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BLM California News.bytes 
News.bytes Extra, issue 556

BLM Barstow Employees Volunteer at the L.A. County Fair

a desert tortoise mascot poses with an antelope mascot
Living Desert Discovery Center mascot Mojave Maxine and BLM mascot Seymour Antelope take advantage of a rare quiet moment to pose for the camera.

The L.A. County Fair buzzed with excitement on National Public Lands Day 2012 in September. Eager to decorate a button, sit in the BLM sandrail, watch a clean energy wizard show, explore the General Land Office, and meet a burro from the Wild Horse and Burro Program, children pulled their parents through the gateway to the America’s Great Outdoors area. Three agencies, the Bureau of Land Management, L.A. County, and the Forest Service, collaborate to build exhibits, provide entertainment, and staff America’s Great Outdoors. This year, the BLM really shone and BLM Barstow Field Office employees were in the middle of the action.

At the brand new General Land Office, Debbie Flores and Amy Oechsner showed children how to use a traditional surveyor’s chain to measure distance. Young and old were fascinated to learn that intrepid GLO surveyors mapped the west in this manner.  Amy and Debbie awarded the most promising young surveyors embossed apprentice surveyor certificates.

In the afternoon, Debbie, Amy, Mojave Maxine, Seymour Antelope, Smokey the Bear, and Woodsy Owl gathered on a vintage Forest Service truck for a parade through the fairgrounds. Win Waterman and Chuck Smith stole the show in the Barstow sandrail and Barbara Croonquist rode tall on an adopted wild horse. (text continues below)

a woman sits on a white horse
Barbara Croonquist displays her fine horsemanship skills while riding a tamed horse from the Wild Horse and Burro Program in the fair parade.

After the parade, visitors posed for photos with the sandrail while Win and Chuck taught OHV safety and desert safety. More than a few local teachers, club members, and parents brightened upon learning that a BLM employee could visit their school or club with native reptiles and teach about a variety of safety and outdoor subjects through the Jr. Ranger Program.

Win and Chuck helped desert tortoise Mojave Maxine, and her friend Seymour Antelope make one last appearance at the end of the day. Youthful eyes sparkled, and cries of delight filled the air as the two characters, accompanied by their “handlers” Debbie and Amy, returned hugs, and posed for photos with fair-goers.

After the guests went home, the hard-working volunteers enjoyed a pizza, ice cream, and chocolate cake feast in celebration of National Public Lands Day and a another successful year at the L.A. County Fair.

a child smiles at mascots and people
Left to right: Mojave Maxine, Debbie Flores, and Seymour Antelope. Everyone was delighted to meet Mojave Maxine and Seymour Antelope.

people and mascots ride on the back of a green truck
Amy Oechsner and Mojave Maxine wave from the vintage Forest Service truck before parading through the L.A. County Fairgrounds with Smokey the Bear, Woodsy Owl, Seymour Antelope, and the other character “handlers”.

- Amy Oechsner, Archaeologist Technician, BLM Barstow Field Office (October 2012)

BLM California News.bytes, issue 556 -- To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: mailto:Join-Newsbytes@List.ca.blm.gov OR visit our News.bytes subscription page.

Last updated: 11-06-2012