by Heidi Perryman
Beaver Festival XIII
It was 15 years ago that Martinez made room for the beavers that moved into Alhambra Creek. It wasn’t an easy – or unanimous – decision. The advocacy group “Worth A Dam” was formed to make sure the beavers ended up on the right side of history. The end result was a happier community, a more vibrant creek that teamed with wildlife and an annual beaver festival that has become famous around the state.
June 25th will see the 13th annual event (Covid prevented events for the past two years.) The free, family friendly outdoor event offers live music, wildlife exhibits, nature education, children’s activities and a wildly popular chalk artist that will be completing her beaver mural while the delighted crowd watches.
Every year the festival focuses on a central message: this year is how beavers can help California. By storing water, reducing fires, and increasing biodiversity beavers can really be an asset to the Golden State. One highlight of the day will be the “Giant beaver Giveaway” – made possible by Dr. Mark Troyer from Washington D.C., who after 35 years of collecting stuffed beavers wanted to donate them for an educational purpose. He gifted several hundred of the figures to Worth A Dam and this year children at the festival can “earn” the stuffed beaver of their choice by stepping up to the mic and reminding California how beavers can help.
In addition to their time on stage, children are invited to become Nature Detectives and help solve the “The case of the missing salmon” by using animal tracks to help solve the mystery at the beaver pond and earn a prize. Attendees can also paint an animal spirit flag with a local artist or help with the chalk art in the plaza. Grown-ups will find bird, plant or wildlife information, and unique deals at the always popular silent auction, which this year includes donations from Safari West, Silverado Vineyards and many downtown restaurants.
The popular event takes place in Susana Park in downtown Martinez at the corner of Estudillo Street and Susana Street from 11 a.m. – 4 p,m. Bring your friends and family and wildlife questions and get ready for a dam good time!