OCEANSIDE — A fun afternoon of scavenger hunts, garden tours and a special visit from Chuck the bat is planned to celebrate Earth Day at the Buena Vista Nature Center on April 21.
An all-ages scavenger hunt will ask visitors to spot frogs, birds and native plants along the nature center’s trails. There will also be a wildlife tracking box demonstration that will show how scientists record animal footprints.
Docents will lead tours of the California native plants gardens at the nature center.
“It’s beautiful this time of year,” Diane Nygaard, founder of Preserve Calavera, said. “Hooker’s evening-primroses, poppies, and sage flowers are in bloom. It’s the perfect time to see them.”
A film loop will play locally produced short films that feature North County wildlife areas. Films feature Buena Vista Creek Valley, El Salto Waterfalls, aerial habitat shots, and the Artists Day in the Valley event.
“They’re different nature short films that you usually don’t get to see except for a special event,” Nygaard said.
Fine art and found art will be on display. Local artists will show their works and found art created by Carlsbad High School students will also be exhibited. Students created the found art pieces after a trash cleanup event. The pieces are crafted to represent endangered species. All artwork is for sale.
A highlight of the event is the Project Wildlife Bat Rescue Team bat talk at 4 p.m. Visitors will get an up-close look at Chuck, a Mexican free-tailed bat, through a live camera feed. Bat expert Cindy Myers will explain how bats fit into the ecosystem and clear up misconceptions about bats.
“We’re really seeing a declining bat population due to loss of habitat, and a fungal disease in the East Coast decimating the bat population,” Nygaard said. “They’re a very important part of our ecosystem for insect control and agriculture.”
In addition to the special activities, nature center displays will be open to the public.
The free open house event will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. April 21 at Buena Vista Nature Center, 2202 South Coast Highway. For more information on the Earth Day event, call (760) 721-2441.