Companion media for Nevada County history and nature teachers.
Category: Contemporary Creek
This category encompasses articles about contemporary issues that surround the Deer Creek Watershed. From Nisenan community development progress to fires, dead tree hazards, and native plants to bear-proofing property, limiting the amount of fish one eats because of mercury contamination and understanding the factors that affect water quality.
We’re approaching mid-January, the time of year when the Following Deer Creek (FDC) Project first came into being (2017). Like the Earth circling around the Sun and the planetary water cycle, we’ve completed a journey.
I set out to tell the story of the Deer Creek watershed from its tectonic and cultural origins to the people and animals who live in it today. Working backward, I posted blog articles as I researched in preparation to compile the film.
In early January of 2021, the film was complete. Like the FDC blog posts, it’s a birds-eye view of the watershed that hints at depths.
I smile when I think back to the initial idea seed. Of course, there is no one story, there are more than can ever be told.
FDC and the Aerial Views film is a decent outline, but it also illustrates how much more remains for investigation and study.
Light: The algal cells that the fungi farm need light to photosynthesize. Lichen species have different light requirements. Some prefer full sun on rocks while others like shady, cooler subclimates. Brightness and coloring are also affected by light. Species adapted to hotter and brighter conditions are generally more colorful.
Nutrients: Lichen nutrients include; oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen. Lichens use cyanobacteria to “fix” nitrogen from the air which is then used to organic acids and proteins.
Substrate: Any non-moving object the lichen can hold onto – rocks, trees, soil, tombstones, houses, farm equipment, etc.
Types of Lichen
Foliose: Leafy lichens that use tiny rhizines to attach to substrate.
Folios lichen – Plitt’s Xanthoparmelia plitti, Lettuce lichen/Lobaria oregana & Rhizine Photo by Ed Uebel – NOTE: Lichens are not parasitic. They do not hurt trees.
Forage: Hair-like and hanging species that are eaten by animals and humans
Crustose: Lichens grow flat on their substrate surface
Fruticose: looks like a shrub, bush, or coral
Lichens have multiple reproduction methods. If they reproduce sexually (by way of fruiting bodies) they create spores. If they reproduce asexually, a powdery substance – soredia – is released. Both methods use, wind, water, and animals to transport the newbies.
MYTH: Lichen do not harm trees.
Other Lichen Uses & Users
Clothing, wound absorbent, diapers, model train shrubbery, and an ingredient in concrete, perfume, and deodorant. Some lichens are being studied as new sources of antibiotics and medicines.
Camouflage for; lizards, moths, tree frogs and other insects.
In the fall of 2019, Titus Davis of Lodestone Drone Productions, joined me to help tell more of the Deer Creek Watershed story. With his drone and special flying license, we met at several locations to film. Titus is a longtime Nevada County resident. Taking him hiking through the Black Swan Preserve was a pleasure because he enjoyed the new scenery and was thinking about other people he could share it with. The old Cotton Brothers bridge near Bitney Springs Road was another first.
As we went through the filming and set-up process and sorted out how to transfer data, he explained some of the intricacies of drone operation. He generously shares these below.
Drone Operation Considerations from Titus Davis:
[While filming the Cotton Brothers Bridge, the drone had a little difficulty staying on course. This was caused by…]
Ferromagnetism is a phenomenon that occurs in some metals, most notably iron, cobalt, and nickel, that over time causes the metal to become magnetic. This is a natural process that can be caused by electrolysis, which is part of the corrosion process. Ferromagnetism can also be increased by the earth’s magnetic field, vehicles passing over, vibration, etc.
Most drones used for photography have a sensitive compass to help orientate the drone, allowing it to fly in a straight line. The drone I use has two compasses to ensure it has an accurate reading on the earths magnetic field. If the iron bridge has a magnetic field that is different than the earths field, the compass will be affected. This effect can be seen when the drone has difficulty flying in a straight line near the bridge.
Another challenge to flying is the drone’s GPS system feature which helps stabilize it and hold a position in the wind. Anything that affects the GPS signals will cause the drone to drift. Flying near iron objects or under them can cause a loss of the GPS signal. This will cause the drone to drift and not accurately hold altitude.
Drone Filming Precautions
When we met at Lefty’s Grill (on a day the restaurant was closed) to film dusk over the creek and Nevada City, Titus had already communicated with Lefty’s management asking if it was OK to film there and notified the Nevada City Police Department. (If they received calls from concerned citizens, they’d already know what was going on.)
When we were at the turtle ponds on the Black Swan Preserve, he was watching for hunting birds after explaining that birds of prey sometimes attack drones. (Drone color may affect bird attraction.)
Davis Drone Footage to Appear in Deer Creek Flyover Film
Lisa is currently producing a flyover film she plans to submit to the 2021 SYRCL Wild and Scenic Film Festival. It’s taken a year to collect the footage for the project; Davis’s drone footage will highlight key features along Deer Creek.
*Fortunately, we had no attack bird skirmishes, but after we were done, I had to research what a confrontation would have looked like. See the video below.
“NEVADA CITY, CAL – Cotton Bros. & Co, Oakland, CAL were awarded a contract April 14 by the county supervisors for constructing the following bridges; steel bridge over Deer Creek, $2,248.” – Engineering News and American Railway Journal, Volume 39, April 28, 1898, pg. 145
“The Cotton Brothers and Company was an important California based bridge builder of metal truss bridges in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. They built several bridges in Nevada County during the 1890’s, including the Purdon Bridge.” – Historic American Building Survey, National Park Service – Wolf Creek Bridge PDF
It’s a display of traditional art pieces, and digital designs printed on clothing and housewares accompanied by QR codes linking to web pages for each subject.
When planning for a multimedia show, the producer must ensure visitors understand how to use technology to get the most out of it.
In this case, QR codes are posted along with each type of media on display. To read a QR code, a smartphone camera optically analyzes the black and white square shape, then directly links to the web page where additional information, along with curated documentaries await the curious.
A variety of phone apps will accomplish similar things, for example, QR Readers, and Bar Code Scanners both use the phone camera to analyze a QR (Quick Response) and bar codes. Because Google Lens performs those functions AND identifies plants and animals, translates foreign languages, serves up book information, and a variety of other services, it’s Lisa’s top choice for scanning apps.
By expanding capabilities of devices we already use on a daily basis (the phone camera), Google is soft teaching us to use artificial intelligence (machine learning) and augmented reality.
“It’s quite fun!” says Redfern. “It’s not always exact, but it’s close enough to be interesting.”
Practice Using New Technology Before the Show
As Lisa was testing the user instructions she plans to display at the show, several test subjects requested that she post tutorials on the blog so new users have time to practice before March 4th.