Friday, May 24, 2019

GRADUATION PHOTOS


A special day at Rush Ranch for foster kids

Taking graduation photos is a rite of passage for most young people, but not all students can afford them.

Earlier this spring, five young people were given the gift of a professional photo shoot at Rush Ranch thanks to a small group of photographers and stylists who donated their time and expertise. This is the kind of community connectivity that your support of Solano Land Trust provides.

“Senior portraits are a big deal to students,” said Carlene Kanellis of Carlene Imagery, one of the volunteer photographers. “Everyone should be able to experience that.”

Carlene has volunteered her services to foster kids for years, but until last year she did her volunteering in another county. Since she lives in Vacaville, she wanted to do something local and has started working with CASA of Solano, a group that advocates for abused and neglected young people in the court system.



An expansive landscape

This was her second year working with CASA kids. Last year they took photos in downtown Vacaville. This year they tried the magnificent landscape at Rush Ranch with great results.

Three young women and two young men who are graduating seniors started off by having their hair and make-up done in the Nature Center by professionally-trained artists, Rachel Espinosa, and Connor Kanellis.

“Usually they’re super shy, but after getting haircuts and makeup, you can see in their body language they dig it,” said Carlene, who along with photographer Alex Sommerfeldt, led the students outside for photo shoots near the corrals. The historic farm equipment, framed with tall green grass and wildflowers, made for a spectacular backdrop.

“By the end of the session they were super excited, more confident, and really appreciative,” said Carlene.

After the graduation photos had been taken, the students stood on a ramp to quietly watch a week-old foal in the corral.

Photos are courtesy of Carlene Imagery, Nicole Braddock, and Tom Muehleisen.


(Stonewall Santiago is the newest foal in the line of Stonewall Sport Horses of Access Adventure.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Mountain Bike Ride at Rockville Trails Preserve May 25th 2019


May 25th 9:00am to 1:00pm

Docent-led mountain bike ride at Rockville Trails Preserve

Please join us for an approximately 7 to 10-mile mountain bike ride with approximately 1,500 feet of climbing.  The ride will cover most of the trails at the site with scenic views and several interpretive stops.  Experienced riders recommended with hardtail or full suspension mountain bikes that are in good condition.  RSVP recommended.  Meet at the red Icehouse building at the corner of Rockville Road and Suisun Valley Road.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

GETTING KIDS OUTSIDE


Nature literacy and science on the land

Rush Ranch cradles many things, including children. Local kids have been coming to Rush Ranch Open Space on field trips for many years.

These days it’s more difficult and way more expensive to get kids out of the classroom. With tight budgets and high transportation costs, most schools can’t afford field trips anymore. Working together, we can help.

We have several programs that welcome kids to Rush Ranch. One is called Marshes Matter. Thanks to a transportation grant from the State Coastal Conservancy, a dedicated team of volunteers, and your support of our programs, over 600 kids have visited Rush Ranch and its marsh in the last two years to explore what it means to be a scientist.

Suisun Marsh is special

After the rains, this spring, a group of fourth graders from Edwin Markham Elementary School in Vacaville were split into four groups after being welcomed and given an introduction to the marsh by lead docent Lynn Garrison. A docent-led each of the four groups into different sections of the ranch.

The first stop for docent Dennis Wells and his group of five boys and three girls was the murals outside of the Nature Center. He asked questions of the kids: What makes the Suisun Marsh special? What kind of water is in the marsh? What special animals live here?

The kids raised their hands or shouted out their answers. They each carried a field journal with the title, “Exploring the brackish tidal marsh at Rush Ranch.” On the trail to the marsh, they saw a hawk in the eucalyptus trees. Dennis pulled a bird identification book out of his backpack, and by matching the markings of the bird to the picture concluded it was a ferruginous hawk.

Continuing on the trail, he asked more questions, just like a scientist would. He asked if they noticed that Rush Ranch was on Grizzly Island Road. “Why did they call it that? Does anybody know anything about grizzly bears, or what top of the food chain means?”

Kids are extra special

A chilly wind blew, and another storm was on its way. The children didn’t complain though. For the most part, they were focused, curious, and knowledgeable. One of the girls found a ladybug and picked it up. It crawled on her arm and across her journal, and held the fascination of all the girls until it flew away.

“This place is literally one-thousand acres big,” one kid said to another as they turned on the South Pasture Marsh Trail to view the Suisun Slough from the edge of the trail.

Research shows that exposing young people to science and nature is good for them. We can’t know what these experiences will lead to, but we know that they are important. Thank you for believing in that, too. Your support makes these moments possible!

Photos are courtesy of Aleta George and Di Holokahi.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Kid’s Hike: Mother’s Day


May 12 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Come Kick off Mother’s Day with us!  From spring to early summer, Lynch Canyon is in bloom. Solano Land Trust and Solano County Parks invite the community to bring their kids and join the next kids’ hike to see how many different flowers they can find. All ages are encouraged to join the hike. Meet in the parking lot at 9:45; the hike starts at 10. Bring plenty of water and snacks.

REGISTRATION: Pre-registration recommended for HeadCount.
COST: The hike is free, but parking is $6.00 at Lynch Canyon

Monday, May 6, 2019

Citizen Science Friday May 10th 2019


May 10th 2019 @ 8:30 am - 12:30 pm

Get involved in science on our lands! Solano Land Trust staff will teach you all you need to know.

REGISTRATION: Pre-registration required two or more days in advance. Contact Jasmine at: jasmine@solanolandtrust.org or 707-709-9028. Meeting place provided upon registration.

