Archive for the ‘Educational’ Category

There is glorious news this morning, but before we appreciate its warm glow we need to pay attention to this bit of horrific gristle from Calgary. Mind you this is about 300 miles south of renown beaver researcher Dr. Glynnis Hood, 400 miles west of experienced flow device-installer Adrien Nelson and Fur-Bearer Defenders, and 500 miles north of beaver management expert Amy Chadwick of Montana. Calgary is surrounded by intelligence, but it apparently just isn’t sinking in.

Animal lover furious after beaver found trapped in Calgary park

CALGARY- An animal lover who came across a disturbing scene in a popular park has gone straight to the city to complain.

 Linda Lelonde says she and her husband were walking in Fish Creek Park on Tuesday evening, when they came across a beaver struggling in a trap.

 “I just happened to see the beaver laying in the grass in the ditch, and I said to my husband ‘something’s wrong, his tail is flapping.’”

 A jogger happened to come by moments later, and that’s when they realized the animal was in trouble.

 “[He] came up and was horrified, and told us [the beaver] was biting off his leg and was basically bleeding to death,” Lalonde remembers.

It’s not known if the beaver survived, as it was not in the trap when city workers showed up to collect it.

Why are city workers checking the trap anyway? Isn’t that the trappers job? Are you saying the city workers set the trap? That’s a horrifying thought. No offense, but I would have night mares if someone gave public works in Martinez a conibear. Are there any trapping regulations in Alberta at all? The article goes on to say that the beaver was blocking the culvert and baby strollers could have been blocked on the path if they didn’t do something. No, they didn’t think of installing a culvert protection fence, why do you ask?

The good news is that it was a sufficiently horrifying demonstration of trapping that folks are upset and there are many comments and a lot of interest in alternatives with the article. Keep at it Calgary. You’ll get there if enough people worry about their pets to push for change. And when your ready to change, we’ll help you get started.

Speaking of which, this new film of Urban Beavers was made by Daniel Pinker, Americorp intern for the Gresham Department of Environmental Services, just east of Portland. danielsDaniel wrote me a while ago asking if I might be willing to share footage of urban beavers for a film he was working on about beavers in cities. I’m sure you can guess what I answered.

This is an excellent place for my footage to be, but I had to fight waves of territorial reflex when I first watched it, especially dad coming over the primary with kit, and the tiny kit glimpsed in 2012. (They were such emotional moments after mom died!)

But it’s impossible (even for me) not to share with such an enormously pro-beaver message. This is really effective work. I only wish the film specifically said “Cities can live with beavers, in fact all the images you are watching happen to be  from one smart city that DID”.  I want this played at every city council meeting along the pacific states. And Daniel was very nice to add this.
more creditIt’s 1,274 miles from Calgary to Martinez. But you spanned the distance  this morning with a few short sentences.

Beaver Countdown

Posted by heidi08 On July - 22 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

There are an insane number of last minute details to take care of. It’s truly astonishing how many things we have crossed off the list only to see a mountain of details remaining. I feel like a worm that ate through half an apple. I’ll never get out unless I exercise all that effort all over again.

Apparently even the beavers understand what its like because some stopped off at a store in Idaho to pick up a few things.

140721_beaver_winco1Mamma beaver, baby nabbed trying to get inside Eagle WinCo

A mamma beaver and its baby were captured Monday after trying to “shop” inside an Eagle area grocery store. The Ada County Sheriff’s Office says the beaver and its kit tried to repeatedly walk into the WinCo store Monday morning.

 The beavers were first spotted at about 6 a.m. when they were shooed away by customers, the sheriff’s office said. A deputy arrived soon after and tried to get the beaver on its way with a plastic rake.

 No luck. The beaver and its baby weren’t moving.

 Later, however, the Idaho Humane Society arrived and put them in cages. Animals in Distress officials planned to take the beavers up along Highway 21.

 ”There is some wonderful willow and aspen bark where they are going north of Idaho City,” said Toni Hicks, a longtime volunteer with Animals in Distress.

