The Nature Trail
The Nature trails at San Joaquin River Intertribal Heritage Educational Center wander through the hills and oaks that are naturally a part of the Sierra foot hills above the San Joaquin Valley. The trail has been helped to be more accessible with the hard work of volunteers and a great deal of time. But, the original feeling and countryside needs no improvement.
Many of the indigenous or local plants were effected by the growth of the surrounding area. During that modern process many plants were lost to the area and to those who depended on them. These plants and shrubs have and are being reintroduced to the trail and the facility sites. Here, you get to see red bud growing and learn to appreciate it and it's many uses. You can learn to recognize soap weed and hear about its many uses. Through nature itself you can learn about the original people of the area, how they lived and what they did. Almost like a reflection of the past, many of the local people still gather and use these same plants and shrubs today. Basket making isn't just a part of history. It is a part of today. Gathering food from the environment isn't just in a textbook. It is still what many families do today.
Along the trail there are established "stations" or points of interest. Each station allows you to learn about what you are seeing. You have the opportunity to smell, feel and see what you are being taught. The trails offer the educational opportunity that can not be captured in a book or picture. The trails teach ecology and the interdependence of plants, animals and people in the best possible way.
There are wonderful teaching aides that go along with the trail. We do have slides, pictures and even videos. The aides help increase the Nature Trail to encompass different times of the year. With the pictures and slides you can see what may not be in bloom, at full growth or shoots just breaking through the ground. They add to the "intellectual" experience of the Nature Trail. The individuals who guide you through a workshop or seminar including the Nature Trails are knowledgeable and committed to the environment, youth and education. They can help you "see" the nest of a hummingbird and smell sage on the breeze.
© 2001 - 2008 SJRIHEC