Certified Naturalist Class

After work, I took the dog home, had a quick late afternoon supper, changed my clothes and then headed out to my Certified Naturalist class. Our guest lecturer tonight was Laura Burris, a botanist and certified arborist. The class focused on plants and how they differ depending upon the kind of habitat they grow in. Most of the class was spent out in the field, on the grounds of the preserve, observing plants, doing some sketches of what we saw, and learning about what habitat restoration crews have to consider when deciding what to plant and where to plant it.

I bring my camera along with me on these excursions, so I was able to get a few panoramic shots of the landscape by the river; and some shots of the river area itself (that I can use for comparison pictures later down the line as more water is released from the Folsom dam). We also looked at the native plant gardens around the nature center: poppies, yarrow, milkweed, field irises, etc. And we were intermittently distracted by Acorn Woodpeckers, a female Wild Turkey who decided to fly up into an old scag right near where we were talking, and some Red-Shouldered Hawks – including a fledgling just learning how to fly, and an adult who sat in the top of a tree and was challenged by Starlings.

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After the outside portion of the class, we went back into the classroom for a PowerPoint presentation and talked a bit about the capstone projects we each wanted to do. I’m doing mine on the books I’m writing and putting together for Tuleyome, how they help to interpret the wild world for the general public, and how they can be used to engage the public in citizen science work and conservation… I’m really enjoying this coursework, and can see now how it directly relates to the work I’m doing at Tuleyome, so I feel like I’m getting a lot more out of it than some of the other folks who may not be so involved with an environmental/conservationist group.

So, it was very long day – I got home around 9:30 pm – but a productive one.