I’m glad the volunteers will find them a nicer place. Obviously someone is trapping family members down the street and these refugees were seeking asylum.  Why else would beavers go to a store? Unless they read that sign that said “Willow Bundle”. Ba-dum-tsss.

Animal Wonders wrote me back yesterday, apologizing for the nutria error and asking permission to thank me with the correction. Another infamous stock footage snafu.They have a long list of projects  to get to before they consider a beaver ecology film, but they were definitely interested.

Hello Dr. Perryman,

 Jessi Knudsen from Animal Wonders forwarded me your corrections for the beaver video we just put up on SciShow.

 Thank you! I made a mistake in trusting the titles of a stock image company we sometimes use, and I greatly appreciate you spotting those mistakes and pointing them out.

 I’ve updated our cover photo to a new one of beavers and I’ve annotated that the pictures you pointed out are nutria, and not beavers. With your permission, I’d like to give you credit for spotting these mistakes for us in our video description and point people to your website. Would that be alright with you?

 Right now, with our schedule, we can’t rerecord the video to add more information about beavers and their positive effects within their ecosystem, but I’ll gladly tell our head writer that there’s interest in an episode about that. He wrote this episode and has a special place in his heart for beavers so I’m sure he’ll be excited to hear that.

 Finally, I wanted to make sure it’s clear Animal Wonders and SciShow are two separate channels. SciShow produced this episode about beavers without input from Jessi or Animal Wonders. Because the two channels have a relationship and try to support each other, SciShow included a shout-out to Animal Wonders because the content was related.

 Obviously, we probably should consult Jessi on our animal content because she has actually helped us avoid mistakes like this in the past in episodes she’s been a guest on.

 Thank you again, Dr. Perryman. One of my favorite aspects of sharing information on YouTube is that we hear from people when our information is not correct. While we try to make sure that is very rare, when it happens, the best we can hope for is that someone will be considerate enough to tell us.

 So thank you,


 Caitlin Hofmeister
SciShow Producer

How nice! You can never tell when people will care about the truth (or when they will be indifferent to it) but this is a nice surprise. If I made all the world a little terrified about mislabeling nutria photos as beavers I would die a very happy girl.

In the meantime I plan on dying a very busy girl. The charms arrived yesterday so there are necklaces to create, display flags for the charm booths to make, and info sheets to finish. Then it’s mounting signs,  planning tables, and making lists of what we can’t possibly forget to pack for the day.

At times like these I like to remember the old riddle that sustained me through graduate school.

“How far can you walk into a deep forest”
“Only halfway. The other half you’re walking out.”





Birds and Beavers

Posted by heidi08 On July - 15 - 2014Comments Off

Tomorrow night our own Cheryl and Jon will lead a Golden Gate Audubon “Birds and Beavers” walk. It’s a wonderful way to show off the great relationship between these species, and encourage folks to come back for the beaver festival!

I’m trying to limit my hopes to three things:

  1. They get to see baby-head.
  2. A lovely night heron, egret, kingfisher and and/or green heron
  3. They remember to mention THIS article!

coppice color F

Birds & Beavers in Martinez — FAMILY BIRD WALK
Wednesday July 16, 7 p.m.
Anthony DeCicco,

 This is part of a series of GGAS Summer 2014 bird walks geared to families with children or to more experienced young “junior birders,” and led by our expert Eco-Education staff. Join us as we look for wetland birds near the Martinez Regional Shoreline — such as Green Herons and Belted Kingfishers — on our way to visit the famous beaver dens along Alhambra Creek. We hope to see the beaver kits born this year! Advance RSVP required. For details and directions, please see

Good luck team beaver! And if all this talk of Audubon and research is too lofty for a Tuesday morning, here’s something to appeal more broadly.

