International Beaver Day
On April 7, you can gnaw on International Beaver Day. You wood if you want to mark the day. April 7 honors the Beaver Woman, Dorothy Richards on her birthday. Dorothy Richards studied beavers at Beaversprite Sanctuary in New York’s Adirondack Mountains for fifty years.
Wildlife historians estimate that in the early 1800s in North America, there were as many as 60-million beavers. Their fur and their musk became valuable commodities, so they were trapped to near extinction. Now there are an estimated 6-million beavers in North America.
Did you know?
- The Catholic Church once categorized beavers as fish.
- The beaver is the official symbol of Canada.
- Beaver pairs are monogamous, staying together for multiple breeding seasons.
- North American beavers prefer the (inner) bark of aspen and poplar but will also take birch, maple, willow, alder, black cherry, red oak, beech, ash, hornbeam, and occasionally pine and spruce.
- Beaver dams are created as a protection against predators, such as coyotes, wolves, and bears, and to provide easy access to food during winter.
- Beavers always work at night and are prolific builders, carrying mud and stones with their fore-paws and timber between their teeth.
Mrs. Richards’ life as a naturalist and educator remains inspired by other wildlife lovers, botanists, and scientists. So, in 2008 the Board of Directors of the group called Beavers: Wetlands & Wildlife, chose her birthday, April 7, for International Beaver Day. On that first International Beaver Day, the group published and distributed one-thousand copies of a special “Teacher’s Edition” of the “Coexisting with Beavers ” DVD.
More than 100,000 visitors came to her home where two consecutive beaver families lived. As part of her lifework to enlighten the public about this important, but shy, animal, she wrote Beaversprite, My Years Building an Animal Sanctuary.
Friends and professional associates of the “Beaver Woman” Dorothy Richards created a nonprofit, Friends of Beaversprite, after her death in 1985 to carry on her educational efforts.