Behind the Scenes at Mangini Ranch

Save Mount Diablo 2019 Bioblitz at Mangini Ranch & Lime Ridge Open Space in Concord/Walnut Creek, CA May 3-4, 2019

By Floyd McCluhan

Strengthening the Community with Nature: Our First Free Educational Preserve

Summer Lupine (Lupinus formosus) at Mangini Ranch

Summer Lupine (Lupinus formosus) at Mangini Ranch during our 2019 BioBlitz. Photo by Al Johnson.

In recent years, various studies have documented that humans are becoming an “indoor species.” An REI report titled The Path Ahead revealed that “today kids spend less time outside than prison inmates, with the average child playing freely outside for just four to seven minutes a day.”

With more time being spent indoors than out comes very real consequences. As famed author Richard Louv puts it, “Our health and well-being may suffer [the larger one’s disconnect to nature is]. And the less we value our outdoor spaces, the less likely we are to protect them.”

In the face of the climate crisis, there’s a newfound urgency to connect more people with outdoor spaces.

That’s why we are excited to open our first educational preserve. We’re working on getting it ready to open no later than March 2022.

Mangini Ranch: Close by, but a Place of Respite

Nestled in the Concord foothills of Mount Diablo lies the stunning 208-acre Mangini Ranch. Despite numerous major nearby developments, the ranch has managed to survive for centuries.

Located close to major population centers and schools, the property gives visitors a sense of isolation. You can feel like you are traveling far away without needing to go far at all.

Houses in the distance from Mangini Ranch

Mangini Ranch is close by but feels far away. Photo by Caleb Castle.

Educational Preserve Open to the Public by March, Free of Charge

Given the land’s unique location and characteristics, we are excited to have this rare opportunity to give back to the public. The educational preserve will be open and available for reservations, free of charge, to groups pursuing educational purposes.

Examples include a high school AP environmental science class, an adult education nature photography course, a yoga class, a plein-air artists gathering, a college ornithology course, a meditation class, and a local hospital grief counseling support group.

Field scientist collecting samples in a stream at Mangini Ranch

Collecting samples in a stream at Mangini Ranch. Photo by Al Johnson.

Field work at Mangini Ranch

Field work at Mangini Ranch. Photo by Al Johnson.

Or a scientific study group looking at the geology of the area, a homeowners association that’s hosting an educational outing, a Bible study group, or a trail running club could use the space.

The educational preserve will be open no later than March 31, 2022. In the meantime, we are getting the property ready. See what we’ve been up to!

Opening the Gates to Mangini Ranch

A Spot to Rest

We are thankful to have donors and sponsors who recognize the importance of connecting the public to nature. Diablo View Rotary Club recently sponsored a temporary shade structure at Mangini Ranch.

The location of the shade structure is set in a natural amphitheater. It’s surrounded by oaks where cackling woodpeckers and white breasted nuthatches perch and turkey vultures soar overhead.

Staff painted the posts before setting them into the ground, upon which the upper posts were connected to support the canopy. The shade structure will offer a shady respite with a breathtaking view to future visitors of the preserve.

Shade tent standing in center of natural amphitheater at Mangini Ranch

The shade structure stands in a natural amphitheater. Photo by Sean Burke.

Thank you, Diablo View Rotary Club!

Birds Are Singing at Mangini

In partnership with Lindsay Wildlife, we have released a number of rehabilitated American kestrels back into the wild at Mangini Ranch.

With the support of a Mary Bowerman research grant, Brian Richardson of The Kestrel Campaign has installed game cameras around Mangini to help us understand which wildlife are using the property and how they interact with the environment.

One of these cameras was added to a kestrel nest box to collect information on parent foraging behaviors amid challenging climate conditions. See the growth of these kestrels: from hatching to fledglings, and all the action in between.

Kestrel feeds chick at nest box

A game camera set up outside a nest box captures a kestrel bringing a lizard back to the chicks for lunch.

Trail Dogs Tackle the Trails

Another way we are getting the property ready to open is getting the trails ready. The Save Mount Diablo Trail Dogs have been busy upgrading trails and building new ones.

Volunteers pose for photo at Mangini Ranch

The volunteers that helped with trail maintenance at Mangini Ranch. Photo by volunteer Joy Dardin.

Mangini Ranch is such an incredible property, with high biodiversity. It features rolling open hills, as well as oak woodlands, chaparral, and a rare desert olive grove.

The expert Trail Dogs have strategically planned trails that give visitors a fantastic tour of the property. Also, by keeping designated trails, erosion will be kept to a minimum, keeping the land beautiful!

Top photo by Al Johnson.

Join us to save the remaining natural lands of Mount Diablo!

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