Archive for the ‘Festival’ Category

Wagons Ho-Ho-Ho!

Posted by heidi08 On February - 19 - 2017ADD COMMENTS

It’s the last time you’ll be hearing from me for a while  and lord knows that must be a kind of Sunday comfort.  Tomorrow is Bob’s grand debut so don’t forget to give him plenty of positive feedback.

conference Our new rule is only good news on Sunday, so I have a few fun things to share before I go. Paul and Louise are coming to dinner Tuesday night and maybe Leonard and Lois too, so we have lots to look forward to. But don’t feel left out,  you get treats as well. The first is a lovely discussion of ecological engineers from our old friend Mary Willson in Juneau.

On the trails: Ecological engineers

We use the word “engineer” in a confusing variety of ways and contexts, but here I mean to refer to organisms that create physical structures or changes in the environment — physical changes that affect other kinds of organisms. The concept is still very broad — one could say (and some researchers do so) that a forest of trees or large kelp, or a tallgrass prairie or an eelgrass bed, produces an environment in which temperature, humidity, air or water currents, precipitation patterns, or soils may be altered, thus affecting many other organisms by providing habitat or access to resources.

However, here I want to consider other “engineers” — those that deliberately, intentionally make or modify physical structures for their own purposes, with collateral consequences for other organisms.

The most well-known ecological engineers in the natural world are beavers. By building dams, they impound water, raising the water table, creating ponds, sometimes preventing floods, but also flooding low-lying areas. Although they may instinctively respond to the sound and feel of running water by trying to build a dam, they make deliberate choices about the size and shape of a dam and its component parts; they also maintain their structures continually. Beaver ponds provide good habitat for fish, especially juveniles, aquatic insects, various birds, and certain plants, although they obviously destroy portions of the adjacent area by flooding it. Some dams are hundreds of yards long and some are many feet high, depending on the terrain. A well-constructed, well-maintained beaver dam can last for many years, and its effects on the landscape may persist long after the beavers have moved on: the pond gradually fills with sediment and dead vegetation and eventually turns into a meadow.

We’re number ONE. Beavers make it happen! Mary goes on to describe other engineers but of course we’re spec-ist around her and we only care about the first one. If you would like to be smart and entertained, go read the others and learn about the wanna be-avers. I’m just going to bask in the recognition that beavers are the job-creators of an entire community.

The second wonderful thing is a photo I came across and having been saving for the right moment to share. It’s titled “Beaver playing the flute” for obvious reasons. All I know about this photo is on the caption below. But isn’t that fun?

Beaver, Playing the Flute? (by Alexander Koenders)

The third thing I want to share is the AMAZING donation we received from artist Sara Aycock. She’s a very clever woman in Boise Idaho with a book coming out next fall. I fell in love with her “Victorian Animals” series and she was crazy generous sendng 5 beautifully framed giclee prints that will completely knock your socks off. Each print comes with a framed character description as well. I’m partial of course to Mr. Beaverton. You need to go right now to her etsy store and support this kind of generosity and talent, because something tells me there will be a line waiting to bid on these delightful items at the auction.

aycock

 

Another dam festival!

Posted by heidi08 On August - 18 - 2016Comments Off on Another dam festival!

It’s starting to be time for the third annual beaver dam jam with our friends in Pocatello Idaho. I’m really proud of Mike Settell and is band of merry folk for getting this together in a state that traps more than it treasures. I am pretty sure that our festival convinced these folks to try their own, but even I can’t imagine what it would take to offer camping AFTER the event!

3rd annual Beaver Dam Jam to raise money for Watershed Guardians

POCATELLO – The third annual Beaver Dam Jam, a music event to support beaver conservation, will feature the bands Country Drive and Hot Pursuit and other activities from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 27 at the Mink Creek Pavilion, located in the Caribou National Forest on South Mink Creek Road.

Watershed Guardians helps the Portneuf Watershed, by helping beaver. Proceeds from the events will support BeaverCount, a free winter event to census beaver colonies in Idaho. Watershed Guardians also educates the rural and urban communities on non-lethal methods of beaver damage control.

