October 4, 2013

I watched California Gold on PBS last night with Huell Howlett and listened to him expound on the beauties of the Kern River Valley—the very place we had lived for 20 years! That whole area is now preserved and protected.   I was there when the preserve was just being created.  The Nature Conservancy came into the area, set up an office, organized and recruited the Kern Valley people for forays into the riparian forest to do a bird count, build wood duck nests, and look for yellow billed cuckoos.  They began a conservation program during that time that has now grown to involve several other environmental organizations, and enlarged the preserve to include thousands of acres of land.  That was when I first became involved with the Nature Conservancy.  I still support it.   I am gratified to know that the Kern River Valley and its environs will be protected and appreciated forever.
 The old mill buildings were still standing when I went on my first tour of the preserve. You could see them from the highway.   The tour took us inside the old structures to gather owl pellets and learn a bit about the digestive processes of owls.
This was almost too much information for me! 
This preserve is said to be one of the great bird sanctuaries, and when you visit the preserve, one has to just get out of the car, to hear a great chorus of bird sound, and some folks need never go any further than the parking lot to see and hear the many varieties of birds and wild life. Just watching the program I was overcome with déjà-vu and longing.  Twenty-two years of my life was spent in the Kern River Valley!   I loved it then, and I love it now.   I am grateful that I was allowed those years with Claude—the last best years of his life—to live and love in the beautiful Kern River Valley.
Betty L. Owen ~remembering …..
October 2013

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