Dry Creek Preserve Quarry Reclamation Project Complete!

November 18, 2009

The Dry Creek Quarry Reclamation project is officially complete, thanks to a dedicated crew of volunteers from Golden West High School.

This is the first mine reclamation completed in Tulare County, and this past weekend’s volunteer effort was the culmination of five years of reclamation work at Dry Creek Preserve.

On November 14, about 22 students from Golden West’s AP Environmental Science class, taught by Jeff Thompson, and several other volunteers devoted their Saturday to completing a major restoration project at Dry Creek Preserve that will benefit the entire community and a growing population of wildlife for generations to come.

A former gravel mine, the Dry Creek Preserve is an example of how even the most heavily altered land can be restored to a productive habitat. Much of the preserve’s vegetation had been scraped clean during the mining process, as had a significant amount of top soil. Over the years, volunteers have contributed hours of labor to replanting trees, seeding native grasses, and restabilizing hillsides to make the preserve a healthy habitat for plants, animals, and—soon—human visitors.

The volunteers helped Sequoia Riverlands Trust complete the slope stabilization work required to officially complete the Dry Creek Preserve’s mine reclamation project. They seeded two acres with native grasses, flowers and shrubs, and laid out about 18,000 square feet of erosion blankets to protect the steeper slopes.

Not only did these motivated students accomplish a remarkable amount of work, but they learned a lot about habitat restoration and mining reclamation. And they had fun. According to SRT Conservation Director Hilary Dustin, “I received several first-hand reports of the fun part, which is pretty good considering the rigor of the work.”

We’d also like to thank volunteer Andrew Glazier, who was an inspirational crew leader, and John Greening for documenting the day with photographs (and racing out for more hot dogs to feed the larger-than-expected volunteer corps). And thanks to Bobby Kamansky and his student, Bruce, who ably applied their shovels to prep the site on the previous day.

Teachers, parents, students, and prospective volunteers should contact Sequoia Riverlands Trust to get involved in future habitat restoration projects by visiting our website (www.sequoiariverlands.org). You can also contact the Education Coordinator, Laura, at (559) 738-0211 x105 or laura@sequoiariverlands.org.


Great News for Environmental Education!

November 18, 2009

Subsidies for Field Trips and FREE Busing to the Kaweah Oaks Preserve

May no child be left inside! Field trips to Kaweah Oaks Preserve just got a whole lot more affordable. In recognition of the difficult financial situation most schools face, SRT is only asking them to contribute $1.50 per student towards the cost of their field trip. Field trips often include 100 students or more, so SRT’s increased subsidy can reduce the schools’ costs by upwards of $300.

Tulare County’s LOOP Bus is now available—for free—to transport at-risk students to the Kaweah Oaks Preserve. Yes, that’s right. Field trips to the Kaweah Oaks Preserve are not only heavily subsidized by SRT; transportation to the preserve is completely free.

To sign up for the LOOP bus, visit http://stepuptc.co.tulare.ca.us/?cat=20. Applications for the bus must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the field trip.

Transportation has always been one of the primary hurdles for getting students out to the preserve to interact with nature and put their classroom Science lessons into practice. Simply busing students to the preserve can cost schools upwards of $500 per field trip. Now, with free LOOP Bus Service to the preserve, that hurdle has been eliminated.

SRT hopes these subsidies will allow more students to access the natural wonders that Kaweah Oaks Preserve has to offer them. Study after study has indicated that students who spend time outdoors in nature not only increase their Science test scores, but also improve their problem-solving skills and sense of creativity, abilities that are useful for all facets of life.

Sequoia Riverlands Trust looks forward to strengthening its partnership with  the Tulare County Office of Education and Pro Youth/HEART. Just this week, two groups of Pro Youth/HEART 3rd and 4th graders came out to Kaweah Oaks Preserve for fun and informative curriculum-based tours.

To sign up for a field trip to the Kaweah Oaks Preserve, visit our website (www.sequoiariverlands.org). You can also contact the Education Coordinator, Laura, at (559) 738-0211 x105 or laura@sequoiariverlands.org.

The Festival Was A Huge Success!

November 16, 2009

SRT festival information booth, staffed by a crew of dedicated volunteers

What an amazing event! If you made it out to the first Kaweah Land & Arts Festival, then you were privy to the gathering momentum of a glorious movement that is properly recognizing the natural and cultural virtues of the Kaweah watershed landscape – from the peaks of the Great Western Divide on down to the dried up shores of the Tulare Lake Basin, and all the artists that live on and tend to that land. If you didn’t make it out to the festival, please check out our slideshow and stay tuned to the announcement of next year’s festival dates.

