Jul 01

Rancho Cielo Silver Star Students Visit the Little Sur

IMG_6044Rancho Cielo Silver Star program students and teachers, Christian Lamonea and Luciano Rodriguez, joined Youth in Wilderness leaders Bryce Winter, Franco Guzman and Luna Miller on a 3-day backpack June 9-11th amidst the giant coast redwoods of the Little Sur River valley. With warm weather abounding and cool water still flowing, students savored the opportunity to explore the late blooming flowers, ancient redwoods and clear running waters of the wild Little Sur. Students learned introductory backpacking techniques, outdoor ethics and local natural history with a particular focus on the coast redwoods. Thanks go out to the Save the Redwoods League for their support of our programming and their mission to connect young people to redwood trees. We'd also like to thank The North Face Explore Fund for their support of the Youth in Wilderness program. For many of the students, it was their first wilderness experience and opportunity to be among old-growth redwoods. Students were amazed to learn of the amazing resilience of the famed Sequoia sempervirens, the world's fastest growing conifer, examining root sprouts,  growth patterns, fire scared protective bark and their reliance on the coastal fog belt. It was a humbling feeling to merely stand underneath these immense trees. As one student put it, "The most memorable moments were every single moment, I got to enjoy the outdoors with my friends and had a wonderful time. This was the best experience I ever had!" _DSC1172Returning students Manuel, Allejandro and Kailey helped teach the newcomers the ways of backcountry travel and set the tone for what would be a very positive and fun experience in the wilderness. The opportunity to commune with nature in a wild river valley, bond as a group and get to know each other on a deeper level was an amazing experience. This was evident by the smiles worn by all for the duration of our time together. This is rather remarkable considering some of the students are affiliated with rival gangs. Students also helped conduct site stewardship. Manuel led a thorough camp sweep that produced a bag full of trash that was abandoned by previous campers. The group also identified and removed an improper fire ring near the river. "This little piece of paper, it adds up over time, soon it will be everywhere if we don't pick it up." Manual explained during the trash sweep. Once students experience the beauty and power of a wild place and learn that these wildlands belong to all of us, they realize their responsibility to help care for it. We were delighted to share our passion and knowledge of wilderness with these students and look forward to getting them out again this fall. This trip was part one of a 5-day trip that included educational programming provided by the Ventana Wildlife Society at Andrew Molera State Park. These photos tell an amazing story. Enjoy! _DSC1223

pacific starflower, Lysimachia latifolia


scarlett monkeyflower, mimulus cardinalis


red clintonia, Clintonia andrewsiana

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Thanks for your interest in the Wild Ventana blog. Stay tuned for more posts and updates about our Youth in Wilderness program and other Ventana related happenings.


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