December’s Second Saturday event was themed Environmental Health and Pollution Clean Up. Visitors were invited to learn about our environment, view and take an active role in demonstrations, and participate in painting and recycled paper making. Graduate and Post Graduate students from the University of California Riverside (UCR) presented information and demonstrations on air quality and combustion; water quality and aquifers; the Pacific Ocean gyre; and bacteria.
Pollution often seems like an overwhelming problem that our world faces but small steps taken by us all can make a difference. Some changes include developing good conservative habits, carpooling, and using reusable items to limit our consumption of disposable goods. To give visitors a head start on California’s switch over from plastic disposable bags to reusable ones, the center provided visitors with canvas bags and paint to decorate them. The result was an enjoyable afternoon and in the future less disposable bags in landfills!
Please come out and join us on our next Second Saturday event in January 2015 as we talk about animal tracks!
The nature center would like to thank its volunteers that helped to make this event successful!
The Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park is under the dedicated care of the City of Riverside’s department of Parks and Recreation staff.
Though the goal is to have as little human impact on the local habitat as possible, Parks and Rec regularly oversees the area to ensure visitors have the best experience possible. In order to keep the park safe, functional, and looking its best, the department does everything from trail maintenance and trash pick up, to drain clearing and flood damage control.
The next time you see a city employee at the park, thank them for their hard work! Their dedication is what keeps our park useable and looking nice.
The November Second Saturdays event was an enjoyable afternoon full of native plant education, visitor participation, and planting! Visitors were welcome to attend this free event where they learned what plants are good for the area, received water wise tips for their gardens, and were taught seed bomb assembly.
Be sure to visit the events page and calendar for more Second Saturdays and other educational events and notices!
On Saturday October 18, 2014 the City of Riverside’s Parks & Recreation department joined together with the California Conservation Corps (C.C.C.) for a day of park upkeep and maintenance. The event was open to the public and a call was made to any volunteers from the surrounding community to come out and aid the city and the C’s in their endeavors to maintain the park. Called C.C.C. Volunteer Day, the event would begin at 8am for registration followed by a 9am speech by Assemblyman Jose Medina before breakfast and the work began.
The day was a huge success! Volunteers, City of Riverside Parks & Rec, and the C’s all came together to help maintain the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park in a fun and energetic day. During registration all attendees were divided into 4 groups. Each group rotated through stations that included the nature center and drought and animal information; planting and weeding; trash pick up and recycling; and trail maintenance. By the end of the day over 80 native plants were planted around the nature center and on a hill to beautify the location and to help with erosion.
The Ameal Moore Nature Center would like to thank all workers and volunteers for their time and effort in helping to maintain and grow the park. Your participation, time, and care is appreciated and applauded. If you are interested in the California Conservation Corps you can find more information HERE. More images of the day can be found at our image gallery HERE and on our Facebook page HERE.
Did you know that October 17, 2014 was National Fossil Day? In celebration, the nature center hosted a fossil dig! Visitors were encouraged to come in and paint a plaster fossil that they could dig up from our mini dig site. Visitors of all ages had fun digging and searching for megalodon teeth and trilobite fossils before decorating them.
The Ameal Moore Nature Center at the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park will be celebrating its extended Fall hours (Wednesdays-Sundays 9am-5pm)! Join us on Wednesday October 8, 2014 from 9am-5pm as we celebrate with a special live broadcast showing of Smithsonian Science How webcasts! The nature center will continue to broadcast live webcasts from the Smithsonian throughout the year. Wednesday’s webcast, “Mass Extinction: Solving the Dinosaur Mystery,” will be followed by family crafts at both the nature center and the museum.
The Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park is located in Riverside, CA. Because the park has wildlife that roams freely, the residents in the surrounding area regularly have critter sightings. Many visitors have come into the nature center with stories of bobcats, coyotes, and various other animals being in their yards, on their doorsteps, patios, or in their houses. Dave and Kathy Lehman have been enjoying the park for years and recently shared a discovery they made with the staff at the Ameal Moore Nature Center.
