Archive for the ‘Educational’ Category

Another work of Art

Posted by heidi08 On September - 21 - 2016ADD COMMENTS

A while ago I was contacted by ‘Voices of Wildlife’ in New Hampshire. They were having some beaver issues and wanted help educating the public. I told them that a fantastic supporter lived right near by and introduced them to Art Wolinsky. They arranged an education event at the public library last night. And Art stepped up to the job boldly. Not only did the retired engineer prepare a wonderful multimedia presentation at a moments notice, he also arranged to film it so it could be shown in other venues around the state.  Oh, and my FB friend who was there tells me his last line was ‘Happy Birthday, Heidi”. Which is honestly beyond touching.



A multimedia presentation, by Art Wolinsky and Voices of Wildlife in NH, about how to derive the benefits of beaver created habitat while eliminating conflict and negative impact.

When beavers began threatening the culverts at Art’s condo in 2009 he reached out to the experts who helped him and the other residents create solutions to live peacefully with the beavers. They ended up with a win-win for all involved.

Learn how this was achieved by attending this free and open to the public event. Contact with any questions.

Art is also putting his film on youtube and I can’t wait for the chance to share it with you! Just another example of beautiful Art work!

Now as it was my birthday yesterday I tried to only do the things I wanted and allowed myself to play with a very silly tool on my iPad that I had never really used  before. How fun is this?

Magic Mornings

Posted by heidi08 On September - 14 - 20161 COMMENT

This is a magical article from Michael Runtz of canada speaking about his recent visit to an Algonquin beaver pond.

A day of nature revelations

It was a cool and misty predawn when I arrived at Algonquin Park’s Argue Lake. Soon I was watching a large Beaver groom itself atop a feeding bed a mere 30 feet away. It was too dark for photographs but I was content just to watch.

Suddenly the silence was broken by the howls of wolves, emanating somewhere near the far end of the lake. I waited a few minutes after the magnificent chorus ended, and then I howled. The pack replied immediately.

I wanted to wait until sunrise before looking for the wolves. Half an hour passed and then dawn broke.

I quietly paddled my canoe to the far end of the lake, still shrouded with mist. Once there, I scanned nearby slopes for wolves, but saw none. I howled from my canoe and soon the wolves replied, but to the east.

With adrenalin coursing through my body, I watched to see if one might make an appearance. Excitement peaked when two dark forms scrambled down a nearby hill. But the animals were black, and Eastern Wolves are rarely that colour.

A Beaver slapped its tail, informing me that the dark animals had entered its space. Moments later, four Otters came snorting and huffing past my canoe, sticking their heads out of the water like giant periscopes to get a better view of me.

Half an hour passed and no wolves, so I paddled back to my car. I then struck out on foot, following an old logging road that ran parallel to the lake. I walked slowly and quietly, stepping on moss whenever possible.

After a while I left the road and bushwhacked eastward, moving slowly and avoiding stepping on sticks.

Eventually I came to a large pond. After several minutes of scanning, I spotted the head of a large wolf sticking out from Bracken across the pond from me. It stared in my direction, but I was hidden.

I howled, and it stood up and walked into full view. It howled back and began to bark, an indication that it was the pack’s dominant leader telling the intruding wolf to leave their territory. I barked back, and the wolf responded even more aggressively. After several minutes of exchanging vocal affronts, the beautiful animal walked away, content that the impudent intruder was not going to cross the pond.

It has been 26 years since I last had a chance (unsuccessful) to photograph a howling wolf. Thus, I was ecstatic to finally achieve a long-standing goal.

I was also delighted over my encounter with Otters, plus getting a picture-perfect shot of a Ring-necked Duck taking off in the mist. I pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming; it was indeed a morning when Nature revealed herself wonderfully to me.

Ahhh we’ve enjoyed many a magic morning at our beaver pond, though we never got to see wolves. I am sure Mr. Runtz sleep-clock is broken too, and we probably both wake up at 5 even  when we aren’t planning too. The very first beaver I ever saw was  from the front seat of this canoe where I spent many a magic morning over the past 25 years. Fate and my cerebellum have decided I don’t get to enjoy the quiet paddle anymore so you can imagine how happy I am at this arrival to my porch, under which I will be able to enjoy magic mornings on forever more.