WHAT TO BE PREPARED FOR: (1) This is an outdoor experience involving physical exertion. There is usually no shade. Be prepared to be moving outdoors for approximately four hours. Depending on the citizen science goals for the day, you may be hiking, doing physical work, and/or recording observations about plants and animals. You may be using hand tools like clippers; lifting, carrying and lowering supplies; bending over, squatting and kneeling on dirt, grasses and weeds; and sweating. (2) Ages 12 and up who are comfortable with this kind of physical exertion are welcome—those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult and must have a liability waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian. (3) Tools are provided.

WHAT TO BRING: (1) A backpack with plenty of water and snacks. (2) Sturdy work gloves. (3) Eye protection (e.g., sunglasses). (4) Boots or sturdy closed-toe shoes with tread for rough, steep, and slippery terrain. (5) Long, sturdy pants and layered clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. (6) Protection from the elements—sun (sunscreen, hat, sunglasses), wind, fog, rain. (7) Optional: bug repellent, your favorite gardening tools, and binoculars to enjoy the birds!

Friday, May 3, 2019

LYNCH CANYON KITE FESTIVAL MAY 4, 2019


Come To The 11th Annual Lynch Canyon Kite Festival On Saturday, May 4, 2019, From Noon To 4:00pm!

Bay breezes, grassy hills, and open fields make for ideal kite-flying conditions at Lynch Canyon.

COST:

• The festival is free! Solano County Parks has generously waived the parking fee for this day.

WHAT TO BE PREPARED FOR:

(1) All ages and ability levels are welcome!
(2) Dogs are not allowed (to protect wildlife, rare plants, and free-range cattle).
(3) Expect rough, uneven ground.
(4) We do our best to minimize it for the festival but expect some cow manure as this is a working ranch where free-range cattle roam as they please.
(5) There is no drinking water.
(6) Take only pictures, leave only footprints.
(7) Maintain a safe distance from cattle and wildlife, and be aware that this is a tick, mountain lion, and potentially rattlesnake country.

WHAT TO BRING:
(1) A kite.
(2) Drinking water.
(3) A picnic lunch.
(4) Protection from sun, wind, fog, and rain.
(5) Boots or sturdy closed-toe shoes.
(6) Your friends and family!

MEETING PLACE: The grassy field for kite-flying is right beside the parking lot.
CLICK HERE for directions to Lynch Canyon

WEATHER PLAN: Rain may cancel.

REGISTRATION: None. Just show up!
Questions? 707-432-0150 OR volunteer@solanolandtrust.org

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Big Day Of Giving May 2nd 2019


Thursday, May 2nd


24-hours to Give Big

Giving Local Makes a Difference

Please help us protect land and share natural parks with people in our beautiful home. Together, we can preserve Solano County's unique heritage, and provide inclusive access to nature for all to enjoy.

It feels good to be part of a cause greater than ourselves. Please participate in this 24-hour campaign to help us protect land and serve our community!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Nature Hike at King-Swett Ranches May 4th 2019


May 4th @ 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Come explore the hills between Fairfield, Benicia, and Vallejo. Solano Land Trust docents will guide you through this area, known as the King-Swett Ranches. They’ll share insights about the birds and other wildlife that call this area home, and give you a great workout! Take advantage of this special opportunity if you can because the King-Swett Ranches are otherwise closed.
You will meet the docent at the Park and Ride and then carpool to the trailhead from there.

REGISTRATION: RSVP Recommended

Please note! Registration opens approximately one month prior to the hike. Double check the date of the hike on the registration link.

WHAT TO BE PREPARED FOR: There is no drinking water at this property. There is usually no shade. A potentially strenuous pace hiking up to 6 miles up and down slippery, steep, and rugged hills that may be full of sticky seeds and thorny plants. Expect rough, rocky, uneven ground. Some travel may be off-trail. Sorry, no dogs allowed.

Meet at the Red Top Rd. Park-and-ride in Fairfield.

WHAT TO BRING: (1) A backpack with plenty of water and snacks.  (2) Boots or sturdy closed-toe shoes  (3) Long, sturdy pants and layered clothes (4) Protection from the elements
(5) Optional: bug repellent, your favorite gardening tools, and binoculars to enjoy the birds!

Note: Only really heavy rain may cancel.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Rush Ranch Open House Saturday April 27th 2019


Join Us On Saturday, April 27, 2019, From 10:00am to 3:00pm!

Together Solano Land Trust and the Rush Ranch Educational Council have been sharing Rush Ranch with the community ever since. Come celebrate with us!

Entry is free! Any dollars you spend on lunch, raffle tickets, or arts and crafts will benefit the Rush Ranch Educational Council, an all-volunteer organization that provides fun and educational programs for the ranch.


Rush Ranch is at 3521 Grizzly Island Road, off Highway 12, two miles south of Suisun City. 

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Solano Overnight Hike April 27 @ 8:00 am - April 28 @ 4:00 pm


April 27 @ 8:00 am - April 28 @ 4:00 pm $45

Join the Ridge Trail, Greenbelt Alliance, Solano Land Trust, and the Greater Vallejo Recreation District for the second Solano County hike and overnight! Participants will attend a 2-day supported hike from Newell Open Space Preserve to the Benicia State Recreation Area staying at McIntyre Ranch overnight on the journey south. The hike will feature panoramic views of San Francisco and Suisun Bay, a docent-led tour through the Vallejo-Swett Ranch, and the opportunity to socialize with other trail enthusiasts!

What you can expect:

Saturday, April 27

  • Park your car at Benicia State Recreation Area handoff camping gear to be brought to McIntyre Ranch
  • Get shuttled from BSRA to the start point at Newell Ranch
  • Hike 12.5 miles to McIntyre Ranch
  • Enjoy a catered dinner at McIntyre Ranch from Kinder’s BBQ

Sunday, April 28

  • Wake up at McIntyre Ranch and enjoy a pancake breakfast
  • Create your own sandwiches for lunch that you can pack with you
  • Hike 7.2 miles to Benicia State Recreation Area where your camping gear will be delivered back

Please note: this hike is approximately 19.7 miles over 2 days walking across a variety of terrains like sidewalks and rocky trails. The hikes are rated as “moderate” but due to the length of them, the severity can increase.

