Archive for the ‘Friends of Martinez Beavers’ Category

Wyoming Wonders

Posted by heidi08 On July - 22 - 2017ADD COMMENTS

Whew! Things are back to normal. The solar unit needs insurance, I woke up at 4 and my email has completely stopped working. That seems more like it. While I try and manage radio silence if you need to reach me try this. Mean while there’s still plenty to talk about.

CaptureStarting with our friends Wyominguntrapped. They have some pretty heavy hitters as partners, including the Forest Service.  The beaver awareness project website was launched yesterday and looks awesome. The program director said yesterday that her dream was to have their own beaver festival one day.:-)

Following several meetings between the Forest Service and Wyoming Untrapped in which the benefits that beavers have to the forest were a topic, an idea was formed that would bring together many community partners and would help to reestablish populations of beavers on National Forest Service land.

There is a lack of tolerance for beavers as well as a lack of public awareness of the benefits that beavers provide ecologically. Beavers are an integral keystone species that gets little attention by wildlife managers but have substantial, positive impacts to the ecosystem. Increasing knowledge and a love of beavers in children will increase the understanding of this unique species which will lead to a growth in tolerance and co-existence with this valuable, beneficial species. Students will gain scientific knowledge about hydrology, ecology, biology, and engineering using hands-on solutions to real-world problems. Students will gain knowledge of careers by meeting members of the community to whom they are rarely exposed.

Go to their website and check it out, but there are a few special treasures I want to focus on today. In addition to our lovely poster and links to this site they have some fantastic footage by Filmmaker Jeff Hogan. If his name sounds familiar it should because every single PBS or BBC documentary you have seen of the region uses his work. And with good reason. This footage complete took me by surprise.

I’ve been doing this every morning since Bush was president. I’ve watched 25 beavers grow up and 5 beavers die and seen things I never expected time and time again. But this blew me away. Seriously. Watch it.


Ben Busy?

Posted by heidi08 On July - 5 - 2017Comments Off on Ben Busy?

Yesterday was was a fun and oddly familiar day spent sharing the Martinez Beaver story with very busy author Ben Goldfarb who laughed often at the story, took notes on a little pad, and recorded the interview with his phone. Ben kindly brought me a treasure of immense value: A beaver chewed stick from the sanctioned Scottish beavers in Argyll – which of course I will treasure. We reciprocated his generosity by giving him a poster, one of Sherri Tippie’s  sculpy beaver families and a beaver tie for all his important beaver lectures he will be asked to give soon.

He was delighted about this tie and a good sport about putting it on for this photo.

Heidi and benAfter brunch and the interview he went through the scrapbook slowly, pausing at particularly interesting or important stories and really enjoying the whole drama of the Martinez beavers. He definitely seemed to understand the politics involved, and said he was planning to do a whole chapter on California and our stubborn beaver resistance. He was fascinated by the historical papers and had spoken to Rick Lanman already. He had also heard from Damion about the Placer county depredation rate and was interested to hear that we had been the ones to process them and get one of my psychology friends to run some stats on the  numbers to find out that Placer county was issuing 7 times more depredation permits than anywhere else in the state – significant at the .02 level! On his tour with Jon they met some local color that asked about beavers it it made him remember that it was still a big part of Martinez history even today.

Ben told me that he had been nipped by a beaver in Cornwall, and very surprised to hear it growl sooo loud and ferocious. He was not offended and took it as a badge of honor. After all the time we spent in close quarters with beavers in Alhambra Creek, we were surprised. But Ben is very tall, so maybe that factored in to the yearling’s (I’m guessing) reaction? He’s very polite and careful not to be imposing in anyway, but it still makes an impression. Ben indicated that he reads this website often and in addition to finding it very useful to his work he seemed fairly affected (scarred?) by my confrontation of that NPR show host whose guest suggested that a good solution for beaver problems was to eat them. (Remember that?) Ben was the expert that talk show host cited in background for the story. And then proceeded to host a show of mostly beaver-ignorants. Yes, I did rattle the cage bars a bit after that. What can I say? Sometimes things get under my skin, and when National Public Radio chooses to be stupid about beavers, even after interviewing some very smart people, I get riled.

