What a week here at Pathfinder Ranch! The rain came down hard this week, but that didn’t stop us from having a blast! The kids threw on ponchos and loved playing games and even hiking in the rain. Our students got to spend some great one on one time with the horses including feeding, grooming, and saddling on their own! We also got to take advantage of our great Nature Center, where Gwar the ball python got lots of love from excited kids.
Although the rain makes it a little more difficult to get outside and play, we all breathed a sigh of relief knowing that we are finally getting some much needed rain here in California. The below average precipitation over the past decade has led to some serious situations such as drinking water shortages, salmon habitat destruction, farm shut downs, and increased prices for crops and livestock. A study on tree rings recently discovered that we are in the worst drought that California has experienced for 1200 years!
So, when we get a good rain storm like this, does that mean the drought is over?? Unfortunately not… Though our washes are full of rain water, and our trees are sucking up moisture for now, we must still remain aware of water conservation! Keep those showers short, and don’t forget to turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth. At home you can also save water by washing only full loads of laundry, not washing cars as often, watering plants early or later in the day, and using drip system irrigation for gardens and plants. Think of other ways you can help save water! Here at Pathfinder, our leftover drinking water from meals is used to mop the floor, we are limited to 3 minute showers, and all of our unused water from hikes goes to our garden and farm animals! There are lots of ways that you can continue helping out with water conservation at home and at school. And of course, it never hurts to do a little rain dance…
Hello there! Just like the recent weather changes from hail flurries one week to highs in the 70s the next, Pathfinder Ranch has also been constantly changing with new additions and improvements happening every day.
One of the additions that we are most excited about is our brand new climbing wall structure and zip line! The climbing wall structure has been getting lots of use from our school groups. The students love trying the new routes and obstacles on the different walls. There are now three sides that have been named after places here in California that our Naturalists like to hike and/or rock climb– Taquitz, Joshua Tree, and Yosemite.
Along with the climbing wall we have added two new zip lines! Although the zip lines are not ready for this spring’s school groups, we are planning on having them ready for Adventure Camp (June 23-28) this summer. Come and join us for six days of climbing, hiking, explorations, and other fun adventures. Don’t forget about our summer camp (spots are filling quickly so email or call our office for openings), and the fun we’ll be having with all of these amazing additions!
We also have a new living addition, Cleopatra (Albino Kingsnake), to our Nature Center. She is doing well adjusting to her new home. She is still very young and is getting used to all of the love the Naturalists are giving her. We can’t get enough of little Cleo!
We have our fingers crossed that turkey chicks will hatch and add to our flock at the farm! Our mama turkey, Jenny, is currently sitting on the eggs she laid. The eggs are slightly larger than chicken eggs, are brown in color and have dark brown specks. Stay tuned via Facebook and our blog to see if the eggs hatch into cute baby turkey chicks!
Hope spring finds all of you well and excited for summer!
See you down the trail,
Pathfinder Ranch Naturalists
Things were busy here at the Ranch before our season ended in the middle of December! We’ve had a lot of schools visit us over this past fall (about 20 in total). Thank you to all of our fall schools. What a great season! We’ve enjoyed the holidays with family and friends, cooking delicious foods, and building fires to keep us warm on cold nights. Even some of the animals at the Ranch have had the holiday spirit. Take a look!
When they aren’t playing with the animals and teaching classes, the Naturalists at the Ranch have been hard at work this season designing new programs that can fit into our classes! One of the newest additions is an indoor planetarium that will soon be used during our Astronomy evening program! Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate the way we wish it would, so on rainy or cloudy nights we can potentially use this to help students see constellations and stars in our night sky!
Once inside we can project pictures of different constellations, stars and planets that we talk about during astronomy!
If you’re interested in building one of your own or seeing how it works, here is the website: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/education/videos/playVideo.cfm?videoID=28
Hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful time of year! Besides the current week of oddly warm temperatures, it has definitely gotten colder and colder here. So, why not warm up with this delicious hot chocolate recipe?!
Slow Cooker Deluxe Hot Chocolate
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 (6-oz.) pkg. (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
2 quarts (8 cups) milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
Miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Peppermint candy sticks
Assorted liqueurs and flavored syrups
Chocolate cookie crumbs
Happy Holidays and See You Down the Trail,
Pathfinder Ranch Outdoor Education Staff
The springtime sunshine and rain showers have helped our plants and grass grow tall and green. The animals (and Naturalists) have many tasty greens to eat from the garden!
The horses have been enjoying their lush, green pasture to nibble on. Lucas, one of our older horses, has his own special “snack bar,” next to to feeding troughs.
In the Nature Center, the snakes have been shedding their scales and the box turtles have been busy nibbling on their lettuce leaves. Kelso, our Desert Tortiose, has been splashing around in his Vitamin C bath after munching on his leafy greens!
We’ve been having an incredible time at Pathfinder Ranch! With our 7 inches of snow, some students created some snow herps (like snowmen but in the shapes of turtles, lizards, and other reptiles/amphibians) before meeting our very own reptiles in the Nature Center! Here is one of our ball python friends, Gwar, and Dandelion. Some snakes have special organs called heat pits along their lips to sense body heat. Gwar uses his heat pits to hunt his warm-blooded (endothermic) prey, which are usually rats.
If you’re interested in learning more about reptiles like Gwar you can ask your family to subscribe to Reptile Times’ FREE online magazine! Fun facts about Reptiles will be sent to your parent/guardian’s email. Check out their webpage: www.TheReptileTimes.com
Birds Galore! We’ve been hearing some acorn woodpeckers pecking away at our tall jeffrey pine trees (they are the ones that smell like butterscotch or chocolate!). One of our new naturalists, Hummingbird, snapped a great photo of one in the forest.
Spring is in the air, two male western bluebirds have been fighting over a female by the climbing wall lately. They are beautiful blue-colored birds that hop from the ground to low perches. We will have to start looking out for nests!
Not only is spring in the air, but summer is looming on the horizon. Do you have summer plans? Check out our Summer Camp! There are still openings from July 22 to August 17, 2013. Summer Camp is only $325 per student for the whole week of hiking, canoeing, yummy food, sleeping in cabins, and having a blast with friends, new and old!
Call to sign up or find out more details: 951.659.2455