While on our field trip to Oso Flaco Lake last week, some students noticed a funny looking bird in the reeds. “Why is that bird standing like that?”, they asked of the green-feathered bird that appeared to be crouching over the water. I explained that it was a Green Heron (Butorides virescens), and that it was probably on the lookout for some food.
The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) has been spotted recently by visitors to Oso Flaco Lake. Easily identifiable by its color and shape, this heron’s range is extensive across North America. They are blue-gray with a wide black stripe over the eye. When flying, they are distinctive from their slow wingbeats, tucked-in neck, and trailing legs. Their wingspan is about 6 feet, and despite being up to 4 feet tall, they are a relatively lightweight bird at around 5 pounds.
Hello! My name is Jared Martin and I am a Dunes Center Education Intern for the Explore the Coast program. I am a 4th year Environmental Management and Protection major at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Engaging children about the fascinating world they live in and inspiring them to protect it is a vital part of ensuring that future generations can thrive in a clean and healthy environment. The Explore the Coast program gives 5th graders at Mary Buren Elementary School the opportunity to engage in interactive activities that are both fun and educational. Over the course of 3 months, students learn about ecology, watersheds, and pollution. They also take educational field trips to gain experience. The field trips show that the subjects they learn about have applications in the real world. These lessons are designed to excite students about our environment so that they might pursue a career in the sciences. (more…)
Common name: Barn swallow
Scientific name: Hirundo rustica
The Dunes Center and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are teaming up to improve habitat conditions for the California Red-Legged Frog (Rana draytonii). Several man-made ponds are located throughout the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge. These ponds host not only the federally listed species of amphibian,but multitudes of birds, reptiles, mammals, and other threatened and endangered species of plants as well.
For eight-year-old best friends Cody and Braylen, attending the Dunes Center’s second annual Family Day and Softball Tournament was quite an adventure.
Not only did the boys have a coyote’s footprint painted on their faces by skillful 16-year-old volunteer Iliana Gonzales, they also successfully talked adults into having them as extra fielders for the softball game. (more…)