For additional questions please email events@ridgetrail.org.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

NEW MONTHLY HIKES


More opportunities to get out on the land

We want to help get you outside!

Solano Land Trust recently expanded the docent team with graduates from our docent-training program. With the added capacity, we will begin to host a docent-led hike every Saturday at one of our protected properties. Now you will have more opportunities for interpretive hikes on our lands!

You never know who will be inspired on the lands you’ve helped us conserve. Just ask docent Jim Hanser. Jim was never a nature enthusiast until after he retired from Kaiser Vacaville. When he joined one of the first docent-led hikes offered at Rockville Trails Preserve, he was hooked. “I thought it was a beautiful place, and now I have a new interest in oaks, lichen, and wildflowers,” said Jim.

He took his first docent training at Jepson Prairie Preserve and fell in love with the vernal pools, flowers, and creatures in Olcott Lake. Since then he has taken all the docent training that Solano Land Trust offers and is a docent for all the properties. “I can’t explain my newfound love for nature. Now I’m outside every day, at least for a few hours,” he said.

Here’s the schedule for the monthly hikes:

•  First Saturday at King-Swett Ranches: Docent James Walsh has been leading this stimulating hike for years. He and others will lead a strenuous hike on various trails, each of which offers views and hills that go on forever. Be ready to sweat at King-Swett!

•  Second Saturday at Rockville Trails Preserve: This property offers expansive views of Solano County, and plenty of majestic oak trees and lichen to admire.

•  Third Saturday at Rush Ranch: Docents include themed hikes as part of Get the Rush! Each hike will explore a different topic such as the history of the people who have lived at the ranch, or all the magical wonders of the Suisun Marsh.

•  Fourth Saturday at Lynch Canyon Open Space: This property offers views, a good workout, quiet serenity, and is known for its raptor sightings.

Thank you for protecting these lands that inspire our community and our wonderful docents. We will continue to offer specialty hikes and walks such as the Jepson Prairie tours every spring, the seasonal birds-of-prey outings, yoga on the land, and explorations designed for kids and their families.

Get outside on Saturdays to get to know our properties and share in the enthusiasm of all our docents.

Get more information about times and meeting places on our Activity Calendar.

Photos courtesy of Lynn Garrison, Dave Reider, Kathy Goding, and Solano Land Trust.

Monday, April 15, 2019

HELP YOUNG PEOPLE RUN



Opportunity to fund race scholarship for youth

There's nothing but good vibes at the Lynch Canyon Trail Run and Community Hike, which takes place this year on Saturday, June 1.

This year, you have an opportunity to help youth join in the fun of the run by contributing to the Lynch Canyon Trail Run Scholarship. Twenty percent of registrants have already chosen to help get young people out on the trail!

The Lynch Canyon Trail Run, deemed, “Solano County’s toughest trail run,” is enjoyed by first-timers, sponsored athletes, and repeat and new runners from 8 to 80 years old. Many participate for the physical and mental challenge, to overcome obstacles, or to get a mental reset in the beautiful natural setting. Thanks to your support, Lynch Canyon is open to the public and able to host this popular event, now in its 12th year. The community walk is free, and no advance registration is required.

Lynch Canyon Trail Run Scholarship

The new scholarship was inspired by Jim Dobyns, a home and hospital teacher for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District. “Young people spend so much time in front of screens. It’s great to get them outside where they can feel the sunshine, breathe the air, and move around,” he said.

Jim ran a half-marathon at the Lynch Canyon Trail Run last year for the first time and appreciates the camaraderie. “Everyone is really supportive and it’s inspiring to be around that community,” he said. “Even if you’ve never done it before, just walk it and be part of it. There’s nothing more natural than fresh air and sunshine. It’s good for you.”

We are partnering with local nonprofits to reach youth, but if you know of an individual or organization that can benefit from the scholarship, send an email to race founder and organizer Chris Abess.

We hope you join us at this fun event! Whether you can come or not, please consider helping a young person participate who might not otherwise be able to go. When registering online for the half-marathon, 10K, or 5K you are given a chance to donate $25 (optional) to a scholarship. To support the sponsorship fund without running the race, please contact Michelle Dickey. You can also contact Michelle for sponsorship opportunities.

Event proceeds benefit Solano Land Trust. Thank you.

Photos by Tom Muehleisen and Daniel Smith.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Bird of Prey Hike with Northern Harrier Presentation by Dr. Shannon Skalos April 6th


April 6 @ 9:45 am - 1:00 pm

We are happy to announce an end of season event which will be held on April 6, 2019, at Rush Ranch.  Larry Broderick will lead a Bird of Prey Hike, followed by a presentation on the Northern Harrier, by Dr. Shanon Skalos from U.C. Davis. A chili and cornbread lunch will be provided.

Registration Recommended.

In lieu of the $10 fee, donations will be accepted for The Suisun Wildlife Center.

Some items on their wish list are:

Paper Goods

-paper towels

-xerox copy paper( 8 1/2 x 11)



Garbage bags

-large yard

-large kitchen

-compactor bags



Cleaning Supplies

-glass cleaner

-cobweb duster/ broom/ dustpan

-unscented laundry detergent

-bleach ( unscented),

Sheets, pillowcases, baby blankets ( especially flannel or fleece)

Food items

-Grapes and apples

– Unsalted Nuts in the shell ( walnuts, almonds, pecans)

– Eggs

– Meat ( including freezer burned or out-dated beef or chicken, no processed meat)

– Shrimp and seafood

– Birdseed

– Mouse Food

– Liquid Bird Vitamins/ Calcium Powder

Miscellaneous Items:

– Heating Pads

– Electric Fans

– Heavy Duty hoses/ nozzle

– Pet Carriers ( no cardboard unless new, please)

Gift cards from grocery stores, pet stores, gas stations, Walmart, Amazon, Costco, and Home Depot are welcome.

