The Mudflats is one of our favorite spots. Just look at all that wonderful mud! Not only that, it's one of the rare places where fresh water meets salt water creating a very unique place for our kids to get in touch with things unique to this kind of ecosystem.
And I do mean get in touch!
But notice that boat in the top left side of the picture? They came to tell us to leave :(
They said it is an estuary and that we couldn't be there.
This is the greatest challenge we are up against with nature study here in Southern California - our children are not allowed to be there.
Or perhaps they are, but only under strict observation within a structured class utilizing teaching methods we believe are often counterproductive. And there is always a primary focus on endangerment, protection and conservation - lengthy discussions and displays on how our wildlife will disappear and making a difference and preserving and maintaining these 'fragile' places.
It's true, estuaries are incredibly scarce in California and are suffering degradation due to pollution and sediment that washes into it from the watershed as a result of development or erosion from natural causes.
And the endangered California least tern also fishes and nests in this area.
But is it children with curiosity who played and explored there who really caused any of it? And is lecturing them really going to stir their passions to care for what they aren't even permitted to explore and enjoy? That's like lecturing them on the problems with the gears of a bike before they've ever enjoyed or learned how to ride one. All they'll remember is that it's fragile, better not to mess with it, and that their last experience with it was sad, complicated, and problematic. It would be the rare exception that a child would still look forward to riding a bike or caring for one after that.
If we choose to protect an area for the sake of these wild animals and plants, why not designate an area just for children to explore naturally? Isn't protecting their desire to be in nature, to experience nature, and to know nature just as important to future conservation efforts?
It's what we get for choosing to live here.
So we moved on to a different spot.
Here's the latest addition to the group. Remember the very pregnant Mommy on the tidepool rocks? He's hers :)
And here's a nice little house being built.
And a pretty view of Newport Back Bay with California Encelia (aka Brittlebush, Coast Sunflower) in bloom. Oh California!