VIDEO: here’s Rob Ford as a muppet beaver

For the past little while, Rob Ford–based comedy has been a story of diminishing returns. Late-night hosts have had their fun with the mayor, leaving the wreckage of his term for lesser satirists to pick over. But there’s something about this clip from No, You Shut Up, a Jim Henson Company talk show that airs on American cable TV, that makes us remember what it was like before all this “crack scandal” stuff became as irritating and omnipresent as refrigerator hum. This time, Ford is a muppet beaver being interviewed by comedian Paul F. Tompkins. The beaver’s Ford impression is actually quite good. And that’s all you need to know.

Think of the children…

Posted by heidi08 On July - 6 - 2014Comments Off

This morning’s very important cautionary tale is taken from the opinion columns of New Mexico, where a  well-meaning landowner is feeling like her good dead is getting punished, and a team of champions feel like befriending the water means making enemies on the land. The truth is that their positions are so close you can barely find daylight between them, but their hackles are so raised no one can see what shapes they take underneath. Read for yourself and then pass this on to every landowner and environmentalist you know.

My Turn: Caring about the environment by  Ceilidh Creech

A little more than two years ago I started noticing sticks in the river that bisects my property.

 Over time the stick piles grew, rocks and mud were added, a dam was formed and an environmental wonder began. Fascinated, I watched new dams at different angles being built on dry land and wondered if there was something mentally wrong with my new little residents. Why would they be building on dry land, I wondered, only to discover they knew exactly what they were doing when shortly thereafter I observed the water they had diverted to the once dry land.

 New visitors began appearing. Osprey, bald eagles, great blue heron, merganzers, mallards, teal, wood ducks and Canadian geese. Nests were built. Babies were born. The cycle of life was a joyous event that I have been privileged to observe. Birds that were not observed here before are now regulars. western tanagers, Lewis woodpeckers, red winged black birds, Bullock’s orioles, black headed and evening grosbeak, pinon, stellar and scrub jays, warblers in every color imaginable.

 For more than two years I watched the wetland environment grow, and a river that once was a puny little stream swell. And as my dry land was taken over by wetlands I defended the beaver’s right to be on my property. I spoke before the interstate stream commission, I answered to complaints (made by a seasonal resident and well known trouble maker) to state Fish and Game, The Department of Transportation and Sen. Tom Udall’s assistant.

 It was finally determined that the beavers weren’t causing problems. I made a routine of managing their activities to keep them out of trouble. I installed three flow devices to control the water levels. I began to take a sledge hammer to regularly breach their dam in five places to alleviate some of the run off. Everything seemed to be under control and the little furry family created what they were put on this earth to create. A habitat.

 I was happy to learn that the beavers are recharging the river and that an underground pond is forming below the dam, under the river, that will release water into the river during times of drought.

I finally became secure in the knowledge that the beavers could stay and would be safe from harm and would not be killed. And then a final blow was delivered from a source I would have least suspected. Amigos Bravos.

 By allowing the beavers to create a wetland on my property the water source boundaries on my property changed. Amigos Bravos, owners of nothing, champions of determining what is best for other people’s property, pushed their agenda on the county, rules were made. County rules dictating that I cannot build anything, not even a sidewalk, within 150 feet of any water source. Even though the feds, state and acequia associations already have established setbacks, the county voted to meddle in the business of water and impose harsher regulations.

So Ceilidh allows beavers to make a magical wetland out of her dry sedge and is told that now she can’t build closer to the water than 150 feet. Which means that shed or gazebo is out of the question. Why did she ever let those beavers stay? She used to own nine acres, and now she barely has two? Should other landowners take caution from her story and prevent beavers from drowning their land?

My Turn: ‘Our rivers need a voice‘ Rachel Conn

In her “My Turn” column (The Taos News, June 19), Ms. Creech makes an eloquent argument for the protection of beavers and for the fertile environmental habitats that wetlands create – habitats that enhance wildlife, raise the water table, and revitalize rivers. I certainly could not have made a better case for the importance of protecting wetlands and riparian habitat – which is the mission of Amigos Bravos and the intent of the new river protection buffers put in place by the County Commission.

