I got into Woodland around 10:00 am, so I went over to The Nugget and got some of their premade deli sandwiches and muffins to share with the students. Roxane had a similar idea and brought a box of cookies and some homemade Rice Krispies Squares. She makes hers with cinnamon, so they were extra yummy. She also brought 10X “loops” (small magnifying glasses) for all of the students so they could bring them out into the field with them tomorrow. That was soooo nice of her!
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Our guest speaker was Robyn from the River Otter Ecology Project. He had done a lecture for the winter class earlier this year and we really enjoy having him come up. He works primarily in the Bay Area, but he does a lot of outreach outside San Francisco County. He’s a quiet, kind of retiring man, until he’s talking about the otters. Then his passion really shows through. One of the thing he pushes for is the citizen science projects his organization is doing all over California: Otter Spotters, https://riverotterecology.org/otter-spotter-community-based-science/. If you see otters, their scats or their slides, you take photos and then load them up on the otter-spotter site. That way, the organization can create maps of where the otters are in the state and how many people are seeing them.
This was the class when we did the final exam quiz, what we call our “Your Naturalist Knowledge EcoBlitz Game”. We split the students up into teams, and they answer questions based on what we taught them throughout the entire length of the course. Whichever teams ends up with the most correct answer wins prize bags worth over $400. This time around we had a relatively small class, so we broke them out into two teams: the Murderous Crows and the Eager Estivators. The Estivators were ahead through most of the game, but then the Crows pulled out in front with their final lightning round of questions.
This class brings out the competitive spirit in otherwise low-key docile students, and also lets the quieter students shine when it’s their turn to answer a question for their team. The energy in the room gets so high, especially toward the end, that everyone is exhausted by the end of it. Hah!