Wednesday, November 14, 2018

CANCELLED: REI Ridge Trail Day 2018

Rescheduled for November 17, 2018
 Photo Courtesy of the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council

CANCELLED DUE TO POOR AIR QUALITY

You Are Invited to Volunteer for... 
Ridge Trail Day 2018

When: Saturday, November 17


Time: 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM


Where: Newell Open Space & Lynch Canyon

On November 17th, hundreds of volunteers will join the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council and REI for the 11th Annual Ridge Trail Day all around the Bay Area. Volunteers will repair trail tread, build fences, remove litter, and give the Ridge Trail some TLC! After their hard work, volunteers will be able to socialize and have a chance to win great prizes from REI.

American Canyon - Newell Open Space Preserve and Lynch Canyon: 

Volunteers will join the City of American Canyon and Solano Land Trust for a Seasonal Wetland Restoration Project. Activities will include installing a fence around a mitigation pond to restrict cattle access and planting native seed species in order to restore the functionality of a Seasonal Wetland for California Red-legged Frog habitat. *Please Note: volunteers will have the opportunity to work with barbed wire if they are inclined. All ages are welcome, volunteers under 18 must be accompanied by a legal guardian. Project hours: 9:00 AM-3:00 PM.

Happy Trails!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

#OptOutside & Walk-Off That Turkey


November 23 @ 10:00 am - 2:00 pm Free

Not into the usual Black Friday overload of consumption-shopping and sports TV? Why not gather up leftovers for lunch, your out of town guests, and the kids and come calmly explore a quiet hidden gem of Solano County with Solano Land Trust docents. Part of REI’s #OptOutside campaign. Four to six miles. Please read more details in the registration link below.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Rescheduled REI Ridge Trail Day 2018

Rescheduled for November 17, 2018
 Photo Courtesy of the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council

You Are Invited to Volunteer for... 
Ridge Trail Day 2018

When: Saturday, November 17

Time: 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM

Where: Newell Open Space & Lynch Canyon

On November 17th, hundreds of volunteers will join the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council and REI for the 11th Annual Ridge Trail Day all around the Bay Area. Volunteers will repair trail tread, build fences, remove litter, and give the Ridge Trail some TLC! After their hard work, volunteers will be able to socialize and have a chance to win great prizes from REI.

American Canyon - Newell Open Space Preserve and Lynch Canyon: 

Volunteers will join the City of American Canyon and Solano Land Trust for a Seasonal Wetland Restoration Project. Activities will include installing a fence around a mitigation pond to restrict cattle access and planting native seed species in order to restore the functionality of a Seasonal Wetland for California Red-legged Frog habitat. *Please Note: volunteers will have the opportunity to work with barbed wire if they are inclined. All ages are welcome, volunteers under 18 must be accompanied by a legal guardian. Project hours: 9:00 AM-3:00 PM.

Happy Trails!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Helping Native Frogs


Citizen Scientists give a leg up to California red-legged frogs

On a cool summer night in August, a group of citizen scientists joined Solano Land Trust staff at Vallejo Swett Ranch for a very important purpose: to count frogs. The count supports a project designed to give California red-legged frogs a fighting chance in their bout with non-native American bullfrogs.


After the group walked a mile in the soft, dusk light, they talked in hushed voices as they approached a pond. Stewardship coordinator Ryan Lewis had already shown the group pictures and given instructions on how to use their flashlights and binoculars for a nighttime survey technique that reflects the “eye shine” of the frogs. With flashlights held close to their eyes, the group searched the pond, reeds, and bank for amphibians.

Amphibians sensitive to their environment

This survey is part of a much larger effort by Solano Land Trust to protect and monitor the CA red-legged frog, which is designated endangered by the State of California and listed as threatened by the federal government. Amphibians serve as the proverbial canaries in the coal mine for wildlife given that they are particularly sensitive to habitat degradation. Solano Land Trust is trying to give these native frogs a fighting chance against one of their biggest enemies, the American bullfrog.

Red-legged frogs are iconic Californians. The species is adapted to our dry, arid climate, and is easily identified by two prominent ridges on its back. They’re also famous! They are what launched Mark Twain’s career in 1865 when he featured them in “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.”

While it may seem that frogs of all kinds should be able to share a pond just fine, an adult bullfrog can be three times the size of an adult red-legged frog. The bullfrog, originally from the humid forests of the Eastern States, has invaded our dry, Mediterranean climate. Not only do they out-compete the red-legged frog for food and habitat, but they also consume them. Yep, frogs do eat frogs.