CaptureCommissioners Gabriel Romero, Dan Barrone and Tom Blankenhorn are to be commended for bringing river protection into the 21st century.

 Our rivers need a voice. The new land use regulations provide space for this voice by ensuring that rivers and the creatures that depend upon rivers have the room to thrive. Prior to the new regulations, there were no restrictions on building along the banks of rivers in Taos County. As a result we have seen development in the form of residential houses, parking lots, and commercial buildings built right up to, and sometimes even hanging over the precious few rivers and streams we have in Taos County. This has resulted in problems for the river and wildlife, as well as problems for homeowners.

 Amigos Bravos believes beavers are crucial for protecting and restoring river health. On numerous occasions Amigos Bravos has fielded calls from the public concerned about beavers being trapped and killed. We have found, when taking action to stop the destruction of beavers and their dams, that beaver removal is more often that not prompted by landowners complaining that beavers are causing flooding in nearby homes or septic systems. The new comprehensive land use regulations will help to minimize these conflicts — and thus protect beavers — by ensuring that houses are built at least 85 feet from the stream.

 Many of the rivers in Taos County are not meeting water quality standards for dissolved oxygen, temperature, E.coli, and conductivity. Setbacks (buffers on either side of rivers) are effective at reducing all of these pollutants. Research has shown that setbacks are effective at removing sediment in runoff; reducing stream bank erosion; removing phosphorus, nitrogen, and other nutrients that can lead to low levels of dissolved oxygen in aquatic ecosystems. In addition, by protecting the riparian corridor along rivers and streams, the capacity of the river system to store floodwaters is increased, thereby decreasing the risk of flood damage to property. Healthy riparian corridors also help to maintain habitat for fish and other aquatic organisms; maintain base flow in stream channels; and improve the aesthetic appearance of stream corridors (which can increase property values).

Rachel has a point. And most landowners dislike E. Coli.

The truth is Ceilidh and Rachel need to sit down together over a few beers and realize that they both want the water and land protected. Rachel should be working with her team to incentivize landowners for allowing wetlands through environmental tax credits, and Ceilidh needs to recognize that even through her land seems valuable now, it’s nothing compared to what the water’s going to be worth in a few years.

Have another beer. First one’s on Worth A Dam. It’s Taos for chrissake, so we’ll chip in for some chips and salsa too.  Keep drinking and talking. Just do it.

Oh the owner and Amigo should be friends!
Oh the owner and Amigo should be friends!
One gal likes her dry lands wet
The other wants what’s built back set
but that’s no reason why they can’t be friends!
Beaver-lovin’ folks should stick together!
Beaver-lovin’ folks should all be friends.
Owners thanked with a wetland credit
Buildings kept off the waters ends!

After you’ve had a few, stagger back to her land and watch the beavers swim around in the water and play. It’s summer so their are probably little ones to enjoy. That always helps us get along better.

Deadly Counsel

Posted by heidi08 On July - 1 - 2014Comments Off

First wild beavers in England for 800 years to be caught and sent to live in a ZOO after ministers decided they are a danger

 Beavers living in the Devon countryside are to be rounded up by minsters and sent to live in a zoo, it can be revealed.

 Instead of ordering them to be killed, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is trying to find a home for them in captivity, to the anger of wildlife campaigners.

Does this song sound familiar? It’s the same dirge they sang in Scotland when the free beavers of the River Tay came to the attention of the authorities. The first beaver they captured (remember Eric? Who upon examination became Erica?) died quietly in the zoo. And once they realized there were more free beavers than there were zoos/graveyards, they abandoned the idea.

I think I am as mad about this as I am about the Supreme Court’s indefensible decision to allow employers to deny birth control coverage because it’s ‘icky’. Maybe even madder. After the enormous gala all of England (and the world) threw for these plucky beaver volunteers the notion that they’d conclude that welcome home theme with incarceration makes me want to throw plates at parlimaent.

Or at least write letters to Parliament.

House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 7032

You should too.

Wild beavers spotted in Devon to be ‘rehomed’

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) said they could be carrying a disease “not currently present in the UK”.

