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Showing posts from 2017

We're Leafin' on a Jet Plane!

We're Leafin' on a Jet Plane!
As we reach the end of our school year here at Sierra Outdoor School, we would like to share some wonderful news! Each year the interns have the opportunity to create and work on a project to improve our campus. Read on to see all the wonderful things the interns have done before hoping on a jet plane!
Internship Recruitment Video
Kelsey "Goose" Roberts has worked alongside naturalist Angel Olavarria to film and interview our naturalist intern team to create a video highlighting the internship. The video is going to be used as a recruitment tool for future prospective interns. Visit our website to see this year's interns in action and to listen to them reflect on their experiences!



Geology of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range Mural 


Elise "Coyote" Adams added to teaching resources on campus, by designing and painting a mural. The mural depicts the creation of the Coastal and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges. 






Elise's mural will a…

Bark Beetle Invasion

"Is that a deciduous tree? Look, I found a little, black insect! Why is that pine tree brown?" These questions and comments have been a common occurrence throughout the school year.  The S.O.S. forest is changing and students are taking notice.  The change has brought up insightful discussions about forest health and management by the students.        
The little black insect stimulating so many questions and concerns is actually native to California.  The Mountain Pine Beetle and the Western Pine Beetle can be found in western North American forests.  Previously, these beetles (no bigger than a cooked piece of rice) caused little harm to the healthy forests of California.  However, California’s years of drought have brought the pine beetle to the front of the stage.  
A student asks, “Ewwww, what’s that red ooze on that tree?”  That red ooze is a sign that the Ponderosa Pine is unsuccessfully trying to fight off the bark beetle.  As previously stated, the bark beetle is nativ…
                         Flower Flower Give Me Your Nectar
Ahh yes!  For many of us the winter months are a time for flu shots and watching movies.  Then the birds start singing their lilting tunes and the days become a little warmer and longer.   Creatures of the forest begin to emerge from their winter hiding spots and previously dormant plants wake up.  Humans wake, stretch and bask in the spring sunshine, and maybe, just maybe, catch a glimpse of the first flower of the year.  And Oh My! That little firework of color swimming amidst a sea of brown leaves always makes us so happy!  So, with spring in mind, let us talk about flowers!                       The Dodecatheon jeffreyi or sierra shooting star  Photo: sierrawildflowers.org

Little Sierra Shooting Star, why are you so pretty?  The question may seem simple, but underneath are some complicated natural phenomenon, and it all starts with the birds and the bees.  Every living thing will die someday and, before it does, that livin…

Gold Leaf Mine (Gold Cabin)

GOLD LEAF MINE (MINERS CABIN)
"Is it haunted...?"
The Miners Cabin at Sierra Outdoor School (SOS) is known as the Gold Leaf Mine. The mine was founded in the 1890's by two brothers from Modesto, CA. The brothers believed that gold was coming out by means of a spring and began mining into the hillside. They ran the mine until the 1940's when during WWII all pit mining was shut down. After WWII the Forest Service took over the land. The brothers went to court for the mine, but were unsuccessful in reacquiring the land.


The cabin sits on a rock pier foundation with sill (horizontal timber) and wire nails. It measures approximately 19'3"x 28'1/2 with front and back porches. The cabin is basically in good shape except for the floors which have been deteriorating these past years. The doors, with original key locks, came from a Hotel in Columbia. The cabin was fitted with electricity, heating, and insulation when SOS (formerly Regional Learning Center) began to u…

The Seasonal Metamorphosis of a Pond

Imagine you are looking at a pond. What do you see? Many would say water, plants, fish, maybe a few frogs.  But there is much more to a pond ecosystem than just meets the eye.  In the spring, a pond is an area teeming with life, while during the winter, everything seems to go still.  So what exactly is happening just below the surface?

Winter
During the winter, it may seem like everything in a pond has been put on hold.  This is partially true, as activity is slowed greatly during this season.  Turtles and frogs have retreated into the cozy warmth of the mud.  Insects are no longer skimming across the surface.  The metabolism of organisms in the pond as well as the amount of photosynthesis that is taking place is greatly decreased during the winter.  This is an important adaptation as both food and sunlight are in short supply.  In areas where ice is able to form on a pond, several changes occur. Since ice is less dense than liquid water, ice will form at the top of the pond and will ev…

Crystal Award Winners at Sierra Outdoor School

The Crystal Award, is Clovis Unified School District's highest employee recognition award, has landed at the Sierra Outdoor School!

The Crystal Award is a prestigious award that honors employees of Clovis Unified School District for their above-and-beyond work.  This peer nominated award recognizes those making a significant difference in the lives of Clovis Unified students.
Superintendent Dr. Janet Young sums up the spirit of the Crystal Award as, “The Crystal Awards celebrates these winners who are true examples of the values and character that make Clovis Unified so special. Their passion, innovation, dedication and dynamic work ethic help our students reach their full potential in mind, body and spirit.”
While CUSD has almost 6,000 employees, only 32 employees were selected as 2016 Crystal Award recipients.  It is an honor to have two Sierra Outdoor School employees be selected for the Crystal Award in the same year:  Sharon Bush and Mike Olenchalk. Sharon is the school’s baker …

Wait, do bears really hibernate?! Waking up to the truth about winter's sleep

Imagine yourself going for a hike through the vast Emigrant Wilderness in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. You stop to look out over a field covered in the first light snowfall of the year. You’re captured by its beauty. One snowflake falls on your nose, then two, then more cover your hair. It’s mid-November. A crisp breeze rolls over the field and makes you shiver. What would you do next? Being a smart hiker, you probably brought a warm cozy jacket. Maybe it’s fleece, and if you’re experienced in the wilderness, it’s probably waterproof. Now imagine yourself on this same field of freshly fallen snow, but instead of two feet in wool socks and hiking boots, you now have four large paws covered in dark brown fur. Your five claws are sharp from climbing trees to reach nuts, berries, and seeds. Your fur has thickened in the recent months. The snow is falling gently, covering your snout and ears. That same crisp breeze rolls across the field… but you hardly feel it. That 350 pounds you put on…