By: Nicole Newell, Sustainable Backyard Program Manager

I am finding many Solano County treasures as our Sustainable Backyard Program expands. Suisun Wildlife Center is one of the jewels. Last weekend I learned first-hand the many incredible ways that this organization serves California native wildlife and the Suisun Marsh. I was invited on an educational walk through the area with Executive Director, Monique Liguori, leading this walk. She spoke about the Native American Suisunes tribe (also called the “People of the West Wind”), who lived in the Suisun Marsh regions of Solano County around 200 years ago, and the various plants they used.

One of the many diverse plants that was showcased was the tule rush. The Suisunes people built temporary homes, canoes and made clothing out of this plant. Since the tule rushes are biodegradable, every year these items had to be rebuilt. My head was filled with so many new facts about native plants in the marsh. I even got to taste salty pickleweed!

Not only does the Suisun Wildlife Center protect and educate the public about the Suisun Marsh, but they also rescue and care for California native wildlife. The ultimate goal is to release the wildlife back into its environment. Due to the extent of animal injury, resident raptors and a coyote cannot be released and need year-round care. Kris, Monique and many other committed volunteers gently care for these young and injured animals 365 days a year!

Currently they are taking care of:
20 baby oppossums
30 song birds
7 baby raccoons
6 baby squirrels
1 adult barn owl

This spring, Monique has gently cared for nine baby hummingbirds. These sensitive creatures eat every 15 minutes from sun up to sun down and will only eat if the feeder are in a balanced state of mind while feeding them. The dedication of Suisun Wildlife Center has inspired our Sustainable Backyard program to think about the importance of serving wildlife when designing demonstration gardens. In June, we will be installing a food forest that is focused on providing food to our precious pollinators.

Thank you Kris and Suisun Wildlife Center for all that you do!