BLM California News.bytes 
News.bytes Extra, issue 535

 BLM coastal and desert booths a big hit once again at San Diego Parks and Open Spaces Day

With California Coastal National Monument book marker-making on one side and California Desert District reptiles on the other side, the two side-by-side BLM booths were the major attraction at the 4th Annual San Diego Parks and Open Spaces Day.  Sponsored by the National Park Service at Cabrillo National Monument -- located on the tip of San Diego’s Point Loma -- the day-long event on Saturday, June 9, 2012, highlighted "parks, natural areas, open spaces and organizations that support the use of these spaces in the San Diego area." (text continues below)

a smiling boy looks down at a snake curled around his shoulders and over his arms
This young man and his father spent a lot of time with at the BLM's California Desert Distric booth. This was the first time that either had ever encountered a live reptile up close and they were fascinated.

The two booths had non-stop visitation by many of the more than 2,000 park visitors to the visitor center. While dozens and dozens of kids made California Coastal National Monument (CCNM) book markers and created CCNM booklets with rubber stamp images related to animals and plants found on and around the CCNM’s rocks and islets, one of the major  attractions of the event were the reptiles at the California Desert District (CDD) booth.

California Desert District (CDD) public contact representative Barbara Croonquist and BLM CDD volunteer Dee Dechert were busy all day providing the public with the opportunity to handle a common king snake, gopher snakes, rosy boas, chuckwalla lizards, and young desert tortoises, as well as view a colorful California mountain king snake and a lyre snake. They answered numerous questions about the animals and a myriad of general BLM related topics. In addition, visitors were able to pick up brochures about renewable energy, OHV opportunities in the area, historic sites and trails, desert tortoises, wilderness and even Wild Horses and Burros.

children color bookmarks as a woman reaches out for one to put in the laminator
At the CCNM booth, the BLM’s Tracy Albrecht was busy all day laminating individualized CCNM bookmarks.

As California Coastal National Monument (CCNM) Manager Rick Hanks handed out brochures and posters and discussed the California Coastal National Monument, the National Landscape Conservation System and the BLM to a continuous flow of visitors, Tracy Albrecht, BLM Southern California national monuments interpretive specialist, helped kids create their CCNM book markers or booklets.

Children stamp and color bookmarks
Children made CCNM bookmarks, decorating them with their selection of rubber stamp images.

children handle plastic models of crabs and other sea creatures
While young visitors to the CCNM booth examine models of tidepool creatures…

...…others got to hold young desert tortoises at the California Desert District booth.
youngsters reach out to touch small desert tortoises

a woman holds a snake in outstretched hands, while another woman focuses on the snake with a camera 
The rosy boa was popular with the crowd.

a snake curls over a woman's hand
The large king snake helped first-time handlers overcome their fear of snakes.

All four BLM representatives agreed that it was a day well spent, not only with our partner National Park Service but with visitors from all over the country and the world learning about the wonders of the BLM and the CCNM.

- Rick Hanks, BLM, California Coastal National Monument Manager (June 13, 2012)

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 535 -- To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: OR visit our News.bytes subscription page.