Incense Cedar, the Pencil Tree

A burned, sometimes smoldering,  Incense Cedar tree is one of the few places the Cedar Wood Wasp, lays its eggs. This insect is the only living species of its family, making it a ‘living fossil.’ Cedar is commonly used for building and fencing materials. Because the wood is pliable for gripping and resists splintering, it may be best known for its … Read More

Raccoon – Puzzler & Mastermind

Origin & Name Raccoons evolved around water sources. People observing them gave them names describing their ‘washing’ behavior. Scientific name – Procyon lotor means “before-dog washer” in Latin Aztecs – Mapachitli – “one who takes everything in its hands” Chinese – Orsetto lavatore “little-bear washing” Garman – Waschbär – “wash-bear” Italian – Araiguma – “washing-bear” Algonquian / Powhatan Indian – … Read More

North American Beaver – Water Banker

History In 1805, Lewis and Clark saw beaver dams “extending as far up those streams as [we] could discover them.” Even before the famous explorers, French trappers and traders were drawn to the land teeming with beaver. The beaver is North America’s largest rodent. Its pelt is waterproof and has a double layer of insulation making it highly desirable for human … Read More

American River Watershed & Lake Tahoe

Most rivers in California have been changed by mining, water control, and the introduction of new species. Professor Erika Zavaleta of UC Santa Cruz explains the history and biology of California’s watersheds. She also presents current watershed management issues.

Tree Mortality & Falling Hazards

Dead and dying trees in the Tahoe National Forest and Nevada County is a fact of contemporary life. Being aware of hazards that dead trees cause and hyperconscious of fire starting activities will help keep families and neighbors safer.   From 66 million dead trees in 2010 to 129 million in 2017, the State of California is losing trees at a … Read More