Meet an Exeter All-Star

April 26, 2012


Running past the competition…

on the field & in the coop

By Kelly Ryan, Communications Director, Sequoia Riverlands Trust

After capturing the title of women’s overall winner recently at the Sequoia Riverlands Trust 5K Trail Run on Kaweah Oaks Preserve, Andrea Anez didn’t have time to bask in the glory. She had chickens to show.

“I like perfecting chickens, trying for that perfect breed,” says this Exeter teenager. “They’re so cool looking, they intrigue me.”

Immediately after crossing the finish line Andrea headed to Porterville to show a Silky breed and a mixed Bantam at 4-H Field Day.

She won there as well, receiving second place with the Mixed Bantam she named Reba and best in breed with her Silkie called Snow White.

Andrea’s drive to excel in both running and raising chickens doesn’t seem unusual to this 13-year old.

This year’s SRT 5K trail run was her third win in a row. She captured her first women’s overall when she was just 11-years old.

“I’ve always loved to run. I run around our house, I run around my Grandma’s hill, down her dirt road, I just like it,” she says. “I like long distance best.”

She also runs in the Junior Olympics. She’s competed the past two years in the games in Nevada and Alabama and most recently took part in the Footlocker Invitational, where elite runners gather from all over the Western states.

Her mom, Kelly Anez says Andrea took to running early. “Since she was a kid she ran everywhere she went.”

She tagged along with her Dad to a 5K when she was 10 and a high school coach took notice. “He said, you’re a pretty good runner,” Andrea remembers. He encouraged her to keep it up.

She runs cross-country in the fall and track and field in the spring. She raises her chickens all year-long.

Andrea also runs her own small business selling eggs to neighbors and to her family. “My family goes through a lot of eggs so I have to sell to them to them or they’d eat all my eggs. But I give them a discount,” she giggles.

She also happens to be a 4.0 student.

“We like encouraging her but try not to put pressure on her,” says her mom. They have talked about college running programs in the future and what might be a good fit with the possibility of a scholarship. The family has looked into Stanford’s running program and Andrea likes that idea, but knows she’s got time to think about it.

In the meantime she enjoys her busy schedule,   “I go to school, come home, run, check the chickens, do homework, then bed.”

And once a year she gets the chance to showcase her two very different interests at the same time. “I wear a chicken hat and yellow tights in the Spooky Sprint run in Visalia every year… but only at Halloween.”


Congrats Earth Day Runners/Walkers!

April 25, 2011

The 2nd Earth Day 5K Run/Walk was a great success, thanks to so much enthusiasm from our community. Thank you to all 220 runners and walkers who participated! And special thanks to the following:

  • Odwalla, for donating delicious/nutritious (and eco-friendly) post-race goodies
  • Visalia Parks and Recreation, for providing flawless timing of the event
  • Sole2Soul Sports, for providing the finish line, race preparation assistance and pre-race packet pick-up at their store
  • Visalia Runners Club, for providing race preparation assistance and support
  • The Farmer’s Daughter, for providing boxes of organic produce for our overall male and female race winners
  • And all the other volunteers who helped groom the trails and facilitate a smooth race day!
And now, for what you’ve all been waiting for… RESULTS! It was a fast run this year… fifteen runners ran faster than the winning time last year.
Congratulations to everyone who ran and everyone who walked.

Catch a glimpse of the event with the slideshow below. If you didn’t have the privilege of attending this great event, and if you’re wondering what all the high-fiving is about… Earth Day also happens to be National High Five Day… or so I was told.

All photos taken by John Greening.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

(If anyone happened to find an unknown camera in their post-race belongings, please return it to SRT. Thank you.)

Reptile Show Pictures

January 13, 2011

A big thanks to Eric Johnson of E & M’s Reptile Show for putting on a rivoting reptile show at Kaweah Oaks Preserve on January 8. Even more, he donated his time to help SRT raise money for the great conservation programs we provide. Thank you, Eric!

The show is one of both shock and awe as well as an education in herpetology, conservation principles and responsible pet ownership. Eric and his wife take care of a family of 80 reptiles, almost all of which they rescued and rehabilitated. Below are some pictures from Saturday’s event. Click on any picture to get a larger view. (All photos taken by John Greening.)

2010 SRT Accomplishments!

December 20, 2010

Sequoia Riverlands Trust is proud to boast the following accomplishments that we made for conservation in the southern Sierra Nevada and San Joaquin Valley in 2010:


James K. Herbert Wetland Prairie Preserve - vernal pool tour

  • Completed a 5-year vernal pool restoration project at the James K. Herbert Wetland Prairie Preserve! Project funded by the Wildlife Conservation Board, Bureau of Reclamation and Natural Resource Conservation Service
  • We secured funding for 814 acres of new ag conservation (3 easements in 3 counties) and look forward to closing the deals in the early part of 2011
  • We are actively negotiating the conservation of 5,000 acres of ranchland, with grants pending on two properties. These conservation properties are part of a 43,000 conservation plan that has been developed by the Southern Sierra Partnership (The Nature Conservancy, California Audubon, Sierra Business Council, Tejon Ranch Conservancy and Sequoia Riverlands Trust
  • 342 volunteers gave more than 1,300 hours of their time to the cause of conservation (380% increase over 2009 – Great job to our dedicated volunteers!).

