Archive for the ‘Creative Solutions’ Category

MMM Beavers!

Posted by heidi08 On October - 7 - 2015ADD COMMENTS


Congratulations for having the strange fortune reading our three thousandth post! Where has the time gone? Three presents today, one for each of the thousand posts about beavers that we have endured. I’ll save the most fun for last, but let’s start with an awesome new article from Cattleman’s magazine in Canada.

In praise of water, and beavers

Steve Kenyon

Do you know who is responsible for most of the biodiversity in this country?  Long before we were ever here, it was our friendly, hard-working beaver, that’s who!  This country was built by the beaver long before the fur trade depleted their numbers. To make a home, he backs up water, causing his environment to flourish in biodiversity because all life needs water. Plants, animals, fungi, insects and birds all rely on water and thanks to the beaver, they can all thrive within abundant riparian areas.

Each ecosystem relies on the other and it all starts with water. It aggravates me when we decide that the beaver stands in the way of industry. First off, the beaver were here first. Secondly, his job is more important than ours. He created the environment that allows agriculture to prosper. Thirdly, water is a very valuable resource. If he provides more for you, you should be thanking him.

How’s that for awesome proof that we’re slowly changing hearts and minds around the hemisphere and beyond? Thanks for this truly visionary article delivered to the best possible audience. Go read the whole thing and leave Steve a comment in praise of his writing.

Rusty Cohn from Napa sent me this AWESOME photo of a kit the other day and I new it belonged in our celebrations.


Tulocay beaver kit: Rusty Cohn


Finally, the beavers of the world told me to thank you for reading about them by giving you a good laugh. Back when Martinez decided to paint over the mural beaver our pettiness got national press. The best was a morning radio show in Chicago. I don’t think anything could be funnier, and believe me I listened a LOT when I was making the cartoon. Enjoy, remember this cautionary tail warning against truly bad decisions at the civic level and celebrate beavers!

Brush with Destiny

Posted by heidi08 On October - 3 - 2015Comments Off on Brush with Destiny

<a href=The other day I happened to stumble upon these lovely drawings from illustrator Cornelia Svela, a talented artist in Ontario Canada. She did these beaver sketches for the ministry of the education, because (as we well know) children LOVE to learn about beavers..



Beaver gnawing: Cornelia Svela

Of course I established first contact at once, telling her about our festival and our work to save beavers. I explained that we were a nonprofit with a million inspiring beaver photos and maybe someday she would want to draw something for us? Of course I told her about the top teeth mislead and she said she hadn’t ORIGINALLY drawn them – but they had been requested. Of course. Because people don’t want to teach children the truth. They want to teach them what they learned.


Beaver Swimming: Cornelia Svela

I asked whether she had ever done and Over/under/over dam illustration and here is the sketch she sent me. Wouldn’t you love to see this reach it’s potential?

beaver dam and lodge

Over/under dam and lodge sketch. Cornelia Svela

Good news this morning is that the Butte fire is 100% contained. Thank everyone involved and the firefighters most especially. Folks near my parents house said everyone bent over backward to take care of those affected, right down to the trash company doing free pickups of spoiled food when everyone’s power went down.Capture Now I’m off to the ocean. Be good to whatever beavers you can.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

E.E. Cummings

Unravelling Mysteries of the Beaver Genome

Posted by heidi08 On October - 2 - 2015Comments Off on Unravelling Mysteries of the Beaver Genome

Here’s something we missed in September.


Fun video. Makes me genuinely curious about what they’d find. Hey, how much would we have to donate to have Bennie at a beaver festival? Looks like they’re having troubles raising the funds. I bet this website can help them a little. I’m not a fan of beavers in zoos but since he’s thereCapture already we might as well harmlessly learn what we can from him right? I mean since beavers are a big mishmash genetically because of US we should help fix what we can, right?

This article from New York tells us little that is new, but it’s a pleasant read anyway.

Species spotlight: The beaver’s tale

Looks like: The Beaver is a large, unmistakable rodent that can reach up to 26-65 pounds and features a broad, flattened tail that can reach 9-10-inches long and 6-inches wide. Beavers have yellow-brown to almost black fur, webbed feet and prominent orange teeth.

Niche: Beavers are herbivores, eating tree and water plant parts. As winter approaches, they will collect and cache food underwater near the entrance of their lodge in a “feedpile” to use during winter. Beavers can be prey for coyote, fisher, bear and bobcat when they leave the pond in search of food. Kits can also be prey for mink, otter, fox and great-horned owl.s tale

Not nearly enough about how this keystone species builds wetlands that safe fish, frogs, birds and otter. But it’s nice to see anyway. I am impatient for the day when the people who decide to print “interesting facts about the beaver” have things to say that are REALLY interesting.

I don’t know how your blood pressure is this morning, but I’m heading out on vacation tomorrow so mine’s looking pretty good. I’ll try to reach over the mai tai’s and coconuts and manage to post something, especially Wednesday because it will be the auspicious occasion of our 3000th post. Wow. I’ll make sure to tell you a really closely guarded beaver secret that day to make it worth your while.

