New Interpretive Gardens Sprout at Mangini Ranch Educational Preserve

mangini ranch

Visiting Mangini Ranch soon? Check out our new native plant gardens!

Last year, we began to work on two new interpretive gardens at the entrance to Mangini Ranch Educational Preserve.

Greeting visitors to Mangini Ranch, these gardens will serve as living educational tools for the community.

Mangini Ranch Educational Preserve

Mangini Ranch Educational Preserve. Photo by Laura Kindsvater

Showcasing a variety of native plants that can be found in the local open spaces, a rainbow of native flowers will bloom in the gardens in spring.

The two gardens can be seen around the informational kiosk and the monument stone by the entrance to Mangini Ranch.

The gardens will not be only beautiful. They’ll be drought tolerant and able to survive our warm, dry summers—a refuge for pollinators, promoting biodiversity within the preserve.

What You’ll Find in Our New Gardens

scarlet bugler (heath bartosh)

Scarlet bugler can be found in our new gardens. Photo by Heath Bartosh

Upon arrival to the preserve, purple needlegrass (Stipa pulchra), scarlet bugler (Penstemon centranthifolius), and California aster (Symphyotichum chilense) will be immediately visible, having been planted throughout the garden.

But those who look closely will find far more. White sage (Salvia apiana), sticky monkey flower (Diplacus aurantiacus), and California goldenrod (Solidago velutina ssp. californica) are among the plants that we’ve planted throughout these new gardens.

In the coming months, we’ll also be planting more narrowleaf milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis) in these gardens. Perhaps future eagle-eyed visitors will be able to observe monarchs and other butterflies in the garden, thriving on this array of native plants.

mangini ranch kiosk with new plants and a new fence

Informational kiosk area with plants and a temporary protective fence. This will be one of our two new gardens. Photo by Sean Burke

Thanks to the Hard Work of Volunteers

De La Salle students sheet-mulching the gardens. Photo by Mary Nagle

It took the help of a lot of hard-working volunteers to create these new gardens.

Diablo Restoration Team volunteers at Mangini Ranch Educational Preserve. Photo by Haley Sutton

The work started in October, when a group of De La Salle students visited Mangini Ranch Educational Preserve for a Conservation Collaboration Agreement (CCA).

The students sheet-mulched the areas that would be later turned into interpretive gardens.

Later in the fall of 2022, our Diablo Restoration Team (DiRT) began to plant, filling our new gardens with native species.

Our volunteers worked through rain and sun to plant this garden, so that these plants can soon bloom for everyone who visits Mangini Ranch Educational Preserve.

We’re incredibly grateful to our DiRT and watering volunteers who have been planting and watering these plants so that they will be able to survive to maturity and greet visitors for years to come.

Facilitating Fun and Meaningful Experiences in Nature

de la salle student during the journaling portion of the CCA at Mangini

Conservation Collaboration Agreement nature solo at Mangini. Photo by Mary Nagle

In March 2022, we opened Mangini Ranch Educational preserve to the public. It’s the first preserve of its kind in Contra Costa County, free to reserve for a variety of local groups.

These gardens will help to inspire and inform all visitors. Mangini Ranch Educational Preserve is a classroom without desks, screens, and bells. It’s a place where people can learn and reconnect with nature so that they can more fully value it.

The gardens further the goal of the preserve, facilitating fun and meaningful experiences in nature. Children in the US, on average, have less than 10 minutes of time in nature a day. So it’s more important than ever to give the next generation access to the outdoors.

kids hiking at Mangini Ranch Educational Preserve

Conservation Collaboration Agreement nature hike at Mangini. Photo by Scott Hein

It has been proven time and time again that time outdoors has significant benefits for people’s physical and mental health. Building a connection with nature is key for healthy people and communities.

We encourage any interested community group to reserve time at our Mangini Ranch Educational Preserve and to experience the wonder that can be found here.

Top photo by Scott Hein

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