Beaver Mania

Posted by heidi08 On September - 10 - 2016Comments Off on Beaver Mania

Sometimes when you talk to reporters they can’t remember things if you say too much and you have to limit your comments to one or two key points and repeat them over and over.  Sometimes they get the gist, but not the details. Sometimes you can just tell they’re waiting to talk to the next person and are sick of listening to you. But every now and then you run into a reporter that remembers EVERYTHING you said so you better not say it wrong. Richard Freedman of the Vallejo Times-Herald definitely falls into that last category, I now realize. (Hopefully I didn’t get myself in too much hot water with the otter folks!)

Beaver mania comes to the Empress in Vallejo

Beavers don’t get the great PR like otters. You know, eating off their tummies in the ocean. Stuff like that. Even beaver crusader Heidi Perryman shrugs, “Everyone loves otters. They’re cute and don’t build dams. I’m feeling jealousy how easy otters’ lives are.”

Yet, the beaver, those buck-toothed, paddle-tailed rodents, play an integral role in the food chain and the environment, says Perryman.

Those dams they build hold back water, sure, but it creates more bugs. Fish eat bugs. Birds eat fish. Beyond more wildlife, the beavers have conserve water and in a drought era, it’s vital, Perryman noted.

A child psychologist when she’s not lobbying for beavers, Perryman joins Kate Lundquist as speakers this Friday at the Empress Theatre for “Beaver Mania,” an evening that includes the film, “Leave it to Beavers” as part of the Visions of the Wild festival.

Well I can’t deny it. I do feel jealousy. Ha!

Not only was the beaver saved in Martinez, it’s become the star of a huge mural and an annual summer beaver festival as Perryman created a nonprofit, “Worth a Dam,” with a website,

“I really wanted to persuade people not to kill the beaver. I didn’t expect to become an expert,” Perryman said. “I’m an accidental beaver advocate.”

It shouldn’t be surprising that beavers even live in Vallejo, said Perryman.

“We’re constantly expanding. We’re growing into places where they used to be and that’s not going to change,” she said. “At the same time, their population is recovering.”

Though humans may be concerned that beavers could overrun an area, it’s not likely to happen, Perryman said.

“Beavers are territorial. They don’t want to live around each other,” she said. “If one family has moved in, another will go off to look for unchartered territory and sometimes that’s an urban stream with a low gradient, trees on it, and nobody usually goes there.”

It’s interesting to me that one could look through the evolution of my beaver advocacy like analyzing the layers of stratification in soil and see where I crossed paths with a new teacher who taught me something I wanted to retain. Like the term “low gradient” applied to urban streams (from Greg Lewallen when we worked on the urban beaver paper) or the upcoming section on beaver resilience (from Leonard Houston’s address at the last State of the Beaver conference). I guess sometimes I listen too.

Beavers, continued Perryman, are a resilient bunch.

“They were the first animals after Mount St. Helens eruption (1980). And one of the first species after Chernobyl (nuclear explosion 1986),” said Perryman. “They have a lot of adaptive ability, so they’re coming to a city near you so we may as well learn how to deal with them.”

“Leave it to Beavers,” a 53-minute documentary by Jari Osbourne, “is a great movie,” Perryman said. “I know people will leave the theater thinking, ‘Beavers do a lot of things I didn’t know.’”

Visions of the Wild runs through Sept. 18, including “Beaver Mania!’ 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Empress Theatre, 330 Virginia St., Vallejo. Free. Discussions and documentary, “Leave it to Beavers.” For more, visit

I’m pretty happy with this article, and starting to get excited about the event. Solano county received its share of depredation permits in the last three years so I’d love to teach them something new about beavers. The theater is a lovely old restored venue and it will be really fun to watch our beavers and Jari’s documentary on the big screen.

Are you coming?