In the mean time, your blood pressure can take a vacation by watching this, from our Norwegian friend of the Scottish beavers, Sylvia Mueller. She took this on holiday in Germany.

Beautiful footage. Enjoy.

Beavers at Cornell

Posted by heidi08 On September - 29 - 2015Comments Off on Beavers at Cornell

I always knew Mike could get into Cornell if he kept trying!

Lucky beavers who get to inhabit the research pond of the smart people at Cornell Ornithology lab. Lucky frogs, fish and herons that get to continue thriving in glorious beaver habitat. Cheryl sent this today because she’s a regular visitor to the site for their bird cams and has always thought it looked like  a great beaver spot. I’m glad Mike Callahan was on hand to do the right thing at the right time.  Now they need to bring him back for the wildlife management courses to teach another 100  students to do this work in their own states. And maybe publish some reviews of its success.

Hmm,  I’ll write a letter.

High water puts Manitoba resort area in ‘serious jeopardy’

Groundwater, not beaver dams, is causing levels to rise at East Blue Lake, says Perry Stonehouse, Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship’s western regional director. Stonehouse made the statement in response to concerns brought forward by a Manitoba man who’s worried he’ll be forced out of business because of the high water.

Arch Dowsett operates a store, restaurant and cabins at the resort area in Duck Mountain Provincial Park. He believes beaver dams are responsible for raising the water level more than three metres in the past five years.
East Blue Lake is located about 110 kilometres northwest of Dauphin, Man. The area is “overrun” with beavers, Dowsett said.

“(The province) was supposed to be monitoring them and removing dams to make sure the water would go in its natural course,” he said.

Umm…funny thing about beaver dams and groundwater. I know you ran around killing all the beaver and ripping out their dams. But they raise the water table you know, so even with the dam gone things would be wetter. Someone told you that, right?

Something tells me we need an adorable beaver kit picture after that. Here’s one Cheryl took of our most unfortunate 2015 children.

Martinez Beaver kit July 2 2015

July 2 beaver kit – Cheryl Reynolds

It’s in the bag!

Posted by heidi08 On September - 28 - 2015Comments Off on It’s in the bag!

Suzi at workOhhh it’s so nice to be back on the HUGE familiar pc screen where everything is still broken in the usual ways. You might have to hear more from me as a result, I’m sorry to say. I thought I’d share some photos from the beaver art project taken by Suzi Eszterhas. Other photos taken that day might make it to the Ranger Rick story but she said I could share these and they’re a great introduction to a fun use of Susanna Street park.


This is Ethan who is  wearing an original Martinez beaver shirt that he made himself. He’s proudly showing his Father and son beaver bag puppets. If you wish you  could make some of your very own, the patterns are here. The paws are wooden forks. The tails and hind feet are from Dugmore’s Romance of the Beaver, but don’t forget it was Heidi’s endless labor that got them to print double sided. (The hope is that since the book is 101 years old now it will be public domain-y enough for Ranger Rick to print our pattern. And we really MIGHT have an army of beaver puppets across America.)


Bella made a beaver kit and her own frog original puppet. She knew just about everything about the bebellaavers and explained to the other children why they should use orange teeth on the older puppet. Towards the end of the event she got a little restless and went around the park picking up large sticks for her beaver to eat. It was pretty adorable.

This is Brynn who wore two charm necklaces from the past beaver festivals. She also finished thebrynn buttons this year but said that her favorite festival was two years ago when she was able to bring her best friend. If you peek to the left of the kits tail you can just make out the dragonfly and mom’s tail charms. Imagine growing up with beaver festivals. She’s been coming since she was 4.

For some reason I didn’t get photos of April and Alana from Suzi to share, but they were a dynamic duo of beaver information. April posed her beaver kit with a Fennel stalk and explained how Mom beaver liked to eat it when she was pregnant. Alana described how it might have been the salt water that killed the kits. They were both very attentive to details and asked through their grandmother if they could have their own children’s booth at the festival next year. No, really. Since I don’t have their photos to share, I will share this clip from when we met on the footbridge after the PBS beaver documentary aired. They had this feedback for the Canadian producer Jari Osborne:

Jari, btw, was delighted when I sent her this clip and wrote back on youtube:

Thank you so much, April, Alana (sp?) and Heidi!!!
Girls, I am so delighted to know you watched, enjoyed and cared about what you saw on Leave It To Beavers. It means so much to me to hear from you! ~Jari

Ethan Heidi

Which just goes to show you that beaver puppets can swim a long, long way into many people’s hearts. You’ll see. Just watch.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Posted by heidi08 On September - 24 - 2015Comments Off on Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Oh sure. No beaver news for 5 whole days and then an EXPLOSION of stories to share. Well, we have to start with this, because I told you it was coming 10 days ago.

Beaver: Back to the Future

Beaver, whose dams help slow the flow of water, play a key role in the health of our forests. They create wetlands, reduce the force of floods, and expand riparian habitat for wildlife. In our new 13-minute video “Beaver: Back to the Future,” four Forest Service employees and a retired Regional Forester eloquently and enthusiastically praise the power of beaver to beneficially restore and manage national forest water flows in the face of climate change.

