SO BE FREE - 2006

SO BE FREE #11

March 25 - 28, 2006  

UC Sedgwick Reserve, Santa Ynez, California


Organized by Lloyd Stark, Amanda Heinrich, and Brent Mishler

This year we celebrated the Eleventh Annual Spring Outing, Botanical Excursion, Foray, Retreat, and Escape to the Environment in the foothills of the vineyard-filled, oak-studded Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County of southern California.

The University of California Natural Reserve System's Sedgwick Reserve is operated from UC Santa Barbara, with Dr. Michael Williams serving as Director.

Sedgwick Reserve:

Located approximately 20 miles due north of Santa Barbara, California (see: map), the Sedgwick Reserve encompasses 2,382 hectares (5,883 acres) in the Santa Ynez Valley and spans an elevational range of 1,300 feet. The Reserve is noted for both its large size and environmental heterogeneity. It contains a major geologic fault system and two distinctive geologic formations: relatively young Paso Robles alluvium and much older Franciscan metamorphosed seafloor, including large areas of serpentine. Diverse vegetation types include coast live oak forest, blue oak woodland, valley oak savannah, ceanothus chaparral, coastal sage scrub, grassland, willow riparian forest, and agricultural lands. The site contains major portions of two watersheds and a variety of localized wetland habitats, notably vernal pools. The region has a rich Native American heritage, and at least one Middle Chumash village (1,500 to 2,000 years old) rests on site. The reserve's large size enables replicated, large-scale field manipulations in varied native ecosystems and agroecosystems.

Nearby areas of interest include the village of Solvang and Lake Cachuma. The village of Solvang is less than 10 miles from the Reserve, and has been called the Danish Capital of America and voted one of the 10 most beautiful small towns in the western US. Quaint Old World architectural styles blend with flower-lined streets to create a walkable village. The aroma of chocolate, bakeries, coffee and beer garden fare flavor the quaint streets. Comfortable Country Inns, B&B, family motels or full service hotel accommodations can be found in Solvang.

Bryologically, potential areas of interest include the San Rafael Mountains, Los Padres National Forest, and the Santa Ynez Mountains. We are currently planning field trips in these areas that will reward us with ample populations of mosses, liverworts, and lichens.