The Santa Barbara Botanical Garden is a living museum that contains gardens of several plant communities found in California. For more information about this amazing botanic garden you can visit their website here (the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden). Students participating in the Dunes Center’s Afterschool Botany program had the opportunity yo pay the garden a visit. Our group first made its way through the Manzanita Section which was full of fire resistant manzanita species. After a brief relaxing lunch in the nearby Home Demonstration Garden area, our group headed north into the Meadow Section. Here, students learned the important roles that meadows play in storing and filtering water from snow melt. They also learned that meadows host a diverse range of plant and flower species that attract reptiles, birds, and mammals. (more…)
Common Name(s): Black Sage
Scientific Name: Salvia mellifera
Family: Lamiaceae (Mint)
Plant Type: Perennial Evergreen Shrub
Size: 3-6’ Tall and various sizes in width
Black sage is Native to Southern California and Mexico and grows between sea level and 1200 meters. Visit the Dunes Center to see this wonderful native plant in person! (more…)
The Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) is our choice for this month’s “Dunes in Flight.” Kingfishers can be found throughout North America and have even been found in far off exotic regions like the Galapagos Islands and the Hawaiian Islands. Although they are widespread, they are not a particularly common sight. Lucky birders will most likely observe this species near bodies of fresh and brackish waters. There is a good chance of spotting this species at Oso Flaco Lake. (more…)
Building Bird Boxes for the Western Bluebird (more…)
The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) is our bird of choice for this month’s “Dunes in Flight.” This heron’s range is extensive across North America, and several individuals may be spotted throughout the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Complex on any given day, particularly near bodies of water. They appear blue-gray with a wide black stripe over the eye. Primary flight feathers are a deep blue, while the forewing is pale or gray. Its wingspan is about 6 feet, and despite being up to 4 feet tall, it is a relatively lightweight bird at around 5 lbs.
Kiersten Demmond is an exceptional member of the Dunes Center’s educational team. Kiersten is a Liberal Studies and Studio Art student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and has been working specifically on the Dunes Center’s Creative Writing program, teaching students about natural science, different mediums of art, and integrating the two disciplines in her lessons. In her spare time, Kiersten enjoys hiking, spending time with friends, and exploring new mediums of art. Kiersten has been able to pursue subjects she is passionate about through the Dunes Center’s environmental education internship.