Every week the past few weeks I have intended to update on a few things, but haven’t gotten around to it, so here is a bit of the backlog:
My Wildlife Management class got to take a trip to Sequoia National Park where we met with two of the Bear Techs there and learned about the process of trapping and tagging bears. Unfortunately, there was snow the night before we went to the park, and it is early in the season, so no bears were in the traps for us to watch an actual work up. But, talking with the bear techs was great and seeing all the gear they use to work up a bear was incredibly interesting. The bears are trapped and tagged so that the wildlife biologists can keep track of which bears come around campsites more often than others.
One of the biggest takeaways from the talk was that the greatest concern humans should have with bears is not that they are going to hunt you down to attack you (which black bears don’t) but rather that we need to be very attentive to properly storing food in our campsites so that the bears don’t get used to eating human food. When bears get used to having access to food at campsites, they become habituated to human presence. When they become used to human presence they may continue to come to campsites for food and end up getting spooked by a camper. It is in those moments that they might take a swipe with a paw in surprise, and then they have to be destroyed.
So remember what Smokey really says: store your food in bear boxes when you camp and you too can prevent bears from habituation.
Small Mammal Handling
After we learned about different types of animal traps (live traps and kill traps) in class, my wildlife management class got some experience in small mammal handling. Now, you might think handling a mouse is easy – but you’d be surprised. Eventually, I got her scruffed (despite how she appears in this picture, she was alive and well after my handling).
Duck Box Update
If you recall a previous post where I talked about how our class made duck boxes and put them up along the river on our campus, we went out this week to check on whether the boxes are being used. And, I am pleased to announce, that the box I put up had a mother incubating eggs!
My Introduction to Forestry class met an RPF (Registered Professional Forester) near Shaver Lake and got a tour of a managed forest. He works for a private company, so it was interesting to hear how he chooses single trees for harvest vs. how the Forest Service selects trees for harvest. Mostly, it was just a great day to be walking in the woods.
High Montane Dendrology Trip
This last Friday my Dendrology class took a trip up towards Huntington Lake for a hunt for native plants. There was some snow, so we didn’t make it quite as far as we had hoped, but it was still a great trip. As it turned out, there were only five students plus our instructor, which was actually kind of great because we had a lot of one-on-one time with our teacher to help us learn how to identify native plants in the field. As he said at one point in the trip, “today is a great day for botanizing.” And it was.