Yolo Basin Foundation invites you to join us for a new, seasonal speaker series showcasing the vernal pools at Grasslands Regional Park. The virtual talks are part of a new partnership between Yolo County and Yolo Basin Foundation to bring awareness to the vernal pools located at Grasslands Regional Park. The park is located south of Davis on County Road 104 at the intersection of Mace and Tremont.
Vernal pools are home to a variety of rare and endemic plants and animals. The talks, presented via Zoom, will cover the natural history and ecology of vernal pools, species conservation, and the history of Grasslands Regional Park.
2021 Vernal Pool Speaker Series Schedule
The Vernal Pool Speaker Series is open to the public and supported by a California Department of Parks and Recreation grant. A $5 donation to support Yolo Basin Foundation’s environmental education programs is suggested. Pre-registration is required to receive the Zoom link for the talk.
Thursday, April 1, 2021
Vernal Pools: Jewels of the Valley
Eva Butler, Founder, Sacramento Splash
Discretely scattered across the floor of the Sacramento Valley, vernal pools are our region’s ecological claim to fame. The filling of these ephemeral wetlands during our rainy season initiates a recurring cycle of life in an ecosystem of staggering biodiversity. For a few weeks or months each winter, vernal pools provide refuge for innumerable aquatic species, many of them unique to vernal pools. As the pools dry down in April, spectacular displays of wildflowers provide a feast for the senses and a respite for the soul.
Eva will start out by explaining how vernal pools form and how they went from being ubiquitous to rather rare in the Central Valley. Through her slides and stories, you’ll peer beneath the surface and discover a kaleidoscope of life in a complex food web that supports hundred of aquatic species, many unique to this habitat. You’ll be dazzled by phenomenal, fleeting displays of wildflowers that beckon each spring, inviting a closer look at petals and pollinators.
Eva Butler recently retired from a 30-year career as an ecologist, educator, and relentless advocate for the vernal pools at Mather Field. Her years as a consultant focused on projects to protect and manage aquatic habitats in the Sacramento region, including the American River and Mather Field. In 1999 she founded Sacramento Splash, a non-profit dedicated to helping children understand and value their natural world.
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Fairy Shrimp and Tadpole Shrimp
CJ Addington, High School Biology Teacher, Docent with Jepson Prairie Preserve
Discover the tiny creatures of the vernal pools: fairy shrimp and tadpole shrimp. Explore their biology, status, why and how they are protected vernal pool species.
Tuesday, April 27, 2021
Part 1: A History of Grasslands Regional Park and its Vernal Pools
Chris Alford, Owner, Alford Environmental, LLC
Grasslands Regional Park, a public open space park managed by the County of Yolo and located approximately four miles south of the City of Davis and two miles west of the Yolo Bypass, contains remnants of the mosaic of alkali vernal pools and perennial grasslands that were historically distributed much more broadly in the surrounding area. Chris will provide a brief history of how these natural features were formed, highlight some of the key actions that have intentionally and unintentionally helped to preserve some of the natural resources at this specific location over time, and provide an overview of some of the rare and sensitive species that rely on this site.
Part 2: The Burrowing Owl Preserve at Grasslands Regional Park
John McNerney, Wildlife Resource Specialist, City of Davis
John will prove an overview of burrowing owls including their life history and habitat needs. He will discuss the history, monitoring and management, and burrowing owl use of the burrowing owl preserve at the Yolo County Grasslands Regional Park.
Tuesday, May 11 at 7 p.m.
Plants of the Vernal Pools
Carol Witham, Botanist and Vernal Pool Expert
Take a closer look at the beautiful and unique plant species that call vernal pools home! Many of the gorgeous flowers that encircle vernal pools are a rare treat to see and are protected. Carol will discuss the biology of these plants, why they grow in vernal pools, and how to protect and safely view them.