wanted to thank all fathers, step-fathers, god-fathers, grandfathers, and father-figures in our lives and in the lives of so many others. What do fathers do? Fathers and father-figures take time to invest in our lives and to teach us and prepare us for the world ahead of us. This is not just seen in the human race, many other animals have fathers that make a tremendous difference in the lives of their offspring.

 

Four Faithful Father’s of the Animal Kingdom:

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Wilderness Journal: Visiting Bald Eagles at Lake Casitas

Our Eagle Sighting Group, ready to go!

It is June and some members of the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, their families, and friends accompanied us to Lake Casitas to visit and see the bald eagle parents and their offspring. Luckily we had a caravan of three cars on a gorgeous bright sunny day with minimal clouds and light traffic. We started out from Agoura Hills, California at 7:30 AM to be sure to arrive early to see the wildlife and hopefully see the baby eagles (eaglets) getting fed.

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A bald eagle’s messy nest, high up in the trees.

Upon arrival, we could see the giant eagle’s nest high in the Eucalyptus tree and one of the parents on a branch adjacent to the nest. When entering Lake Casitas, the road to the left follows around so one can park quite near to view the nest and with binoculars can view the two little baby eagles. The mother eagle could be seen high in the sky carrying towards the nest a “duck roast.” We were just in time to see the baby’s breakfast banquet. Continue Reading →

Wilderness Journal: Springtime in the Wetlands

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The rabbits bound away.

After the misty morning fog and clouds had worn off, all was perfectly still. The bright blue sky was the perfect invitation for a walk through the Bolsa Chica Wetlands. And with the sun out, I was not the only one in the wetlands. Springtime means baby animals and several baby bunnies bounded by with their white cotton tails bobbing behind them. Sneaking through a hole under the fence they vanished into the undergrowth.

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Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains: Education Department’s Year-End Meeting

Reported by Marilyn Fordney

The annual meeting was planned to be at Topanga State Park but because of recent fires a decision was made to move it to Woodley Park in the Sepulveda Basin. It turned out to be a beautiful sunny day that was perfect for an outdoor potluck lunchtime gathering of almost 20 people.

Instructors and educators at lunch.

The Havasi Wilderness Foundation has been donating funds for program grants to the Education Department for the past six years. It has grown over the years and meets the needs of elementary school students, disadvantaged students, and groups with special needs. Everyone participated in the potluck, so we had a variety of selections that were soooo delicious.

After lunch Stephen Vodantis, Education Program Supervisor, addressed and thanked the group of assembled educators for their dedication and service to the field of outdoor learning and environmental education. He introduced some of those in attendance and their special roles within the organization.

Instructors

Stephen Vodantis with the instructors of our program at the Resource Conservation District of Santa Monica Mountains.

Then he invited anyone who wished to speak to relate special stories and anecdotes about field trip experiences with school groups during the year. We heard about a halibut-fishing story and how some students react with excitement when they hear the sound of the surf and waves crashing for the first time.

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“Parroting” Can Be A Good Thing

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The parrot poses for us.

We recently had an encounter with some amazing birds while getting a flat tire repaired on our car! The Tire Man in Agoura is known as home to three exotic Macaw Parrots. Their raucous squawking and chattering immediately drew our attention. Just in the short time of observing these colorful creatures we could already get a glimpse of the very social and intelligent lives that these large tropical birds lead. Not only that but as soon as Alex pulled out the camera to snap a few photos the parrots appeared to ruffle their feathers and pose for their photos! Continue Reading →

SLIME: Snails Save the Day

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Two snails cross the road to get to the other side.

Why would anyone want to study snails? A common reaction whenever people see a snail is to cry out “Ew! Gross!” or to try to smash it immediately. But snails are not gross in fact snails are incredible and they are actually a special species that tells scientists whether or not an environment is healthy! If there are snails and slugs that means that the environment is healthy because snails are considered to be an indicator species.

An indicator species is a species that is vital to the environment, and often are the most sensitive species in a region or ecosystem! Does that mean that their feelings get hurt a lot? Or they are super emotional? Not necessarily. . . it just means that these particular animals (for example snails) respond to disease, pollution or even climate change in such a dramatic way that they are considered to be an early warning to monitoring biologists. Why does that matter? Well in order to make sure that the environment is healthy for all the wildlife (and ourselves) monitoring biologists will give these indicator species extra special attention!

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