Suffice it to say, whenever you are shown stunningly beautiful photos with mountain ranges bisected by water, it is usually Norway you are looking at, whether they mention it or not. This matters to beavers because Duncan Halley is an avid researcher there, (From Scotland originally) and a noted beaver devotee. He sent me a note yesterday announcing a new paper about population dispersal.
Why should you care about beaver dispersal of Castor Fiber in another country? Because one of the findings was that beavers travel for long distances (25 km) over saltwater and across continental divides to colonize new habitat. Which means that the world is pretty much their oyster, and California has been insane to insist for years that they weren’t in the Sierras because the hills were too steep.
Social Hour at the State of the Beaver Conference. Duncan is the vested man in the middle looking at the camera. On the far right is Adrien Nelson from Fur-bearer Defenders, then Mike Callahan of Beaver Solutions in Massachusetts. In the background are conference champions Lois Houston and Stanley Pietrowski. And to Duncan’s left is Paul Henson from FWS, the source of the very apt suggestion that we consider beaver as a surrogate species.
Which brings me to this morning, where I am trotting off to Rona Zollinger’s Habitats and Cultural Change Seminar at Vicente High School to talk to the students about why beavers are useful and how it could be smart to designate them as one of the important Surrogate Species identified by FWS. I’m thinking 30 essays from some ecologically savvy 15-year-olds, (and hopefully 10 from some genius silicon valley 8 year olds from Helios the school that did a field trip a few months ago) just might sway the judges.
Wish me luck!