Cash donations welcome.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Nature Hike at King-Swett Ranches April 6th


April 6 @ 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Come explore the hills between Fairfield, Benicia, and Vallejo. Solano Land Trust docents will guide you through this area, known as the King-Swett Ranches. They’ll share insights about the birds and other wildlife that call this area home, and give you a great workout! Take advantage of this special opportunity if you can because the King-Swett Ranches are otherwise closed.
You will meet the docent at the Park and Ride and then carpool to the trailhead from there.

REGISTRATION: RSVP Recommended

Please note! Registration opens approximately one month prior to the hike. Double check the date of the hike on the registration link.

WHAT TO BE PREPARED FOR: There is no drinking water at this property. There is usually no shade. A potentially strenuous pace hiking up to 6 miles up and down slippery, steep, and rugged hills that may be full of sticky seeds and thorny plants. Expect rough, rocky, uneven ground. Some travel may be off-trail. Sorry, no dogs allowed.

Meet at the Red Top Rd. Park-and-ride in Fairfield.

WHAT TO BRING: (1) A backpack with plenty of water and snacks.  (2) Boots or sturdy closed-toe shoes  (3) Long, sturdy pants and layered clothes (4) Protection from the elements
(5) Optional: bug repellent, your favorite gardening tools, and binoculars to enjoy the birds!

Note: Only really heavy rain may cancel.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Wildflower & Water Critters Walk Sunday March 31st


March 31 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Jepson Prairie Preserve is one of California’s best remaining examples of a vernal pool ecosystem and native grassland prairie. Dry and dormant most of the year, the prairie is transformed by winter rains into a tapestry of stunning colors, and its vernal pools host a rich diversity of rare aquatic life. Visitors can enjoy an easy guided walk which may include portions of the Preserve that are only accessible with a Jepson Prairie docent. Participants can learn about vernal pools and see the aquatic invertebrate and flowering plants that depend on them. Volunteer docents offer these two-hour tours every Saturday and Sunday starting at 10 a.m., March 9 through May 12 (Mother’s Day).  For groups of 6 or more, RSVP to Kate Mawdsley at wfm-kfm@pacbell.net or   530-758-5093. A minimum $5 donation is encouraged to attend this tour.

Monday, March 25, 2019

2nd Annual Bikes and Brews 03/30/2019


March 30 @ 9:00 am - 1:00 pm $25


Join us on our 2nd annual docent-led mountain bike tour at this special property that is not yet open to the public. After the ride, you will enjoy appetizers and locally crafted beer. This ride is for skilled riders in good physical condition. Very limited space. Meeting location will be at the Ice House parking lot, on the corner of Rockville Rd. and Suisun Valley Rd. From there, we will carpool/caravan to the entrance of the property.  Locally crafted brew from True Symmetry Brewing Co.

REGISTRATION: Required

COST: $25

Friday, March 22, 2019

Kid’s Hike- Find Something Green 03.25.19


March 25 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Come join the next kids’ hike at Lynch Canyon Open Space Park, hosted by Solano Land Trust, for some fresh air, exercise, and fun! During this hike, participants will observe resident, migrating, and overwintering birds in the area. No registration required. Meet in the parking lot at 9:45 for a 10:00 departure. Free.  Pre- Registration Recommended ( for headcount).

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

First Day of Spring Hike 03/20/19


First Day of Spring Hike 03/20/19
March 20 @ 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Enjoy the first hike of Spring with Solano Land Trust! Explore the hills between Suisun Valley and Green Valley, and see sweeping views of Solano County and beyond. Enjoying the vistas of Solano County and searching for wildflowers. Moderate to Strenuous, 4-6 miles, rain cancels, 9am-1pm.  Registration Recommended.

**Meet at the big red “Ice House” building on Rockville Road and Suisun Valley Rd.

Docent Contact: Cathy Christo


Phone: 707-745-1913

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Animals Cannot Be Blue | Explorer



Sometimes nature plays tricks on us. Animals use color in remarkable ways to attract mates or disguise themselves.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Wildflower & Water Critters Walk March 17th 2019


March 17 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm 
Recurring Event (See all)

Jepson Prairie Preserve is one of California’s best remaining examples of a vernal pool ecosystem and native grassland prairie. Dry and dormant most of the year, the prairie is transformed by winter rains into a tapestry of stunning colors, and its vernal pools host a rich diversity of rare aquatic life. Visitors can enjoy an easy guided walk which may include portions of the Preserve that are only accessible with a Jepson Prairie docent. Participants can learn about vernal pools and see the aquatic invertebrate and flowering plants that depend on them. Volunteer docents offer these two-hour tours every Saturday and Sunday starting at 10 a.m., March 9 through May 12 (Mother’s Day).  For groups of 6 or more, RSVP to Kate Mawdsley at wfm-kfm@pacbell.net or   530-758-5093.

A minimum $5 donation is encouraged to attend this tour.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Get the Rush! at Rush Ranch March 16 @ 10:00 am - 1:00 pm


On the third Saturday of every month, volunteers offer family-friendly activities at Rush Ranch. Timing and activities vary month to month. In April, you and your kids can experiment with science discovery labs, travel back in time by entering a traditional blacksmith shop, and take a guided walk alongside the tidal marsh. Weather permitting, you can also ride around the ranch on a horse-drawn wagon. Wheelchair users are encouraged to board the wagon and experience the ride; the wagons are specially-designed with a wheelchair lift. You can also explore exhibits and wander trails on your own. No pre-registration required.

