This female California Darner emerged from the pond, visited the nearby 3rd grade class, and was released at the pond on

April 24, 1998.
I came home early from work at the nearby Hillcrest Elementary School at 10 a.m. and decided to look for exuviae around the pond and was richly rewarded. 1st I found one from an Aeshna on the pickerel, then a surprise, there was another under the driftwood that extends from beach area into water. I had never seen one emerge there before. It measured only 29mm and I wondered if it was a California Darner! I looked a little further over on the shady side of the pond and saw what appeared to be a pale worm hung up in some small reeds. When I parted the reeds, it showed itself to be an Aeshna still emerging! So of course I took some pictures.
Then I picked her reeds and put her in a flower vase with a floral sponge.
I rushed her up to the school (just 1/2 mile up the road) to share with the 3rd graders who are doing a unit on animal life.
So they named her Hilda (for Hillcrest School) and we all got to watch as she pumped liquid thru her system and her wings became glassine. Her paddle shaped appendages were quite easy to see.
After the children got to see her, I brought her back to our pond.
Just as soon as she spread her wings I measured her: 62mm not counting abdominal appendages. After only 5 min of a bit of wing vibrating she took off....over the rooftop, over the trees between us and the house next door, over their lot, higher and higher until I lost sight of her! what a maiden flight!