Habitat Management Zones

CONSERVATION PRACTICES AT RAVEN’S NEST

Habitat Management Zones

1.  EDUCATION ZONE

At  RAVEN’S NEST NATURE SANCTUARY We have intensively intervened to create our EDUCATION ZONE around our main structures – our Nature & Science Discovery Center and our Abode.  Here we have planted and continue to plant native species of Trees, Shrubs, Vines, Succulents, and Wildflowers, including many edible and useful plants.

Since we realize that buildings in the EDUCATION ZONE serve as natural gathering places for people, we have endeavored to highlight many of the positive environmental changes that people can enact in these high impact areas.  Thus, we have created a diverse and resilient wildlife Habitat that benefits a myriad of species while serving as model for you to learn from during your visit with us.

Wildlife Habitat within the Education Zone benefits primarily from Rainwater captured by a series of earthen berms and from our 20,000 gallon capacity Rainwater Harvesting System.  We have also created water features such as Wildlife Ponds, diversion ditches, and earthen berms that benefit both native plants and wildlife.

2.  WATERSHED MANAGEMENT & CONSERVATION ZONE

Throughout much of Raven’s Nest Nature Sanctuary we have identified the main drainages as the Watershed Management Zone.  Here there are few structures, save the occasional rustic shade ramada.  Instead we’ve sought to identify erosion problems and rectify them with simple, yet effective Conservation strategies.  In our smallest drainages we’ve constructed many small check dams using only the existing soil and rocks found exactly at each spot. These dams are not intended to hold water, but rather to slow down or “check” the flow of water so that more goes into the ground (thus benefiting plants) and less into destructive erosional forces.  We artfully blend these mini-dams into the watercourses so that you may well find it difficult to locate them!

Our largest arroyos (normally dry stream-beds) require more complex Conservation strategies.  In one of our main arroyos we’ve constructed gavians – water deflectors that slow down and spread potentially destructive floods (particularly in Summer), thus dissipating their force to some degree.  The result has been a net benefit to the floodplain Mesquite Woodland that dominates our lower elevations.  Now, more trees, as well as other plants, receive more water more frequently.

3.  WILDERNESS ZONE

This zone contains some of our wildest acres, punctuated by small and scenic canyons cut by intimate arroyos.  Our main goal here has been to maintain and enhance the wild feeling inherent to the area.  Thus, we strive to keep all of our visitor groups to our trail system, which winds through all of our zones, avoiding human traffic in the most environmentally sensitive areas.  This permits a quiet refuge for breeding birds, denning mammals, and other sensitive wildlife.

Throughout the entire Nature Preserve, we have encouraged native Trees, Shrubs, Perennials, Succulents, and Wildflowers that are adapted to survive and thrive on rainfall and require no supplemental watering.  This has lent a truly wild feel to all parts of Raven’s Nest Nature Sanctuary!