Seminar on giant sequoias planned at Calaveras Big Trees State Park

06/04/2014 6:21 PM

06/05/2014 12:16 AM

A seminar on the giant sequoia trees will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at Jack Knight Hall in the state park.

Steve Stocking, a volunteer at Big Trees who served for 10 years as an interpreter with the National Park Service, will talk about the giant trees, which grow only in groves on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada.

Stocking recently revised his book, “The Giant Sequoia of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.” He is a botanist and board member of the Calaveras Big Trees Association and is active in the local Native Plant Society.

The state park was where the giant trees, the largest known living things on the planet, were discovered in 1852. For the next 80 years, the area was a major tourist attraction, drawing visitors from all over the world. With the help of donated money, the North Grove – with about 100 giant trees – became a state park in the 1930s.

Calaveras Big Trees Association seminars are free and offered as part of the nonprofit association’s mission to support educational and interpretive programs at the park. There is a vehicle day-use fee for entry into Big Trees.

Saturday’s program is the third in a series being held this year. The first two focused on birds and John Muir’s legacy, and the final two will be about bats and bees:

• Sept. 20 – “Going Batty,” presented by Dave Johnston. Johnston is an associate wildlife ecologist at H.T. Harvey & Associates and a board member of the North American Society for Bat Research. He has spent more than 20 years investigating impacts to bat populations from post-construction wind and solar energy projects, urbanization and transportation issues. He is the lead author of “California Bat Mitigation Techniques, Solutions and Effectiveness” for the state of California and has ongoing bat projects in Hawaii, California, Belize and Mexico. After the lecture, he will lead the audience into the field to mist net and observe bats in the wild.
• Oct. 4 – “Conservation of Native Bees,” presented by Julie Serences. Native bees are the most important group of pollinators of native plants. Serences is a professional educator with more than 25 years of experience teaching learners from preschool to adult, and is on the Xerces Society staff as a volunteer consultant for pollinator conservation.

All seminars will be held in Jack Knight Hall at Calaveras Big Trees State Park from 10 a.m. to noon. The park is at 1170 California Highway 4 in Arnold.

For more information, call the Calaveras Big Trees Association at (209) 795-3840 or visit www.bigtrees.org.

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