A festival meant to create awareness about beavers and the important role they play in the ecosystem is scheduled to take place in southern Utah on Sept. 27.
Lynn Chamberlain with the Division of Wildlife Resources said the Leave it to Beavers festival seeks to debunk some myths about the industrious critters. Contrary to popular belief, Chamberlain said beaver habitats extend far beyond the mountains and he says they are not merely destructive creatures.
“They slow down flood waters—we’ve certainly seen some of that this year with some of the heavy rains that we’ve had—and they filter out a lot of the sediment that would be going down the flood waters also,” said Chamberlain. “So, they slow it down and help to build meadows, they build habitat for other wildlife species—not only aquatic ones but those that live around the riparian area, around the pond.”
The festival is the second of its kind in Utah. Chamberlain said it is moving this year to the Tonaquint Nature Center in St. George to reach a different audience.
The Beaver festival in St. George is 200 miles away from the 2012 one in Escalante. I can’t even imagine what it would be like for us to move the next festival to Redding or Fresno. I guess if you are partnering with Fish and Wildlife their reach can help span the distance. But it’s hard to imagine what it would take to pull that off. Of course those areas both NEED beaver festivals. But they’re going to have to generate their own. I’m tapped.
(I sure wish WE had ever gotten a headline like that on public radio.)
Oh and guess what happens tonight? The beaver dam jam in Idaho. That’s right, it’s an entire beaver weekend in the western states.
Our good friend Mike Settell has been working round the clock with our friends at The Watershed Guardians to pull this off. He’s got public transportation bringing folks to the event, and will use the bus ride to educate en route. This is rough and tumble country where folks like their firearms and their hunting and trapping. Mike is trying to get folks to pay attention to the impact beavers have on wildlife populations. Attendees purchase a ‘beaver bead’ from near by stores and wear it to enter. How cool is that?
I know everyone will think saving beavers once upon a time was easy for us because we’re in liberal tree-huggin California. But at last count there are 482 municipalities in the golden state. And exactly one of them has saved beavers.
This is the first weekend in the history of the world that will host TWO BEAVER CONSERVATION EVENTS in two different states. And either of them may not have ever happened in the first place if it hadn’t been for Martinez. I don’t know about you but that makes me a little dizzy. Something to ponder with awe as I’m hurling across the sky in a metal box to the first one.
And on a personal note, I was feeling worried about messing up in Utah, when I thought of this amazing song from Quidam. Remember what they say: fortes fortuna adiuvat.