Koobs Reserve Reopens GatesMar 08, 2022 12:00AM ● By Story and photos by Susan Maxwell Skinner
Enjoying the first post-COVID open day last weekend at Koobs Nature Area were the Lee, Barley and Alptekin families from Sacramento.
CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Emerging from pandemic closure, Carmichael Koobs Nature Area last weekend celebrated a first open day in more than two years. Exuding optimism of early spring, trees were in leaf; red bud bushes in blossom and birds busy nesting. Children gamboled. Parents and strollers circled trails on the four-acre reserve.
Part of the old La Sierra High School, the fenced habitat is a little-known Carmichael treasure on Engle Road. The property was acquired in the 1960s, through school and community fundraising. It is named for La Sierra science teacher and activist Earl (Ranger Jack) Koobs. In years since the school shuttered, volunteers have continued upkeep. Local school kids visited on field trips and first-Saturday open days gave access to the public.
During the long COVID hiatus, maintenance work continued and scaled-down Memorial and Veterans Day events raised flags. In tune with County guidelines, open days were put on hold. Gates reopened last Saturday to nearly 90 kids and 70 parents. “It was a cold day, so we were thrilled by these numbers,” said volunteer Jenny Hawley. “Families are looking for ways to get back into the community with outdoor activities that feel safe. We have a different theme each open day, as seasons change. Once families discover us, they tend to come back, month after month.”
Owned by San Juan School District, the Koobs property is protected from development as long as its use for environmental educational function continues. “Having the community here to learn is the reason the Nature Area exists,” notes Volunteer Linda Rose Jones. It’s a valuable outdoor classroom where students can experience the natural environment.”
Resident wildlife is part of a diverse eco-system, that includes insects, reptiles, small mammals and a bat nursery. A bird sanctuary, Koobs provides nesting and hunting oases for hawks, wood ducks, hummingbirds, western blue birds and woodpeckers. Egrets and herons visit a small pond. In damp niches, a wide variety of lichen and fungi thrive.
A children’s scavenger hunt inventoried plants and critters during last Saturday’s open day. Girl Scouts sold cookies. Sun dials, paper snowflakes and seed bombs were crafted at workstations. Parents enjoyed relaxing hours in the fresh air"'punctuated by birdsong and the whoops of happy kids.
Koobs Nature Area supporters include Carmichael Kiwanis Club, La Sierra Alumni, California Montessori Project School, Carmichael Recreation and Park District, the San Juan School District, La Sierra High School alumni, volunteer gardening groups and Boy and Girl Scout Troops. Open days run from 10 am to 2 pm on first Saturdays every month. For information go to Koobs Nature Area’s Facebook page.