UC Hopland Research and Extension Center introduces new series of hikes

HOPLAND, Calif. – The UC Hopland Research and Extension Center has announced its new hiking series, “Hiking Hopland,” every second Saturday in 2016.

Hikes for all abilities are available from short family friendly visits with the center’s newborn lambs to 7-mile hikes for the more intrepid explorer, including more than 1,000 feet of elevation gain.

All hikes allow visitors to learn more about exactly what goes on at the 5,358-acre Research and Extension Center, including why they have dogs with their sheep, what their wildlife cameras have been detecting and why one researcher spends her time catching Western fence lizards.

Planned hikes are as follows:

– “Meet the Lambs,” Jan. 9 and Feb. 13, 10 a.m. to noon. This short family-friendly hike will follow fairly flat paved roads for a total distance of 1 mile to visit the newborn lambs. There will be the chance to felt your own bar of soap with Beth Keiffer and learn about 4H. These hikes are suitable for all ages.

– “The Long One,” March 12, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This challenging hike will take participants up into the higher elevation of the center, through rangeland into oak woodland. The route is approximately 6 miles with significant change in elevation (968 feet). This hike is suitable for those who are well
accustomed to hiking such distances. Bring a packed lunch, water and sun protection.

– “Birds of HREC,” April 9, 10 a.m. to noon. Enjoy the wide diversity of birds and get your bird list started on this spring hike with the Peregrine Audubon Society. This hike will be approximately 2 miles at a slow pace with plenty of stops. Bring your binoculars. This hike is suitable for all wildlife enthusiasts who are willing to hike slowly and quietly for the best chance of wildlife observation.

– “Wildflower Wander,” May 14, 10 a.m. to noon. The perfect time to revel in the spring plant life. Join the California Native Plant Society on this short hike, approximately 3 miles with plenty of opportunity to look closely at the local flora. Bring your hand lens or borrow theirs to see plants up close.

– “Secrets of the Turkey Vulture,” June 11, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. We all know the soaring turkey vulture, but have you ever seen a nest? Find out where they nest and appreciate how shy and secretive these birds can be with researchers Greg Giusti and Bob Keiffer. This is a moderate hike of approximately
5 miles, with elevation gain (344 feet). They will visit a turkey vulture nest site and see the methods used by scientists to understand their nesting habits and requirements. Bring a packed lunch, water and sun protection.

No dogs are permitted on hikes due to the presence of guardian dogs and sheep.

All hikes meet at the Rod Shippey Hall, Hopland Research and Extension Center, 4070 University Road.

Hikes are free, but space is limited.

For more information and registration for all hikes visit http://hrec.ucanr.edu or call Hannah Bird, 707-744-1424, Extension 105, or e-mail hbird@ucanr.edu .