CoD Outdoor Recreation

Membership

A 42 Acre Natural Wildlife Ecosystem

The Smith Family Ranch has five distinct habitats and agricultural spaces within its ecosystem that we use to teach conservation, preservation, restoration and sustainable agricultural practices.

Meadow

An open, grassy area typically found in natural landscapes, characterized by a diverse mix of grasses, wildflowers, and low-lying vegetation

"Meadow Magic"

Meadow Ecology and Preservation

Meadows are vital to a wildlife habitat because they serve as essential sources of food, shelter, and breeding grounds for a wide variety of wildlife species. These habitats provide nourishment through the abundance of native plants, attracting insects and other invertebrates, which in turn attract birds, small mammals, and even larger herbivores. Additionally, meadows offer ideal conditions for nesting and rearing young for many bird species and provide essential cover for creatures seeking refuge from predators. Meadows contribute to biodiversity, support pollinators, and enhance the overall health and resilience of ecosystems. Their preservation is critical for maintaining balanced and thriving wildlife communities.

Register now for our upcoming field trips, projects, business development and volunteer activities!

  • Meadow wildlife and plant identification.
  • Wildflower seed planting and meadow restoration.
  • Insect and pollinator surveys.
  • Stargazing and nocturnal wildlife observation.
  • Art and photography in the meadow.

Riparian

The transitional zone of vegetation found along the banks of James Creek.

"Stream Savers"

Guardians of the Watershed

These ecosystems are of paramount importance to wildlife habitats due to their unique characteristics. Riparian zones offer a variety of vital functions such as providing essential water sources, shelter, and breeding grounds for diverse wildlife species. They act as natural filters, improving water quality by trapping sediments and pollutants, which benefits aquatic life and the broader ecosystem. Riparian areas also promote biodiversity by connecting different habitat types, enabling species movement and migration. These zones are vital corridors for wildlife, offering food, safety, and the means to navigate through landscapes, particularly in regions with fragmented habitats. Furthermore, riparian ecosystems help control erosion, stabilize banks, and regulate water temperature, further enhancing their significance for both aquatic and terrestrial species. Conservation of riparian areas is critical for the overall health and resilience of wildlife habitats and aquatic ecosystems.

Register now for our upcoming field trips, projects, business development and volunteer activities!

  • Watershed education and stream surveys.
  • Streambank stabilization and erosion control.
  • Aquatic life identification in the stream.
  • Water quality testing and analysis.

Wetlands

The transitional area where water meets land, characterized by saturated or seasonally inundated conditions, which give rise to a unique ecosystem.

"Wetland Wonders"

Exploring and Preserving the Wetland Habitat

Wetlands are critically important to wildlife habitats as they offer a multitude of essential functions. They serve as nurseries for numerous aquatic species, providing safe breeding and rearing environments. Wetlands also filter and purify water, improving its quality and benefiting a wide range of wildlife and organisms. Additionally, these ecosystems offer diverse food sources, including aquatic plants and invertebrates, attracting a variety of waterfowl, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. Wetlands act as natural flood buffers, reducing the impact of flooding events and protecting terrestrial habitats. Moreover, they support migratory routes for countless bird species, serving as vital stopover points during long journeys. Their conservation is crucial for maintaining the health and biodiversity of ecosystems and ensuring the survival of many species.

Register now for our upcoming field trips, projects, business development and volunteer activities!

  • Wetland exploration and birdwatching.
  • Aquatic biodiversity surveys.
  • Understanding wetland ecosystems.
  • Wetland conservation and restoration techniques.
  • Building birdhouses and wetland-friendly structures.

Woodlands

A habitat characterized by a dense growth of trees, typically with an understory of shrubs and a ground layer of various plants.

"Wild Woods"

Secrets of the Forest Wonderland

Woodlands are crucial to wildlife habitats for several reasons. They provide shelter and nesting sites for a wide range of bird species and mammals, offering protection from predators and harsh weather conditions. Woodlands serve as a vital source of food, supplying fruits, nuts, leaves, and insects, which form the base of the food chain for many animals. These habitats also support biodiversity by fostering interactions among various species. Additionally, woodlands contribute to ecosystem stability by sequestering carbon, mitigating climate change, and regulating water cycles. Moreover, they offer recreational and aesthetic value to humans, emphasizing the interconnectedness of ecosystems and the importance of preserving woodlands for the well-being of wildlife and the planet.

Register now for our upcoming field trips, projects, business development and volunteer activities!

  • Guided forest walks with a naturalist.
  • Tree identification and biodiversity surveys.
  • Hands-on lessons in forest ecology.
  • Introduction to sustainable forestry practices.
  • Wildlife tracking and observation.

Urban Farming

The practice of cultivating crops, raising livestock, and producing food, fiber, and other resources for human consumption and use.

"ATWOOD Comunity Gardens"

Agricultural Technologies With Open Outdoor Designs

Agriculture plays a dual role in both supporting and impacting these ecosystems. While agriculture provides a vital food source for many wildlife species, especially in the form of cultivated crops, it can also lead to habitat loss and fragmentation through land conversion. Sustainable agricultural practices that prioritize wildlife-friendly approaches, such as planting cover crops, maintaining hedgerows, and preserving natural areas within farms, can coexist with and enhance wildlife habitats. When managed thoughtfully, agriculture can contribute to maintaining a balance between human food production and the preservation of essential wildlife habitats.

Register now for our upcoming field trips, projects, business development and volunteer activities!

  • Drone farming demonstrations
  • Smart irrigation system installation
  • Hands-on use of precision agriculture tools,
  • "Tech Scavenger Hunt" to discover innovative farming technologies.
  • Setting up and maintaining hydroponic and vertical farming systems, soil-less cultivation, and tasting farm-fresh produce.
  • Hands-on greenhouse construction, integration of automated climate control systems, and a greenhouse tour featuring advanced planting techniques.
  • RFID tagging and tracking of livestock, health monitoring through wearable technology, and real-time data analysis for animal welfare.
  • Technology showcase featuring environmental monitoring tools, sustainable agriculture practices, and demonstrations of renewable energy solutions..

CREATE!