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Discover local treasures this weekend

November 3, 2011

A guided trip into the White Mountains in search of bighorn sheep is just one of the nearly 30 activities that make up Sierra Discovery Day this Saturday. Photo courtesy DFG

This weekend, the Eastern Sierra Institute for Collaborative Education is partnering with several local non-profits, businesses and agencies to help residents “discover” their own backyard.
Paula Williams, director of the Eastern Sierra Institute for Collaborative Education, said her group wanted to showcase the natural and cultural history of the vast local area, and came up with the idea of a scavenger-hunt like event. Off the top of their heads, they came up with almost 30 activities to highlight as part of Sierra Discovery Day.
On Saturday, volunteers will be manning six locations throughout the northern Owens Valley to offer activities that will take residents and visitors from Fish Slough to Laws Railroad Museum, the Bishop Paiute Cultural Center and numerous spots beyond and in between.
“There are really more events than a person can take in in a day, so they’re going to have to make choices about what they want to do,” Williams said.
Beginning at 8:30 a.m., community members and visitors are invited to the Bishop City Park to receive a treasure map filled with choices of activities that highlight interesting facts about the region’s cultural and natural history.
During the treasure hunt, residents can take a stroll through Bishop uncovering facts about local murals and hear humorous tales of the Slim Princess at the Laws Railroad Museum.
“Wildlife biologists will help you discover the lizards of Laws, guide you to glimpse the bighorn sheep of the White Mountains, teach you some skills for tracking wildlife, or give you the chance to travel back in time with a scientist who studied Eastern Sierra wildlife at the turn of the 20th century,” a press release from the Eastern Sierra Institute for Collaborative Education states. “Be prepared to shake hands with a mountain lion when you visit the Roadkill Museum. Explore Fish Slough and help restore one of the springs that makes Fish Slough one of the rarest of desert wetlands. It’s all part of Sierra Discovery Day.”
Those who love art can create a watercolor portrait of the lizards they identified at Laws, or stamp their own “Merry Fishmas” card just in time for the holidays. And even though Halloween is over, those who plan to participate have another opportunity to dress in costume to have their photo taken with classic cars thanks to support from Playhouse 395, which has donated an array of costumes for the event.
At the Bishop Paiute Shoshone Cultural Center a variety of activities will give participants a chance to experience the traditional way of life and skills of local Native peoples, from flint-knapping to native use of plants in the making of cordage.
At Laws, volunteers will be telling participants about life on a working ranch in the Owens Valley and take a ride on the historic Brill Car or climb on a wagon for a short trip to view hawks that live nearby.
A wildlife pile up game will take place at the Bishop City Park where everyone is invited to gather at the end of the day to celebrate with refreshments, prizes and a salute to the Eastern Sierra.
The Eastern Sierra Institute for Collaborative Education is asking for a $5 donation for adults and $20 for families to help cover costs.
For more information, call (760) 873-9855.

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