The Mink Creek group campsite holds up to 200 folks and has a nice outdoor pavilion that is a popular outdoor wedding venue. It’s about 12 miles south of town and they arrange for buses to get everyone out there and back safely. Can’t you just imagine the whooping good time of dancing under that pavilion? They provide food and beer is available for a donation. You can bring camping gear (including bicycles) on the bus. I can’t even imagine the planning this takes.

Well, I can sort of imagine.

 

This year’s edition of “Thanks Bob!”

Posted by heidi08 On August - 14 - 2016Comments Off on This year’s edition of “Thanks Bob!”

Bob Rust finally gets the credit he deserves after years of hard work. You won’t find any photos in the article, but of course we have them all.

Eye on the East Bay: ‘Beaver mobile’ turns heads at Martinez festival

IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST: Beaver sightings are not all that uncommon along Alhambra Creek in Martinez — especially during the city’s annual Beaver Festival, which took place last weekend — so it takes something larger than life to turn heads. Leave it to Bob Rust to answer the challenge.

beaver-bread Rust, an environmental scientist by trade, has been moonlighting as the festival’s unofficial artist in residence for several years, surprising audiences with his whimsical creations that have ranged from beaver-shaped loaves of bread to a mechanical beaver tail to a giant inflatable beaver reminiscent of a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon.
giant beaver
For this year’s festival, Rust made a grand entrance on what might best be described as a “beaver mobile.” He started with a low-slung adult tricycle that he picked up used, then covered it in a papier mâché shell that he painted in appropriate shades of brown, attaching a huge tail that dragged noisily on the ground as he pedaled around the festival grounds, all while hidden within the faux beaver’s mighty belly.

Rust, who last year crafted a beaver out of wattle and daub as the festival was in progress, is no stranger to taking his creations from concept to completion on short notice. He spent about a week on the beaver mobile, and was still putting the finishing touches on it that Saturday morning. He said he was painting the critter’s white teeth at 10:15 a.m. and needed to get it to the festival by 10:30.

Rust has more than a passing interest in beavers. An avid kayaker, he usually tries to take his boat onto Alhambra Creek prior to festival weekend to remove trash or other unsightly debris.

No telling what he might do for an encore at next year’s festival, but he is intrigued by the idea of bringing back his beaver bread — baked in a beaver-shaped oven. Stay tuned …

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The beavers are SO lucky to have a hero like this working for them! Thanks Bob!

Beavers go to the theater

Posted by heidi08 On August - 12 - 2016Comments Off on Beavers go to the theater

 A wild and wacky look at one of the most important critters on the continent. We’ll hear why they almost disappeared and how they are making comeback.

Film Screening: Leave it to Beavers

Presentations by:

Kate Lundquist
Occidental Arts and Ecology Center

Heidi Perryman, Ph.D
Worth A Dam/Martinezbeavers.org

Music by Organic Women’s Chorus

Empress Theatre, 330 Virginia Street, Vallejo, CA

Friday, September 16, 7pm – 10:00 pm

Happy you-know-what to you-know-who.

jon (2)

Reparations

Posted by heidi08 On July - 31 - 2016Comments Off on Reparations

Feedback from  the lion’s den. Imagine how happy I was to get this from the commissioner who invited me.

 

Hi Heidi,

 Your presentation was right on – just what the Commission needed to here. I really enjoyed your style and the Point-on photos too. Also appreciated that you often included information from research. Thanks too for the brochure, very helpful, I will put it to good work. … I had a little chuckle when you mentioned that some commissioners were not watching the screen – you could not see it, but each of us has a private monitor directly in front of us on our desk. It mirrors what is shown on the big screen. We can see the presentation much better, especially the details,  when we watch it from our own monitor. J  … I believe you captivated us all.

With deep appreciation for the work you do on behalf of Beavers, and also for coming such a long way to share your knowledge us. You did a fantastic job!

