One of our biggest goals for this internship, and for Elkhorn Slough was to put together Spanish led tours for the summer. Although the summer is almost over, we have the month of August to get the local Latino community to come to the slough. Every Saturday in August, Hugo and I will be leading Spanish tours through the slough. Since we are hoping to get first time visitors, we will be leading our tours through the south marsh loop trail. This trail goes through different habitats, both terrestrial and aquatic. This gives our guests the opportunity to see shorebirds, sea otters, bat rays and sharks. Once we go through the oak woodland areas, we can see acorn woodpeckers and the dusky footed woodrats nests!
Our tours will average around 2 hrs, giving our guests time to explore the slough with us. Hugo and I have been on this specific trail many times, yet we see something new each time. To better prepare ourselves to lead tours, we have shadowed veteran tour guides that have been to the slough even before it became a National Estuarine Research Reserve! All of the tours of the slough are different, because they tailor to the guides expertise. As for Hugo and I, we are very familiar with the shorebird variety at the slough, as well as the history of the slough.
Now that we know how to lead tours, another task we are working on is getting open lab times for those visiting the slough. For the labs, we have to collect water samples, using plankton nets, to find what’s drifting in the water. After being trained to collect samples, we have to put them into their own dishes, so that the public can look at what’s in the water. This is done with the microscopes that are provided in the lab. Giving instructions on how to properly use the microscopes is tricky because we all have different sets of eyes. Getting the scope to be clear is the trick, but once that’s accomplished, its fun to look at the samples!
The last thing we have to do is promote these two events for the month of August! Hugo and I are working on getting a media list together, trying to get the word out on newspaper and radio. We are working on finalizing our flyers to hand them out at farmers markets, and city visitor centers. Lastly we hope that by writing it on this blog, this information can move around freely on the internet!
I hope that the public will come to find out that the slough is a great area to spend time with their family. I know this because I have brought my own family to the slough, even before I got this internship. There’s lots to see, and picnic tables to eat at, and there are volunteer opportunities that keep you active. The tour guides will be fun, and the lab can be an interesting place that will convince you to never swallow sea water again once you know what’s swimming in it.