Archive for the ‘Festival’ Category

Did you know there’s a Martinez in Georgia?

Posted by heidi08 On June - 19 - 2015Comments Off

It’s true. My niece actually lived there for a while. I think they pronounce it differently.

Worth A Dam’s retired librarian friend BK from the University of Georgia has contributed to this website in countless ways over the years. He’s sent me scientific articles that show beaver value to wetlands, pointed out the ones that omit the necessary beaver but should include it,  and he’s helped me correct many a typo over the years. I introduced BK to our friends from the Heron Preserve in Atlanta and I believe they actually watched local beavers together.

Yesterday I heard from his wife, who said two awesome things. They had been asked by their church to give a children’s program on beaver as a Keystone Species. Did I have ideas for activities they might include. (Do I? What a great question!) AND they were planning a 5 day trip so they could attend the beaver festival this year! That’s right, 2618 miles across country specifically for our festival!

How exciting! I think I might implore them to send the mayor a note. :-) We would love to have BK and Mrs. K in person! I can’t wait for the future day that we see announcements  for the beaver festival they’re holding one day in Georgia!

To celebrate, here’s some cheer from the Australian News program “the Project”. Back story: the city of Beaver Dam WI just made a law that kangaroos can’t be comfort animals.

Carrie Bickmore’s embarrassing ‘beaver’ slip-up on The Project

Beaver wanderer

Posted by heidi08 On June - 18 - 2015Comments Off

Dispersal is so harrowing. Maybe that’s why our 2014 kits decided to stick around.

Beaver blocks entrance to Chick-fil-A, gets courtesy ride from police

Beavers may be great architects, but perhaps they aren’t the best with directions. Bellevue police helped one such beaver Monday evening after it found its way into the Chick-fil-A parking lot, and had difficulty making its way back home.

“The beaver somehow got himself on the sidewalk in front of the entrance to Chick-fil-A and there was lot of traffic there,” said Amanda Jensen with the Bellevue Police Department.

“He seemed disoriented,” she said. “They were just concerned about him getting hit.” The other concern was the line of cars waiting to enter the fast food restaurant. Bellevue’s new Chick-fil-A location has become renowned for causing heavy traffic as patrons drive through.

Being a good neighbor, a Bellevue police officer gave the little guy a ride home, or at least to the front door of the nearby pond where he has taken up residence.

“The officers used a dog catching pole and wrangled him into the car,” Jensen said. “And they brought him to a pond area where it is known that beavers are.”

After hopping in, a short ride, and hopping back out, it was dam-sweet-dam for the clever rodent.

There’s nothing more embarrassing than being brought home in a police car after your first night out. But it could have been much worse. He could have hit by a car, mauled by a dog or remained at Chic-fil-A.

Martinez Beaver Festival promo 2015 from Tensegrity Productions on Vimeo.

/a>New promo thanks to Sarah Koenisberg who was kind enough to update her last one. Hopefully it will run on the Martinez channel soon. Feel free to pass it on!


Rock On!

Posted by heidi08 On June - 13 - 2015Comments Off

The biggest beaver news at the moment comes from the Smithsonian Zoo, where they just added a new beaver to the inclusure. The yearling is still getting used to his surroundings and that explains his startled reaction to his roommate. Enjoy!
Beaver gets surprise welcome to new home

I got word yesterday that Worth A Dam is on the calendar for the Parks, Recreation, Marina, and Cultural Commission meeting tuesday night. As usual we are asking to waive fees for the festival and get an exception for attendance. The meeting starts at 7 and we’d love the support if you want to attend.Cover

Registrations are starting to trickle in, most recently Sulpher Creek in Hayward and RCD and Flood Control in Napa. Our quarter page ad will run in the next issue of Bay Nature and looks fantastic. All in all, I’m starting to think the next  event should be very well attended and exciting.

One of the most unique items for our silent auction comes from artist Ernestina Gallina in Italy who agreed to donate her handpainted beaver rock.  Her incredible  artwork hCaptureas been  shown in museums and sells for hundreds of dollars. It and must be seen to be believed. Stop what you’re doing right now and go look. Here’s the description from her website.

In Italy it’s called “sassi dipinti”. It’s Rock Painting, the art of painting rocks. The difference with prehistoric cave painting is that, being a rock a three-dimensional thing, the finished piece of art is not only a painting but also a sculpture. Painting all-around is an unique artistic experience: no perspective is involved, there is no foreground or background: imagination can run wild. Everything starts with the search for the natural canvas: the rock. A walk to the seaside or along the shores of a river can become a fun safari, almost an hunt for animals that are already there, waiting to be picked up by you.”

