The Black Bear
Winter is over and a quick Spring has arrived into hot summer! This means prime weather conditions to invite the American Black Bear out of hibernation. After waking from their deep sleep in the spring, they will begin to forage for berries, roots, nuts, and are not opposed to finding protein from bees, ants, larvae, and yellow jackets. If they live near a human population they will use their incredible sense of smell from miles away to find leftovers in trash cans or even campsite coolers. Using nimble paws to manipulate most jars, cans, and door handles that we may think are closed tight; the black bear can eat most anything. Predators are not a huge concern for these big animals, cubs are more in danger if a coyote or mountain lion is near. As always it’s smart to hike along with others and if you find yourself face to face with a black bear there are steps to keep safe. Speak in a calm, appeasing tone, back away slowly, walk, don't run, and keep your eye on the bear so you can see how it will react. In most cases, the bear will flee.
We're taking some time to feature and thank some of the staff members that have worked with us this year. This week we have Program Instructor Clay! Thank you for joining us and the students outside this year!
Where are you from? Santa Maria, CA
Favorite book? The Bible
Favorite Disney movie? The Goofy Movie
What was your favorite class / teacher in school? Art History
What brought you to TP? Ministry and Outdoors
What's your favorite Trail at TP and why? Waterfall, it's challenging and rewarding!
What's your favorite Camp meal? Burger night!
What's your favorite dance from dance night? The Americano
What 5 things would you carry in your survival pack? Lighter, Lifestraw, hatchet, rope, space blanket
What are you looking forward to next? Publishing my book!
One visitor we’ve been missing at camp is the Mule Deer. This seasonal friend has traveled just a bit lower in elevation than our snowy mountain for a couple months to find food. The Mule deer’s diet consists of grasses and flowering plants. They are crepuscular so we usually see them foraging on our fields early morning or early night time; using it as a safe haven from predators like coyotes and mountain lions. One particular adaptation this creature has is it’s large furry ears. The fur, size, and movement of the ears are crucial to amplifying it’s sense of hearing, making them highly aware of any predators lurking by. Coming up soon in late May or June we will be seeing some spotted fawn following closely to their mother. These peaceful visitors are a treat.
We're taking some time to feature and thank some of the staff members that have worked with us this year. Our first person is Program Instructor Klynn! Thank you for joining us and the students outside this year!
Where are you from?
I grew up in Lake Elsinore, CA, went to college in Santa Barbara, CA, but have also lived in Louisiana, Virginia, Italy, Australia, and the Solomon Islands.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Favorite Disney movie?
There are so many to choose from!! But I’d have to go with Up.
What was your favorite class / teacher in school?
My all time favorite class was a Methods of Environmental Health and Science course during my study abroad in Australia/Solomon Islands! We performed lots of hands-on research practices in temperate rainforests, inactive volcanic islands, and coral reefs. My professor for this course had such a passion for science himself, and that really inspired me to push further in my own research, it was a course I will never forget!
What brought you to TP?
What drew me to Thousand Pines was the camaraderie of the staff, fun working environment, and beautiful location in the mountains! I grew up always going to science camp, and Thousand Pines seemed like the perfect place where I could go back and use my degree to help spark a passion and curiosity of science in younger students, giving back in a way to those who poured into me at camps when I was younger.
What's your favorite Trail at TP and why?
I LOVE the Botany Trail because you really get the chance to explore away from camp and out into the forest. You get to see a change of seasons when you’re out there, from the fall leaves to the heavy snow in the winter, it becomes very picturesque. Stopping to tell stories about the Mystery Tree, Twin Brothers, and Mama Oak have always been a favorite, there are just some really neat opportunities to see nature up close and let the students experience that!
What's your favorite Camp meal?
Taco Tuesday dinner! I love Mexican Food so the chicken tacos were my fave, but I also couldn’t resist having a churro…or three!
What's your favorite dance from dance night?
My go-to dance that I would teach was the Cowboy Macarena, I loved telling an elaborate history behind the dance before teaching the students. I love the Interlude though! So fun & high energy!
What 5 things would you carry in your survival pack?
I am looking forward to pursuing my career in the environmental sciences field, hopefully in conservation or climate change mitigation. Whatever I end up doing, I always hope it will involve something outdoors! There is so much to see, explore, research, and learn from the outdoors, so having a job that would allow me to do all those things would be a blast!
We've had a few warm sunny days on the mountain creating a great opportunity for animals to uncover some food they've stored during our snowy weeks. The birds are out and about, especially many of our small, white chested Nuthatches. Something unique about this species of bird is their capability to walk or hop upside down on the bark of a tree. They have a backward pointing claw that allows them to travel downward and because of their short tail, they won't fall over. This is an amazing adaptation because it allows them to have different vantage points when storing and looking for food; Other birds look upward into crevices for bugs and may not spot them, yet Nuthatches get to see up and downward seeing those bugs others missed. A Nuthatches diet consists of seeds and insects. When storing food, they will find a crack in between bark to place seeds and then cover it up with nearby lichen or other bark to hide safely. This tiny ball of feathers has really surprised us with it's clever skills.