Archive for April, 2016


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Our group of Mt Modonna Students were thrilled to learn about the California Sea Hare during our kayaking field trip to Elkhorn Slough. Sea hares, a large marine slug can emit a midly toxic purple dye as a defense. Slow moving grazers, they are simultaneous hermaphrodites and are sometimes found in large mating masses known as daisy chains or roman circles

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We also found the gelantious Ctenphore or comb jelly which empowers sicky cells rather than  stinging cells like the true sea jellies (cnidarians) employ. IMG_0692

Mt Modonna’s Pal program matches a senior as a role model with a 3rd grader during adventures throughout the school year. Super cool and highly effective concept.

Teachers, join us on a naturalist-led field trip with bluewaterventures.org. We love our outdoor classroom!

Orcas of Monterey Bay

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Orcas of Monterey Bay…..Finally after many years of searching, we found Orcas! 32 women on our private Blue Water Ventures charter with Sanctuary Cruises got to witness an unbelievable show! Several pods of Orcas, also known as killer whales had converged together south of Moss Landing.

Thanks to the amazing crew at http://www.sanctuarycruises based in Moss Landing. Join our next adventure in search of sea otter pups and baby gray whales next weekend at http://www.bluewaterventures.org!

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What a stellar day we had viewing the Elephant Seals of Ano Nuevo and tidepooling at Davenport Landing! A great group of women from Betty’s List teamed up with Blue Water Ventures for an incredible day.

IMG_0656Mature female elephant seals and juvenilles are returning to the beaches of Ano Nuevo for a catastrophic molt, where patches of both skin and hair flake off their bodies. A shiny new gray coat is revealed.

 

 

 

Juvenille males are around testing their battling skills in the shallows and a few weaned pups or “weaners” remain on the beaches.

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April is truly an outstanding time to hike Ano Nuevo, teachers please join us with your students!

Our day ended with a juvenille gray whale breaching just past the surfers at Davenport Landing.

Check out our next naturalist-led adventure with http://www.bluewaterventures.org!

Baby Spider Eyes Aglow!
Over a thirty year career of night hikes through the jungles of Tropical America, I have seen some really strange and fascinating creatures. I was first introduced to tropical ecology  while working as a naturalist with an incredible outdoor school and crew at Wilderness Southeast based in Savannah, Georgia.

On our last evening at Glover’s Atoll, I noticed the eyes of a wolf spider glowing back at me, something we had already shared with our  22 students  from Our  Lady of Good Counsel High School, Baltimore.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wolf spider eyes contain a tapetum lucidum, a reflective layer that increases the available light aiding them in their stealthy hunting practices. Years ago, I learned the “naturalist trick” of instructing students to place their flashlight on their foreheads, find an emerald green glow in the grass and follow it to the source…indeed spider eyes!  This night activity was often a crowd pleaser though would send others quickly to their tents! Version 2

That last evening I happened to glance at a wolf spider but noticed that it’s entire back was sparkling with tiny little emeralds. At first glance I thought I had discovered a new species. A closer examination revealed that the tiny sparkles were the eyes of  baby spiders clinging to their mother’s abdomen. Creepy and cool….100’s of eyes shimmering back at us!
An unforgettable moment during our naturalist- led adventure to Belize with http://www.bluewaterventures.org