Thursday, June 25, 2009

Newly Restored Historic Ranger Station Opens for July 4 Weekend

Imagine helping to manage a half-million acres of U.S. Forest Service land.
That’s what Les Joslin did, starting back in 1962. Now he's a Museum volunteer and helped to move the station here.
Lovingly restored and furnished to look as it did in the 1940s, it will be at the center of telling the story of America’s national forests, their role in western American life and the policies that shaped the High Desert forests of today.
The Ranger Station opens on July 1, the culmination of five years of efforts to save the station. The Museum moved the station here from 550 miles away in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.
This station and its stories will be brought to life as U.S. Forest Service retirees, the "OldSmokeys" of the agency's Pacific Northwest Region, will be on the here throughout the summer, talking with visitors about wildfire prevention and the evolving roles of the Forest Service.
Joslin said his time at the station shaped his personal conviction for caring for the land and serving people. He will be at the station, talking with visitors July 1 - 4 and throughout the summer.
“Those five Toiyabe patrol summers stand out as one of the great adventures of my life,” Joslin said.
Museum Curator Bob Boyd said, “Across half a century, this station served as a base for Forest Service work ranging from managing bands of desert mustangs and grazing allotments for cattle ranches to creating and servicing campgrounds and recreation sites.”

Come visit and learn about the life of a Forest Service ranger!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Egg Watch is on!

The whole Museum family is anxiously awaiting the outcome of our spotted owls' latest clutch (batch of eggs). Dot is staying in her nest while Polka, the loving father, brings her mice and stands watch.

We don't yet know if these eggs will hatch into chicks. To not disturb the pair, we have set up a camera focused on Dot in her nest and are checking it on a regular basis. We are hoping for good news to share soon!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"I lost half my body weight!"

As told by Bonnie Badger


When we last checked in with Bonnie, she was a bit zaftig, tipping the scales at her winter weight of 23+ pounds. The summer show season was coming up, and she could barely fit into her skinny harness. What's a mustelid to do?

Seen today, she's a svelte 14 pounds and is looking sleek and toned. Or at least less like an ottoman with claws.

How did she do it? Let's hear her describe the process:

"I emerged from my winter torpor and got more active. I actually ate more than I did all winter and I still lost the weight! I kept to a steady diet of fruits and vegetables, raw meat for protein and dead mice for variety. The pounds just melted away!"

"I upped my digging regimen with daily workouts with my trainers. If I can do it, anyone can!"

Let's hear it for Bonnie and her fabulous new figure. She's showing it off daily at the Desert Dwellers programs at the High Desert Museum.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Our latest arrivals

One live, two in ovo (i.e.: eggs!).

Our two northern spotted owls, Polka and Dot, are sitting on two new eggs, after just saying goodbye to their grown-up chicks from last year. We’ll find out if these eggs will produce chicks by early July. Our birds are the only spotted owls in America that have bred in captivity. Fingers (and talons) crossed!

We just received a very young barn owlet, too. This owlet was born in captivity and depends on people for food, so can't be released in the wild.

It is growing rapidly and has already changed dramatically over the last few weeks. We don’t yet know if we have a boy or girl – when his/her feathers grow in, we will send them for DNA testing. Right now the little guy/gal is in quarantine, but will be available to appear in visitor programs later this summer.

Here are some more wonderful shots from Tauna, one of our wildlife trainers.

"Who dat?"

The awkward tween stage

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Gearing up for summer

Though the first week of June has been relatively quiet, you can feel the excitement in the air here as we prepare for the summer season. Our attendance more than doubles starting this weekend. Kids are out of school, families are on vacation, and everyone wants to visit the High Desert Museum.

Our summer lineup includes live animal programs, pioneer activities, our new Bats and Quilts exhibits, bluegrass music, Civil War soldiers and more. Come on by! We're ready for you.