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Crossing the Moors

   Posted by heidi08 On October - 25 - 2012Comments Off on Crossing the Moors

Yearling grooming-Photo Cheryl Reynolds

The Rossmoor Nature Association (RNA) is hosting an informative lecture and slide show on Wednesday November 14th at 3:00 p.m. in the Peacock Hall at Gateway. The speaker for this fascinating program about urban beavers will be Dr. Heidi Perryman a noted local beaver advocate and founder of the “Worth A Dam” educational organization. As improbable as it might seem, beavers are living comfortably in downtown Martinez—however, their presence there has not been without heated controversy.

Heidi Perryman, Ph.D., is a child psychologist with a private practice in Lafayette. She is also a board member of the John Muir Association at the National Historic Site in Martinez and became an accidental beaver advocate when she started filming the Martinez beavers in 2006. She started the organization “Worth A Dam” to manage their continued care and educate others about their value in the watershed. She has been particularly interested in the way that the beavers’ struggle has connected residents more closely to their environment, to their city government and to each other.

In addition to a very popular annual beaver festival, Worth A Dam does several community outreach and educational programs a year, including fieldtrips and class room visits. Dr. Perryman has also collaborated with beaver management expert Michael Callahan of Massachusetts to help release an instructional DVD teaching how to live with beavers (featuring footage of the Martinez Beavers). Most recently she worked with an historian, archeologist and biologist to publish groundbreaking research on the western fur trade and the original prevalence of beavers in California – a subject that has been surprisingly misunderstood for a nearly a century.

The beaver (Castor canadensis) is the largest rodent in North America and the only land mammal with a broad flat tail. Beavers and their ingenious dams help to create wetlands, store and filter water, augment fish populations, raise the number of migratory and songbirds, and have a dramatic positive impact on wildlife. Dr. Perryman feels that working to help people understand and coexist with this single species will continue to have a dramatic trickle-down impact on the environment in general. The Peacock Hall’s doors will open at 2:30 p.m. and the program will begin at 3:00. The length of the presentation will be approximately 60 min. with time for questions afterward. Visitors are always welcome to attend any of the RNA’s activities. For information about the Rossmoor Nature Association’s program series, contact Penny Ittner at 891-4980 or by e-mail at pennyittner@comcast.net. Related attachment (1st week): Beaver1bw Caption: “The North American Beaver”.

Crossing the Tamar

   Posted by heidi08 On January - 12 - 2009Comments Off on Crossing the Tamar

A nice [half] Cornish girl with a name like Perryman better pay attention to the news report of an adult beaver in the Tamar. The land of my ancestors is apparently deeply worried about their fruit trees. The reporter seemed surprised that the beaver doesn’t appear to be damming the Tamar, just living in the bank and eating dinner.

Ahh those quaint beaver-mistrustful folk. For all your smugglers, pasties and tin mines, you never learned to wrap a tree? You don’t even need to use wire. Why not build the fitted stone wall your people are famous for? It will keep out the beaver and give you a saturday’s effort to show off your skill.

For the record my grandfather was the son of a Miner in St. Austel who came over to California after the tin business dried up. He spent his youth in Sierra City working in the goldmines and if he saw a beaver or trapped one, I never heard tell of it. For what its worth, I sent this to the reporter:

Kay Sexton’s January 9th report on the meddlesome “Igor” documents the concern that residents have about beavers taking trees. She fails, however, to mention the benefits of beavers to the habitat. Beavers are a keystone species and have been shown to increase songbirds, salmon and other mammals. They are also instrumental in regulating waterflow which is essential for flood and drought management, and will become even more valuable as we face greater climate change. Their tree attacks, while frustrating, are easily controlled through wire wrapping. My grandfather was a tin-miner who migrated from Cornwall as a boy. Nothing would give me greater joy than to help his neighbors understand more about the benefits of beavers in the habitat.

In a related story, an Oakley neighbor made it out to big break for the beaver walk. He mused that Oakley beavers are luckier than Martinez beavers. Hmm, maybe.

Beavers keep newlyweds in the dark

   Posted by heidi08 On June - 9 - 2017Comments Off on Beavers keep newlyweds in the dark

Apparently those darn beavers will insist on eating and building regardless of what they might  be interrupting. Just look what they did to these young lovers in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Dam! Beaver nibbling leaves Saskatchewan wedding in the dark

A pesky beaver is being blamed for leaving a Saskatchewan couple in the dark on their wedding day, after the busy rodent chewed through a power pole and knocked out their electricity. Kim and Calum Martin spent months planning their May 27 nuptials at The Resort, at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park. They had plans of a hot catered meal, lots of music, and twinkling lights.

As for the beaver, Kim wonders whether the furry fellow might have been trying to send a message.

“We think it was a blessing, as our Canadian wedding was blessed by the beaver,” she said. “It makes it extra special.”

I think I love this couple. What a romantic wedding night that they will treasure and always remember! Not to mention that it must be good luck because beavers mate for life and sending that monogamy vibe into the newlyweds can’t hurt.  We’re grateful for the plucky hotel that carried on, and for the gracious couple who took it in stride.

I’m a little disappointed in the power company though, because any power poles going through this much water should be protected with metal to prevent calamities just like this one, don’t you think?

Last night’s talk in Marin was a rainy, positive, beaver booster shot for everyone involved, including me. The classroom was full of hardy bird watchers who made the trek to Richardson bay despite the weather and the traffic near the golden gate. Jon did a lovely job setting FRO’s remarkable children’s banner across the wall, and we let folks take newsletters and festival announcements as they entered. Then I proceeded to give an hour+ talk about the journey Martinez had taken with the beavers.

This was an enormously appreciative audience, that laughed in all the right places, appreciated the news and film clips, loved the images and video, and really enjoyed the civics lesson we had learned in living with beavers. Afterwards there were wonderful questions and unanimous positive feedback. One woman asked what had been the hardest part for me personally because I seemed like such a natural advocate. (Ha!) Another brought me a copy of Alice Waters chapter on beavers, and a third asked me if I knew they had a special grooming claw. The room couldn’t have been more varied or diverse. There was even a man who had trapped beaver in attendance, who described how their tails were good eating. A man brought up the beaver reintroduction campaign and wondered what I thought about it, prompting the woman who invited me to tell the group that Marin Audubon wasn’t supportive of the reintroduction plan posed recently. Which came as an obvious surprise to everyone there after my talk to hear such a thing!

But my favorite comment of the night came from one very interesting fellow, who said that there already HAD BEEN a beaver in Marin at the pond near Smith Ranch road, probably about 20 years ago.  This made total sense to me, because you could see how they would come up Galinas creek after crossing the San Pablo bay from the Carquinez Strait. That beaver had eventually died or been gotten rid of but it confirmed my theory that whether they’re introduced or not, these plucky animals are going to get there on their own. It gave me the opportunity to repeat my new favorite metaphor: that any city ‘deciding’ whether they wanted beavers or not, was akin to any parents ‘deciding’ whether they wanted their teenagers to become sexually active.

It was going to happen on its own, whether they wanted it or not.

smith ranch road