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River Otters!

  • Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center 900 Sanford Road Santa Rosa, CA United States (map)

River Otters!
Saturday, February 13,
Open House 10:00AM-3:00PM, Presentation 3:00-4:30PM
Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa
Open House Free, Presentation $10

Join us for this family-friendly Open House to learn all about river otters! Our friends from the River Otter Ecology Project (ROEP) will be with us and will have educational displays and fun, hands-on activities for all ages. Displays will include current maps of river otter sightings; information on the ROEP’s Education, Research, and Citizen Science programs; River Otter v. Sea Otter display and skull models for comparison; and children's coloring activities.

Also, learn about the natural and cultural history of the Laguna de Santa Rosa and historic
Stone Farm by taking a guide-led tour or explore the Children's Playscape and native plant landscape on your own. Birdwatch from the observation deck. Bring a picnic and take in the stunning views! Enjoy our nature store in Great Blue Heron Hall and the beautiful new art exhibit California Flora: Botanical Paintings in Colored Pencil by Nina Antze (on display through April 24). This is a working farm, so please leave your pets at home. The site is wheelchair accessible. No RSVP necessary. We look forward to seeing you!

After the Open House at 3:00PM,
Megan Isadore will give a presentation in Heron Hall about how river otters, extirpated from the Bay Area for decades, are back!  The River Otter Ecology Project has been studying their return and their ecological niche in our shared watersheds since 2012, and they've come up with some very interesting and hopeful findings. Come on out and hear about their results, their continuing investigations, and of course plenty of river otter natural history, illustrated with videos of these very charismatic otters. We hope you will learn a lot and leave with a renewed sense of the positive changes we humans are able to make to conserve and restore precious habitat shared by otters, birds, fish, eelgrass, kelp, humans, and every living creature in between.

Megan Isadore is Co-founder and Executive Director of River Otter Ecology Project. She is a naturalist who has been studying and teaching about coastal wetland ecology in relation to salmonids for the past 16 years, as well as working as a wildlife rehabilitator specializing in raccoons. The river otter project grew out of questioning whether people were actually seeing more river otters in Marin creeks and bays, or whether people were just noticing them more. When they realized there was no population, range, prey or other information available on river otters in Central California they decided to begin that work. They collected a team of scientists and naturalists and began their non-invasive study of river otters, using camera traps, scat collection and habitat mapping.