Animal Tracks & Signs

April 24, 2004

Did you know that the bears in Oregon and Washington have developed a peculiar appetite that no other bears in the U.S. have? Itís the cambium layer of fir trees. They tear off the bark of about 24" diameter trees and eat the cambium which is the blood line of trees . . . and the trees die. Dave Walp has been studying bears for most of his life and he shared many interesting facts and sights with us during this beautiful spring day. We saw several beaver dams and the resulting lakes, as well as a beaver house—like humans, these busy creatures can create their own environment, thereby changing the ecosystem of the area. We picked through several scat and discovered tiny bones. The delicate calypso orchids were a delight. Dave is a wonderful naturalist and extremely knowledgeable guy. If you get a chance to do a trip with him youíll learn a lot!

The students were: Rosemarie Atenico, Max Brown, Walt Dolliver, Sharon & Jim Duncan, Bob Harrison, Yuan Hopkins, Richard Hughes, Bob Huntley, Ken & Beth Kodama, Jack & Kathy Lindstrom, Jackie Lukowski, Effie Neth, Nora Nicolaidis, Gerry Paulson, Carol Petty, Margaret Prentice, Dan Robinson, Barb Sutherland, Sheila Ward, Tom Woxell, and coordinator, Lana Lindstrom.

Dave Walp showing how a beaver eats the bark off a branch

A beaver dam near Hwy 58

In early spring, bears strip the bark off young evergreens so they
can eat the sap. Up close you can see teeth marks in the wood.

—photos by Beth Kodama

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