Ulistac Natural Area Wildflower Celebration April 7-Bring the Kids!
By Diane Andrews
Ulistac Natural Area Restoration and Education Project (UNAREP) is hosting its 4th annual Wildflower Day celebration at the park this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The 40-acre Ulistac Natural Area, located on Lick Mill Boulevard between Hope Drive and Tasman Drive, is the last remaining open space in Santa Clara.
"We present Wildflower Day each year as a welcome to the community, especially to folks living in the nearby neighborhoods around Ulistac Natural Area. Some people still don’t use the natural area because they’re not sure if it is theirs to enjoy," writes Jeanne-Michele Salander, a UNAREP Team Leader, in an e-mail.
Ulistac Natural Area, part of a former city golf course that was saved from development, was designated a city park on January 20, 1997. A groundbreaking ceremony took place in April 2000.
Since then, community volunteers, now banded together as UNAREP, have worked diligently to restore the open space to its natural habitat—to the way it was perhaps as long ago as 1000 BC when Ohlone native Americans inhabited the site and founded a village. It is believed that Uli was the name of the village chief.
The free Wildflower Day celebration will include park tours, educational displays, nature-oriented art and craft activities for kids, animals, and live music.
"By giving tours of the native plant garden and the fields and woodlands of Ulistac, we hope people will learn about the many ways they can enjoy this natural open space, as well as how to introduce drought-hardy plants into their own gardens. Luckily, with the recent rains, the California poppies, wild lilacs, and sages are in full bloom!" writes Salander.
Don't bypass the displays of compost worms and gopher snakes. According to Salander, some children (maybe even adults!) who were afraid of "things that slither, crawl, and have lots of wiggly legs," have lost their fear by learning about them at the park. The kids might even spot a jack rabbit, better known seasonally as the Easter Bunny since Easter is the next day.
"We invite everyone to come to Wildflower Day and learn more about Ulistac and the animals and plants that live there," writes Salander, who, along with other UNAREP volunteers, is eager to show off her favorite Santa Clara park.
Dress appropriately for the weather and be sure to bring your camera!