Jan T. Lowrey Cache Creek Nature Preserve (CCNP) is a 130-acre complex of wetlands, oak woodlands, grasslands, and creekside lands. The site is also home to two unique features: the Tending and Gathering Garden (TGG) and the Jan T. Lowrey Memorial Grove. The TGG is a collaborative effort with the local Native American community to demonstrate native plant uses in Patwin culture. The Jan T. Lowrey Memorial Grove showcases California native plants in a manicured setting and contains a small outdoor amphitheater. Additionally, approximately 2,000 elementary students visit the Nature Preserve each year to participate in our "Experience the Creek" environmental education program.
Jan Lowrey was a founding board member of the Cache Creek Conservancy (CCC) and later executive director of the organization. After Jan’s passing in January, 2006, the CCC Board of Directors wished to create a lasting memorial to him on the grounds of the Nature Preserve by creating the memorial grove that bears his name.
Jan was involved from the very beginning with the formation of the CCC, as one of the original fifteen founding board members, in December, 1995. By October of 1998, he was employed by the CCC as project manager, and shortly thereafter, in May of 1999 he was appointed to the full time executive director position. It was during this same time period that Teichert donated the Nature Preserve land to Yolo County---in a much different state than what it is today.
Jan was instrumental in the planning, contracting, overseeing, and preparing for a grand opening in May, 2000. This work included rebuilding the entrance bridge, building fences around the property, refurbishing the 100+ year old barn, constructing overlooks, boardwalks, a footbridge, stairway, and inlet and outlet structures for the newly developed wetlands. And while overseeing this, Jan put together a demonstration tamarisk and arundo removal project and started the invasive plant removal from the Nature Preserve site. Within a few years more trails were developed, office buildings were installed, and today it is a beautifully restored habitat site. Jan added much to the Nature Preserve, starting several programs including environmental education, the Tending & Gathering Garden, and writers & artists in residence.
The Memorial Grove is located close to the historic barn and is easily accessed from the parking lot, but because of the many trees and shrubs, it still conveys the feeling of being secluded. The southern part is anchored by an amphitheater that can seat at least fifty adults. The rest of the approximately one acre area is composed of walking trails amidst plantings of a large variety of native plants, trees, and shrubs. A few special spots contain benches where people may sit and enjoy nature.
We've reached our North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA) project goal! Our aim was to re-shape the islands within the wetland to provide better habitat for water dependent species. The project will benefit the Tricolored Blackbirds, Wood Ducks, and Giant Garder Snakes. This was part of a US Fish and Wildlife Service grant of $117,000. Between March and May our wetlands will be home to many migratory birds.
The Nature Preserve has about 1.5 miles of trails through the grasslands, oak savanna, and by the wetlands. The riparian area bordering Cache Creek has been maintained in a natural state with willows and cottonwood trees shading the trail that winds along the southern edge of the Nature Preserve. Copies of the trail map are available at the Cache Creek Conservancy's office at the Nature Preserve.
Please stay on the trails, for your safety and the well-being of plants and animals at the CCNP