Families from across the Central Coast interacted with nature at the Coastal Discovery Fair at Hearst San Simeon State Park on Saturday, Aug. 26. This was a free event for families, but the many natural world exhibits and activities were clearly geared towards the wide-eyed children in attendance.
Indeed, kids of all ages took a “walk with nature” and learned about the natural world by participating in a number of cool activities. They enjoyed seeing the red-tailed hawk and the big banner depicting the actual size of the California condor’s wingspan (nearly 10 feet) in the Pacific Wildlife Care booth.
They were fascinated with the Brown Pelican called “Morro” in the Willow Tree Wildlife booth. Morro, who suffered a wing injury at a young age and has been cared for by wildlife rehabilitator Dani Nicholson, is one of the stars in the documentary “Pelican Dreams.”
Nicholson, who takes Morro to schools throughout the county, educated children Saturday on the hazards for pelicans — fish carcasses, fishing line and fish hooks.
Children had a unique opportunity to flex their fledgling technology skills by remotely operating an underwater robot; they also lined up at the creative crafts booth, and many kids waited patiently for their chance to get their face painted.
Denise Boddeker, with the TOO SLO Turtles organization, encouraged kids to touch the three turtles she brought to the fair. Boddeker had the rapt attention of a gaggle of kids when she shared the story of how a baby turtle she had nurtured actually pecked at its egg until the tiny critter was fully hatched.
Meanwhile 10-year-old Sienna Chase was captivated by the mountain lion in the wildlife exhibit offered by the California State Parks. Sienna, whose parents work for State Parks — Robyn Chase is a State Park Interpreter at Hearst San Simeon State Park, and Nick Chase is a State Park Ranger — is a student at Cambria Grammar School. Her mother said she “loves animals, especially cats.”
Another key activity as part of the Coastal Discovery Fair was the 25th anniversary celebration for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.