Restoring Neighborhood Streams with beavers

Posted by heidi08 On September - 2 - 2016Comments Off on Restoring Neighborhood Streams with beavers

I had a nice surprise yesterday in the mail with the arrival of Ann Riley’s much awaited urban creek book. Her first one published 25 years ago and became the restoration bible. It is still a valuable asset and regarded as a necessary resource even though others on the subject have been published since.  This second one is all about successful creek restoration stories – both labor intensive and natural. And guess who’s in it from page 171-179? That would be the story of the Martinez Beavers, who moved into an urban creek and transformed it all by themselves.

rileyRiley has been a good friend of the beavers over the years but she wasn’t exactly forthcoming with this part of her book. It was strange and exciting to read our story told by an outsider and see myself consistently described as ‘Perryman’. Ha. The scan came out horrible but here are some wonderful segments worth sharing.

CaptureI love having this documented correctly in a book that will likely survive the next 25 years and beyond. Riley works for the SF waterboard and has done several trainings about planting trees out here. It’s through her that we were able to have the watershed stewards the last couple of years working with  the conservation core. I particularly love how she cracks open the creek scientists pretend enviromental reports that the city paid for to  have justification for their impulses. And of course I loved THIS.

Capture1How happy do you think the city will to be to read about that historic sheetpile? Maybe they’ll throw me a parade? That whole ordeal was such a nauseating bundle of tension that I have long repressed it: I was terrified every moment that the beavers would be killed. I can’t believe they survived. And I remain very partial to this video.

Capture2I am bursting with pride at this paragraph and you can certainly see why this reference made the wikipedia challenger disappear. Maybe its just me but I find it a little terrifying that many years ago in a panic I just happened to come across the 2005 ecological survey and made the decision to contrast it with the species we saw over time. I’m sure there were all kinds of reasons a well-trained person wouldn’t have done it. But I was right here when it all happened, and I remember how rare a thing it used to be to see a green heron  or muskrat in the creek and how common it became.


Riley & Cory plan the attack!

Ann Riley & WSP intern plan the tree planting

More than anything else in the ENTIRE world I am wishing that some other city looks at this chapter and says hmmm, maybe we should try that. (And I’m looking at you, Mountain House). If allowing beavers to restore urban streams needed to be proven then I’m thrilled that Martinez was a testcase.  I met Riley through Lisa Owens Vianni who I met through the SF bay Estuary project where she used to work. That got my foot in the proverbial door but it was my presentation at the Santa Barbra Salmonid Restoration Conference that impressed her.

She said it was might have been the best presentation they ever had.

There are a few picky things I would have changed about this chapter. The meeting wasn’t in chambers it was at the High School, and it was a Sacramento Splittail not a SPITTAIL and good lord I never want 5000 people at the beaver festival! But I’m so happy we’re in this very important book and the role our beavers played is documented forever. Thank you Ann Riley for bringing our story to the next level.

Anyone who cares about creeks and beavers should go buy a copy right now. It will pay for itself may times over.


Urban Wildlife

Posted by heidi08 On August - 29 - 2016Comments Off on Urban Wildlife

If you can’t beat them, join them? Of course this got my attention:

Portland-Vancouver Urban Refuge Program

Portland-Vancouver Urban Refuge Program

Launched in 2015, the Urban Refuge Program has boldly embraced the 21st Century conservation challenge of ensuring our ever-growing Portland-Vancouver Metro Area has a strong connection to the natural world. The Program has drawn attention to a land base of four Urban National Wildlife Refuges that provide opportunities for the community to play, learn, serve, and work. We have also been fortunate to collaborate with many outstanding local partners who have allowed us to join in their ongoing efforts to lift up the community by connecting nature to health, equity, conservation, and public engagement.

Engineering Beaver 150x118

  • Portland-Vancouver was selected as only the second Urban Refuge Program in the nation — a testament to this community’s history, passion, and innovation in delivering social solutions to complex conservation issues. We have aligned our program focus areas to support important community efforts underway. These focal areas are also key to addressing an overall program goal of ensuring the relevancy of fish and wildlife, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, for generations to come.

