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July 2016

Jays are reforesting Santa Cruz Island

Birds are known for a variety of things: being ugly as ducklings, nabbing worms when they turn up early, and flocking together with those of a feather. Tree planting, however, is all too infrequently considered an item on the avian docket. But on California’s largest Channel Island, site of the NRS's Santa Cruz Island Reserve, endemic jays have taken on the role of restoration ecologists. Watch video >>

Mapping for global conservation

Conservation professionals from around the world have come to the NRS’s Blue Oak Ranch Reserve to sharpen their computer mapping skills. Armed with their own data and projects, the sixteen scholars, from fifteen different countries, aim to use their new mapping powers to preserve forests, support human livelihoods, and sustain entire species. All are part of the Society for Conservation GIS’s annual International Scholarship Program, which has trained about about 450 scholars from six continents over the past 20 years. Image: Mike Hamilton. Read more >>

Scripps peregrines rule airwaves

In 2015, a BBC film crew spent three weeks with their lenses trained on a family of peregrine falcons nesting in the vertical bluffs of the NRS's Scripps Coastal Reserve. Photographer Will Sooter, who has been documenting life at the eyrie for the past decade, radioed bird movements and behaviors to the cinematographer to help the camera follow the action. The footage can be seen on SuperNature—Wild Flyers, a series that premieres in the U.S. on PBS's Nature June 29-July 13. To learn why peregrines are among the fastest flyers in the world, view episode 2, Masters of the Sky. Watch preview >>

Valentine Reserve Walks 

Visit the NRS's Valentine Camp Reserve in Mammoth Lakes to learn about nature in the Eastern Sierra via a series of reserve walks and talks. The reserve is only open to the public during these public programs, so take advantage of these prime chances to visit.

Early season wildflowers July 7, 9:30 am-noon
Valentine Reserve changes colors throughout wildflower season. You're likely to meet arrays of forget-me-nots, Mariposa lilies, and violets, among other wild beauties. Moderately strenuous hike with 500-foot elevation gain.
Geology of Valentine Reserve July 26 9:30 am-noon
The reserve was shaped over the millennia by forces that include Mammoth Mountain volcano, Tioga glaciers, and the explosions of the Inyo Craters. Involves a moderately strenuous hike.
Bears, Coyotes, and Aplodontia July 8, 29 9:30-11:30 am
Learn about the reserve wildlife and their strategies for survival. This moderate hike will give an introduction to the lives of mule deer, black bears, coyotes, and Douglas tree squirrels.

Call Carole Lester at 805-893-5655 to make a reservation and register. The $15 suggested donation supports science field trips to the reserve by Inyo and Mono County schoolchildren. Read more >>

 

Pt. Reyes field station planned

A new NRS reserve is in the works for the San Francisco Bay Area. Point Reyes Field Station will be located at historic Hagmeier Ranch, which is part of Point Reyes National Seashore. The NRS, UC Berkeley, and the National Park Service are moving towards establishing the field station as early as October. Learn more about it by listening to an interview on Post Carbon Radio, KWMR 90.5 FM, Point Reyes Station. Image: NPS 

NRS field class

The NRS's California Ecology and Conservation course kicking off another seven weeks of outdoor exploration and learning across wild California. Undergrads can and should apply for future editions; the class is held fall, spring, and summer. Learn more and apply >>
Young Super Naturalists-in-training blow out candles to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the NRS's James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve. The reserve began as the summer camp for the Trailfinders school for boys before teachers Grace and Harry James donated the site to become an NRS reserve. Image: Jen Gee/James Reserve

Rattlesnake ramblings

Emily Taylor and Natalie Claunch of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo study rattlesnakes at Sedgwick Reserve.  They have surgically implanted tiny radio transmitters into a number of snakes to locate their study subjects in the field.

A few highlights from their June talk at the reserve:
  • Reserve rattlers have a home range of about 1 hectare.
  • Sedgwick has the highest rattlesnake density of their four California research sites.
  • Rattlesnakes can eat up to twice their weight in one sitting, so need to eat infrequently.
  • Baby rattlesnakes mainly eat lizards, while adults are generalists that focus on mammals. 
Courtesy Sedgwick Reserve 

Say what?

Say's phoebes leaps into the air to pursue insects, then return to low perches like this one at the NRS's Younger Lagoon Reserve until they spot their next meal. These versatile flycatchers take advantage of human structures to shelter their nests. Image: Clayton Anderson   

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