- Ambassador: May 30-31, 2015
- Herbarium Creation and Natural History Exploration
- Sequoia National Forest: Princess Campground and Boyden Cavern
Students from Generation Green Central California Consortium came up to their local national forest in order to learn more about the flora and start creating a club herbarium for future students to use in their studies.
Almost all of the alumni from this year's Generation Green Central California Consortium WildLink crew came back together for a weekend exploration in Sequoia National Forest. After a short drive from home in Reedley and Orange Cove, the group set up camp, then went on naturalist hike with Forest Pathologist Martin. Martin taught the group how to identify many of the local trees and parasites as they walked around the campground. Some of them they learned by their needles and bark, while others required careful examination and browsing through the John Muir Laws Guide to the Sierra Nevada.
"In this trip I learned how to distinguish between the different types of trees and how the harmful effects of fungi, bacteria, and parasites affect the forest."
After lunch, the group learned how to create an herbarium, including techniques for plant pressing, and the uses of an herbarium, including climate change studies, species identification, and to serve as a "plant dictionary" for future users. They then went on a longer walk around a historic grove of giant sequoias and a meadow and each student collected a sample or two, identified them by scientific and common name on a card, and used Martin's plant press to preserve the sample. Once the samples are dry, Martin will organize them and send them back to the club for future use with students exploring the Sierra!
That evening, the group sat around the campfire, where they grilled hot dogs and made s'mores. An evening stargazing stroll was the perfect end to a lovely day of exploration.
The next morning, the group woke up and headed down into the Kings River canyon to explore Boyden Cavern. Many of the students had never been in a cave and they all found great delight in the extensive stalactites and stalagmites found inside. The guided tour discussed the geology of the cave's formation and included the option of an "adventure route" through the cave's (dry) creek bottom to exit. Needless to say, all the students took the adventure route!
When it was all done, the students expressed that they did not really want to go home. They lingered on rocks overlooking the Kings River, taking photos and basking in the sunlight. Lucky for them, the Kings River goes right by their homes in Reedley and Orange Cove!
In the words of Paola, "Honestly it doesn't get better than this. I mean, when can I go out outside and sleep under the stars out in the city? The experiences out here with my group are priceless to me and will be kept in my heart."