MARTINEZ -- A segment of downtown-area wetlands will soon be teeming with life, along with its myriad microorganisms, lush foliage and robust array of fowl and creatures that are already present.

The public will once again gather Saturday, Aug. 2, to celebrate an ever-expanding family of beavers who play a key role in creating such diversity -- from one end of the food chain to the other -- at the seventh annual Beaver Festival, featuring live music, wildlife exhibits from throughout the world, children's activities and tours of the beavers' environs.

Heidi Perryman, founder and president of Worth A Dam, the festival sponsor, describes the current seven-member, four-legged family dynamic: one new kit in the mix, three teens born in 2013, minus an adolescent "who'd gone off to seek his future" in 2012, the "remarried" patriarch, and a supportive uncle.

The Martinez resident quickly segues from cute descriptions to basic science, always lobbying for the beavers that play a key role in creating the overall health of the ecosystem.

"The beavers are changing the invertebrate community; they're forming nooks and crannies; and constantly moving mud," says Perryman.

"They're a family unit. They all work together," says Cheryl Reynolds, a Worth A Dam board member, describing the beavers' lodge-dwelling digs, vegetarian diet, and their average 35-pound size.

The beavers' two-block long natural habitat also has softened the look of a man-made, flood mitigating flow device, where green herons perch in search of fish, and Western pond turtles sun themselves.


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if you go
What: Worth a Dam's Seventh Annual Beaver Festival
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 2
Where: Beaver Park (corner of Marina Vista and Castro streets), Martinez
Cost: Free admission
Information: Visit www.martinezbeavers.org