Goldfields cover the Jepson Prairie Preserve south of Dixon. Volunteers are being recruited as docents to lead tours of the spectacular vernal pools. Ken Davis/Courtesy photo

Local News

Tour guides sought at Jepson Prairie

By From page A3 | January 15, 2013

Solano Land Trust is recruiting new guides, known as docents, to lead tours at Jepson Prairie, a preserve south of Dixon. Docents are volunteers who graduate from docent training for a specific land trust property and serve as knowledgeable guides on that property.

Solano Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) public benefit organization that permanently protects natural areas, working farms and ranchlands in Solano County, and connects the community to these lands. Since 1986, the land trust has permanently protected more than 20,000 acres of land for the current and future residents of Solano County.

Solano Land Trust purchased and permanently protected Jepson Prairie in 1997. Anyone age 18 or older who is interested is invited to apply. The application deadline is Monday, Feb. 4; visit www.solanolandtrust.org/Volunteer.aspx. No prior experience is necessary. New guides learn through Solano Land Trust’s training programs and by partnering with seasoned docents.

The Jepson Prairie Preserve is just over 1,500 acres and is one of California’s best remaining examples of claypan vernal pools and bunchgrass prairie. The preserve is off Highway 113, south of Dixon, and east of Vacaville and Fairfield. In springtime, the prairie transforms into vast fields of tiny wildflowers like shooting stars and goldfields, while the newly filled lakes give rise to microscopic invertebrate such as fairy and tadpole shrimp, which evolved long before fish.

The Jepson Prairie docent training is seven days long. Indoor lessons are Tuesday evenings, Feb. 5, 12, 19 and 26, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the California Department of Fish and Game Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Headquarters, 45211 Chiles Road in Davis. Outdoor trainings are Saturday mornings, Feb. 9, 23 and March 2, from 10 a.m. to noon at Jepson Prairie. Perfect attendance is not required.

New Jepson Prairie docents will learn about the ecology and seasonality of claypan vernal pools, including plant identification, rare aquatic animals, geology and human influences. They will lead walks at Jepson Prairie each year, March through May.

For more information about the volunteer opportunities and to apply, visit www.solanolandtrust.org/Volunteer.aspx or contact Natalie DuMont at 707-432-0150 x200 or [email protected].

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