Stately Blue Oak a Chico Heritage Tree Tree probably took root after end of Civil War

photo story by Karen Laslo

This Blue Oak (Quercus douglassi) is one of 10 Chico Heritage Trees. It has a 53-inch diameter, quite large for a Blue Oak because they grow very slowly. Chico’s urban forester, Richie Bamlet, estimates the Oak is about 150 years old. It can be viewed at the east end of Baroni Park or by bicycling down to the end of Preservation Oak Drive off East 20th Street.

If Bamlet is correct about the tree's age, it took root during Reconstruction after the American Civil War. For more information about Chico’s Heritage Tree Program click here or watch for more ChicoSol photo features on this topic.

Migrant Ed students present to BCOE A summer institute changes lives

by Leslie Layton

Five teenagers from this area who have participated recently in Migrant Education summer leadership programs described a transformational experience in presentations Monday to the Butte County Office of Education board.

Migrant Ed student presentations

Oct. 16 Butte County Office of Education board meeting

Marco Antonio Villa Cruz

"One of the most interesting things I learned was about how Martin Luther King fought for the freedom of African Americans. He wanted a new way of living and he believed we could do it."

Angel Barrera

The 14-year-old Gridley student visited sites in Washington, D.C., including, he said, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Marine Corps War Memorial and Lincoln Memorial.

Noemi Chavez

"I was forced to get out of my comfort zone and make friends."

Victor Jimenez

He couldn't get into the flamenco guitar elective, because it was full, but liked theater "even better."

Janet Velazquez

"My parents work their butts off and I have to make them proud."

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Noemi Chavez, a Gridley High School senior, said the Migrant Student Leadership Institute (MSLI) program at California State University, Sacramento (CSUS), “taught me how to be myself.”

“Three or four years ago, I never would have said I was born in Mexico,” Chavez told the board. “MSLI taught me not to hide where I came from. It gave us hope. Now I’m applying to college.” read more

Caterpillars Make Do With What They’ve Got

photo by Karen Laslo
Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars feed mostly on the native Pipevine plant that contains a toxic substance that also makes the caterpillars toxic, so that birds and other predators leave them alone.

by Karen Laslo

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, take a look at what you’ve got. The black and red-dotted caterpillar phase of the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly sets a good example of this parable for humans.

Normally, in a more natural setting, the caterpillars attach themselves to rocks or trees. But in lower Bidwell Park’s recent freeway construction site, these familiar objects have been stripped away. In the absence of the customary, the caterpillars must improvise.

They do so by hauling themselves up the sides of the concrete freeway supports where they attach and weave a protective, hard shell around themselves. read more

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Sycamore Pool finally ready and waiting 57 truckloads of sediment removed

photo by Karen Laslo

photo by Karen Laslo

by Karen Laslo

Usually, the park maintenance crew has Sycamore Pool cleaned and ready for use by Memorial Day weekend, the official start of the summer swimming season — but not this year.

Heavy winter storms and a swift spring snow melt brought a greatly increased flow of water down Big Chico Creek, resulting in a pressure and volume of water too great to be accommodated by the underground tunnel the park maintenance crew relies on to divert the creek while it cleans the pool.  Finally, last week when the water flow had calmed, the crew began the yearly cleaning of the pool at the One-Mile Recreation Area. read more