Students participate in a restoration project at Dry Creek Preserve

  • 868 underserved Tulare County students (grades K-6) attended curriculum-based field trips to Kaweah Oaks Preserve
  • 148 students (grades 7-12) participated in service learning projects for a total of 608 volunteer hours of habitat restoration on SRT preserves
  • 226 teachers of local at-risk youth were trained in curriculum-based environmental education (with a potential to reach more than 6,500 students!)
  • 125 nature-themed lesson plans posted to SRT website
  • 13 nature events took 476 people on guided hikes of SRT conservation land
  • 61% increase in new SRT membership (thank you to our new donors!!)
  • Brought 3 new events (5K Earth Day Trail Run at KOP, landscape photography contest, Kaweah Land & Arts Festival) to the community to collectively engage people in the importance of SRT’s mission to conserve the beauty and productivity of the southern Sierra Nevada and San Joaquin Valley


Runners participate in the first 5K Earth Day Trail Run/Walk at Kaweah Oaks Preserve


The Story of Eric White Elementary School’s Field Trip to Kaweah Oaks Preserve

June 8, 2010

by Laura Childers, Environmental Education Director, SRT

The school bus squeaks to a halt, and a class of fifth grade students hesitantly piles off, looking around shyly at the vast expanse of meadows and woodlands surrounding them. I can sense that most of them have rarely left the agricultural landscape of Selma, their home town, and are slightly nervous about exploring this mythical “Nature” that they’ve heard so much about from the Discovery Channel. The students divide into small clusters of friends and giggle nervously about the field trip that’s just begun, speculating quietly about whether or not anacondas, tigers, and Big Foot are lurking in the darkness beneath the trees.

Before they know it, the kids are divided into two separate groups and will not be seeing each other again until lunch time. Volunteer Naturalist Steve Ny leads one group of students and heads straight for the Sycamore Trail, a favorite hiking trail at the preserve. I take leadership of the second group, and away we go!

My eyes open wide, and I whisper urgently to the kids, “Okay guys, the first thing that we are going to do today is look at animal bones!”

At first, their expressions morph into affected adult behavior, namely feigned boredom, cartoonish revulsion, and — underneath it all — the pure, child-like curiosity that fifth graders ultimately cannot suppress in themselves, though they would like to think they’re already grown up (and thank goodness they are not!).

If there is anything I have learned about children through my position as the Education Director, it’s that they love the macabre. Learning about the dialectic between life and death in nature, the cycle connecting all things, is an essential part of not only learning about how nature works but also learning about life itself. 

We gently handle the bones of real elk, wild hogs, cows, coyotes, and foxes, turning them over and over in our hands to see that, yes, that is where the eyes went, that is where its ears were. I ask them, “Why do you think its teeth are shaped the way they are? Why are its eyes where they are on its head?” It’s a game of exploration, building familiarity with wild animals by handling them in a way they never could otherwise. We feel the snakeskin, wondering about what it would be like to have to change your skin and not just your clothes when you grow bigger. It allows the children to relate to the creatures who share our world with us.

By this time, the masks of adulthood they wore at the beginning of the field trip have fallen away. The kids squeal every time they see a squirrel pop out of its borrow or a bird fly overhead. We rally together and go search for insects, the tiny creatures that manage to dwell, mysteriously, in nothing but a parched, grassy field. We wonder at how the grasshopper’s shell  matches the color of the grass so well; even his eyes are a grassy brown.

The woods still loom large in the eyes of the children, and they question me repeatedly if we are going to explore them during our hike. I tell them that we are going on an adventure into the forest, the wildlands of Visalia, and that we must stick together to learn about everything hidden within it. The kids grow silent when I tell them that if we are quiet, we may see some of the shyest animals of all — the coyote, fox, or deer.

Together, we creep along trails veiled by grapevines and valley oak canopies, green light filtering through to the forest floor. Lizards dart across our path, and lady bugs fly around us, sometimes landing on a lucky student. We hear the acorn woodpecker starting his summer storage of acorns in the stag trees and see apple-colored galls filled with tiny, sting-less wasp sprouting from the branches. The kids explore vine caves and tunnels, climb a sprawling sycamore tree, and even swing from a real grapevine just like George of the Jungle, the kids’ version of Tarzan.

Exploration is the key element of scientific discovery and learning, and the urge to explore is cultivated during childhood. Benjamin Franklin spent his youth wandering the woods of New England. Jane Goodall spent her childhood climbing trees in England with her trusty dog as her only companion. Would Benjamin Franklin ever have discovered electricity if he hadn’t learned the thrill of exploration as a child? Would Jane Goodall have dared to enter the jungles of Africa if she hadn’t spent years walking through forests alone? Personally, I doubt it.