Date: March 16
Time: 10:00 am - 1:00 pm

Rush Ranch
3521 Grizzly Island Rd. 
Suisun City, CA 94585 United States

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Yoga Hike at Rush Ranch March 16 @ 9:00 am - 11:00 am


This easy, family-friendly hike will start and end at the Rush Ranch picnic area. Barbara Fredericks will lead some warm-up stretches and a yoga session later on. Participants can enjoy the sun on their face and the wind in their hair while they do yoga. RSVP Recommended.   Meeting location: Picnic area at Rush Ranch. Free.

Date: March 16
Time: 9:00 am - 11:00 am

Rush Ranch
3521 Grizzly Island Rd. 
Suisun City, CA 94585 United States

Monday, March 4, 2019

Solano Land Trust field trip



Solano Land Trust staff, Board members and very fortunate significant others enjoyed a really cool field trip. Hosted by Ian and Margaret Anderson of Bird’s Landing... we got to ride on their wheat harvesters and then had a delicious picnic dinner next to the Sacramento River.

Friday, March 1, 2019

SCIENCE AND DELIGHT AT JEPSON PRAIRIE


Jepson Prairie's unique ecosystem attracts scientists, including four fabulous women

Restoration ecologist Jaymee Marty remembers the day that she saw her first Delta green ground beetle, a rare, quarter-inch-long beetle found only in the Greater Jepson Prairie area.

"The only way to see them is to sit completely still for 20 or 30 minutes. If you move at all, they freeze and blend into the vegetation," she said of the elusive metallic-green beetle she eventually saw on the edge of Olcott Lake at Jepson Prairie.

Jaymee is one of the many scientists and researchers who have brought their curiosity and awe to Jepson Prairie Preserve over the years. Out of the scores of scientists and researchers who have contributed to the understanding and education of the prairie, there are four female scientists - Jaymee Marty, Virginia "Shorty" Boucher, Carol Witham, and Kate Mawdsley  -  who have done so for decades. Read On...

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Wooden Valley Winery



This generation of Lanzas has a vision for Wooden Valley Winery and Vineyards – to establish Suisun Valley as a world-class wine region. And as the family’s fourth generation matures, the future certainly looks bright for Mario and Lena’s great-grandchildren.

For the Lanzas, it’s all about family. They've maintained the tradition of gathering on a regular basis with close friends and relatives for delicious food and wine, to enjoy the results of their hard work. Visitors and Wine Club members are now included in that tradition, with winemaker dinners, harvest celebrations and special seasonal events throughout the year.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Citizen Science Friday March 8th 2019


March 8 @ 8:30 am - 12:30 pm

Get involved in science on our lands! Solano Land Trust staff will teach you all you need to know.

REGISTRATION: Pre-registration required two or more days in advance. Contact Jasmine at: jasmine@solanolandtrust.org or 707-709-9028. Meeting place provided upon registration.

WHAT TO BE PREPARED FOR: (1) This is an outdoor experience involving physical exertion. There is usually no shade. Be prepared to be moving outdoors for approximately four hours. Depending on the citizen science goals for the day, you may be hiking, doing physical work, and/or recording observations about plants and animals. You may be using hand tools like clippers; lifting, carrying and lowering supplies; bending over, squatting and kneeling on dirt, grasses and weeds; and sweating. (2) Ages 12 and up who are comfortable with this kind of physical exertion are welcome—those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult and must have a liability waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian. (3) Tools are provided.

WHAT TO BRING: (1) A backpack with plenty of water and snacks. (2) Sturdy work gloves. (3) Eye protection (e.g., sunglasses). (4) Boots or sturdy closed-toe shoes with tread for rough, steep, and slippery terrain. (5) Long, sturdy pants and layered clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. (6) Protection from the elements—sun (sunscreen, hat, sunglasses), wind, fog, rain. (7) Optional: bug repellent, your favorite gardening tools, and binoculars to enjoy the birds!

Friday, February 15, 2019

March 2nd 2019 Birds Of Prey Hike


March 2 @ 10:00 am - 1:00 pm $10

Solano Land Trust and Solano County Parks are proud to present the first Lynch Canyon birds of prey hike of the winter migration season. Lynch Canyon is home to golden eagles and hawks. It is also a magnet for migrating and over-wintering birds of prey.  It provides them with over 1,000 undeveloped acres where they can hunt and rest. Some feathered visitors come from as far away as the Arctic Circle. This hike will be between 4-6 miles. Meet in the parking lot.

COST: The guided hike is $10 per person. You can pay online when registering, or bring cash/check, payable to Solano Land Trust.

*NOTE: There is a separate parking fee of $6 at Lynch Canyon, cash or check, payable to Solano County Parks.

REGISTRATION: Space is limited. Pre-registration required.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

We're Hiring!


Do you know of anyone who wants to be part of a winning team and help create a legacy in Solano County?

Solano Land Trust has three positions open: 

-Comprehensive Campaign Manager

-Seasonal Field Steward

-Manager of Land-People Connections.

Click here to check out the job description on our website.

Please help us spread the word!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

BEST VIEWS IN SOLANO

Views can be inspiring and offer perspective on day-to-day hassles. Doesn’t it feel good to know that your support of Solano Land Trust helps people find inspiration?

Take a moment to imagine people of all ages and walks of life climbing trails, breathing deeply, and attaining that sweet spot of perspective.