 Environment Minister George Eustice said the government was considering “the best way” of rehoming the animals.

I’m serious. Go write the Honorable Eustice and remind him the voters are very good at RE-HOMMING politicians out of office when they implement stupid plans. Let’s make them require an intern to handle all the mail they’re getting over this egregious decision. It’s the least we can do to respond to this traitorous crime.






You need something good to wash out that very bitter taste. So celebrate Canada Day with Fur Bearer Defender’s program on beavers. (Everyone else is great, but I sound exhausted so I can only assume I must have been doing something very important.)



Oh and Cheryl saw the elusive  little peanut last night and snapped a photo which I ruthlessly brightened. Isn’t he adorable?

2014 kitkit2

Beavers busting out all over!

Posted by heidi08 On June - 30 - 20141 COMMENT

Our ad in Bay Nature’s August issue just came out. We’re nicely placed in the upper right hand corner of page 17. Thanks Bay Nature for promoting our beavers! And Amelia for the awesome artwork.

Bay Nature 2014And just in case the nature crowd misses the ad in BN, check out the article in this month’s newsletter for the Mt. Diablo Audubon. The editor kindly allotted me 300 word to convince bird lovers to come to a beaver festival. I am very proud of this particular work. In addition to being one of the most carefully crafted and pithy things I think I ever wrote, it is also exactly 300 words.

Except for the last sentence about MDAS having a booth. Ellis added that.QuailThere’s a new chapter of meet the characters for the Beaver Believers film, and it’s not me, but it should be someone you know. In case you don’t recognize her right away, this is the beaver magician Mary O’brien who attended our festival in 2010. She has, along the way inspired me, delighted me, encouraged me, exasperated me and terrified me. Not necessarily in that order.

Recognize her now? This should help…


Checking out the tiles – Mary O’brien

A nice Surprise!

Posted by heidi08 On June - 29 - 2014Comments Off

Surprise police called to beaver sighting near Fry’s

Surprise-AZ Surprise police protect the city from more than unruly humans as wild animals are often the subject of calls. Police responded to a beaver sighting about 6:30 p.m. June 20 near Nick’s Diner at Litchfield and Waddell roads. Police captured the beaver with a shopping cart and then called Arizona Game and Fish Department.

“Surprise” is actually a city outside Phoenix and not too far from the Agua Fria River which flows down to the Gila. But the real surprise is here is  what happened next.

Darren Julian, an urban wildlife specialist for the agency, said beavers are indigenous  to Arizona and are usually found in areas with water such as the Salt River and Lake Pleasant.

“This one was probably in the midst to find some open water to recolonize,” said Mr. Julian, noting they do not have to swim and can move long distances in canals and drainage areas. It is unlikely the beaver hitched a ride on a truck or trailer.“They are pretty heavy and low to the ground,” he added.

Someone from Fish and Game (sorry, in AZ it’s Game and Fish!) actually knows about beaver dispersal? And even understands about overland dispersal? Are you telling me Game and Fish has a special warden assigned to urban wildlife?

Someone hand me my smelling salts, I’m feeling faint.

Darren Julian sounded like such a potential beaver friend I had to go look him up. I found his contact info at the Global Institute of Sustainability where he presented a poster session with colleagues in 2007 called

An integrated approach to resolving urban wildlife conflicts by using public education and community involvement. Poster presented at the January 10, 2007 CAP LTER Ninth Annual Poster Symposium, Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.. 

No seriously. He was the lead on a project that educated citizens about living with wildlife and gave them tools for effective coexistence.


That’s right. Someone from Game and Fish presenting on coexistence. Go read the whole thing and maybe drop Julian a note of gratitude. I did. Julian_et_al

In the mean time, that lucky beaver got dropped in the river. Not that icky urban Gila where he would have been trapped out in minutes mind you (just  a 20 minute drive from Frys). He was delivered to the beautiful and mostly wild Verde River which is 40+ miles to the east.

Now that’s a surprise.