The fourth annual California Wildlife Day took place on March 19th on a rainy day during the spring equinox. The event was hosted by the Carmel River Watershed Conservancy (CRWC) in partnership with the Monterey Peninsula Regional Parks District. The theme for the event was Connecting Communities: Wildlife and Watersheds, focusing on our stewardship of the land and how it affects the natural resources throughout California. This year’s event was held in a hybrid format, with the morning sessions taking place online and the afternoon events occurring in person at Garland Ranch Regional Park. The online speakers featured co-founder Lorin Letendre and former State Senator Bill Monning, followed by an Ohlone Rumsen blessing, and three panels to discuss wildlife, fire safe communities, and water resources. For a recording, please visit the Carmel River Watershed YouTube Channel.
The afternoon sessions at Garland Ranch Regional Park began with a blessing led by Stephen Arevalo, a member of the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County. While rain fell, hands-on activities hosted by community partners and local student artwork were showcased in the Visitors’ Center. Antionio Balesteri and his birds of prey were a favorite of children and adults alike. Guests also participated in guided walks through Garland Ranch led by field experts. One of the walks called Nehi Mata, “Earth Walk,” was led by the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County and took visitors through the forest and alluvial plain to an ancient stone that indigenous peoples used for grinding acorns. At the native plant garden, the Ohlone Sisters, Carla Marie and Desiree Munoz, presented traditional songs and storytelling from the Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe.
CRWC is grateful to all of its partners and guests, in person and through our virtual community, who made this year’s California Wildlife Day such a special event.