A Day of Salamanders, Songs, and Fun at Rancho Mark West
By Leilani Clark
January 21, 2020
After a long stretch of cold winter weather, a dozen families got to stretch out and run around in nature with LandPaths last Sunday. It was a much-needed day to leisurely explore our protected preserve just 25 minutes up the hill from Santa Rosa. Situated on the banks of Mark West creek, Rancho Mark West is a perfect place for children of all ages to get out into nature and fall in the love with the marvels of the land. It’s for good reason that Owl Camp takes place at Rancho during the summer months!
Sunday’s outing started with games and songs near the historic barn. After snacks, everyone ventured out onto the path along the creek, stopping along the way to explore the salamanders, moss, lichen, and other life that make their home under the bay laurel and oak trees.
We were joined by a few volunteers, including Bohemia Docent Jamie, who shared fun facts about Douglas fir tips. Did you know that a cup of Douglas fir tip tea has as much vitamin c as an orange? Jurassic John, a long-time LandPaths volunteer, got everyone excited about the world of salamanders –and luckily Rancho Mark West is home to quite a few! And volunteer Wayne read a couple of fun books to a rapt audience underneath the Redwood trees.
Back at the barn, everyone had a chance to sip of fresh-pressed apple cider, thanks to Joanie, who brought out her apple press. New friends sipped cider and chatted as the kids played tag and chance to run and stretch in the open areas of the preserve. A truly wonderful day in nearby nature!