Because the beaver isn't just an animal; it's an ecosystem!

The Martinez Beavers

Like waking from a dream


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Did Saturday really happen at all? It seems like a million years ago or underwater very far away. But it must have taken place be cause it got a nice write up in the Gazette this morning with charming photos.

Beaver Festival attracts adults, children, other animals in environmental celebration

MARTINEZ, Calif. – A breeze ruffled the feathers of a great horned owl that blinked at children from his tall perch. A peregrine falcon flapped his wings while Angela Mazur from Native Bird Connections held his jess leash. Both birds, who can’t return to the wild after being injured, were on display Saturday during the 10th annual Martinez Beaver Festival.

While there may be no beavers this year in Alhambra Creek near Beaver Park, at Alhambra Avenue and Escobar Street, others represented the aquatic animals during the celebration.

Most notably, the award-winning biologist Brock Dolman, dressed and portraying his character Buster Beaver, drawled a folksy explanation of the importance of beavers in the ecosystem and how they are affected by the sequences of drought and winter rains.

Dolman is part of Occidental Arts and Ecology Center of the WATER Institute, who often appears at serious or scholarly conferences, such as a recent multi-day meeting about the environment and its effects on salmon. There he tackled such serious subjects as climate change and how restoration projects should adapt for those changes.

In a more casual style, he reminded festival attendees that the Earth is the only habitable planet we can reach, and so it deserves our care. He also described how beavers’ routine activity becomes part of that care that helps many other types of wildlife.

Many other organizations promoted the same message. The Oakland Zoo described the many threats to California’s native pond turtles by letting children play a pachinko-styled game with bolt pegs and ping pong balls, then asked the children to describe how beavers can help turtles.

Other organizations promoted recycling, such as The Garden at Heather Farms booth, where visitors could learn to weave using natural materials, and the Republic Services booth, where R.C. Ferris took old badges, covered them in double-faced tape and showed visitors how to decorate the sticky badge faces with stickers, moss, leaves and other materials to turn them into works of art.

Youngsters small enough to squeeze into small carts decorated like beavers rode around the park, and Julian Frazer, riding his horse, Joey, let his mount join in the day’s theme by decorating his tail to look like a beaver tail.

Plenty of children lined up for the program books that guided them through nine booths where they learned about water, frogs, otters, herons, fish and dragonflies in addition to the beavers and pond turtles. Those who completed their visits collected tattoos they could use in making nature journals.

Bidders had an array of items they could buy, from vacations and excursions to stuffed animals and artwork. The money raised in the silent auction is paying for the festival.

Yes it is, Beth. Thanks for a lovely article. And thanks every person who bid on the silent auction and everyone who donated to it. We got received our last checks yesterday from lucky winners, as well as a very sweet note from ‘Joey from Utah’s‘ sister. So all that means it really happened, right?

And you were there? And you, and you, and you!