Posts Tagged ‘Audobon’

Ahhh, summertime on the Central Coast. The season of Frisbees, flip-flops and beach volleyball. Wait a second… isn’t that all year round here? Yes, we are spoiled. We are never more than a half-hour’s drive away from some of the most breathtaking coastline that California has to offer. And as seasoned beach bums, we’d like to share a few tips to help you keep your shores clean, your bodies healthy, and all your seaside experiences fun and invigorating.

Wear sunscreen: Sunburns are bad enough without the added worry of possible skin cancer.  To avoid the pain and anxiety altogether, active Californians make sure to slather on ample amounts of sunscreen.  We recommend organic brands such as Elemental Herbs which we carry here at Bambu Batu in SPF 20 and 22.

These natural sunscreen formulas are a healthier alternative than those that contain chemicals such as octylmethoxycinnamate, benzophenone 3 and octocrylene, which can soak into the deeper layers of your skin.  These chemicals can leave top sections of skin vulnerable and also react with UV light to create damaging compounds called Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS).  ROS can cause cell damage, premature aging, environmental pollution, and hormone disruption.

Leave no trace:  No one likes stepping on a cigarette butt or discarded plastic Dorito bag when frolicking in the sand and surf.  When picnicking, we make sure to take what we brought to the sand back out with us.  This includes everything from bottles and cans to orange peels and liquids.  To help keep stuff organized, a reusable tote bag or backpack helps to consolidate and pack out our food, toys and trash.  To cut down on unnecessary waste, Bambu Batu offers stylish reusable bamboo bottles and to-go wear utensils for sustainable beach cookouts.

Play around: For some good exercise and fun outdoors, bring a football, kite or volleyball along with a couple of friends or four-legged buddy.  We particularly enjoy a toss of the Frisbee® with the Brothers Be’s genuine Wham-O Ultimate Frisbee, made from recycled polyethylene plastic!  You can catch one of these beauties here at Bambu Batu all summer long

Surfing, wakeboarding, building sandcastles, poking around tide pools and kayaking are all Central Coast favorite activities.  Local businesses such as Central Coast Kayaks and SLO Coast Kayaks offer tours and rentals throughout the season.  Van Curaza Surf School teaches lessons to grommets from Pismo Beach to Morro Bay.

Check out flora and fauna: Tidepooling is a wonderful way to get up close and personal with ocean life!  Check out cool new phone apps such as the Audobon Mobile Field Guides to identify birds and other critters hanging out by the water.  Be careful to keep your distance with marine mammals, like the California elephant seal and sea lion, as they are protected under the law and can become dangerous. If you see an animal in trouble, call the Marine Mammal Center for rescue assistance.

Where do you go for a little surf and sun?  What is your favorite beach activity?

Growing up near a watershed in Northern California, I was fortunate during my childhood to have had direct and constant contact with nature. I would spend hours outside, observing native plants and animals, digging in the dirt, and making a general mess exploring my backyard. The smells, sounds and textures of the landscape wove themselves into my everyday experiences and became a powerful influence over my decision to pursue a career in science and conservation.  While parks and nature preserves are wonderful to visit, there is something very profound about being able to sustain a dialogue with the environment on a daily basis.  Now that I live among housing developments and manicured lawns, how can I bring a little wildlife back to my home without having to pitch a tent in a forest?

The National Wildlife Federation provides tips for creating a backyard habitat that draws wildlife and promotes sustainable gardening practices. The organization even offers official certifications for homes that have met their guidelines through the NFW Certified Wildlife Habitat Program. Planting native species with a minimum of pesticides and fertilizers will help attract local fauna as well as reduce water consumption and pollution from runoff. Removing lawns and replacing them with vegetation that animals can use for food, cover, and places to raise their young helps to establish a thriving ecosystem.

Backyards can be customized depending on the types of wildlife you wish to attract. Bird lovers can contact their community’s Audobon Society for information on how to become a way-station for migrating fowl and a home for year-round residents. Many branches of the Society also offer certifications as official backyard or balcony sanctuaries.

Flower enthusiasts should encourage pollinators by growing their favorite nectar-rich plants, setting out bird feeders, or even keeping a hive of bees. Butterfly admirers here in California make sure to include the milkweed on which Monarchs lay their eggs and the caterpillars feed as well as hang hummingbird feeders.  Small ponds provide a place for animals to drink, bathe, and feed on the algae and insects that inhabit them.

Apartment and condo dwellers without yards can take advantage of balconies and roofs to add a little nature back into their living spaces. The online article  “Geek Gardening: A Wired Guide to Domestic Terraforming” offers some examples of how to transform lounging areas into productive gardens.  While most of “Geek Gardening” is focused on food production, the blueprints laying out how to best maximize the use of a limited area are great sources of inspiration.  Plants best suited for your area’s climate can take the place of the fruits and vegetables, although any amount of green is good for the soul and health of wherever we hang our hats.

As for my patch of earth, I have decided to start planting drought tolerant species native to California.  Luckily, there are a number of nurseries nearby that specialize in regional flora close to where I live.  Alongside my herbs, fruits and veggies are sages, buckwheats, fuscias, lupins and a couple of baby oaks.  I have already begun to see insect, lizard and bird activity, and am hoping to catch some glimpses of a mammal or two.  As a nature nut, it’s nice to know that I’m not only official, but certified.