Spent the last two days listening to scientists and researchers presenting their work and wisdom during the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Science Symposium at St Anthony Retreat here in Three Rivers. I came away with immense gratitude for these people who are tracking, observing and learning about what is happening in our local national parks and the sierra nevada mountains (and the whole planet that is warming up very quickly).
I learned about meadows that were grazed by thousands of sheep 100+ years ago, about frogs that are being killed off by a fungus that made its way up the mountain ranges of South America, passing through Central America and now in our mountains (some of these frogs have been sent to the “froggy hospital” at a Bay Area zoo for fungal treatments and then they are released back from whence they came), about caves that are being protected and cared for because of their unique biodiversity (these are very big caves, just one of the over 200+ caves in SequoiaNP has 21 miles of passageways) and bats and snakes and birds who live in high places and how standing dead trees do not mean what you think they do and fire is needed and challenged more than ever now…and much more which I will share in coming days.
It’s not just the science or the fact-gathering, it’s the “what’s next?” part that intrigued me the most. My mind expanded just when I thought I knew it all. No, that’s not exactly true, I know I don’t really know it all. My mind changed about what I thought was happening, even in my own yard of desolate plants with no rain, vole invasions for the first time in 40 years, deer pruning of my jade trees and plants I thought they did not like and now I plan to take another look at everything, starting tomorrow….
meadow in Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park, photo © Elsah Cort