Have you heard an animal call or heard a rustling in the brush, seen animal tracks or found scat (poop) and wondered what animal did that? Was it in your yard, in a campground or out on a trail? Were you apprehensive, frightened or curious?
Fortunately for us, nearly all wildlife are elusive and fearful of humans. Attacks are rare. We rarely get a glimpse of the larger animals such as the black bear, mountain lion, bobcat, badger and great horned owl because they are either nocturnal, meaning they are most active hunting for food from just before sunset to shortly after dawn, or they are crepuscular, meaning they are most active around dawn and sunset.
Mike Havstad, director of the Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center, will present his program Tracks, Scats, Rubbermolds and Stories Told at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. June 7 at the visitor center.
Children will make a plaster cast from a rubber mold of a paw or hoof of an animal found in the community or mountains. Children will take their castings home. Also on display will be scat replicas of the same animals.
While the plaster is drying, the audience will meet in the conference room to learn more about the animals that left the tracks. Some of the topics covered will be what to do if you are confronted by a potentially dangerous animal. What are the risks? What is the animal”s behavior and what should yours be? What should you do or not do?
The Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center is located on Scenic Highway 33, a half-hour drive north of Ventura. The visitor center is operated under a special-use permit with the Los Padres Forest Association and the Los Padres National Forest.
Donations, used to pay for programs and advertising, are $3 for adults and $2 for participants ages 5 to 18; children younger than 4 are free. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. No pets allowed.