Check out our list of  favorite views on Solano Land Trust properties:



Suisun Hill, Rush Ranch - The Suisun Hill Trail that starts on Grizzly Island Road opposite the driveway to Rush Ranch takes you to the top of Suisun Hill. The view looking south to Mount Diablo leads your eye across the ranch and the Suisun Marsh. One staff member says she’d love to hike Mount Diablo but doesn’t have to because Suisun Hill is in her own backyard, figuratively speaking. That makes her reflect on how grateful she is to be in nature within ten minutes. Be sure to keep an eye out for birds of prey when on Suisun Hill.

North Ridge Trail, Lynch Canyon - Climb to the top of the North Ridge Trail for rewarding views of the Napa River, North Bay wetlands, San Francisco Bay, Mount Tamalpais, and even the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. The trail is part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail and has picnic tables where you can sit and catch your inspiration while catching your breath.

Tower Trail, Lynch Canyon - It seems that everyone stops at the bench that overlooks the reservoir on the Tower Trail. And just as often they pull out a phone to take a picture of the reservoir below or the classic selfie. There’s something about this spot that people like, beyond the fact that it’s a good place to catch your breath. Look to the towers and see if you can spot a golden eagle.

Big hill overlook, King Ranch - If you have an opportunity to go on a docent-led hike at King Ranch, do it (first Saturday of most months). There are several views that are spectacular. Perhaps the most dramatic is from atop the windy mesa. From this perch, you really get a sense of the vastness of Suisun Marsh and realize how lucky we are that people have worked to protect it for over a century.

Harmonia Hill, Rockville Trails Preserve - From a rocky outcrop at the eastern edge of Harmonia Hill, you can look out over Suisun Valley and further on to Suisun and the Montezuma Hills. On a clear day, you can see forever - well, at least to the Sierras.

Hills at Eastern Swett - On a docent-led hike, you can climb the hills with no names for views that block out housing developments, roads, and cities. The signs of society are in the valleys and hidden from view, and all you see are hills for miles. In the springtime, it’s miles of emerald green, which is so good for the eyes.

Tell us what views you love and why.

Photos courtesy of (in order) Aleta George, Edwin Osada, Aleta George, Solano Land Trust, Nicole Braddock, and Solano Land Trust.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Fighting Fire With Fire


Using fire to manage grasslands

Fire has come to the forefront of our consciousness as Californians. In Solano County, fires directly threatened several communities in 2018, and we all spent months under the oppressive, surreal haze of poor air quality from large fires throughout the state. Reducing fire risk is a priority for all of us, and you may be asking yourselves, can we really fight fire with fire?

Historically, yes. Long before European settlement, indigenous Californians used fire as a tool to manage vegetation and improve habitat for the plants and animals they needed to survive. Light- to moderate-intensity fire can refresh an ecosystem, removing dead plants and releasing nutrients. Following light to moderate fires, it is common to see a flush of new growth, which can attract deer and other animals. Fire can also help control invasive grasses.


Controlled burns

Not all fires are created equal. Fire intensity refers to the energy produced by a fire, and severity refers to the damage left after the fire. Scientists agree that modern fires, with heavy fuel loads resulting from fire suppression policies, are burning more intensely and creating more severe burns with lasting ecosystem effects.


To reduce fuel loads, land managers practice methods such as removing woody material with machinery or using grazing and browsing animals. Another way that fuels can be reduced is through prescribed or controlled burns. Prescribed fire is a tool that is carefully planned and designed to meet management objectives.


Rush Ranch green

Solano Land Trust has a history of using fire as a management tool. If you have ever visited Rush Ranch, you may have witnessed controlled burns that have been part of a training program in partnership with the Montezuma Fire District.

In 2018, three unplanned fires affected Solano Land Trust properties (Rush Ranch, Lynch Canyon, and Paradise Valley). In each case, the fires began on the shoulder of public roads and were carried by the wind onto Solano Land Trust properties. Fortunately, all the fires were of low intensity and severity. You may notice how well vegetation is recovering from those fires. In some ways, these unplanned fires were a test of vegetation management. If fuel loads had been higher, the fires would have been more severe.

Your support of responsible land management practices, such as cattle grazing, ensures we can continue maintaining the resiliency of our lands.

By Jasmine Westbrook, project manager. Photos courtesy of Ken Poerner, Tim Malte, and Tom Muehleisen.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Monday, January 28, 2019

Next-Gen Blue Oaks

Replanting an old clear-cut at Rockville Trails Preserve

Sometimes little ones need to be coddled.

That is the case with a “nursery” of blue oaks deep in the heart of Rockville Trails Preserve. Twelve acorns and two saplings have been planted as a first step to restore an area that was logged decades ago. Historic aerial photos show a thriving oak savanna in 1937. Today, areas of the Preserve have only foot-tall stumps, evidence of a past clear-cut. They may have logged the trees for firewood, or because agricultural advisors thought removing the trees would benefit livestock. Whatever the reason, the result is that huge areas that were once wooded are now grasslands. Our goal is to plant and protect 60 young trees in one of these historically wooded areas. (See aerial photos below.)


Iconic California oaks

Your support enables us to replant these oaks and do all we can to help the babies grow.

If you have ever been on a docent-led hike at Rockville Trails Preserve, you may have noticed the blue oak savannas that sweep across the landscape, lending it an iconic California look. This species of oak grows only in California, and only in a narrow ring around the Central Valley.

For the past few decades, land managers and ecologists have been concerned because these slow-growing oaks are not regenerating adequately on their own. Researchers believe slow regeneration may be caused by changes in rainfall and summer temperatures, depleted groundwater, or cattle eating the tender leaves of saplings.


Tender seedlings
We know now that healthy grassland ecosystems include a variety of plants and trees, and we are doing everything we can to support blue oaks at Rockville Trails Preserve. At the clear-cut site, stewardship coordinator Ryan Lewis has protected the tender seedlings from cattle with moveable fencing. When the weather heats up and dries out, staff and volunteers will water, mulch, and apply shade cloths. With help from Citizen Scientists, Lewis is also caging a population of one-foot-tall, stunted and tenacious blue oaks throughout the property.