Whooo hoooo! Now this truly makes me happier. And certainly makes me feel like I didn’t waste my time or theirs. I really couldn’t believe they wouldn’t look at all. I’m glad to know they  were able to watch without swivelling. Good then, time for me to get over any hurt feelings and buckle down with Deidre and Leslie to organize the Hundred and twenty items we have for the silent auction today. We have wonderful items grouped by Household, Things to do, Jewelry, Artwork, Apparel, Books and Toys. Some 4500 in value and I’m hoping we generate a nice amount of funds for the mural and festival, You’re gonna help, right?

 

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!

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Dam kind words

Posted by heidi08 On April - 17 - 2016Comments Off on Dam kind words

David Scholz of the Martinez Tribune gave Worth A Dam and beavers a very nice article yesterday. The John Muir Earth day celebration is quickly approaching, and we will be there with volunteer help making the RIGHT kind of beaver hats with the kids.

‘Worth A Dam’ to be honored by Muir Association

MARTINEZ, Calif. – More than eight years after one woman spearheaded an effort to address the plight of one fury creature from demise in Alhambra Creek, that effort subsequently generated national interest and has given more attention to the health and welfare of beavers everywhere.

Worth A Dam founder Heidi Perryman. (HEIDI TAING / Courtesy)

Worth A Dam founder Heidi Perryman. (HEIDI TAING / Courtesy)

This Earth Day, April 23, at the John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez, Heidi Perryman and the organization Worth A Dam will be honored with the Environmental Education Award from the John Muir Association.

TRIBUNE: When was your organization founded and how many members are currently part of it?

PERRYMAN: Worth A Dam was founded in March of 2008. And our core membership is eight. But we have several folks that play an important role and are helpful to our projects.

TRIBUNE: What was your reaction to receiving the honor?

PERRYMAN: Delighted that Worth A Dam could be recognized for showing how and why cities can learn to live with beavers. California needs more “water savers,” not less!

TRIBUNE: How has the perception of beavers changed through the years as a result of the attention your group has given to their plight?

PERRYMAN: The national publicity of the Martinez Beavers showed countless other cities about beaver benefits and how conflicts could be managed. Back when Martinez was first facing this issue there were three websites on the entire Internet about humane solutions.
That was part of the motivation for our website, which had very broad readership. With our help it is much easier to find information about why to live with beavers and how you can.

TRIBUNE: How might the health of beavers be a barometer for the health of the Martinez area creek system?

PERRYMAN: Beavers are one of the hardiest species in the creek. They can manage in places where plenty of other species can’t. The amazing thing is they improve those places to make it more habitable for others.

Founded in 2008 by Perryman, Worth A Dam is a nonprofit, educational organization dedicated to the value, importance and contributions of beavers in the ecosystem. Perryman, through Worth A Dam, focuses her educational approach on the fact that co-existing with beavers ensures the strength of the overall ecosystems of creeks and surrounding areas. Worth A Dam’s co-existence model has been adopted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and, most recently, Napa has adopted the model. Perryman has co-authored numerous published articles regarding beavers. Worth A Dam founded the Martinez Beaver Festival, now in its eighth year, with a wide breadth of wildlife and conservation groups, which helps raise awareness of protecting wildlife and preserving healthy environments and ecosystems.

Well, to be honest when I heard we won my first thought was ‘Sheesh! About dam time’.  And if we’re being honest, Fish and Wildlife has never done anything I wanted except grudgingly send a stack of depredation permits to a FOIA request, not to mention that two articles hardly count as ‘numerous’ but the festival is in its NINTH year so some things he exaggerated and undersold some others, right?

Honestly, this article makes Worth A Dam sound so influential and the recognition of beaver importance so universal that I’m proud to be a part of it all! It makes us seem way more successful than we actually have been.  Of course people are still killing beavers ignorantly and lying about their being no other way all the time. But I take comfort from the thought that –  if we haven’t been able to make things as easy for the ‘good guys’ as we’d like –   we’ve at least made things a little harder for the ‘bad guys’.

And that’s something!

New multi necklace, and this one with a secret message just for California that makes me very happy.IMG_0852IMG_0854

 

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