Local Bat Rescue Educates in Old Sacramento

Parents looked closely and children’s eyes widened as Northern California Bats’ founder Corky Quirk used two live bats to educate in Old Sacramento Saturday. Quirk brought a Mexican Free-Tailed bat and Big Brown bat to Trail Mix, a store selling outdoor merchandise and projects for children and adults. About 40 children, parents and adults attended the event, and about 20 more trickled in after to see the bats. "It went really well with standing room only," Quirk said. "People were really quiet, which really surprised me, but they stayed a long time, which says something to me." Quirk said she wanted to help people understand the importance of bats, what they do for the environment and dispel fears and myths. "My favorite part was the Big Brown bat," said Allison Barlow, 7. "I like the color of the fur on top." Sacramento residents are most likely to come in contact with the Free-Tailed bat. A large colony lives under the Yolo causeway, Quirk said. "They’ll eat a variety of insects but their favorite insects are moths," Quirk said. "They’re really important for our crops, and we have an awful lot of farmland around here, so that’s a big job." "Everybody liked it when the bats were eating," store owner Mike Barlow said. "There were lots of oohs and aahs. Everyone got to see the bats […]

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TrailMix.Net Hosts Entomology Exhibit for Kids

 Bugs and children go together well, don’t they? Kids had the perfect opportunity Saturday to find out plenty about insects and arachnids at TrailMix.Net in Old Sacramento. The little hobby shop that specializes in kids’ outdoor activities played host to Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator at the University of California at Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology. She brought many specimens to examine, learn from and, yes, even feel. “Don’t worry!” she told the kids. “They don’t bite, and the stick ones only crawl a bunch!” Lots of children were there, with their parents in just as much awe as they were at the bugs. “They’re cool!“ Josh De La Rocha, 7, said. “I like the dogface butterfly.” Yang’s passion for insects was obvious, as she showed them off and told how accessible the little buggers are. “They’re very hands-on,” she said. “You can find them in your back yard and you can hold them and watch them very easily.” TrailMix.Net’s next activity will be hosted by NorCalBats on June 26. For more information, visit www.trailmix.net. For more information on the Bohart Museum of Entomology, visit www.bohart.ucdavis.edu.

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From blog to store: Trailmix.Net all about kids’ adventure

Sara and Mike Barlow are one outdoorsy couple. They carved out their own trail to the fledgling store they opened in Old Sacramento, Trailmix.Net. After falling in love in a small Idaho college town, they honeymooned in a remote cabin reached by water-taxi in Washington’s North Cascades National Park. Both were into hiking and camping in the Pacific Northwest. But they actually had to relocate to San Francisco to get more hardcore. "It wasn’t until we moved to California that we kind of went crazy with it," said Mike Barlow, 37. "We went though this shock of people congestion. So we would escape up into the Sierra. That was how we got our fix." She took up backpacking with him and they both began rockclimbing. They were so into the outdoors that he started a blog, trailmix.net, to track their trips and collect information for future adventures. He worked as a quality assurance manager with biotech company Genentech. She worked as an accountant. Then came the kids. Three, to be exact. "We said, ‘We can’t exactly take the kids rock climbing,’ " Mike Barlow said. They didn’t want to stop enjoying the outdoors. So they came up with adventures they could take with kids, and he began blogging about that. Trailmix.net developed quite a following among other parents. The Barlows slowly began adding kids’ outdoor […]

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Retailers hope for best this holiday

Sacramento retailers are still feeling the bitter sting of the recession this holiday season. Local merchants selling everything from kids’ snowshoes to William Shatner’s first album are mostly reporting decreased sales — although some say 2009 holiday sales haven’t been as dire as predicted. "I think the holiday season will be a disappointment to most merchants," said Ed Castro, who owns Ed’s Threads at 1125 21st St. "I’m not shooting for the moon, so I’m not going to be disappointed." With the country’s economy in its third year of recession, retailers operating downtown and throughout the central city are struggling the same as retailers elsewhere. Industry-wide, holiday retail sales are forecast to decrease by one percent to $437 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. While that’s an improvement over last year’s 3.4-percent decrease in holiday sales during the months of November and December, that number lags behind a 10-year average of 3.39 percent holiday growth. Many local merchants say they’d be happy just to make the same amount of profit as last year. After all, customers are feeling the sting too, business owners said. "We’re hearing from people now that sales are better than they expected, but as good as they want? Probably not," said Michael Ault, executive director of the Downtown Sacramento Partnership. "I think we’re really seeing people just holding their own." […]

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