Although we plant oaks and other native plants and trees as part of restoration efforts on all of our properties, we focused on blue oaks at Rockville Trails Preserve to replace the trees that will be removed as we build the entrance and parking lot for the natural park.

None of our efforts would be possible without your support and shared passion and commitment to the land. We also thank Nomad Ecology, former staff member Sue Wickham, and our dedicated volunteers for helping us care for our blue oaks. If you are a tree-hugger at heart, or just want to help care for these special trees, please contact Ryan or Jasmine to sign up as a volunteer.

Photos courtesy of Nicole Braddock, Wikimedia Commons,  and Solano Land Trust.


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

January 26th: Communing With Cattle: Interpreting Animal Behavior And Sending Positive Cues


Registration for the Communing with Cattle Workshop scheduled for January 25th filled up quickly!  We are happy to announce that we have added an additional day for those who weren't able to make the initial registration list, but still wanted to participate!  Please join us on Saturday, January 26th at Rush Ranch! 

Venture into the world of animal behavioral science! We will be learning how to read and interpret cattle body language and recognizing how our actions can affect cattle behavior. As Citizen Scientists, Docents, and SLT staff and volunteers, we can lead the way towards minimizing stress for livestock and recreationists alike. Let's learn to safely share the trails!

Livestock and recreationists share the trails on over 130,000 acres of open space in the North Bay and San Francisco Bay Areas. All of Solano Land Trust's properties are managed with grazing. Grazing animals serve a valuable purpose on the rangeland but are often misunderstood. Cattle can be especially imposing to hikers due to their large size.

January 26th, Meet by 9:30 am at the Rush Ranch Nature Center; you will be done by 1:00 pm. This activity will be led by Jasmine Westbrook, SLT Project Manager. We will begin with a presentation and some discussion, and then we will take to the pastures to try to interpret the behaviors of cattle in the field. Please bring water and comfortable shoes for the outdoor portion. I recommend dressing in layers, as the Nature Center can get a bit chilly! The walk to the pasture will be easy to moderate difficulty level, depending on where the cattle are. If it is pouring rain, we may cancel the hike, but the rest of the event will take place. I plan to bring a lunch and I hope that some of you will join me!

RSVP by following the link:
http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=k4v5ckmab&oeidk=a07eg1oyt3d0efbd27b

Space is not limited for the January 26th event, but it will help us get a head count. This event is open to the entire SLT community. If you are a docent, the docent specific training will be February 2nd.  For questions about this event, email Jasmine Westbrook at jasmine@solanolandtrust.org. THANKS! 

Looking forward to another learning adventure with you!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Meet The Farmers: Five Dot Ranch


Five Dot keeps it in the family

Kirby and Kaitlin Swickard of Five Dot Ranch don’t mind if you call them cowboys, even though they are cowgirls. The two young women have joined the Five Dot Ranch family business, and represent the latest generation of the Swickard family that has produced grain and livestock in California since the 1850s.


Todd and Loretta Swickard, Kirby and Kaitlin’s parents, took over the Five Dot Land and Cattle Company in Susanville from Todd's parents in 1994 and launched a natural beef business in 2006. Kirby says she and her three siblings spent their childhood “on the rangeland, gathering cattle, and cowboying.”

A Family Affair

Today, Kirby, the eldest, does outreach, catering, and human resources for the family business. Kaitlin does marketing and sales. Both earned degrees in agricultural business, Kirby at Chico State, and Kaitlin at Cal Poly. Another daughter, Lindsey, teaches FFA at Elsie High School in Santa Rosa, and the youngest, Logan, 20, is a student at Butte Community College.

Five Dot Ranch runs cattle at the King-Swett Ranches and has done so since the early 1980s when the property was still owned by PG&E. They have been part of the Solano Land Trust family for years, and at a recent Solano Land Trust business breakfast, Kirby and Kaitlin gave a short PowerPoint presentation about the business while Todd watched proudly from the audience. Five Dot donated all the beef served at our recent Sunday Supper at Joyful Ranch, and Todd was a spotter during the live auction.

Popular butcher shop and restaurant

In addition to the cattle operation that produces beef 100 percent hormone and antibiotic free, the family runs the Five Dot Ranch butcher shop and Five Dot Ranch Cookhouse in Napa. Theirs was one of the original businesses in Oxbow Market.

“In ten years, we went from being full-time ranchers to being full-time ranchers and restaurant owners. It’s been a steep learning curve,” Kirby said.

We are proud to play a role in this family business and happy to share their inspiring story with you.

(By Aleta George, January 2016. Photos courtesy of Five Dot Ranch.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

There's Still Time To Support Solano Land Trust!


You still have time to support the important work to preserve our shared land, and shared values. If you haven't already done so, please consider making an end-of-year contribution.

Your gift supports:

-Healthy land and clean water for wildlife and people
-Scenic views and open spaces between our cities
-Healthy, local food
-Safe recreational trails for all to enjoy
-Free and low cost community-based outdoor events
-Responsibly managed natural areas

Let's keep Solano County a desirable place to live, work and play!

Donate now to make a generous, tax-deductible year-end gift today. 

Gifts of all sizes are greatly appreciated!

If you've already sent in your donation, please know that we are deeply grateful.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Communing With Cattle: Interpreting Animal Behavior And Sending Positive Cues


As mentioned in our latest eVistas, Solano Land Trust is hosting a workshop on hiking with livestock on January 25th.