I believe that the urge to explore is the most valuable thing we can give a child. One of the best places to teach them that is in nature because there are endless possibilities for discovery.

This spring, thirteen naturalists taught over seven hundred children how to explore and discover in the natural world. They are incredibly valuable to this community and the development of our next generation of leaders.


Rosie Bonar
Liege Garcia
Ken Greenspan
John Greening
Michael Harris
Russ Kehn
Hans Konrad
Jeff Medlin
Brian Newton
Steve Ny
Ken Olsen
Linda Peterson
Phil White

You all are incredible, and thank you so much for teaching kids about nature this Spring.


Alcoa Foundation
Sempra Foundation
Southern California Edison

If you are interested in sharing your love of the great outdoors with youth, please contact Laura Childers to set up a training date at (559) 738-0211 x103.

SRT in the News

June 3, 2010

Water flows in Johnson Slough through the southern part of Kaweah Oaks Preserve on May 10. Photo by Teresa Douglass.

Teresa Douglass, writer for the Visalia Times-Delta, recently researched and wrote an amazing and comprehensive article about SRT’s six nature preserves, as well as the wonderful bird sanctuary at the Pixley National Wildlife Refuge. Please take a moment to read the whole article, found here. She also produced an informative video about why Kaweah Oaks Preserve and other nature preserves are so important. Below is just a short snippet of the article…

Likewise, Sequoia Riverlands Trust, a regional, nonprofit Central California land trust, manages its six nature preserves to benefit wildlife.

Conservation techniques include cattle grazing, controlled burns, creating ponds and even constructing a network of stream channels.

“Sequoia Riverlands Trust is here to preserve pieces of our past,” said Sopac McCarthy Mulholland, executive director at SRT. The six different SRT nature preserves range from Valley property to sycamore alluvial woodlands to foothills.

“Like pearls in a string, they link up to each other,” Mulholland said.

Today, we take a look at all seven of the Tulare County nature preserves.

And here’s another great article, written by Sabrina Ziegler of the Porterville Recorder, that comprehensively sums up the rich, informative, beautiful Native American cultural celebration at Kaweah Oaks Preserve last Saturday, May 29. This piece is also accompanied by a short and informative video.


“Go Native!” – Third annual Native American cultural celebration

May 21, 2010

Saturday, May 29, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Basketweaving classes. Native arts. Native plant sale. Guided hike of Kaweah Oaks Preserve.

Join us for a fun and educational day spent learning about and celebrating the rich Native American culture, art and traditions that once flourished in this Kaweah Delta region. This festival of Native American life and culture will be held under the shade of the great valley oaks at the Kaweah Oaks Preserve.

Participate in a traditional native ceremony, sit in on a basketweaving class, make a deerskin rattle, eat an Indian taco for lunch, take a guided hike of the preserve and purchase some native plants for your home. Learn about the importance of baskets, the native plants that are used to make them, the challenges traditional basketweavers face with regard to land access and pesticide use, and much more.

Schedule of Events:

10:00    Opening Prayer – Marie Wilcox

10:15     Welcome/History of Gathering – Jennifer

10:30     Basketweaving Classes Begin – All Day

  • Milkweed Rope – Don Jack
  • Deerskin Rattles – Sandy Clark
  • Tule Decoy Ducks – Diana Almanderez
  • Pine Needle Baskets – David Garcia
  • Willow Rattles – Nicola Larsen
  • Coil Baskets – Lawana Jasso

10:30     Guided Nature Hike

All Day:

  • Indian Tacos
  • Children’s Activities
  • Vendors /Crafts
  • Raffle (Drawings and winners announced all day)
  • Native Plant Sale (if you have any questions about native plants, contact Andrew Glazier, 559-737-8637)

12:00 – 1:30       Teachers Lunch/Break

1:30 – 2:30   Continuation of Basketweaving Classes

2:30  – 3:00   Closing Prayer / Teacher Recognition

Who: Jennifer Malone, event organizer and master basketweaver, is a full-blooded California Native American whose family is Wukchumni, Yowlumni, and Tachi. In partnership with Sequoia Riverlands Trust, Jennifer has been transplanting soaproot and gathering sedge from Kaweah Oaks Preserve for years. This will be her second year organizing the “Go Native!” event, which teaches local weavers how to gather these plants for use in weaving traditional baskets. Jennifer carries on a long family tradition of basketweaving, having learned it from watching her grandmother Beatrice Arancis. Jennifer also serves on the Board of Directors of the California Indian Basketweavers Association.

Where: Kaweah Oaks Preserve is located on Road 182, approximately seven miles east of downtown Visalia via Highway 198. Drive north on Road 182 one-half mile. Park on the west side of the road; walk past the gate to enter and meet in the picnic area.

Donation: $10 for Sequoia Riverlands Trust members; $15 non-members. Become a member that day and attend the program for free. Memberships start at $35 for an individual or $50 for a family.