Anyway, it was a long, interesting, day. I got to hear some great stories about the fascinating people he’s been talking to, a little about his dream of being an apprentice to Mike after it’s published and opening up his own beaver solutions one day in CT after his wife finishes nursing school. I must have been working hard while he was here because I slept like a flat stone at the bottom of the river all night, and right through the fireworks.

I was a little shocked to hear him say that he thinks of me as a key player in the beaver story – especially since I just make up everything I do! But one of the fun things about this work is its a pretty rag tag field with a lot of holes and any one with can break in.

All of Ben’s work is going to result in a GREAT book!

America the Beaver

Posted by heidi08 On July - 4 - 2017Comments Off on America the Beaver

I can’t believe yet another fourth of July is here without us standing watch over kits on the footbridge where 1000 people cross on their way to the fireworks. Being without kits or beavers sure changes the entire feel of summer. But the good news is that  busy beaver author Ben Goldfarb is coming to talk Martinez today, after interviewing our beaver buddy Damion Ciotti in the foothills yesterday We’re making him brunch with decidedly immigrant themes, then Jon’s walking around the beaver ghost town, and I’ll try to tell the story and not to get sidetracked. Wish us luck.

Yesterday I heard from illustrator Deborah Hocking in Portland that the charming bookmark she is designing for the festival pro bono was completed. Feast your eyes on this little wonder made out of the talent of her fingers and the goodness of her heart. We’ll give them free at the event, kids can put them in their nature journals and adults in the books they buy at our silent auction, and we’ll have extra to tuck in any thank you note for years to come.

Martinez bookmark front

Bookmark Front

Martinz bookmark back

Bookmark Back

Thank you SO much Deborah! I love that little cycling beaver, and having a view of our creek on the back really reminds me of how lucky we once were, sigh.

Now I’m hoping this reminder of the respect your founding fathers had for beavers gets you started on your celebratory day. Wishing us all six dollar bills soon!americabeaversNot sure why the beaver is eating a palm tree, or where exactly in colonial america one was growing, but maybe he wasn’t as gifted an artist as he was a kite flyer?

Oh and just in case our current state of political affairs has you feeling particularly doomed, just remember this criticism by E.P. Whipple of our 17th president which will make you realize we’ve all been here before. He was describing Andrew Johnson in 1866. Pause at any sentence in this monumental paragraph and you will be stunned by the similarities.

“Insincere as well as stubborn, cunning as well as unreasonable, vain as well as ill-tempered, greedy of popularity as well as arbitrary in disposition, veering in his mind as well as fixed in his will, he unites in his character the seemingly opposite qualities of demagogue and autocrat, and converts the Presidential chair into a stump or a throne, according as the impulse seizes him to cajole or to command. Doubtless much of the evil developed in him is due to his misfortune in having been lifted by events to a position which he lacked the elevation and breadth of intelligence adequately to fill. He was cursed with the possession of a power and authority which no man of narrow mind, bitter prejudices, and inordinate self-estimation can exercise without depraving himself as well as injuring the nation. Egotistic to the point of mental disease, he resented the direct and manly opposition of statesmen to his opinions and moods as a personal affront, and descended to the last degree of littleness in a political leader, — that of betraying his party, in order to gratify his spite. He of course became the prey of intriguers and sycophants, — of persons who understand the art of managing minds which are at once arbitrary and weak, by allowing them to retain unity of will amid the most palpable inconsistencies of opinion, so that inconstancy to principle shall not weaken force of purpose, nor the emphasis be at all abated with which they may bless to-day what yesterday they cursed. Thus the abhorrer of traitors has now become their tool. Thus the denouncer of Copperheads has now sunk into dependence on their support. Thus the imposer of conditions of reconstruction has now become the fore- most friend of the unconditioned return of the Rebel States. Thus the furious Union Republican, whose harangues against his political opponents almost scared his political friends by their violence, has now become the shameless betrayer of the people who trusted him. And in all these changes of base he has appeared supremely conscious, in his own mind, of playing an independent, a consistent, and especially a conscientious part.”