Our western hills of home

The western hills of Solano County have been grazed by livestock for at least a century. Wildlife has adapted or declined due to an increase in non-native annual grasses, the removal of trees and shrubs, and changes to water sources. To extend the grazing season, ranchers have dug shallow stock ponds and dammed streams throughout the hills to store water for cattle.

Several stock ponds on our properties are spring-fed and don’t dry up during the summer most years. These ponds have become especially important to amphibian critters, including the red-legged frogs. Unfortunately, the stock ponds also act as hosts to the enormous invasive bullfrog. To ensure the continued survival of the threatened frogs at Vallejo Swett Ranch, Solano Land Trust periodically drains one of the larger stock ponds in late summer, waiting to ensure that red-legged frog tadpoles have transformed into air-breathing adult frogs. As the pond shrinks, the slower-growing bullfrog tadpoles become easy prey for birds and other predators.

If the CA red-legged frogs were to disappear from our ponds, they may never populate them again. The good news is that this year’s monitoring found red-legged frog tadpoles in the spring and juveniles and adults in August, meaning there was likely a net-gain in the local population. The most recent survey detected no bullfrog larvae, meaning our pond-draining approach is working. This is good news for our red-legged friends!

Solano Land Trust has four properties on the western side of our county. King-Swett, Eastern Swett, Vallejo Swett, and Lynch Canyon are all considered critical habitat for CA red-legged frogs. With your support and our wonderful volunteers, Solano Land Trust provides a safe home for these frogs to increase their population.

(By Ryan Lewis, stewardship coordinator, and Sue Wickham, former project developer, and current volunteer citizen scientist. Photos by Ryan Lewis and Sue Wickham)

Friday, November 2, 2018

CRANEium For Kids!



A monthly gift designed by and for kids

Remember how excited you felt as a kid when something came in the mail with your name on the envelope?

Solano Land Trust’s CRANEium keeps that special excitement alive with a subscription package designed for kids ages 5-10 years old. It’s a fun and educational gift!

CRANEium was created by Brooke Abess, the 14-year-old daughter of Chris Abess, the volunteer race director for our annual Lynch Canyon Trail Run and Community Hike. Brooke, like her father, has volunteered and been involved with Solano Land Trust for many years. Clearly, volunteerism and a passion for the outdoors run in the Abess family.

This project is all Brooke’s idea. She wanted to do something that would benefit a nonprofit, share her love of nature, and help children experience what she calls the “joy of the envelope.” She coined the catchy CRANEium title and pitched the idea to us. CRANEium came from her own fond memories of getting an envelope in the mail with her name on it. Brooke’s genius idea and enthusiasm were so inspiring, that is was an easy decision to move forward with the project!

The idea is simple. Every month a child receives an envelope addressed to them containing something they learn, something they do, and something they get. They will receive a fact sheet about an animal that is native to the land protected by the Solano Land Trust (something they learn); a coloring page featuring the animal of the month (something they do); and finally, a handcrafted origami crane by a local teen artist (something they get).

Brooke says that her main goal with CRANEium is to share knowledge of the amazing wildlife around us in a fun and simple way. By receiving a CRANEium package, we hope that children will learn the importance of nature and wildlife and develop a life-long passion for nature.

CRANEium makes a great gift and is literally a gift that keeps on giving. This creative subscription is a refreshingly original gift idea for the kiddos in your family-or-friend circles. Proceeds from CRANEium are used to support Solano Land Trust’s mission.

Choose from two subscription packages:

•  Full-year subscription (12 issues), January-December 2019 ($30)

•  Half-year subscription (6 issues), July-December 2019 ($15)

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Donate: Our Forever Promise


You are a vital part of our mission. Your support makes a real difference in helping to save the natural areas and farm and ranchlands in Solano County forever and to inspire a love of the land. The rolling hills and wide open agricultural land help create the Solano County way of life. The lands we have protected will be protected forever. Together, we can ensure more of these special places will be here for future generations. Every donation supports programs that focus on clean water and clean air, connecting people with nature, and protecting critical habitat.

Your gifts help us buy land and agricultural conservation easements, connect people to nature, and improve our lands through management, research, and restoration.

Working together, we can protect and preserve the natural and agricultural heritage unique to Solano County.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

This Is Your Legacy



Some of the most wondrous places on Earth are here for us to enjoy today because of the commitments that past generations made to help protect nature. Create your own legacy to keep the lands and waters you love healthy for tomorrow.