One morning after some water had washed sand into their backyard the Lehmans looked out and noticed some animal tracks. Dave and Kathy are accustomed to the wildlife and were not surprised to find animal tracks. Taking a closer look, their initial assessment was that they were from a bobcat.
Deciding to take a plaster cast of the prints, the Lehmans provided the center with these photos. Mixing plaster of paris, they filled the prints and then allowed them to set and dry. Once they were dry, the plaster prints were removed and cleaned, leaving the clear impression of animal tracks. Their theory is that after the water had washed through their yard the animal came by and waited for the gophers to pop up out of the ground for a quick and easy meal. Inspection by a curator at the Riverside Metropolitan Museum revealed the prints to most likely have come from a canine.
Animal tracking is an excellent way to determine what sorts of critters live in your area or might be walking through your property. Historically used to hunt food, or to identify predators, animal tracking today is something both amateurs and professionals in various fields of study use to learn more about their surroundings. If you come to the park there is a chance you’ll see evidence of the various animals that call the park home. Making casts of prints you find on your own property is a fun activity to engage learners of all ages and encourage them to observe the natural world more closely.
The nature center would like to thank Dave and Kathy for their great story and images and would also like to remind residents near the park to keep an eye on their pets as the wildlife does tend to enter backyards.
The Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park is home to many critters, one of which is the Red diamond rattlesnake. Some visitors become scared, upset, uncertain, or sometimes leave the park when they hear this news. The Ameal Moore Nature Center recognizes your concerns for safety and would like to provide a few words on snakes in the park.
Snakes are found in many parts of the world and most snakes are not poisonous. The ones that are use their venom for hunting more than protection and are not interested in constant attempts to harm humans. Rattlesnakes are unique to the Americas, and the ‘rattles’ on their tails may sometimes signal their presence when you are too near. Red diamond rattlesnakes are venomous, but with these answers to frequently asked questions and safety tips, you can stay safe.
FAQ by visitors to the nature center:
Safety tips to remember:
The Red diamond rattlesnakes in the park are a part of the ecosystem. Please do not harm any of the snakes in the park. The park exists to protect the animals within it. By following these tips and guidelines you can help us ensure that the park stays open and that you stay safe.
However, accidents can occur. If any snake bites you, please seek medical attention immediately. Even the bite of a nonvenomous snake can cause damage (through infection or tissue damage). Here are some steps to take for initial first aid if someone is bitten by a snake from ‘Pest Notes’ by the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources publication 74119:
If you are less than 1 hour from a treatment facility:
There are many misconceptions about rattlesnake bite treatments. Here are some things that should NOT be done:
Remember during any visit to wear proper attire when going through the park and to bring plenty of water and sun protection with you. By being prepared, you can stay safe and enjoy the park’s beauty.
In Southern California it is important to remember that water conservation is key. As droughts rage on, cities pass stricter ordinances on water usage. Instead of allowing your lawns to go brown, or continuing to water grass despite the water restrictions, the Ameal Moore Nature Center at Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park has another suggestion: native plants!
Many people ask what they can do to their lawns with the water restrictions. There are of course, various answers to this dry dilemma. You could:
Or, if those options are not to your liking, you could consider filling your lawn with native plants. Native plants are perfect for homeowners concerned with water conservation. As they are a part of the surrounding ecosystem, they are perfectly suited for the dry climate that Southern California is famous for. They do not require more than the usual amount of rainfall, have their own defenses against pests, require less maintenance compared to non-natives, and they can look great and come in a variety of colors!
There are many reasons to consider the switch from non-natives to natives:
If you are unsure of what natives to plant, check with your local nursery for information and suggestions. There are also nurseries that only carry native plant species. You can check online to see if they are in your neighborhood. Nurseries should be able to tell you what specific plants are best for your area.
For additional information, you can check out some of these sources:
Sources: United States. Riverside-Corona Conservation District. Wild About Natives. n.d. Print.
The nature center is currently designing educational programming that will be free to the public in the Fall. In order to help us create better programming, please take a moment to answer our three point survey (available in English and Spanish) located on our home page. By taking a moment to answer the survey, you’ll help us ensure that we provide better, more engaging programs for visitors of all ages.