Wildflowers at Russian Ridge

The Work Behind the Wildflowers

(G. Henry)

March through June mark the peak of the wildflower season, when an outing to a Midpen preserve can become a treasure hunt for the showiest blooms our region has to offer. These little bursts of color that herald spring are more than just beautiful to witness, they are beneficial to our region’s rich biodiversity and in part, a result of the work Midpen does on your behalf.

Midpen staff, who protect the approximately 70,000 acres of preserved open space, help visitors enjoy the flowers respectfully, ensuring they bloom again next year for the pollinators that rely on them and the visitors who enjoy them. Much of the behind-the-scenes restoration work Midpen does is aimed at promoting healthy, functioning native plant communities. These include:

  • Timed mowing such as at the Hawthorns area of Windy Hill Open Space Preserve to reduce the spread of invasive yellow star thistle.
  • Reintroducing prescribed fire to Midpen’s land management toolbox in 2023.
  • Plant restoration by hand, including a grant-funded 5-year project to remove invasive, nonnative plants within Bear Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve’s watersheds.
  • Conservation grazing on the Coastside as a land-management tool for enhancing coastal grasslands for biodiversity in alignment with our coastal mission, which includes supporting viable agriculture.

Midpen’s volunteer programs provide opportunities for you to roll up your sleeves and work alongside us on restoration projects.

Our docent naturalist-led outings featured in this issue can get you get out on the trails this spring to learn more about the wildflowers in our midst. If you get a chance to stop and smell the native California roses this spring, please also take a moment to appreciate the preservation and restoration efforts that help them continue blooming year after year, and your role in supporting this essential work.

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