This article was contributed by REACH San Benito Parks Foundation President Valerie Egland.
REACH San Benito Parks Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to advocating for parks and trails in San Benito County, is supporting REI’s continuing effort to get you out of long lines in stores and out on the trail on Black Friday, Nov. 23 for the official launch of the holiday season falling on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Four years ago, REI challenged the Black Friday retail trend by launching #optoutside by closing all of its stores and urging people to drop their shopping bags in exchange for better health and appreciation of the natural resources near them.
REACH is supporting that move with a low-key walk through the San Benito County Historical Park geared toward getting started in birding. The walk is on easy, graded trails and will cover about one mile. It gets started at 9 a.m. and participants can expect it to end no later than noon. Participants should wear comfortable shoes, pack water, wear layers and bring along any binoculars they may have available. Anyone who wishes to bring along lunch is welcome to linger for a chat afterwards.
The outing will be facilitated by Mark Paxton. Mark is a University of California Master Naturalist who has conducted birding outings in the Monterey Bay Area for nearly 30 years.
“This is an easy amble through a great small park that plays host to many of California’s signature birds,” Paxton said. “We can share observations, impressions and memories, all while gently walking off a little of our Thanksgiving excess.”
Participants can be expected to learn more about getting started, what to look for in identifying the unfamiliar, best birding practices and good public resources for birding in the Monterey Bay Area.
The Historical Park is located on the west side of Highway 25 – the Pinnacles National Park Highway – just south of Tres Pinos. Its combination of habitats, ranging from riparian to oak woodlands to chaparral, offer a rich mix of wildlife viewing opportunities.
The stroll is open to the first 20 registrants. To participate, please call Valerie at (831) 601-5154. A ‘walk-about’ will be hosted in the afternoon should there be an overflow of interest in coming to the Historical Park to get away from the call of holiday shopping. Donations to the Historical Park’s maintenance are always appreciated.