It was a standing-room only event on February 3rd at Castoro Cellars. The sounds of Miss Leo’s Trio filled the beautiful event space, setting the tone for the fun and informative evening that was about to unfold.
The talented Brittany App facilitated the evening, skillfully bouncing between roles as the MC and the event photographer. The first speaker was Michael Khus, a long-time member of the Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation. He opened the evening with a blessing and sharing of the Beaver Song. He shared the understanding that beaver were traditionally from this area, and were observed by the Chumash peoples. “Where do I put this stick”, were the words shared with us that evening in the Beaver Song, and was clearly the result of hours of observation of beaver in its native habitat.
Next up, Dr. Emily Fairfax shared her latest research on fire, mega-fire and beaver habitat. She broke it down, in scientific terms and layman terms, exactly how beneficial beaver habitat, especially well-established beaver habitat, can be during wildfires.
Finally, the restoration specialists shared their experiences implementing low-tech, process-based restoration to creeks and streams in Northern California. Nick Hatalski began the restoration presentation sharing his experiences installing BDA’s (human-made beaver dams) in Northern California as part of the Swift Water Design team. Then Kevin Swift, of Swift Water Design and a mentor of both Hatalski and Lienhart, shared his vast experience re-wetting abandoned stream beds, bringing life back to dehydrated areas in Northern California. The story of Tasmam Koyom, and the eventual recent return of the beaver to that well-prepared meadow had everyone leaning forward on their seats imagining what this restoration could mean to the creeks and rivers here in SLO County. And Cooper Lienhart of the SLO Beaver Brigade finished up the evening sharing the story of how the SLO Beaver Brigade came to be and our future plans.
It was an incredibly successful evening, the first of many for the SLO Beaver Brigade. We want to thank all of you for coming out and making this evening a great success! A big shout of thanks to: Brittany App, Miss Leo’s Trio, The Carlton Hotel, Castoro Cellars, Joebella’s Coffee, The Santa Barbara Permaculture Network, our College Corp Volunteers, Tableware Share, and so many more!
You won’t want to miss our next event, April 1st at the SLO Mission Plaza: The First SLO County Beaver Festival! Stay tuned by getting on our emailing list here.
photos by Brittany App