An Epiphany

For a couple years I worked on a project in support of the Mule Deer Foundation’s National Endowment Fund.
The concept was that the event would be a social affair, a discussion about conservation and also a fundraiser.
Because it was immensely successful relative to other people’s expectations, many people are interested in doing it again. I wasn’t surprised as one of the goals of the program was to create a template for additional events.
Along the way, I came to grips with the fact this was God’s work – a very emotional thing that I believed to be worthwhile. Others stepped in to encourage me and lighten the load.
Guided by instinct, the event came together piece by piece. I did not know what I was doing, but what I did turned out to be perfect. That’s hard to explain.
So, when it was over and after some rest, I proceeded to try to figure out how to tell somebody else how to do it. Social event, conservation event, fundraising event. That was what I knew.
The name of the event, “A Conversation in the Vineyards…..Immerse Yourself in Conservation,” was appropriate.
What I had a hard time with was how to generate the emotion that would lead to the intended result….supporting MDF.
Finally I realized that the emotion was created by conflict – conflict between people and wildlife. The conflict is embedded in our past and future. It is unavoidable. Unsolvable problems lead to strong emotions in people and they are motivated to take them on even if they seem to be headed into inevitable failure.
My understanding of the event and what took place was an epiphany.
Epiphany is a word my mother used to use. She would sometimes tell me that I’d had an epiphany. I accepted that as some type of awakening. However, I wanted to use the word today, so I looked it up to make sure I knew the correct definition.
Epiphany: a manifestation of a divine or supernatural being. Or, a moment in a story when a character achieves realization, awareness or a feeling of knowledge, after which events are seen through the prism of this new light.
Wow. Good job Mom. Either way, that’s all right by me.

MDF-NEF Event a Success

Took a while to get it together, but the pain was worth it as 40 guests and ten knowledgeable tour leaders traveled from one location in the East Bay Area to another for two full days.

Tours included a first class trophy room, various wildlife barriers in the Altamont Hills and open space lands of Southeastern Alameda County.

Here are some photos taken by the participants on Friday.

 

 

Saturday morning brought on a new day of travels as the group slit up in eight four-wheel-drive trucks to tour lands of the SFPUC, EBRPD and private properties owned by Fletcher Ranch Road Properties, LLC. Here are some photos taken by the crew on Saturday.

 

At the Saturday night dinner, the group donated over $130,000 to the Mule Deer Foundation National Endowment Fund. How about that!

 

Photo of the Day

Took a few photos today and some of them were interesting.

 

The wildflower gets honorable mention even though the lighting wasn’t perfect. The finch I like because his head is on fire and the snake is both “threatened” and hard to find.

Snake best in my opinion.

Just Another Day at the Ranch Continued

(Continuing from my previous post, “Just Another Day at the Ranch”)

I stood looking at the mother ground squirrel wondering what it was doing. As I watched I realized that my camera was in the truck about 50 feet away. Would I be able to grab it and return before the squirrel departed. So far it had stood quite still unable to determine what to do.

I walked to the truck and grabbed the camera. When I returned to the squirrel, it had not moved. Apparently it couldn’t make up its mind about how to proceed. I looked at the squirrel again and the baby squirrel wiggled in the mother squirrels mouth. Now I was certain that the mother squirrel meant no harm to its baby. Occasionally the mother would put its front foot up and push the baby back into its mouth. I realized that it was likely moving the baby squirrel from one site to another.

I began to take photos of the squirrel as it moved slowly around me. It was heading towards the creek and also towards my daughter, grand son and son-in-law. I took several photos.

The squirrel passed within a few feet of the others and they got a close up view of what was going on. The squirrel disappeared into a pile of boulders and later came back out retracing its steps and probably returning for another baby to transport.

Why would it do this? The only thing that makes sense is that something like a gopher snake had invaded its nest and the mother squirrel was rescuing as many young squirrels as possible.

Seeing the hairless and sightless baby exposed to the elements was a rare occurrence.

 

Just Another Day at the Ranch

Took the family to the ranch today. Cold and Windy. Not the kind of day that you want when looking for critters.

My grandson is wild about anything that’s alive. Everything is new and exciting. As he and his father wandered up the creek from where we parked, I began a slow walk up another draw. A ground squirrel appeared and if there had been anything else around to watch, I probably would have paid it no attention. But, I did look and it appeared that there was something in its mouth, so I raised my field glasses and looked.

This is what I saw.

ground squirrel mother DSC_0998[1]

Very compelling and one of the best subjects I’ve ever seen.