Monday, May 4, 2009

Park Cleanup and a nice surprise

Had plans this past weekend to pick up litter with some cub scouts, despite the forecasted rain. Expected to spend a dull hour in the rain picking up muddy cigarette butts with a grumbling child (bribe in place before arrival). Instead, the gray clouds cleared and we had a mild day with sunshine peeking through the clouds. The park was in good condition, so there was not much litter to pick up, except for teensy tiny wrappers under the picnic tables. We found more by the roadside, and after 40 minutes of exploring and combing the area, we had a couple of bags worth, including a fishing rod--and a dead turtle.

Mostly, the kids were able to explore the fields and pond--showing each other the baby turtles, ducks, and one Stellars Bluejay. Our gracious guide gave a complete educational program--a delightful surprise! A presentation he normally does for class field trips of 40 schoolchildren at a time was very cozy with 5 children and 4 adults.

We walked to a nearby pond, and learned all the turtles inhabiting it were actually abandoned pets, who often bring microbes with them that kill off the previous inhabitants. We also saw a fountain that is believed to have been dug by Santa Teresa herself to save the Ohlone Indian children from an unknown illness. It still flows today, and devout Catholics occasionally come to be cured.

After the conservation duty was completed, we were treated to a short film about Indian creation lore, when Coyote stole fire from Turtle and brought it back to Man. (One of the moms thought this sounded like a Pokemon battle--got us all giggling).

The boys practiced roping a wooden bull, and learned about early colonial rancho life. We saw the 4H hen project. The adults were more taken aback than the boys when the ultimate fate of the chickens as drumsticks, nuggets, and down comforters were discussed. And our guide showed how much of the structures around the park had been built by Boy Scouts as part of their Eagle service project. The Cubs were appropriately impressed.

Quite a delightful outing--much better than the dreary duty we were expecting. And way less exciting than the camping trip that DH and Teddy went on over the weekend. More on that in a few days when I have more time to write.

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