Sherryl Clendenen (top left) tells Supervisor Ray Watson (seated, left) and about 80 guests of the Wind Wolves mission to ?Preserve, Protect and Educate.? Juventino Ramos (top right) holds an elk antler award given to him as an outstanding young naturalist. Three of Clendenen?s enthusiastic team of nature teachers (bottom right, l-r): Bailey Christenson,Page O?Mara and Willie Mosley,all of Bakersfield. Mountain View Middle school students (bottom left) look for brightly-colored frogs in a Wind Wolves pond.
Report and Photos by Patric Hedlund
Mists and mysteries surrounded those who joined Wind Wolves Preserve Saturday, Oct. 13 to celebrate the life-changing transformations that being close to Nature can bring.
Over 10 years, 100,000 students have come here. Twelve years ago, the 97,000 acres of this wilderness on the northern side of the San Emigdio mountains was scheduled to be covered by 30,000 houses. Now, five days a week, nine months a year, school kids come to learn about ecology, conservation, the water cycle, insects and Native American lifeways. They see wild Tule Elk and tarantulas, five species of snakes and golden eagles, sometimes they even catch a glimpse of a rare California condor.
"’Behold the Beauty’ is our motto," David Meyers, Executive Director of the Wildlands Conservancy, said. "Having Nature as a guide helps children know love and wonder, to know what dreams for the future can be…Kids like me were lucky enough to grow up in nature, to catch butterflies and pollywogs and learn something about metamorphosis. We believe humans can change too. We are making a difference."
Juventino "Tino" Ramos from Lamont’s Mountain View Middle School was honored as a Junior Naturalist. "I want to go to college to study ecology, and animals and nature," he told the crowd.
Sherryl Clendenen is responsible for coordinating the program that made the accomplishment possible. "They talk about random acts of kindness…But here it is hundreds of intentional acts of kindness every day. Working here is a way of remembering all the acts of kindness and learning in nature that I’ve experienced as a child. It is important to keep coming back to the land. It is a great circle. Being able to share the beauty here is a way to say ‘Thank You.’
Kern County Supervisor Ray Watson congratulated the group: "This is a big challenge for a private sector organization. It has been beautifully done. Congratulations for all you have done for the students."
This is part of the October 19, 2007 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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