Learning Among the Oaks Nature Notes
Spending time in nature and practicing gratitude both bring benefits for our physical and mental health. As we approach Thanksgiving, we hope that each of you will have the chance for quiet time in nature.
We are grateful for the community of LATO families, friends, partners and supporters that has helped this special program become a point of pride for everyone involved over the past 16+ years. Enjoy these recent highlights.
Second Sundays in Nature Kick-off
Oak Ambassador and Oak Nature Club families from Templeton to Arroyo Grande enjoyed a Pecho Coast Trail hike to the Point San Luis Lighthouse on Nov. 14. We learned about the fascinating natural and cultural history of the Pecho Coast Trail with docents Gary, Sally, Chalmers, Stephanie and Scott.
At the Lighthouse, we learned about Climate Change with P.G. & E. Meteorologist John Lindsey. John has a gift for making science understandable for everyone and relevant to our everyday lives. He shared dramatic images of present day Climate Change impacts in places like Alaska and as well as future impacts for the Central Coast if we don't work together to reduce carbon emissions.
The next Second Sunday in Nature outing will be held on Dec. 12, 2-4 pm, at the Santa Margarita Ranch LATO Trail. We'll be planting acorns and baby oaks.
Oak Ambassadors Shine on the Trail
Since Nov. 3, newly trained 5th grade Oak Ambassadors at Vineyard Elementary School (VES) have been busy guiding weekly nature hikes for 4th grade classes on the VES Nature Trail. Hats off to all of the new OAs who are doing a remarkable job teaching other kids about plant and animal adaptations in the oak ecosystem. These VES hikes will continue through Dec. 15.
Pacific Wildlife Care (PWC) volunteers and PWC Animal Ambassadors give kids an up close look at animal adaptations during the 4th grade pre-hike lessons. We are grateful for our 15+ year wildlife education partnership with PWC.
Newly trained Santa Margarita Elementary School 5th grade OAs will have their chance to shine starting on Dec. 2. They'll be guiding hikes on the Santa Margarita Ranch LATO Trail for 4th and 5th grade SMES classes.
Wildlife Camera Volunteer Team Grows
Thank you to all of the LATO Wildlife Camera Project (WCP) volunteers - new and old - who participated in recent annual meetings ~ training opportunities held at Santa Margarita Ranch (top photo) and Santa Rita Ranch (bottom photo).
We are excited to welcome new volunteers to fill positions at the Pismo Preserve, Santa Margarita Ranch LATO Trail, and Santa Rita Ranch.
There are still a few open positions. If you like to hike, are comfortable handling technical equipment, and are interested in joining the team, please reach out to Alex at firstname.lastname@example.org
The LATO WCP started in 2011 as a Cal Poly Senior Project.
Longtime LATO Wildlife Camera Project volunteer and Oak Ambassador mom Lydia Lawson shared this interesting video from her family's wildlife camera.
Mountain lions are known as "ghost cats" because of their elusive nature. They are more present than most of us realize since they are rarely seen. Learn more about human-mountain lion co-existence in the West.
Attention Central Coast Oak Nuts
University of California's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources will present the 8th California Oak Symposium in San Luis Obispo, March 21-24, 2022.
Participants will have the opportunity to:
- Listen to science based talks from leaders in academia, industry and agencies.
- View thought provoking abstracts and posters from colleagues.
- Experience tours of San Luis Obispo County's various Oak Woodland habitats.
- Engage in discussions and network with other like-minded professionals, researchers, and scientists.
The Symposium program will include LATO as a featured tour on March 21. Oak woodland managers, landowners, conservationists and friends are encouraged to participate. We all have a stake in conserving California's oak woodlands for future generations. Can you imagine the Central Coast without our iconic oak landscapes?
Some 4th graders got a special treat on a recent VES Nature Trail hike. We spotted a juvenile bald eagle perched atop a tall oak. We quietly watched in awe before it flew off. LATO docent Jen Lannon took this picture.
In Greek mythology, the eagle was the messenger of Zeus, King of the Gods. Only the eagle could grasp lightning without being harmed. That's why the eagle was called Thunderbird.
Thank you for taking time for nature notes. Please feel welcome to contact us (use button above) if you'd like more information about LATO projects.
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