Bouverie Preserve reopens for family-friendly day; M.F.K. Fisher Last House tours announced
By Allie Rigby
On May 21, friends and family are welcome to enjoy Bouverie Preserve on a guided hike with a naturalist. The preserve is a 500-acre gem located near Glen Ellen, and Friends and Family Day is the first public gathering since COVID-19 paused in-person events.
This nature-filled day will offer a chance for people to learn from local experts stationed throughout the short hike with topics at each educational station, like animal tracking, mountain lion updates, birding tips, and more. For children and the young-at-heart, there will be activities such as racing leaves in the waters of Stuart Creek and learning to walk like different mammals.
“We want this day to be fun—a warm welcome back,” says Jacqueline Levy, the education program manager at Bouverie Preserve. Levy says that the switch in 2020 to virtual programming was necessary and successful, but she’s also excited to have people back on the land, including a few school groups who are returning this spring.
“We’ve had great success with our virtual programs throughout COVID-19. We were able to reach the same number of students as we have in prior years—more than 3,000 3rd– 4th graders from Sonoma Valley and beyond. However, we are very excited to welcome children back on the land to smell the pungent bay leaves, touch a slimy banana slug, and discover who makes their home under a log firsthand.” Since 2020, the education team has created a new, observation-based curriculum for teachers to aid their students in developing skills that children can utilize in any outdoor space to engage more deeply with nature.
Among other changes since COVID-19, the ecologists and land stewards at Bouverie Preserve have added a new wildflower called Grey’s anemone to the preserve’s plant list.
Resource ecologist, Jen Potts, reports that her team has burned 150 piles of thinned forest material to reduce the fuel load before the next fire season. “We tentatively plan to burn an additional 15-20 acres this May/June, if conditions allow,” says Potts. “Overall, we didn’t burn as much as we normally would have during the ‘COVID-years’ since we could not gather in groups, but we still managed to conduct prescribed burns across 26 acres of the preserve.”
Throughout the pandemic, the land at Bouverie Preserve has benefited from the tender care of a hearty crew of volunteer stewards. “They do everything, from fence removal along wildlife corridors to removal of ladder fuels,” Potts says. “They also maintain trails, assist with pile burning, and monitor nesting songbirds and breeding newts. We are so grateful for their gift of stewardship.”
For the fans of esteemed writer M.F.K. Fisher, in-person tours have also been announced for M.F.K. Fisher’s Last House, located on Bouverie Preserve. Early summer tour dates are May 18, June 7, and July 14. To register for these tours, or the Friends and Family Day at Bouverie Preserve, go to the Audubon Canyon Ranch calendar on their website, www.egret.org. The Friends and Family Day suggested donation is $20/person or $15/member. Everyone is welcome. Registration is required.
For all in-person events, closed-toe shoes, hats, and sunglasses are recommended, and Covid-19 vaccination is required for all adults.