Stivers Lagoon provides a glimpse into a typical wetland that was common in Fremont prior to urbanization.  The abundance of water attracted the Ohlone Indians as well as the early Spaniards and missionaries.  The abundance of water is captured from prehistoric times when sabercats, mammoths, mastodons and camels roamed the lush savanna. During the rainy season, excess water percolated down through the sediments and formed a large aquifer.  This aquifer still supplies water for many of Fremontís perennial waterways.  This wetland helps maintain the flow and quality of water that will eventually  flow into San Francisco Bay. 

The trace of the  Hayward fault passes in front of the entrance to Stivers Lagoon. Movement  along  this fault, created a depression, allowing water from below to steep upwards to wet this land naturally.  Geologically these wetlands are referred to as sag ponds.

The supply of water for Muskrat Creek is in part natural and artificial.  Some water from Mission Creek is diverted toward the gazebo where it joins the flow from Muskrat Creek. This nature walk is only a small portion of the 40 acres  assigned to the Stivers Lagoon area.

The sights and sounds of Stivers Lagoon change from season to season. Depending on when you are planning your trip will determine what you will see.  During  spring, the trees will starting to bloom.   In the summer there will be lush vegetation as the warm days and soil moisture will maintain  green growth, even though most of the surrounding area will be brown from lack of water.

As you walk through the area there are many activities that can help illustrate different environmental concepts as well as the importance of marshes to early  inhabitants.  This section can help you plan your activities by providing information  for each stations and suggested activities.

Before you go on your trip you should remember that this nature area is designed so students can see the beauty of nature.  The trails are maintained so students can see the surrounding areas without disturbing the local inhabitants.  This is their home and children should respect them during the visit.  Students should remain on trails at all times.

 Poison Oak

Text Box:  
Three leaflets of a poison oak leaf
Make sure that your students can identify poison oak before you start your trip.   The leaves of poison oak change color depending on the season.  Even the branches can cause an allergic reaction. The vines can intertwine with other low-growing shrubs,  and can climb trees.

Poison oak is found in woodlands, parks and coastal areas in the western states of North America.  This woody shrub and herbaceous vine can reach a height of six feet.  This plant can be confused with the California blackberry due to their similar leaf pattern.   The stems, leaves and branches are covered with an oil-like sap which can cause a rash or type of dermatitis to many humans and some dogs that have little fur on their body. However, not all people have a reaction. The sap which causes the allergic reaction is the reason this plant was named "the most dangerous plant in California".  During different seasons of the year this plant  changes color from a shiny, deep green in the early part of the spring to deep red and gold at the end of  fall.  This plant is not covered with leaves all year round; in the winter all that remains is the stalk.

After you visit Stivers Lagoon it is good to wash your hands and other exposed parts of the body with soap and water.   This helps to remove any of the irritating oil.  If you take care with your students, there should be no problem, but care must be taken.

Prepare students before they visit this area.  Wear comfortable shoes and bring appropriate cover.  Take water on a warm day, but remember this area will be cooler than the surrounding area. 

Several general activities are outlined in the next section.  Then a brief description of each station follows.  Following the descriptions are worksheets that can help you decide what activity you would like to do with your children. 

Text Box: Suggested Equipment:
∑	Hand lenses
∑	Swift GH microscopes
∑	compass
∑	Forceps
∑	Ice cube trays
∑	Scoops
∑	eye droppers