Tag Archives: Bill Grabert

Summer 2019 CalNat Class #5, 07-05-19

Because it was a holiday weekend, only about half of the students in our Certified California Naturalist program showed up for this class, and we didn’t have a guest speaker.  So, it was a more “intimate” group, and we got to do a lot of species identification stuff and showed the students how to use the various facets of Calflora.org and CalScape.org for plant species identification.

This particular class focused on plants, so our volunteer/fellow naturalist Roxanne Moger, brought in her display of a variety of different seeds.  The students took time to go through them and tried to figure out the mechanism the plant might use to disperse its seeds.  

 Nate also helped to augment the class with a “spot the critters” exercise. He was showing the class images from the field cameras we have set up at the Silver Spur Ranch, and how he has to go through the photos carefully in order to see what’s actually being recorded. ((This is the project being funded in part by the grants I got from the Sacramento Zoo.))

Nate leading the class on “critter spotting”

CLICK HERE for more photos from the class.

Our 2nd Naturalist Class for the Summer, 06-14-19

Today’s class focused on collaboration and interpretation, data gathering, field journaling, how to record volunteer hours, and how to use online websites and cellphone apps to correctly identify species. Students were provided with practical learning opportunities by the class instructor, Bill Grabert, and our volunteer, Roxanne Moger.

Roxanne had brought in her collection of plant samples and seeds (which were gorgeously presented in clear boxes, some with magnifying boxes inside to show off the seeds). While the students signed into iNaturalist, Roxanne showed them how to identify the samples through the app.

Our guest speaker today was Our speaker, Nancy Ullrey, the Executive Director of the Cache Creek Conservancy.

CLICK HERE for the album of photos.

The Summer 2019 Naturalist Class has Started, 06-07-19

Our first class for the 2019 summer session of the Certified California Naturalist program for Tuleyome took place on June 7th. The whole teaching team was there: me, Nate Lillge, Bill Grabert and Roxanne Moger.

Students raved after class about the species identification module I presented, so I was really pleased with that.

CLICK HERE to see the small album of photos.

Naturalists at the Conaway Ranch, 03-10-19

I headed out to Woodland around 8:30 am to help my co-worker Bill with his recon outing at Conaway Ranch.  He has about twenty outings slated for that venue over the next months or two; he takes school children out there to tell them about food chains, rice growing and harvesting, wildlife, etc. There’s a slough that runs through one part of the property and it acts like a mini-riparian habitat that attracts otters, opossums, birds, snakes and small critters.  Today, he just really wanted to look at the state of the property after all of the rains and see what there was around to tell the kids about.

I was expecting some of our current naturalist students to join Bill out there, but instead, we had four of our former students (now certified naturalists themselves) come out –Susan Sallocks, Barbara Meierhenry, Bob Ream and Donna Moyer – all offering to help Bill with his future outings. All of them greeted me, some hugged me or wished me well in my ongoing fight against The Children of Wilson, and a couple of them said how much they had enjoyed the naturalist class and how I’d changed their lives for the better… It was all so unexpected and lovely, it almost made me cry. What a sweet way to begin our day.

We spent about three hours walking along the slough, checking out tracks, trying to identify the birds around and in the air overhead, looking at the different plant species starting to emerge everywhere.

The first thing I saw when I got to the spot was a medium sized garter snake curled up along the side of the road. It was limp and cold, and it wasn’t moving. But I couldn’t tell if it was truly dead or just in a deep torpor because it was so cold outside (in the high 40’s).  Its eyes were still clear, it didn’t look like any part of it had been run over by a car, and it was limp, not stiff with rigor mortis. I took some photos of it and then put it back down the way I’d found it. At the end of our walk, it was still there, so I guess it was dead. It’ll make a good meal for some critter.

Bill showed us some of the props he uses for the outings with the kids including one about the water cycle and how rice grows. Very cool and informative. We didn’t see any live crayfish, but we did find several skeletons and their mud chimneys in the burned rice field.

There was a team from the University out on the property checking on and upgrading the solar-powered electronic boxes on the Wood Duck boxes they have lined up along the slough. They stopped to talk with us for a little bit and then went on ahead of us.

As far as wildlife went, we didn’t see a whole lot, but did get to see crows, bullfrogs and Pacific Tree frogs, flocks of Greater White-Fronted Geese and Sandhill Cranes flying overhead, some Marsh Wrens, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Northern Mockingbirds, a Say’s Phoebe, and a Great-Horned Owl.  We heard a Belted Kingfisher but couldn’t see it. As the weather warms up, there will be a lot more to see there.

CLICK HERE to see the album of photos.

The naturalist graduates were intrigued with the property and said they were hoping to be able to come out to the ranch to help Bill with his group outings throughout the coming months.