I’m not really sure why that beaver’s wearing a helmet. Construction zone? It kind of looks like a bike helmet, but I guess this IS Portland after all. I may not have seen any beavers in Portland but I could tell there were lots of places they’d love to be. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the humanizing effect of urban wildlife to communities- especially in light of this artwork which I recently came across. The artist is Kevin Peterson of Houston, Texas. Be ready for your heart to stop and start pounding at exactly the same time.

I could go on, but I’ll let the artist speak while you go look at his site for yourself. Don’t even  ask me if I think he should paint an urban scene with beavers because I’ve already written.

And baby makes three…

Posted by heidi08 On July - 30 - 2016Comments Off on And baby makes three…

Meanwhile the folks in Olympic Village are worried where there beaver kits will grow up. And have apparently forgotten about yearlings entirely.

Baby beavers in Olympic Village may struggle to find a home in Vancouver

The struggle to find housing is a classic Vancouver dilemma and it seems even beavers in this city aren’t exempt. 

A growing family of beavers living in a park by Vancouver’s Olympic Village may soon find themselves struggling to find a new habitat because nearby urban areas suitable for rodents are at capacity.

Based on public videos and photos, Vancouver Park Board biologist Nick Page believes up to three baby beavers are now are living with their parents in Hinge Park.

“The challenge is as the beaver population expands, that habitat isn’t large enough to support even a pair of beavers,” said Page.

Hinge Park, a man-made wetland, is considerably smaller than the usual habitats beavers tend to occupy — which means far less food. The baby beavers will likely live with their parents for at least another year before a new litter comes when he expects the trio will be forced to move out of its current lodgings.

Hmmmm that’s a head-scratcher for sure. Where the heck will those three beavers go to find their home? Obviously they won’t be allowed to stay in Hinge park. How can they POSSIBLY escape with all that concrete? I have a guess. Do you?

CaptureApparently Canada has forgot A LOT of what they learned about beavers – including that yearlings stay with the family another year or two to take care of the new kits. And they forgot that beavers don’t need to live in small waterways and can be perfectly happy in larger bodies just like they are on the Carquinez strait which gets salt water from the ocean and fresh water from the valleys. There are a lot of bays and inlets in that Salish sea that will probably work and remember beavers can thrive in water as salty as 10 parts per 1000.  IF all three kits live that long, which isn’t a sure thing in this world they’ll find a home.

Yesterday we worked on the prize wheel that was generously donated by Jeanette, shown with her niece working at prior festivals here. She was planning on being there to borrow one of the large ones from her corporation, but when that didn’t work out she bought one for us instead. This will be at the membership booth and donations of 20 dollars or more will earn a spin and win one of these fine treats! Hopefully the lovely clicking noise it makes when it spins will lure traffic to the booth and compel hard working folks to invest in some amazing beaver opportunities!



Scientific American Beavers

Posted by heidi08 On July - 26 - 2016Comments Off on Scientific American Beavers

Our friend Nick Bouwes is in the news again, this time in Scientific American.

CaptureHere’s a nice discussion of his work and findings on ’60 second science’ by Jason G. Goldman. You really should stop what you’re doing and listen because it will make much more sense than anything I’m going to write this morning.



Don’t you love it when people are talking about beavers in Scientific American? Better yet, when SA is talking about a subject YOU ALREADY KNOW about. Yes we are cutting edge here at beaver central, scientific institutions with large budgets and research teams are scrambling to keep up.

It occurs to me that there is a trace of Rick Lanman’s influence evident in this article. His intelligent re-examination of historic writing and lore was fairly unheard of in beaver research before our historic prevalence papers. Now even Bridge Creek is talking about Lewis and Clark as a way to understand what was lost when all the water-savers were killed.

Nice work, Rick!

I’m driving back to Auburn tomorrow to give a presentation to the Fish and Game Commission of Placer. It should be mighty interesting to talk to them about what Martinez did and gained  in contrast their own particularly horrific track record. I’m hoping that they’ll at least start thinking about what else they might be losing by killing 7 times more beavers than any county in the state. Wish me luck.