‘Bats, bugs and creepy crawly things’ highlighted at Santa Rosa Ecological Reserve

Smokey Bear welcomes youngsters to the Santa Rosa Ecological Plateau Reserve’s annual Family Wildlife Day 2016. The event will be held Saturday, Nov. 4, at the plateau in Murrieta. Courtesy photo

MURRIETA – Children and their parents will have the opportunity to see and learn about many of the wild animals that live in the hills around their homes Saturday, Nov. 4, during the annual Family Wildlife Day at the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve in Murrieta.

“‘Where Wild Things Are’ at the Santa Rosa Ecological Reserve,” will be presented 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. by Santa Rosa Plateau Nature Education Foundation and Riverside County Regional Park Open Space District at the reserve visitors center, 39400 Clinton Keith Road, in Murrieta.

The cost is $5 per adult and $4 for children, ages 2-12. Tickets and free shuttle parking will only be available on-site the day of the event. In honor of Veterans Day, retired, active and reserve military with ID cards are admitted free.

Families will have an opportunity to visit with wild animals, live birds, snakes and a variety of mammals. Designed to inform entertain and inspire children and their families to learn more about the reserve and the natural world, Rob Hicks, longtime Santa Rosa Ecological Reserve interpreter and naturalist, will lead many of the demonstrations.

The day will also include, “bats, bugs and creepy crawly things,” with presentations by Project Wildlife, Sierra Club and University of California. Temecula Valley Astronomers will bring telescopes for observation. Margie Valdez from the Hidden Valley Nature Center will help children explore fossils and more. The day will include nature walks inside the reserve, crafts, music and games.

The foundation partners with Riverside County Parks to ensure funding for nature education programs for students, grades 3-12, at the reserve, which include Third Grade Title 1 Outreach, fourth grade Trout-in-the-Classroom, fifth Grade Seed Bank Studies, Middle School Grassland Restoration and a high school Habitat Studies and Restoration Program. Serving 10 school district and 9,000 students per school year, the foundation’s mission is to educate and empower youth to appreciate, protect and preserve nature.

Information is available from Rob Hicks, (951) 677-6951 or [email protected]; Mary Ruth Johnson, event co-chairman, [email protected]; Kay Boylan, event co-chairman, [email protected]; or Ginger Greaves, the foundation’s executive director (909) 732-2209, [email protected]

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