California Naturalist
California Naturalist
California Naturalist
University of California
California Naturalist

Field Excursions & Workshops

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All field excursions & workshops will take place in the close proximity of Nevada City (Check out what Sierra Streams California Naturalists have been seeing on their iNaturalist project!). Each attendee may choose one field excursion or workshop from the list, #1-6, included in the cost of registration. You will also have an opportunity select your second choice during registration in case your first fills. Be sure to register early to get your first choice! Excursions & workshops are scheduled after lunch and plenary talks. We'll all come together again at the end of the day for a reception and book exchange. 

1. Building meaningful relationships with nature

2. Collaborative watershed art installation for Sierra Streams 

3. Exploring mosses, liverworts, and hornworts

4. History and stories of the Foothill Nisenan people of the Nevada City Rancheria

5. Water quality monitoring and citizen science

6. Wildlife Monitoring & Methods (Sorry, Canceled)

7. Independence Trail Bird Walk

Ali S
1. Building meaningful relationships with nature

Join this workshop to learn the latest trends, resources, and lessons in environmental education. For formal and informal educators and anyone who wants to become a more skilled interpreter of nature. You’ll spend time outside on the nearby nature trails and possibly inside a bit too, learning new lessons from Project Learning Tree, BEETLES, Project WET, and more. Practice transformative, engaging activities based on the newest learning research to help connect students more deeply to their local ecosystems and increase their understanding and enjoyment of science. Find out how seamlessly environmental education fits in with NGSS standards. Please be prepared to spend some to most time outdoors (weather dependent) and walk up to half a mile at a slow pace on potentially muddy trails. Leader:  Ali Stefancich is a Community Education Specialist with the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Sierra Research and Extension Center in nearby Browns Valley where she runs youth science education programs that serve over 1,500 local students a year. 

Jenny Hale
2. Collaborative watershed art installation for Sierra Streams Institute

The intersection of art and science gives us new ways to think about, view, and interact with the world. Join professional artist Jenny Hale to create a watershed art installation that will be debuted and temporarily find its home at the Sierra Streams Institute. This piece will both further participant's physical and biological knowledge of the watershed and allow for individual participant’s creativity to shine through, resulting in an eye catching, multi-media, instructive art piece. No prior experience necessary to participate. Leader: Jenny Hale of Jenny Hale Design is a Nevada City based artist with a specialty in collaborative and public environmental art installations. Her work is inspired by the natural world and explores how humans place themselves within it. She says “Artmaking is a process of making the invisible visible and in that discovery may we be refreshed to see our world in a new light.” 



3. Exploring mosses, liverworts, and hornworts

Ever found yourself admiring a moss covered rock or wondering what makes up the cryptogamic crust under your foot?  It is a safe bet you are admiring bryophytes, which include mosses, liverworts, and hornworts and are a very ancient and diverse group of plants. In fact, across California there are about 650 moss and 160 liverwort and hornwort species. This workshop offers an introduction to appreciating these species in the field and viewing them under a microscope to see the details of their structure so important in identification. Experienced bryologists will be present to introduce the life cycle and terms used to describe these amazingly prevalent but little known taxa. Expect a short walk along the creek near the conference center (optional) followed by time in the lab learning plant parts and some of the more common species from the area. Rain or shine, please be prepared for a slow outdoor walk (if you choose to participate in that part) and potentially muddy trails.  Leaders: Carl Wishner and Kerry Heise, California Native Plant Society Bryophyte Chapter Liaisons

Shelly Covert
4. History and stories of the Foothill Nisenan people of the Nevada City Rancheria

Indigenous ways of knowing and protecting the land and the plants, animals and history of an ecosystem are a valuable complement to the knowledge and methods of Western science. Sierra Streams Institute and the Nisenan tribe are partners in education and restoration projects in the local watershed. Take a walk along the local trail to interpretive sites and a Nisenan Garden. Along the way, hear the stories and songs of the Nisenan Tribe of the Nevada City Rancheria and the history of the Gold Rush from their perspective. Rain or shine, please be prepared for a slow outdoor walk and potentially muddy trails. Leader: Shelly Covert is the spokesperson for the Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe. She sits on the Tribal Council and is the Executive Director for the California Heritage: Indigenous Research Project, or C.H.I.R.P., a 501c3 non-profit organization.

4.Stream science_California Naturalist
5. Water quality monitoring and citizen science

Sierra Streams Institute’s (SSI) mission is to link water, science and people for the benefit of human and environmental health. Founded in 1995 as Friends of Deer Creek, SSI is an important voice in the regional scientific community. This field excursion will include a demonstration and discussion on stream health in Pioneer Park, an SSI long term monitoring, native plant restoration, and flood plane connectivity restoration site in the Deer Creek watershed. If conditions are right, we will get in the stream (optional- bring knee boots or just enjoy from the bank) with monitoring instruments, collect and identify aquatic insects, and discuss how the data can be used to determine the health of the stream ecosystem. This trip requires a ¾ mile walk to Pioneer Park or a short car ride (we can carpool) depending on weather and group motivation. Pioneer park trails are flat and wide but could be muddy. Come prepared for rain or shine. Leader: Sol Henson is a California Naturalist instructor and works as a coordinator for the SSI education program. He obtained a master’s degree in hydrology at the University of California Davis and has worked on projects both locally and internationally regarding water resources and water resource management.

6. Wildlife Monitoring & Methods (Sorry, Canceled)


7. Independence Trail Bird Walk 

Meet the fall birds of Nevada City! Learn to identify their unique voices and songs, and learn about their ecology. Listen in a whole new way! Your leader's combined experience in biology, music, and interactive teaching will guide you in a fresh and unique birdsong adventure that you won’t want to miss! Bird enthusiasts of all levels will enjoy this hike. Beginners will discover the diversity of local birdlife and gain a more intimate knowledge and friendship with several familiar species. Passionate birders will learn to distinguish several subtle and memorable nuances of our trickiest ID challenges. Rain or shine, come prepared for slippery, muddy trails. Please bring binoculars if you own them, there will be a couple loaner pairs to share.  Leader: Kristen Hein Strohm, MS, has traveled the world to follow birds, their songs, and their lives. In addition to her ornithological expertise, Kristen brings years of experience as a playful, interactive teacher of ecology. She brings extensive musical experience to her explorations of birdsong, offering nuanced comparisons of bird voices that stem directly from her experience as a singer and her study of vocal technique. 

Please contact Brook Gamble, phone:  707-744-1424 x108 with further questions.

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