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In the beginning …
The open habitat space of Clover Creek Preserve began almost 14 billion years ago. According to popular belief, in the beginning, the universe was smaller than an atom. It exploded with a violent, colossal force which is known as the Big Bang Theory. Cosmologists theorize that the Big Bang’s burst of energy exploded outwards with inflation. Some of that energy assembled into atoms that formed stars and galaxies. Planets including earth, were formed from atoms made inside those ancient stars. Later, those stars died with massive explosions known as supernovas. Earth began its journey 4.5 billion years ago from stardust. Along the Cascade mountain range near Redding, California, volcanoes erupted with hot, molten lava.
Years later, the habitat space off Venus Way in east Redding was created. Nestled within a quiet neighborhood rests the peaceful, humble and widely open space known as Clover Creek Preserve.
The 123-acre preserve provides a wide variety of natural habitat areas. Located at the northern end of Central Valley, it’s part of the Pacific Flyway. The Flyway extends from Alaska to South America – a migratory route for waterfowl. In spring, the preserve is a sojourn for the migrating waterfowl tht feed on invertebrates in vernal pools.
Wildlife species can be found in those vernal pools, including vernal pool fairy shrimp. The shrimp produce eggs that can lie dormant in dry soil over the summer. In spring, some of the eggs hatch when the pools refill. Other shrimp remain dormant for years, even decades.
The emergent marsh consists of cattails, sedges and bulrush. These grass-like plants emerge above surface water and provide habitats for a wide variety of fish, birds, reptiles and amphibians.
You can read about the natural habitats at kiosks throughout the preserve.
The main trail around the preserve is 1.45 miles. Trails within the preserve can be used for a variety of exercise activities. Or we can simply sit and enjoy the views. On a clear day you can see Shasta Bally to the west. Mount Shasta is north and had its last known volcanic eruption in 1786. Mount Lassen to the east had its last eruption in 1917. When there’s blue sky overhead, and a wonderful, cool breeze in early spring, it’s hard to imagine the violence that once shaped this landscape.
March is nature’s most plush, green month of the year. However, this February was the driest on record; absolutely no rain. So the preserve is drier this year. But the preserve remains a relaxing, and most enjoyable visit. I showcase this year’s recently taken photos first, followed by last year’s late spring photos.
It’s been billions of years in the making. For me, it’s amazing to think that nature was born out of that gigantic, cosmic blast. Now, Clover Creek Preserve is a transformed, fossil stardust miracle to enjoy.