Opinion: At Tahoe, it’s not all about the bears; find out why Nov. 9 | SierraSun.com

Opinion: At Tahoe, it’s not all about the bears; find out why Nov. 9

Bears, bears, bears! Enough about the bruins. You’d think they’re the only wildlife around, but we’re here to tell you the Tahoe Basin is chock full of mammals, fish, reptiles, birds, amphibians and insects.

Where’s the consideration? What about the respect? The yellow jackets made sure they got a fair amount of attention this year. There’s always strength in numbers. Now it’s our turn.

Thanks to the Incline Village Library, some of the folks who know us best will be the guest experts at their next Tahoe Talk on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 6:30 p.m.

The guest experts for this community conversation are: Jessica Heitt, NDOW Urban Wildlife Coordinator; Madonna Dunbar, IVGID Resource Conservationist & Wildlife Awareness; and Cheryl Millham, Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care Executive Director. These are humans who know us well, care about us deeply, and want to help us all live together safely and peaceably. 

 Jessica Heitt is a Nevada native, born and raised in Elko. She moved to Reno to attend the University of Nevada Reno and received her bachelor’s degree in Biology.

After graduation she began her career with the Nevada Department of Wildlife back in her hometown working in the fisheries division. Shortly after, she started her current position as the Urban Wildlife Coordinator for the Western Region of Nevada. In this position, she educates communities on learning to live with the area’s wildlife.

Madonna has served an IVGID’s Resource Conservationist for the past 10 years, managing outreach and technical services in recycling and solid waste services, urban wildlife, watershed protection and water conservation for the Incline Village and Crystal Bay communities. She is also a 2015 recipient of TRPA’s Lake Spirit Awards, honoring people making progress at restoring Lake Tahoe.

Cheryl Millham was the primary founding member of Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care in April 1978. She served as the organization’s original President and has been the only Executive Director in the 38 years LTWC has been in existence.

Under her watchful eye, LTWC now cares for between 600 and 800 wild birds and animals every year, with a high of almost 1,200 in 2007!

She has coordinated LTWC volunteers to host 2 national wildlife rehab conferences (1993 and 2001). During the 38 years LTWC has cared for wildlife, more than 25,000 wild birds and animals have passed through their doors and over 15,000 have been released back to the wild!

Come meet our friends and share your experiences with them as they share their expertise about us. You humans are pretty smart, but we can still teach you a thing or two, and you seem to learn best from each other.


Mule Deer, Mountain Lion, Coyote, Raccoon, Beaver, Cottontail, Squirrel, Chipmunk, Bobcat, Porcupine, Blue jay, Woodpecker, Owl, Hawk, Chickadee, Frog, Carpenter Ant, Trout, and Kokanee.

Pam Rasmussen is Managing Librarian at the Incline Village Library, part of the Washoe County Library System. Email her at PRasmussen@washoecounty.us.

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