Celebrating Earth

Black bears in California come in a variety of shades including brown and cinnamon. In the wild bears eat mostly grasses, roots, berries and insects. But once they become habituated to human food, the allure of trail mix and energy bars becomes too much.
Black bears in California come in a variety of shades including brown and cinnamon. In the wild bears eat mostly grasses, roots, berries and insects. But once they become habituated to human food, the allure of trail mix and energy bars becomes too much. Special to The Bee

Yosemite National Park will celebrate Earth Day, National Junior Ranger Day, Park Rx Day, and National Park Week on Saturday, April 22. There will be booths and activities for all ages located outside on the Yosemite Village Mall, near the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center.

Visitors are invited to join Park Rangers and park partners in the exploration on how Yosemite is working to protect and preserve natural and cultural resources. Event activities include fun and educational activity booths, an opportunity to join a volunteer project, art activities for all ages, Ranger-guided Junior Ranger walks, and musical and theatrical performances on stage in front of the Valley Visitor Center.

Activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., include junior ranger walks., volunteer litter clean-up projects, music with Ranger Kate, and a youth photo walk, all meeting near the stage.

On April 22 and 23, the park will partner with UC Merced for four very special performances of an original play, “Shakespeare in Yosemite.” For details, visit http://www.ucmerced.edu/Shakespeare.

The Walk in the Park with the Doc and Nurses is 9-11 a.m., April 23 in observance of National Park Rx Day. Everyone can join in on a free, fun, family-friendly and health-focused walk in Yosemite Valley.

Because this weekend will be very busy, visitors are encouraged to plan their trips in advance and arrive to the park before 9 a.m., as parking areas throughout the park are expected to fill early. Visitor parking will be available at the Yosemite Falls Day Parking Area, located near Yosemite Lodge and Camp 4, and at Half Dome Village. Visitors are encouraged to park and utilize the free park shuttle to get to the Yosemite Valley Village and Visitor Center.

All Earth Day activities are free and open to all, and all park entrance fees will be waived April 22-23 in honor of National Park Week.

Earth Day at Oakhurst Feed

Oakhurst Feed and Pet Supply will host its eighth annual Earth Day celebration, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Friday, April 21.

“It’s essential to teach children about conservation during their formative years,” Oakhurst Feed & Pet Supply owner Colette Goga said. “I’d love to see the next generation improve the health and well being of this earth, and all the creatures living within it. The best way to assure that kind of care for our planet in the future is to teach children early.”

The Earth Day idea came about following a 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara. Each year, the momentum has grown, and today, more than one billion people in 190 countries do their part to promote a healthy, sustainable environment.

A number of booths will provide a large variety of environmental information.

Humans and pets of all ages are invited to attend this free educational event. Oakhurst Feed & Pet Supply is located at 40119 Enterprise Drive.

Details: (559) 683-7977.

March for Science in Yosemite Saturday

Also on Saturday, scientists and supporters of science will gather in Washington D.C. and over 500 cities across the United States and the world, including the March for Science-Yosemite, a nonpartisan event dedicated to supporting science and scientists.

“A goal of the march is to highlight the need to make science and democracy work well together,” said LothLorien Stewart, one of the organizers of the event. “Evidence based scientific research should inform policy making decisions on all levels of government. Science is essential in our everyday lives. It keeps us safer, helps us live longer, and protects our planet.”

The March will begin with an informational table on Earth Day from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. in front of the Visitor’s Center in Yosemite Village. At 1 p.m. the march begins from the area in front of the Visitor’s Center to Sentinel Bridge parking lot and back, and at 1:45 p.m., the marchers will gather together to hear presentations from nine area scientists and science supporters at the amphitheater in front of the Indian Museum in Yosemite Village.

Professor LeRoy Westerling of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute, UC Merced, will discuss Climate Change in Yosemite. Analyst Liz van Wagtendonk will give a talk titled, “Our Sierra Nevada Forests, a View From Above.”

Keep Bears Wild

Yosemite National Park and Yosemite Conservancy has launched KeepBearsWild.org, a new website to protect the park’s iconic black bears. The website features the National Park Service’s first online bear tracker, information on ways for the public to help save bears, and eye-opening photography and videos not before available to the public.

KeepBearsWild.org is an important way to raise awareness, appreciation and respect for Yosemite’s beloved black bears,” said Chip Jenkins, acting superintendent of the park. “Our message is simple, everyone can keep bears wild by driving slowly, storing food properly and staying at a safe distance when you see them.”

YNP is home to between 300 and 500 American black bears. The average female bear weighs 150 pounds and males often exceed 300 pounds. The average lifespan is 18 years in the wild. Black bears naturally avoid humans, but when they learn to associate food with people, that behavior can change quickly, which is why vigilance and proper food storage are so important.

Visitors can learn how to do their part to prevent bears from becoming food conditioned by properly using provided lockers or allowed wilderness food-storage containers to keep bears wild. In addition, the new website provides a call to action for visitors to properly observe bears, informs on appropriate actions to take if you see a bear and where to report bear sightings, and provides insight into the bear management program and fun facts about Yosemite’s bears.