This past week brought the start of the Docent Naturalist Training at Discovery Park. I am among the dozen plus members of the class of 2009. We are an interesting bunch, with much in common, yet with very diverse backgrounds. Getting to know my classmates proves as interesting as the Docent training. This last Saturday we spent a gloriously sunny day exploring Discovery Park - first by van and then later on a fast paced hike with points of interest stops along the way. Of course I think every place in Discovery Park is a "point of interest" and worthy of a stop. Yet some are used more regularly by the park during its various education programs of which I and my classmates will eventually be leading. We had some exciting moments during our tours, including the meeting of Otto or maybe it is spelled "Auto". Either way, this bird would be the same by any other name. He's a handsome pheasant who seems to think he's a Border Collie or other breed of herding canine. He boldly rushed our passenger van and then after being shooed out of the way by the brave Ginger, a current park docent, chased the van and the car our fearless leader, Kit, was driving ahead of us. The story is that Otto is well known among park staff and volunteers, as well as those who live in the historical Officer Housing within the park. Kit was once cornered by the bold bird while driving through the park and was eventually rescued by a local resident who shooed the pheasant out of the road. I guess Otto takes his job seriously. If ever there is need for a road closure within the park I would think he would be a good enforcer.
We learned much about the history of the park as well as the lay out. I have been frequenting this park for many years now and am amazed at the little corners I have yet to explore or the bits of history I have yet to learn. I am looking forward to more adventures to come.