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Showing posts from 2018

Where are they now?

Each year we are so lucky to have a crew of intelligent and hardworking Naturalist Interns arrive on campus, every one of whom brings a unique background, areas of expertise, and personality! Though it never gets easier when it comes time to say goodbye, it is easier knowing they are off to greener pastures. If you are curious as to where your favorite instructor from the 2017-2018 school year is now, or maybe you want to know where an internship at SOS can land you, continue below! Andie Conlon:     A graduate of Santa Clara University with a degree in Wildlife Biology, Lupine traveled abroad to South Africa during her junior year to study safari animals, husbandry, and park management. During this time, she became particularly interested in elephants. It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows her that after SOS, Andie has accepted a position at Wildlife Safari in Oregon, focused on elephant husbandry, enrichment, and interpretation! We look forward to hearing some more abo…

Mammals of the Mountain!

Mammals of the Mountain!
Sierra Outdoor School (S.O.S.) is not just a place for a few days visit, but it is also called ‘Home’ to a wide variety of wildlife. Located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range, and surrounded by the Stanislas National Forest, many animals, plants… Ecosystems thrive in this area at 4100’ feet. Today we are going to be taking a closer look at the mammals of this mountain community.
Now, some of you might be wondering “What makes a Mammal a Mammal?” Mammals have five main characteristics that classify them differently from other groups of animals such as birds, amphibians and reptiles. All mammals share these features, of all shapes, sizes and species! Including people, we are mammals too.
1) Vertebrates! We all have a backbone called a spinal cord that is made of different vertebrae bones. 2) We are warm blooded. Using our metabolism and energy from the food we eat, we regulate our body to keep a warm body temperature. 3) We all breath air through …

What's that you sing? It's Spring?!

It is that time of year! Noticeably, the days are beginning to warm and the sun is casting its light a little longer with each day. If you look and listen closely, you will notice pops of color from dormant flowers beginning to bloom, the birds have started singing, spring is here!
Image 1. Ruby Crowned Kinglet. Photo by Paul Higgins. 
After months of quiet skies, the Oregon juncos’ song will make your heart skip a beat. Many of the birds in our forest do not migrate, but their songs are silenced during the cold winter months.I like to believe they are saving up their vocal chord strength for their spring song, when the males are in full singing form to attract their mate! Since the Oregon junco does not leave our forest in the winter, they are the first species to declare that spring is near. When the days get longer, they know it is time to find a mate, so they open their throat and let their trilly-song come through, and each time I hear it, I cannot help but smile.
Image 2. Oregon …

Give Plants a Chance: Erosion and Giant Sequoias

What is Erosion? Erosion is the gradual degradation (breaking down) of rock and other natural material, by wind, water, gravity, and even animals. Erosion happens all around us on hillsides, the edges of riverbeds, beaches, and cliff walls. It is an entirely natural and necessary process; erosion is responsible for the dispersion and recycling of rocks and minerals into sediment, which enriches soil and provides opportunities for new life to emerge!

          However, human induced erosion is not natural, nor beneficial to our local environment. Scientists have estimated that global rates of erosion have increased 10-40 times its natural rate, due to human influence and activity. If you are looking for signs of human induced erosion, it is particularly obvious alongside walking trails in parks and forests.



Every year, our Sierra Outdoor School Naturalists take hundreds of of students on field trips to Calaveras Big Trees State Park, aptly named for the beautiful Giant Sequoia …

Meet a Naturalist - Badger

On our next installment of "Meet a Naturalist" we talk to Phil "Badger" to find out what he would do if he were given an elephant. Check out the video below!

Meet a Naturalist - Nova

Have you ever wondered what it's like to work at SOS? Get to know our Naturalists in a new monthly video series, entitled "Meet a Naturalist". Our first installment features Naturalist Maddie, "Nova". Check out the video below!