CaptureWarm-hearted Earnestina agreed to donate right away, but it was a little tricky figuring out how to do it. It is, after all, a ROCK and expensive to ship. And even if I had a friend traveling all that way for summer vacation who has room in their suitcase to bring back a rock? In the end we agreed to split the shipping costs and UPS tells me the rock will be delivered on Monday. Check out its global flight path from Milano to Nevada.

fb-red-12-04-30More good auction news came from Frisky Beaver wines this week. Since they’re not international they can’t sell in America yet, but they want to help with t-shirts or coasters, and added our link on their website that is very cute. So of course I added a link to theirs!


Provides link to our website


Friends of San Pedro Valley are Friends of Mine.

Posted by heidi08 On June - 7 - 2015Comments Off

IMG_0295What a fun night! It was warmer in Pacifica than we expected because the fog had not yet spilled down into the city. The drive was merciful and the ocean majestic. We slipped easily into the jewel of a park, nestled among steep hills, green with thick with alder and buckeye. A parking pass was provided at the gate, but IMG_0297we weren’t quite sure we were in the right place until we say the visitor’s center was plastered with signs about the beaver talk. Someone obviously had fun promoting this. I could imagine the classic Don LaFontaine voice in the movie promos,In a world, where beavers don’t belong, and cities never want them,  this unlikely family found their home.

We met our host Carolyn Pankow and were taken inside where all the equipment was ready in the visitor’s center. Attendees trickled in at first, and then suddenly it was a packed room. Full of smart environmental folks, some of them who had seen the beaver in person or at least on TV. There was even a mother with two children at the back, so  I made sure to keep things as engaging as possible. They laughed and groaned in all the right places, and afterwards I realized that my last two talks (salmon and trout) had been such challenging crowds I had forgotten how much fun it could be to talk to people that were really eager for beavers. There were about 45 people in the packed space.

IMG_0299Afterwards there were questions and praise, an honorioum for the talk and we were taken to an excellent companionable dinner at the local beloved Chinese place by the board of Friends of San Pedro Valley. They were all fascinating individuals, docents at point lobos or otter spotters for Elkhorn Slough. The myriad varied plates and ecological conversation passed around, and we delighted in each. They were especially eager to hear stories of nearby beavers to figure out how soon they could get their own. Then it was time for a moon lit drive bacl over the hills, along the coast and through the city to get back to Martinez at ten that evening. We had the familiar, pleasant feeling that we truly had been beaver ambassadors and paved the way for success when the lucky colony finally comes to town.

That’s the last talk of the year. Now it’s on the Beaver Festival planning in earnest!


My mom called Saturday to say she had heard a clip about the beavers two times on KCBS radio. It was presented as a fun novella describing the soap opera story of dad’s remarry. Did you year it? A final note, I picked up this new photo from facebook where it was the winner of a Missouri wildlife photography competition for obvious reasons.

Now THIS is what we need in Martinez this year.

family patty bitterman

Photographer Patty Bitterman

Beavers high and low

Posted by heidi08 On March - 8 - 2015Comments Off

Polish beavers scale new heights

 Poland’s sole high-mountain national park gets its first-ever beaver colony, the park rangers said on Tuesday. The beavers, which have so far limited themselves to scouring the foothills of the Tatra mountains, have scaled the slopes up to the level of 1,100 metres above sea level this winter.

 This marks the first time that rodent engineers have been spotted this high. “These are pioneer climbers,” among beavers, ranger Marcin Strączek-Helios is quoted as saying.

 The rangers are yet to see the beavers with the naked eye, but the effects of their presence have been obvious since October. Felled trees with trunk perimeter of 10-20 centimetres blocked the Palenica stream near the famous lake of Morskie Oko, creating a pool of water 1.5 metre deep and 10 metres wide.

 Two animals, thought to be international migrants from Slovakia, have been caught on camera. The exact size of the colony is yet to be determined.


Tatra National Park boasts views like this, a high peak of 8100 ft, miles of rivers, waterfalls with oohs and ahhs from grateful tourists but is probably best known for its over 650 caves.Many of which are open to the public, including the world famous Demänovská Ice Cave and the breathtaking Demänovská Cave of Liberty.