Venture into the world of animal behavioral science! We will be learning how to read and interpret cattle body language and recognizing how our actions can affect cattle behavior. As Citizen Scientists, Docents, and SLT staff and volunteers, we can lead the way towards minimizing stress for livestock and recreationists alike. Let's learn to safely share the trails!

Communing with Cattle: interpreting animal behavior and sending positive cues. 

Livestock and recreationists share the trails on over 130,000 acres of open space in the North Bay and San Francisco Bay Areas. All of Solano Land Trust's properties are managed with grazing. Grazing animals serve a valuable purpose on the rangeland but are often misunderstood. Cattle can be especially imposing to hikers due to their large size.

January 25th, Meet by 9:30 am at the Rush Ranch Nature Center; you will be done by 1:00 pm. This activity will be led by Jasmine Westbrook, SLT Project Manager. We will begin with a presentation and some discussion, and then we will take to the pastures to try to interpret the behaviors of cattle in the field. Please bring water and comfortable shoes for the outdoor portion. I recommend dressing in layers, as the Nature Center can get a bit chilly! The walk to the pasture will be easy to moderate difficulty level, depending on where the cattle are. If it is pouring rain, we may cancel the hike, but the rest of the event will take place. I plan to bring a lunch and I hope that some of you will join me!

RSVP by following the link:
http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=k4v5ckmab&oeidk=a07efyv931u7f970c8d

Space is not limited for the January 25th event, but it will help us get a head count. This event is open to the entire SLT community. If you are a docent, the docent specific training will be February 2nd.  For questions about this event, email Jasmine Westbrook at jasmine@solanolandtrust.org. THANKS! 

Looking forward to another learning adventure with you!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Giving Back To The Land You Love!


Join us the second Saturday of most months at 9:00 AM at Lynch Canyon Open Space Park.

This Saturday, January 12th, we will be removing the old boardwalk and cutting/ screwing boards for a new boardwalk!

We wrap up by noon and finish the work with a pizza lunch, provided by Solano Land Trust.
Make new friends, get some exercise, enjoy the outdoors and give back to the land.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Food And Community


A union worth celebrating

As we begin this new year filled with hope and opportunity, Solano Land Trust is proud to announce two newly-formed unions that took place at the end of last year.

One was a not-so-traditional wedding. The other is an alliance between Solano Land Trust and Fully Belly Farm. Both unions offer reasons to celebrate.

Solano Land Trust’s very own field operation’s manager, Jordan Knippenberg, recently wed Janvier Marie Velilla, farm harvest manager of Full Belly Farm. On a windy morning in October, Jan and Jordan, joined by a small group of friends, hiked up a mountain overlooking the Capay Valley. It was here where they made vows to honor their love, the land, and their communities. Jordan and Jan are so committed to the health of land and people that they even chose career paths that support this passion.  Little did they know, their shared values and partnership would bring their jobs together, too.

Solano Land Trust and Full Belly Farm, a certified organic farm in Capay Valley since 1985, has started our own partnership! As of January, Rush Ranch will serve as a location for members to pick-up the farm’s community-supported agriculture (CSA) produce boxes.

“I am excited to help join these two similar-minded agencies together,” says Jordan, who will deliver the weekly boxes to Rush Ranch from his home in Capay Valley. “I hope this collaboration strengthens our like-minded goals of supporting land, food, and people of this region.

Diversity has helped to keep the farm economically viable. With six owners — two of whom are second generation — and 80 employees, Full Belly Farm grows vegetables, fruit, herbs, flowers, and nuts. They also offer products from pasture animals.

Two peas in a pod

Solano Land Trust and the farm share common missions, which includes practicing sustainable management of the land. “The preservation of working landscapes is very important to us. One of our goals is to integrate farm production with longer-term environmental stewardship,” says Judith Redmond, part owner of Full Belly Farm.

Another important part of their job is to help people understand the importance of eating locally-grown, high-quality food, and to help subscribers connect their food with the farm. “After a while, it’s not just about the food; it’s a relationship with the place that grows it,” Judith says. This meaningful work, however, is getting increasingly difficult for small farm owners like Judy. “CSA’s are hard to keep going. Running a farm business in California is on the margin economically. It requires a lot of labor to farmland, and labor is more expensive here than in any other state in the country,” she adds.

Thanks to you, we are able to honor our commitment to support local agriculture and family farms. Oh, and when you subscribe to a weekly box of Full Belly Farm produce, you get the added advantage of visiting Rush Ranch once a week, where fresh air and a large open sky await you!

Learn more about Full Belly Farm and sign-up for a veggie box HERE.

Photos courtesy of Jordan Knippenberg and Full Belly Farm.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Land And People

Keeping the link alive

Together, we care for land and people.

Your support of this important work throughout the year ultimately accomplishes this mission. Not only is land protected, forever, but it can also be shared with the community for all to enjoy. People can find peace, exercise their bodies, and renew their spirits in nature. We trust that healthy land leads to healthy and happy people!

Sometimes, before young people can get out on the land, they may need help getting on their feet. This holiday season, Nicole Braddock, Solano Land Trust’s executive director, gave staff and board the chance to donate gifts to local foster kids who often fall through the cracks when they age out of the foster-care system at eighteen. We are proud to report that a small mountain of gifts, along with a jar of cash for gift cards, filled the couch in Nicole’s office in one day. The gifts and money were distributed by Heart 2 Heart Solano Youth Services, a program dedicated to supporting these teens.

Together, we provide opportunities for adults and kids alike to get outside in nature’s classroom. One way we do that is by offering a monthly kids' hike. Lucky for families, the next one is on Friday, January 4, when most kids are still out of school. In fact, Di Holokahi, our new engagement assistant, is having her daughter’s birthday party on the hike with some of her friends. Great idea, Di!

Thanks for all you do to support land and people of all ages.