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Digging Deep: Hedgerow Farms Blog

CA Native Grasslands Association Field Day​

Written by Jody Scheffield and Diana Jeffery, CNGA Board Members

CNGA’s 15th Annual Field Day at Hedgerow Farms was an absolute delight for anyone with a passion for conservation, restoration, and the beauty of our native grassland ecosystem heritage. Attendees of this event were genuinely impressed by the thoughtful organization, engaging activities, and the wealth of knowledge shared by experts and enthusiasts alike.

Nestled in the heart of California’s countryside, Hedgerow Farms provided the perfect setting for a celebration of the state’s diverse and vital native grasslands. From the moment participants stepped onto the grounds they were greeted by vibrant green hills and fields of colorful native grasses and forbs. The farm’s commitment to preserving and promoting California’s precious native grasslands and indigenous flora was evident in every aspect of the event.

Over 18 environmental and farm specialists spoke on various topics including the challenges faced by grassland ecosystems and the innovative strategies employed to restore them to their former glory. After a welcome and overview of the day presented by CNGA President JP Marié and Hedgerow Farms Restoration Ecologist/Designer Julia Michaels, the day kicked off with an inspiring presentation by Dr. Valerie Eviner, Professor, UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, whose passion for native grasslands and their significance was both contagious and enlightening. She set the tone for the day, emphasizing the importance of preserving California’s native grasslands as a crucial step toward mitigating climate change and fostering biodiversity

Speakers on stage throughout the day included UC Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor Rachael Long, UCD and USDA Postdoctoral Scholar Justin Luong, Center for Land-Based Learning Ecologist Jeanne Wirka, and Xerces Society Senior Pollinator Conservation Specialist Jessica Kay Cruz.

Throughout the event, attendees had the opportunity to participate in hay rides, walking tours, seed barn tours, and exhibits. Every activity was carefully curated by the Field Day Team to educate and inspire. Vic Claassen, UC Davis Department of Land, Air & Water Resources; Sarah Gaffney, River Partners, and Tanya Meyer, Yolo County RCD, gave informative talks at key stops along the walking tour. Hay rides were led by JP Marie, Manager, UC Davis Putah Creek Riparian Reserve; Chris Rose, Executive Director, Solano RCD; Bryan Young, Natural Resource Supervisor, Sacramento regional County Sanitation District, and Jeff Quiter, Farm Manager.  

Hedgerow Farms personnel, Joshua Scoggin, Associate Ecologist; Alejandro Ramirez, Wildland Collections, and Manolo Sanchez, Wildland Collections, lead tours and gave demonstrations in the yard and seed cleaning barn. With over 180 people in attendance, Field Day at Hedgerow Farms was once again a resounding success. It not only raised awareness about the importance of preserving critical California grassland ecosystems but also instilled a deep appreciation for the role they play in maintaining the delicate balance of our environment. It is heartening to witness the collective dedication of the attendees, Hedgerow Farms staff, the presenters, the many exhibitors, and sponsors to preserving California’s unique ecological heritage. Click here to register for our April 5th 2024 field day!

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