Rush Ranch Open House and other Solano Land Trust events

Rush Ranch Open House 2

The always stunning Rush Ranch Open Space, long considered a gem in Solano County, had its chance to shine last Saturday (April 25) during an annual open house that brought in over a thousand visitors.

The 25th annual Rush Ranch Open House, hosted by the Solano Land Trust and the Rush Ranch Educational Council, was an all-day celebration that included horse-drawn carriage rides from Access Adventure, musical entertainment, square dancing, a nature walk, educational and historical exhibits and displays, animals from the Suisun Wildlife Center, demonstrations in wheat weaving, roping, blacksmithing, and spinning, art projects and more.

It was a day for Rush Ranch to shine and also served as a fundraiser for the Rush Ranch Educational Council, an all-volunteer organization that provides educational programs and public outreach for the ranch.

[caption id="attachment_1653" align="alignnone" width="4608"]Rita, a red-tail hawk from the Suisun Wildlife Center, was one of the several animals featured at the Rush Ranch Open House Rita, a red-tail hawk from the Suisun Wildlife Center, was one of the several animals featured at the Rush Ranch Open House[/caption]

"My guess is that over the course of the day, a thousand people will visit Rush Ranch," said Natalie DuMont, the volunteer coordinator for Solano Land Trust. "This is a day for people to enjoy themselves with their family and friends, and to also enjoy our beautiful Rush Ranch."

Rising out of the northeast edge of the Suisun Marsh, Rush Ranch stretches across 2,070 acres of marsh and rolling grassland. Purchased in 1988 by Solano Land Trust, Rush Ranch provides recreational and educational opportunities to thousands of visitors each year. The Ranch, with its historical buildings and self-guided trails, is located approximately two miles south of Highway 12 on Grizzly Island Road.

Within the property’s boundaries is one of the best remaining examples of a brackish tidal marsh habitat in the United States. The habitat at Rush Ranch is exceptionally rich in vegetation and wildlife, supporting more than 200 species and 47 families of plants, 15 mammal species and 230 bird species. Many of these are threatened or endangered and some can only survive within the marsh land. This unique environment has made Rush Ranch a popular destination with families, scouting and school groups, hikers, bird enthusiasts, scientists, naturalists, photographers and artists. The ranch also includes a visitor center, a working blacksmith shop, a farm equipment "graveyard", and native plant garden.

[caption id="attachment_1651" align="alignnone" width="4608"]An Access Adventure wagon ride provides a stunning view of Rush Ranch and the surrounding land. An Access Adventure wagon ride provides a stunning view of Rush Ranch and the surrounding land.[/caption]


Rush Ranch is open year-round - visitors are welcome to come on their own time and explore the land - with a number of monthly activities such as Get the Rush on the third Saturday of every month. Access Adventure, which provided the all-accessible wagon rides at the open house, is at the Get the Rush event April to October.

"I'm really looking forward to my carriage ride today because I've never done it before in my wheelchair," said Doug Rennison of Muir Island, who attended the open house with his family. It was his first time at Rush Ranch. "I love how clear it is here. There is so much space here."

This time of year, when looking out at the rolling hills surrounding the ranch, visitors are likely to spot cows grazing on the grass. Wellman Cattle runs a third of their cattle operation on the Rush Ranch grounds and the family often participates in activities like the open house to show their support.

"For as long as we've leased the property, we've come to this event," said Bobbie Wellman, 28, who has volunteered to demonstrate roping for the last five years and was in the petting zoo in the years prior. "I love to teach kids that if they really want to, they can be a cattle rancher. They are so much fun. They get so excited about the cowboys and the roping and the horses. They love this and that's why I keep doing it, year after year, for them."

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Other upcoming Solano Land Trust activities and events include:

* Saturday, May 9 - HIKING AND YOGA (HOGA) at Rockville Trails Preserve from 7:45 a.m. to 12 p.m. - Enjoy the tranquil setting of Rockville Trails Preserve with a mixture of hiking and yoga, HOGA. This guided hike with standing yoga poses along the way will focus on connecting with nature and the outdoors through movement and meditation. Space will be limited and pre-registration will be required. Pre-registration will first open on Monday, May 4. For questions, call John at 760-604-1800.

* Monday, May 11 - NATURE HIKE (2ND MONDAYS THROUGH SUMMER) at Lynch Canyon from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. - Join a guided hike along the trails at Lynch Canyon. Enjoy the outdoors while looking for wildlife, wildflowers and whatever else nature has to offer here. The hike is free. Parking is $5 per vehicle. RSVP (appreciated, not required) to Linda Sonner at 707-495-3205 or lgso@comcast.net.

* Saturday, May 16 - HIKE FOR EXERCISE AND THE VIEWS at Rockville Trails, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Hike through beautiful California oaks with Solano Land Trust volunteer Jim Hanser. Get some exercise on the hills and appreciate great views of the surrounding valleys. RSVP appreciated online at conta.cc/1CucGn2. For questions, call Jim at 707-372-6090.

* Saturday, May 16 - GET THE RUSH (3RD SATURDAYS - TIMING & ACTIVITIES VARY) at Rush Ranch, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Get the Rush is a series of fun activities for the whole family, offered on the third Saturday of every month at Rush Ranch. All ages and mobility levels are welcome! This event is 100% volunteer-run. Timing and activities vary month-to-month based on volunteer availability and the weather. April through August, and October: Travel back in time by entering a traditional blacksmith shop in action (10am-1pm). Try blacksmithing and make an iron nail or other keepsake! Other activities usually include Little Bear's table full of Native American tools and decorations he handcrafted (10am-1pm), and horse-drawn wagon rides that are wheelchair accessible (11am-1pm). Some months there is also a guided walk alongside the tidal marsh and through upland grasses (timing varies).

And save the date for the 8th annual Lynch Canyon Trail Run and Community Hike on June 6! Registration is now open at www.solanolandtrust.com
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