Cornelisse inspires mountain bikers to protect beetle
Mountain bikers, now you can add another resolution to your New Year's list. For 2014, I hope you strive to bike better, smarter and beware of the beetles at Wilder Ranch State Park and other recreational areas in Santa Cruz.
It's not that beetles can hurt you; it's the opposite. They need your help to protect them from you, and the rest of your outdoorsy friends.
I never really thought much about beetles. To me, they were nice little bugs that didn't bite me or fly in my face and had pretty, iridescent green shells. If I glimpsed them, usually they were scuttling off somewhere. I hadn't considered that maybe their six-legged hustle was to save their lives from bike tires or hiking boots or was maybe just a mad dash to find a mate.
Then I met Tim Duane, professor of environmental studies at UC Santa Cruz, and Tara Cornelisse, who recently completed her Ph.D in environmental studies at UCSC. The two experts were guest speakers at a Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz meeting last July. That evening, I learned just how special these beetles are and how cyclists (and others) can take better precautions to protect them.