Month: July 2022

North Yuba Forest Partnership – 101

Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University

Join Biologists Ed Smith of The Nature Conservancy and Kat Perlman of the South Yuba River Citizen’s League for an Introduction to the North Yuba Forest Partnership (NYFP). The NYFP is a collaboration between nine agencies, non-profits, and a tribal representative which was recently funded by congress (~28.5 million dollars) to plan and implement various projects throughout the North Yuba River Watershed (NYRW) designed to increase the resilience of this landscape to catastrophic wildfires and promote the recovery of sensitive species.

This presentation to the interested public will be held in the dining hall of San Francisco State’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus located along Highway 49 (about 2 miles east of Bassetts Station). Park in the lot next to the highway, cross the bridge by foot, and head for the largest building straight ahead. Presentation will start promptly at 7:30 pm.

So far, the NYRW has avoided the kinds of wildfire conflagrations that have occurred nearby, for example, in the Feather River and American River watersheds. Learn how pro-active forest treatments at a landscape-scale have the potential to save our forests, meadows, waters, and human communities.

See and

Night Sky

By Collin O’Mara-Green

August 2022 Night Sky at 10pm

This coming month, many of the prominent summer constellations will linger in the sky until the shorter days of autumn arrive. Here are a few star patterns to look for when the sky is dark around 10pm:

Summer Triangle – high overhead will be three bright stars that form a large triangle shape. This is an asterism called the Summer Triangle. It consists of stars from three separate constellations. Straight up is the brightest star Vega in Lyra. Vega is relatively close to our Sun at 25 light years. The constellation Lyra is hard to see and resembles a harp. Next brightest is Altair in Aquilla the Eagle. Another difficult to see constellation with a bright promenent star at its core. Altair forms the head or heart of the eagle. Although less bright than Vega, Altair is closer to us at about 17 light years. The least bright star of the Summer Triangle is Deneb in constellation Cygnus the Swan. Deneb is the most luminous of the three stars, but also the most distant at 1400 light years, so it appears less bright to us. Cygnus the Swan is quite easy to see, with star Deneb marking the tail and a cross-shape of stars forming the outstretched wings and long neck of the swan flying through the Summer Triangle!

Keep lookin’ up!

Katie’s Sightings

By Katie O’Hara Kelly

Small Mammals

Yellow-bellied Marmot – Marmota flaviventris

I lucked out this week and spotted a Yellow-bellied Marmot near 8,000′ in elevation! It was in one of the wildflower-covered, rocky slopes in the Lakes Basin. We were able to watch it for a minute or more until it backed off the boulder it was on, and disappeared into the bushes. How cool!!! I don’t see Marmots very often, and this is the first one I’ve seen this year!

Yellow-bellied Marmots are the most common large rodent in the Sierra, and generally live underneath rocky talus slopes from 5,400′ to 14,000′ near vegetated meadows. They can often be seen perched on a boulder. If threatened, they make a very loud chirp that you can hear from quite a distance. The main predators of Marmots are coyotes, followed by badgers, martens, bears, and Golden Eagles.

Most marmots reside in underground colonies of about ten to twenty individuals, consisting of males, females, and their offspring. Their underground tunnels have many side passages, in which they raise their young, hibernate, and hide from predators. There is only one breeding season per year, which starts two weeks after they wake up from hibernation. The males mate with up to four females in a season. The females give birth to 4-5 pups, after a 30 day gestation period. The pups are born in April or early May, and are blind and naked at birth. Within two months they are weaned and can forage for food, consisting of plant material, insects, and bird eggs.

Continue reading “Katie’s Sightings”

On the Shelf

By Paul Guffin

What Is a Library?

The term “library” is based on the Latin liber for “book” or “document”. From that base, it moved on to “librarius” (Latin for “relating to books”), then to “libraria” (Latin for “bookstore”), and finally to our English word “library”. In Greek and the Romance languages, the corresponding term is “bibliotheca” — thus the Spanish word for library, “biblioteca”. Hence, a library is a place where books (and other media) are stored — or to think of it in a slightly different fashion, it is the collection of books and other media that are stored in a particular place.

The history of libraries began with the very first efforts to organize collections of documents. And, those earliest documents were not the books we think of today, but were clay tablets in cuneiform script, dating back to 2600 BCE, and mainly consisting of the records of commercial transactions or inventories. Later, records on papyrus were kept in Ancient Egypt, including correspondences, inventories, and texts of myths, with evidence of libraries at Nippur about 1900 BCE and at Nineveh about 700 BCE — the latter one showing a library classification system. During the Persian Achaemenid Empire (550-330 BCE) some outstanding libraries served two main functions: keeping the records of administrative documents; and, collecting resources on different sets of principles, e.g., medical science, astronomy, history, geometry, and philosophy. The Library of Alexandria, in Egypt, was the largest and most significant library of the ancient world. It flourished and functioned as a major center of scholarship from its construction in the 3rd century BCE until the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 BCE, and included an early organization system.

Continue reading “On the Shelf”