Access: Limited public access
Conservation Values: Mixed conifer forest, annual grassland and riparian
At the end of her life, retired Nevada County librarian Francis Burton received numerous offers from developers and real estate agents for her beautiful park-like 38 acres along Lake Vera Purdon Road.
She turned them all away. Instead, she wanted her land to remain as it was. So she donated the property to Bear Yuba Land Trust for the purpose of creating a community park dedicated to education and her love of nature. Burton Homestead is now a Land Trust Preserve with a diversity of ecosystems.
Today, children can be found at Burton Homestead digging carrots from the onsite education farm, tracking animals or joined in a Native American drumming circle. Burton Homestead is an outdoor classroom for the next generation of conservationists. It is a resource center for educators who provide hands-on, interactive, experiential nature education. It’s a place where people of all ages can explore ways to become better stewards of the land.
Cool Facts: The property has a diversity of ecosystems including large, spreading oaks and soaring conifers, wetlands, ponds, a wildflower meadow, a network of woodland trails and the original Burton cottage and gardens.
Flora and Fauna: Tree species include sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana) and black oak (Quercus kelloggii). Interesting forbs include sulphur pea (Lathyrus sulphureus), small whit nemophila (Nemophila hererophylla) and snake lily (Dichelostemma volubile). Fauna found in the area include black bear (Ursus americanus), mountain lion (Puma concolor), and California towhee (Pipilo crissalis).
History: Old grinding stones and arrowheads have been found, evidence of a Native American settlement. Shoes from oxen and other relics tell the story of the Gold Rush.
What to do there:
- Each June, BYLT hosts three weeks of summer nature camp for kids called Earth Encounters where children sing songs, make nature crafts, play games, explore the natural world through science and learn about indigenous cultures.
- Busloads of school kids learn where their food comes from when visiting the Food Love Project, a Sierra Harvest education farm.
- Teachers from Four Elements Earth Education (4EEE) Fox Walkers Program teach young people earth skills such as tracking, nature awareness, survival and caretaking of the land.
- The Tsi Akim Maidu tribe has an agreement for an active cultural center on a three-acre section of the property called Pata Panaka. Tribal members share their cultural perspective and connect students to the land through hands on projects like: native planting and invasive plant removal, habitat restoration work and trail maintenance.
- Quest Theatreworks provides interactive, outdoor theatre for families.
- A program called Movimiento brings inner city youth from low income families to the site for leadership programming and healing in nature.
How to get there: 16200 Lake Vera Purdon Road, Nevada City
Rules, regulations: Burton Homestead is open for events such as youth camps, educational workshops and trekking programs. NO HUNTING.