Henry Coe Ranch Day

Brooke Allen, 7, from Gilroy, learns how to rope a steer Saturday with the help of State Park Volunteer Kevin McDevitt during Ranch Day at the Hunting Hollow entrance of Henry Coe State Park.

The surrounding countryside has existed long before each of us arrived, meaning that many surprises and mysteries are still to be uncovered. To help visitors uncover some of these mysteries, volunteers gathered at the Henry Coe Hunting Hollow entrance to host the Ranch Day event May 4.

Nearly 20 volunteers – the area’s most friendly and devoted animal and wildlife guardians – spent the day educating and entertaining visitors. The volunteers told curious guests about the many creatures that call Hunting Hollow home and about important traditions that people rarely have the pleasure of witnessing today.

Visitors witnessed the age-old practice of sheep herding being acted out by fleet-footed border collies working to keep a sheep herd in line. These ever-obedient, spring-legged canines were trained by Glen McGowan; a man who loves his border collies and is very knowledgeable of the sport.

Giving commands such as “away!” and “walk on!” to instruct the dogs on what to do next, visitors were informed that although Glen trained the collies, it is their instinct to attempt to herd the animals.

Visitors learned about a variety of animals that live in the foothills. Volunteers created a booth that displayed photos of local wildlife with a list of facts about each animal. Among these animals are badgers, Western pond turtles, horned lizards, bald eagles and wild boars. Volunteers informed that many of these creatures are very shy and secretive.

For example, the Western pond turtles have extremely sensitive hearing and superb eyesight which means they can see you before you see them. Consequently, even though many turtles make their homes in streams and ponds alongside roads in the hills, people rarely see them.

All of the creatures were here even at a time when the Ohlone Indians called this land their home. Volunteers put artifacts on display to help visitors learn about how the Ohlone used the land to prepare food and raise their families. Along with the Ohlone display, other engaging displays were set up to bring guests closer to history. Volunteer Liz Brinkman introduced guests to a variety of mammals that can be found throughout North America by allowing them to feel fur of these animals brought by a local taxidermist.

The Ranch Day event was hosted by Henry Coe volunteers.