Migration Corridor Field Trip Recap: an Afternoon in Swall Meadows
Two weeks ago, ESLT hosted the Migration Corridor Field Trip to Swall Meadows. This annual event raises awareness of the Round Valley mule deer herd that passes through residential areas in the Wheeler Ridge Migration Corridor on its way to the Sierra high country every year. Sharing our home with these deer means learning to adapt to their migratory patterns.
This year’s field trip was organized by our high school intern, Madison Pauly and attended by special guest Timothy Taylor, from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Over thirty participants enjoyed the warm, sunny afternoon and the historical commentary provided by our Executive Director Karen Ferrell-Ingram. We learned from Tim Taylor that the Round Valley mule deer herd is now nearly 2,500 strong, which is a significant increase from the late 1990’s when the population dipped below 900.
Protecting this herd was one of the main factors driving the formation of Eastern Sierra Land Trust twelve years ago. Now, we’re proud to say that there are 269 acres in the Wheeler Ridge Migration Corridor that are permanently protected from future development by ESLT. These lands help provide the mule deer with safe passage, year after year.
This year, not too many deer attended our field trip, but we had a fun and informative afternoon and enjoyed beautiful views of Mt. Tom and the Owens Valley.
Maddie, our intern, recaps her ESLT experience this way: I first joined the staff at ESLT as part of my AP Environmental Science Class semester project. My internship began in January, when Outreach Coordinator Serena Dennis, Outreach and Development Director, Lesley Bruns, and Executive Director, Karen Ferrell-Ingram, and I began preparation for this annual March event. Throughout my time volunteering for ESLT, I learned a great deal about the goals of an environmental non-profit, the Round Valley mule deer herd, and the important work of ESLT. This experience was as much educational as it was fun. ESLT’s commitment to land conservation, and the great attitude of its volunteers and members are what make this organization truly unique.