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Aren Scardaci

Aren Scardaci
Cache Creek Conservancy Volunteer
I think the Preserve is a great place as an outdoor classroom.

Aren Scardaci has spent many hours observing wildlife and dedicating his volunteer efforts while out at the Cache Creek Nature Preserve.  He recognizes its presence as a valuable gift to society.


What is your name and relationship to this place?

My name is Aren Scardaci, and back in 2005 I was searching for places to volunteer in an outdoor setting. I really enjoy nature and want to be involved with it somehow. So, I was looking at organizations close to Woodland and found the Cache Creek Conservancy. I met with Dusty Downey, and together we discussed a project that I could be involved with.

Can you tell me about an activity that you have been involved with on this land?

I spent probably a couple days a week in 2005 and again in 2006 out here with the Cache Creek Conservancy.  I started by just walking around the Preserve. I would decide which organisms I wanted to highlight based on what I knew about each habitat and the species I have seen or know would be here, and then looked at different interesting facts about those organisms. I then developed an education display about food webs for each of the habitats in the Preserve. I would occasionally clean terrariums too—rescuing lizards!

What impact has this Preserve had on you or others that you know, and in what ways do you feel that this place is significant?

Many of my family members are connected in some way to the Preserve. My mom’s on the board of directors,andmy stepfather helps out with educational programs occasionally.  My brother did an Eagle Scout project here.

What have your experiences with nature here been like?

Mostly very peaceful. While I was volunteering here, when I needed a break, I would go out onto the trails and walk around for 15-20 minutes.  That was just really peaceful.

Could you describe where we are and what you see around you?

We are in the barn. Actually I’m not familiar with the history of the barn, but this is where some events take place around the year, like the autumn fest that occurs in October. 

Is there visually anything that stands out for you? 

This seems like a very old barn, but others know how old it is. It is a wooden barn with picnic tables and old farm equipment, and it kind of shows the history of the area. There is a plaque describing that--it’s just really neat.

Are there any other thoughts or experiences you would like to share about this place?

When I volunteered in 2005 and 2006, that was my first experience, but also I took a class out here that had to do with restoration and conservation. The Cache Creek Conservancy is a great outdoor classroom for lots of people. As part of my class, groups of students would do their own research projects on a variety of things. The research project I was involved with was determining whether part of the Preserve had good habitat for Burrowing Owls. Other groups would monitor the insects in the stream, and another classmate looked at the role of off-road vehicles and their impact on the Nature Preserve—this was a class at UC Davis! So I think the Preserve is a great learning place not just for college students but also for young grade school students as well as the general public. And it’s a fabulous place to hang out!

What is the importance of the Preserve to you?

It feels like I have a neat connection with nature in general.  There are some things in nature that I gravitate towards: birds! I’m a big bird watcher. So I might get distracted and say, ‘”Oh look, there is a, whatever it is, a Nuttall’s Woodpecker!” –which we just heard. I really like to share my interest in nature with others, to encourage others to spend time in nature and see its value.

Written by: 
Thornton Chase Bulkin

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