Species List:

1. Ant, Velvety Tree Ant, Liometopum occidentale
2. Asian Clam, Freshwater Clam, Corbicula fluminea
3. Belted Kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon
4. Broadleaf Cattail, Typha latifolia
5. Broad-Leaf Lupine, Lupinus latifolius
6. Bullfrog, American Bullfrog, Lithobates catesbeianus
7. Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
8. Fava Beans, Vicia faba
9. Greater White-Fronted Goose, Anser albifrons
10. Great-Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus
11. Himalayan blackberry, Rubus armeniacus
12. Marsh Wren, Cistothorus palustris
13. Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
14. Pacific Tree Frog, Chorus Frog, Pseudacris regilla
15. Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum
16. Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
17. Red Swamp Crayfish, Crawfish, Crawdad, Procambarus clarkii
18. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
19. Sandhill Crane, Grus canadensis
20. Say’s Phoebe, Sayornis saya
21. Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
22. Tule Pea, Lathyrus jepsonii
23. Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
24. Valley Garter Snake, Thamnophis sirtalis fitchi
25. Western Pond Turtle, Pacific Pond Turtle, Actinemys marmorata
26. Wood Duck, Aix sponsa
27. Yellow Star-Thistle, Centaurea solstitialis

CalNat Class, Week 4, 03-01-19

The naturalist class went very well again today. Roxanne, our volunteer couldn’t come, but co-workers Nate and Bill did all the heavy-lifting so I didn’t have to rearrange furniture to get the room set up and taken down again. I so appreciate their help and support.

Nate had brought our spokesbears, Berry and her cub Essa [as in “Berryessa”] so the class could meet them. Berry goes to our tabling events, and Essa goes with Nate on most of our hikes and outings. They make for great conversation starters and photo ops. Nate had also purchased some home-made cookies from the local Cookie connection shop to share with the class.

Our guest speaker for the afternoon was Kate Marden, the owner and founder of West Coast Falconry, who brought along four owls to share with the class. Some of her birds have been featured in movies and documentaries. She brought: a male Great Horned Owl named Tigg’rr (because these owls are also known as “Tiger Owls” for the barring on their chest and belly); a female Barn Owl named Amadan. Her whole name is Amadan Ban Bheag, which is Gaelic for ‘Little White Fool’. A female Eurasian Eagle Owl named Cailleach (pronounced Kay-leesh). Her name means ‘Wise Woman’ or ‘Crone’ in Gaelic; and a male, gray morph Eastern Screech Owl named Wee Hamish. He was very afraid of Berry, so I had to carry her out of sight behind the projection screen, and all the while Hamish was watching me with his eyes real wide. He was also something of a bad boy. As Kate was lifting him out of his carrier she realized he’d chewed off and swallowed one of his jesses. Hah!

Kate was wonderful, as usual. Her talk was very heartfelt and informative, and she walked around the room with the birds so the students could get a close look at them and take photos if they wanted to. We always love having West Coast Falconry come out for a lecture.

CLICK HERE to see the album of photos and video snippets.

You can see a longer video of Kate and Cailleach here: https://youtu.be/0jEc7gIqiJk

You can see a longer video of Kate and Tigg’rr here: https://youtu.be/n1Uk1B9UviA

#CalNat

CalNat Class, Week 2, 02-15-18

The Winter 2019 Certified California Naturalist class I’m co-teaching for Tuleyome in Woodland, CA with Bill Grabert, Nate Lillge and wonderful volunteer (and former class graduate) Roxanne Moger,  is now in its second week, and we’ve got a great group of students.

This week students got to hear from Nancy Ullrey, Executive Director of the Cache Creek Conservancy nature preserve who talked about the preserve and what volunteer opportunities there are available to the students.

CLICK HERE for the album of photos.  I’ll keep adding to it was the weeks go by.

Today, the class Painted Lady butterfly caterpillars were getting ready to form their chrysalises, and one of the Polyphemus Moth cocoons was vibrating so much we thought for sure it was going to hatch. This class is full, but we have another class coming up in the summer (June through August). For more information see Tuleyome’s website. Space is limited to 25 adult students.

Some of the sponsors and donors who have already provided funding or in-kind donations for the 2019 naturalist program include: the Sacramento Zoo Conservation Fund, Adventure Publications, Backcountry Press, Blademate, Cachuma Press, Christina Mann, Douglas Toys, Eric Newman, Folkmanis Inc., Forest Origins, Grayl, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, Lifestraw by Vestergaard, MIT Press, Nalgene, Naturegraph Publishers, Nature’s Way, Oberon Design, R.W. Morse Company, Sakura of America, Sneed Collard III and Bucking Horse Books, The Experiment Publishing, The Fit Life, The Strong Foundation, Waterford Press, Wetsox, Woodlink and Wild Republic. #CalNat