What an amazing day! The weather in Modjeska Canyon, for our Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary “Hearing Accessible” Picnic and Tour, was cool and overcast and quite pleasant after the very hot spell we’d been having. For our picnic, everyone at the Wildlife Sanctuary was so nice and helped set up tables and chairs and an awning cover just in case it started to rain, they offered an indoor area for us, but we wanted to be out in nature and were thinking positive thoughts. Happily we had our lunch under the big, beautiful oak trees and everything was perfect. Linda helped to pass out a few FM receivers for those that didn’t already have their own and Herb took care of his Long Beach/Lakewood group. We passed the transmitter’s microphone around so everyone could introduce themselves.
Then Mark Mendez, our wildlife biologist and tour guide, brought a table over to us with the Native American items he was going to demonstrate, but then he offered so much more than I ever expected. As it turns out, Mark, is a native American Indian himself, and while using our FM transmitter so we could all hear him, he shared his own personal experiences and family stories, plus his humor made it all come alive for us. Mark kept us entertained while educating us about Indian culture. Surprisingly, he had actually made and used many of the Indian “arti-fakes” as he humorously calls them. While my own Indian heritage had always felt distant to me since I’d never met my great grandmother and unfortunately, my grandmother never talked about it with me. I find that sad now.
At the Tucker Wildlife Center’s !000 sq ft natural history museum and gift center, I was again pleasantly surprised at the beautifully done charts, the animals, birds, reptiles, (some alive like the tarantula he brought out). We could tell that Mark clearly cared about our earth and environment and wanted to pass on his knowledge.
Mark then took us out to the glass enclosed bird observation deck where we could sit and watch the birds (and unfortunately a local feral cat was also watching the birds). Here Mark shared information about the local wildlife and trees.
The Modjeska Canyon, the information, and facility was truly beautiful and amazing, and having Mark as our tour guide was an extra special treat we won’t forget. Lorraine
I had a wonderful time today and really appreciate all the efforts that went into bringing it about.
Mark was a very special guide, with a super command of all the wildlife, flora and fauna in the area, besides having a good sense of humor.
Wish it could have lasted longer. I do want to go back again, hopefully, at springtime. Louise
My friend, Margaret, talked alot on the way home about how knowledgable Mark is and how well he did on every phase of our visit, and of course I agree. We especially appreciated knowing his Indian background and bringing the Indian culture to us. It was a great outing. Harriett
It was a great day. Mark Mendez was a real treat. His sincerity and genuine concern for our habitat was inspiring. And I'm so glad the cane was found. What a good group we were. Thank you Lorraine for making it happen. You are a super hero. Linda
I really loved the tour yesterday. Mark, our guide was just amazing with all the information he presented. Thank you for a wonderful day! Sandi
Mark had a lot of information to share yesterday because of his passion of culture/nature (“artifake”, animals, birds, etc.). However, it turns out that it lasted three hours yesterday – more than I expected. Maybe it is not an issue for the people (visitors) who love culture/nature in details to death. Therefore, you probably noticed that I tended to wonder off from the museum and bird porch during his presentation. Yes, I heard him from the road. So, I had an opportunity to explore the trail and others before the tour was concluded rather than to wait after the tour concluded to explore the trial and others. In fact, I brought hiking clothes including hiking boots (just in case). However, I did not know that there was a steep hiking trail (behind the museum) until I discovered it at the end. I could change shoes (to hiking shoes) to go up there, but I did not. Generally no difficulty hearing him (yes, he spoke fast). Maybe that is the job of tour guide by speaking fast (to ensure he covered everything). In addition, it appears that the audience understood him after he told few jokes. Jeff
I hope we can try another event again but alot closer to Long Beach. Herb was a great Driver!!! He knew where he was going. Kaiso The pictures was great!!!