All of which made me think about the entirely new idea of beavers in caves.

Think about it. Beavers aren’t very keen on eyesight, they live mostly in the dark anyway, have thick fur coats so they won’t mind the cold, and spending 3 months in a frozen lodge can’t be all that different from spending  a year in a cave. Of course I had to go looking to see if such a thing ever happened. And what do you think I found?

CaptureEureka! Not only does that make total sense and suggest our Polish friends might be thriving in caves, it also explains the ANCIENT mystery in my mind of how beavers can coexist with alligators, which being reptiles are cold blooded and need more sun than their dam-building neighbors.  You can read the rest of the Florida article here, but suffice it to say that the next explorers in those Polish caves shouldn’t be at all surprised if they see this:

b min caLast night we met Danielle from the Academy of Sciences down at the beaver dam. She is writing an article for their new longer web format and had talked to Michael Pollock earlier about beavers and salmon. She said she hadn’t been lucky looking for beavers in Yellowstone but her luck changed in Martinez. She was rewarded with a happy adult sighting and very surprised to find out that beavers were BIG. After she headed home to Oakland mom and kit popped out to say goodbye. A good beaver evening, and thank goodness day light savings is over and we can see them earlier.

Great people do great things for beavers!

Posted by heidi08 On February - 10 - 2015Comments Off


Need something beavery to do tomorrow morning? There’s still time to sign up for Joe Wheaton’s webinar on Beavers and Climate Change. Offered in combination with the Grand Canyon Trust and Utah State University, you know I’ll be there and it will be a dam good time!

Beaver and Climate Change: Free Webinar

They are the West’s most savvy water engineers. Here on the Colorado Plateau, ground zero for climate change, we humans have a lot to learn from these furry creatures.

What Can Beaver Teach Us About Adapting to Climate Change and Building More Resilient Systems?

FREE WEBINAR February 11, 2015 10 -11 a.m. MST

 Utah State University fluvial geomorphologist Joe Wheaton studies rivers and the changes we humans – and beaver – bring to them. Joe and his colleagues observe, map, and document what happens when rivers are fortunate enough to have beaver, both here in the West and around the world.

 In this 1-hour webinar, Joe will share what he and others are learning from beaver, explain where and how their dams interact with climate change, and take your questions.

Go here to register, and pass it on!

Now it’s time for our awed thanks to our Martinez resident talent Amelia Hunter who has outdone herself yet again on the poster image for the 8th beaver festival. I don’t know  about you but that might be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Note mom’s tail. This is the first painted image of a beaver getting a tail ride on the entire internet. I’m expecting it to inspire a Canadian coin design next year.

 2015 oval

Original artwork by Amelia Hunter
New festival

Beaver Pioneers

Posted by heidi08 On January - 21 - 2015Comments Off

Nice find this morning from Rickipedia who came across this article from 1983 showing that human settlements were chosen because of beaver landscaping. I would follow where the beaver colonized, wouldn’t you? They proposed that beaver were essential in determining not only water course, but deforestation that allowed both farming and rancing to begin. Read full article here:

Homo sapiens or Castor fiber?

This article shows how environmental evidence for European stone age fore st clearance may require  re-interpretation, and that change need not be attributed only to climate or man. Observations in North America and Europe show the beaver to be a significant agent of land transformation. The authors suggest that both hunters and farmers took advantage of the opportunities thus presented, and a few hints are provided about their detection and the implications for the Mesolithic and early Neolithic of north-western Europe. 


Now something really delightful to mark your day. I just wish we were all invited to the party of Mr. Knuckles. But who knows? What do you think they’ll do with this invention after the party’s over? How about a tax deductible donation to a certain beaver festival?

Stars, indie films and a mechanical beaver: What to watch for at the Sundance Film Festival

And Canadian coat company Moose Knuckles is hosting a party where guests are invited to ride a mechanical beaver. (If that doesn’t scream photo op…)mb-001Ooh, Scary.

A final word of welcome to stalwart beaver hero Rusty Cohn from Napa who generously volunteered to learn in the following weeks how to post photos and articles on the website to take over for me during the conference, when I’ll be sans wifi.  It’s harder than you might think to do this every morning, but Rusty has some great stuff to share and I know you’ll be in good hands. Just giving you a heads up in case he decides to start practicing any time soon.

Thanks Rusty!