Wild displays at native species festival | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Wild displays at native species festival

Isaac Brambila
An American black bear skin and skull are displayed at a California Fish and Wildlife booth, where agents offered information about sharing the wilderness with animals. Some of the information focused on bear-safe camping practices, such as keeping food locked away.
Isaac Brambila/Tahoe Daily Tribune |

There was a muscular frog swimming in an aquarium, coyote and bear skulls resting on tables, beaver woodchips, weasels, clams shells and cigarette butts in jars, all part of the sixth annual Native Species Festival on Saturday at Taylor Creek Visitor Center.

Vacationers and locals had the opportunity to learn about native and invasive species Saturday at a festival that included tours, informational booths and some activities for children. Several local organizations offered information about many of the basin’s native and non-native species and their (sometimes competitive) coexistence. Additionally, they learned about lake clarity, environmentally safe practices and beach and trail cleanup.

Most agencies and organizations enhanced their lectures with engaging visuals such as animals preserved by taxidermists, real animals, plant samples, microscopic species, samples of animal work, such as woodwork by beavers, and board displays.

The displays included beavers, coyotes, black bears, fish, frogs, weasels, plants and other critters.

The festival also included activities such as guided walks led by field professionals to learn about local trees and wildlife, a free training on how to identify and remove invasive plants, sponsored by the League to Save Lake Tahoe, and a guided nature walk for dog owners hosted by the Lake Tahoe Humane Society.

One initiative not always thought about, was the effort highlighted by Eyes on the Lake to maintain non-motorized watercrafts in an effort to keep harmful invasive species such as the quagga mussel out of Lake Tahoe.

Because non-motorized watercrafts are not required to be inspected, Eyes on the Lake advocates self-inspection. They recommend owners clean their watercrafts thoroughly with clean water and remove all dirt, plants and other material. The watercraft should then be completely drained and be completely dry before being introduced to a different water system. For more information about how to self-inspect watercraft, visit TahoeKeepers.org.

In all, the event included efforts by California Conservation Corps, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California State Parks, Full Circle Compost, Generation Green, Lahontan National Fish Hatchery, Lake Tahoe Humane Society, Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, League to Save Lake Tahoe, Sierra Wildlife Coalition, Sugar Pine Foundation, Tahoe Expedition Academy, Tahoe Institute for Natural Sciences, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Tahoe Resource Conservation District, UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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