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Lynnel Pollock

Lynnel Pollock
Executive Director, Cache Creek Conservancy
This harvester really symbolizes how this land was used for agriculture.

Lynnel Pollock has been involved with the Cache Creek Conservancy since its inception in 1996. She was on the board of directors when the Cache Creek Nature Preserve came into reality.


She served as the President of the Board of Directors for 2 years and for the last 5 years she has been serving as the Executive Director. She is enthusiastic about the restoration work and the educational outreach that the conservancy continues to deliver to the public today.

Can you describe where we are?

We are currently sitting in the historic barn on the grounds. This really symbolizes one of the facets of this land. It was an agricultural area for a number of years. The barn probably dates from the 1870’s. It’s a beautiful redwood barn. It was restored and stabilized when the conservancy took this site over. The barn is used extensively today for events, for part of our education programs. It’s a gathering place for many groups. So, we kind of get a sense of history by sitting in this barn. This place today is restored and is serving as a nature preserve but at one time it was an active farming site providing income to the family that lived here.

How did you get involved?

I got involved with the conservancy because I was very involved in the rural issues of Yolo County. My background is agriculture and my husband’s family has farmed in this area since the 1890’s. We also live on Cache Creek just downstream from the nature preserve, so I was very involved with issues that affect Cache Creek. It was my back yard and also the general landscape of the county. I served on the County Planning Commission for a number of years and then moved on to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors for 8 years, so I had been involved with the issues affecting water, land use and agriculture for a long time. So, this was sort of a natural fit for me in that I cared very much about the creek and what was happening around here and I was very pleased with the plan that was finally developed.

What is the Cache Creek Conservancy’s mission?

The Cache Creek Conservancy is a nonprofit organization formed in 1995 to start restoration work along Cache Creek. We work under the Cache Creek Resource Management Plan that was adopted in 1996. That plan covers 14 miles of Cache Creek from the Capay Dam to the West of us down to the town of Yolo. The conservancy worked with land owners, worked with county government, worked with aggregate industry and sought to do restoration along the whole area of Cache Creek. Later, in about 1999, talk started up about the donation of this particular site, the Cache Creek Nature Preserve, to Yolo County. That’s when the Cache Creek Conservancy moved their offices to this site. One of the unique features that opened up for the conservancy as an organization was that we now had a permanent site on the creek. We could use it for outreach to the general public and do all kinds of workshops and put on programs here for people. Not just students, but people of all ages who wanted to learn more about nature. And we continue to do that today. Having the site has allowed us to make a showcase and a demonstration area, to present programs and keep it open to the general public.

How do you restore and what are you restoring to?

The restoration here on the nature preserve is a little different than what we would do normally on other parts of the creek, mainly because this is a public area so some of our restoration is a little bit more of the garden variety. The landscaping around our buildings is a little more groomed. And also a wider variety of native plants are planted, to showcase the different kind of plants, than what we would maybe use throughout overall restoration along the creek. Safety is always of importance so trails are kept clear of low lying branches. We keep poison oak off the trails so that people aren’t exposed to it. We do have rattlesnakes here on the grounds, too, so we try to keep the brush away from the edges of the trails so that snakes are very visible. The wetlands are a unique feature because they take drainage off of the farm fields and filter it so that the sediment can drop out in the wetland. Then the water flows back to the creek or seeps back in through the soil. The wetlands are manmade, but it was a good restoration technique to use to make it beautiful and provide a lot of habitat.

How is it significant to you and the public?

The Nature Preserve brings to people the ability to observe the natural environment in a very safe and yet natural area. They can walk along the creek, they can see wildlife, and they can see the different plants that grow here. So it exposes them to a part of life that most urban dwellers never really get to experience. I think the general public gets involved on different levels. Some people just enjoy walking around and seeing some wildlife and birds. And they may not have a huge knowledge of different kinds of birds or wildlife but they just enjoy being outside and walking in nature. Then we have the more serious bird watchers that come out who really can see a lot of different types of birds here. And then, of course, we have the students that come out and particularly the grade school students. For them, a lot of times it’s their first real outdoors experience. They’re outside in a natural environment and learning about what nature really is.

Written by: 
Kathryn Rose

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