Beaver: Back to the Future from Grand Canyon Trust on Vimeo.

Wasn’t that awesome? Everyone did such a fantastic and compelling job. And Trout Unlimited funded. How long must we wait for it to catch on. The smartest beaver folk in three states. Now only 47 more to go!


Maybe Coca cola can help. Beaver: the paws that refreshes!

Coca-Cola Leaves It to Beavers to Fight the Drought

What do Coca-Cola and beavers have in common? It sounds like the setup of a bad joke, but the fates of beavers and bottlers look increasingly intertwined. Coke is funding the deployment of beavers in the United States to build dams and create ponds that can replenish water supplies for local ecosystems and ultimately, people.

Coke’s deployment of engineering rodents has a similar goal: getting water into the ground. Before Europeans’ arrival on the continent, beavers lived in nearly every headwaters stream in North America, and they shaped the continent.

“They were everywhere and having a huge impact on the landscape and the hydrology,” said Frances Backhouse, a Victoria, British Columbia–based author whose book, Once They Were Hats, about the history and environmental role of beavers, will be published Oct. 1.

“Beavers mean higher water tables and water on the landscape throughout the dry seasons as well wet seasons,” she said. They are, according to Backhouse, “the only animal in the world that can rival us in terms of engineering the landscape.”

The funding repairs stream crossings and restores streams damaged by wildfires in California, New Mexico, Illinois, Michigan, and Colorado. It is helping to pay for the beaver project, which seeks to boost water retention in the Upper Methow River watershed in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Washington state.

Natural solutions like deploying the beavers are a good value, said Radtke. An earlier project in the Sierra Nevada Mountains used heavy equipment to install a series of plugs to contain water so it could seep into sediment. “It was fantastic,” he said. “It was working. But it cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

The Upper Methow Beaver Project, a joint effort of five organizations, accomplishes the same thing for less. Coke’s investment in the project in 2014 was around $40,000. Total project cost for that year was $271,000.

“It turns out that beavers work cheaper than big, heavy, yellow equipment,” said Radtke.

Ya think?

Alright, credit where credit’s due, relocating beavers to save water is MUCH better than killing them, and kudos to Coke for having the sense to fund a winner. But really the ideal place for beavers to be improving water is everywhere there is water and people to drink it, and I’ll be happiest when they are allowed to relocate themselves.


Smiling beaver kit by Cheryl Reynolds

Update on the little munchkin at Lindsay who survived the night and was looking healthier today. He’ll be ready to leave in a couple days, and if they can’t locate his family he’ll go to our friends at Sonoma Wildlife Rescue to mature and learn to be a beaver. This morning Cheryl and Kelly went out looking for his family and may have seen another kit and some chewed tulles. Fingers crossed he’ll be reunited with loved ones soon.

Sonoma Bound

Posted by heidi08 On September - 20 - 2015Comments Off on Sonoma Bound

Yesterday we met with Suzi Eszterhas and 5 children that were beaver regulars and did a beaver art project in Susanna Street park for possible inclusion in the Ranger Rick story. The pictures will give you some idea of how cute it looked from the outside, but you’d actually need to be there to hear how delightful it was in person. These children had been to many, many festivals and literally knew everything there was to know about beavers.

Suzi projectOne child had brought her recent copy of Ranger Rick for Suzi to sign, since it was the issue with her incredible cheetah photos. Many of then named their beavers (B0, Violet and Jojo are some I remember.) And one girl fed hers acorns, fennel and a branch. The bags were very popular and Suzi especially liked the fork paws. If you want to make your own the patterns are here.

beaver army
There’s a nice article on Napatopia this morning. I especially like the way it talks to public officials who never mention flooding or money. Life is so different on the Napa side of the creek…

Napa waterways attracting wild critters

Since moving to Napa four years go, Rusty Cohn has gotten into the habit of taking a daily walk along Soscol Avenue. About two years ago, he noticed that a pond had been created in Tulucay Creek next to the Hawthorn Wyndham Suites hotel.Observing the area more closely, he was amazed to see what looked like a beaver dam.

There was a moment of disbelief. Beavers in residence along Napa’s Auto Row?

The Resource Conservation District estimates that there are 10 to 15 beaver dams and at least 100 individuals in Napa County waterways, including the new arrivals in downtown and along Soscol. Beaver dams create mini ecosystems, according to Knapczyk. They, in turn, draw other wildlife like fish, birds, and the popular river otters, although the otter population in Napa is very small.

See  those last three lines in bold text? Can you make the whole article like this next time? Go read the whole thing, and see how perilously little credit beavers get for this sudden biodiversity. We’ll work on it. In the meantime I wish we had many, many more articles pondering the benefits of wildlife in urban settings.

If you have thoughts or questions, you should come ask them yourself here. Because Martinez and Napa beavers will be shoulder to shoulder teaching how and why to coexist. See you there?