Right now there are 1000 goats on Fort Ord. BLM brings them in order to reduce fuel loads for potential fires, as well as to cut back on coyote brush that encroaches on coastal grasslands. They are hilarious animals – they climb on top of each other trying to get to higher branches, flutter their mouths as they reach for food, and complain at you with a chorus of goat meeeeehhh‘s if you call out to them. Being in the midst of 1,000 of them is awesome.
Last week I helped out Ranger Tammy with a few of her puppet shows that she gives at local elementary schools. This particular puppet show was to teach the students about fire ecology. It was a bit of a flashback being inside an elementary school classroom/gym again. I realized that I haven’t been since I was in 5th grade, and it brought back some old memories.
Every Wednesday we have students from the local Community Day School come volunteer at Fort Ord. The community day school is a school for students who have been expelled from other schools or who have problems with truancy or behavior – a lot of them have a ton of energy and have never been out in a wild place like Fort Ord before. One day we were pulling up non native mustard when we found a baby gopher snake and an ornate orb-weaver spider.
At one of our trailheads we had an eagle scout project plant a bunch of native plants a few months ago. I’ve been weeding and maintaining those landscaped areas, and one day while weeding I came across an arboreal salamander.
Sean Pagnon, BLM Fort Ord National Monument, CA