The purpose of the festival was to draw our attention outward to the meaning and magnificent sights of the Kaweah watershed. It’s so easy to go about our days, focused internally on our tasks, destinations and responsibilities without looking up to notice the Sierra Nevada looming less than 50 miles away, as we travel down a street named Kaweah or Mineral King or Tulare—unnoticed names that, when recognized, are important reminders of our heritage.

Matthew Rangel leads a field-drawing workshop on the Grapevine Trail at KOP

The purpose of the festival was also to highlight the great work of the artists, writers, poets, farmers, musicians, scientists and historians who devote their lives to telling the stories of the landscape in addition to taking care of it so that others can continue to tell the story. Thank you to everyone who shared their story.

And special thanks to Matthew Rangel who deserves so much credit for envisioning this project and carrying it to its fruition, which is really a much larger work in progress (for all of us). As a visual artist, Matthew’s vision is always being inspired anew and he is always anticipating how he can bring that growing inspiration to a larger audience. Matthew and the others on the Kaweah Land & Arts Festival planning committee (Bill Tweed, John Spivey, John Dofflemyer, Kevin Bowman, Laura Childers and Niki Woodard) are assessing the first festival and enthusiastically planning the second one. We’d love to hear your feedback, so please take a couple minutes to fill out this survey and send it in to Sequoia Riverlands Trust, Attn: Niki Woodard, 427 S. Garden St, Visalia, CA 93277 or fax it to 559-622-9477.

Bill Tweed reads historical interpretations of the Kaweah watershed

We’d also like to extend a hearty thanks to the dedicated crew of community volunteers who helped make all the events at the festival run smoothly: Tina Collins, John Greening, Dave Hobbs, Sally Hobbs, Joanne Hoyt, Ken Olsen, Shirley Kirkpatrick, Laurie Killian, Linda Roddick, Brad Schleder, Doug Snider, Don Stone, John Stowe, Phil White and Kay Woods.

Also, thanks to all the artists and vendors who set up their amazing work for everyone to enjoy: Steven Ball, Oshah Baxter, Cedrick Brown, Elsah Cort, Brandon Crow, John Griesbach, Michael Hansen, Shirley Keller, Anne Marks, Frances Pyles, Jane Zielger, Arts Visalia, California Native Plant Society, C & C Potters, Family Farm Fresh, Pleasant Valley Ranch, Sequoia Natural History Association, Seven Circles, Timothy Schweizer, Tulare County Citizens for Responsible Growth, Tulare County Historical Society, Urban Tree Foundation and WildPlaces. Also, thanks to John Crow of Crow’s BBQ for serving up delicious food despite the many mishaps of his morning (flat tires and broken trailer).

Sylvia Ross reads from a collection of Native American poetry, "The Dirt is Red Here"

And thanks to all of you for coming out and enjoying a special event with us. We look forward to making an even bigger impact in the years to come. If you aren’t already a member of Sequoia Riverlands Trust, please consider becoming one today and supporting such a worthy cause!

And, of course, thank you to all our sponsors and partners.

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Festival t-shirts are still available for a discounted price. You can purchase t-shirts, along with books and artist prints at Arts Visalia, which will be featuring Matthew Rangel’s innovative lithograph depictions of the Sierra Nevada, “a transect – Due East,” along with John Spivey’s vivid photography collection, “The Luminosity of Stone” for the remainder of the month of November.

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And don’t forget to check out the festival slideshow!!

Kaweah Land & Arts Field Day Line-up

November 4, 2009

The first Kaweah Land and Arts Festival is happening this weekend! Events begin on Friday with an artist opening at Arts Visalia, then the Land & Field Day on Saturday at Kaweah Oaks Preserve, followed by the Land & Arts Symposium on Saturday evening at College of the Sequoias. The festival concludes on Sunday afternoon with a sculpture exhibit at Designs by Arenas. For times, locations and more details, click here.

Bring the whole family to Kaweah Oaks Preserve for the Land & Arts Field Day on Saturday afternoon. Spend a beautiful fall day outside under the great valley oak trees while soaking up music, poetry and art from and about the distinct Kaweah River region. Children’s art and activities will help keep the kids happy. And delicious BBQ lunch (tri-tip, chicken, burgers, local organic vegetables from KMK Farms in Kingsburg) will keep your tummies happy. Check out the work of other non-profits in the area. And don’t forget to bring your wallet – books and art will be on sale from local writers and artists.

Land & Arts Field Day Line-up

schedule rev

Click here to view the PDF of the festival brochure, which has the full schedule of events for the weekend.

Click here to view the bios of symposium participants.