Short Summary

Garber Park is a 13-acre City of Oakland woodland park located behind the Claremont Hotel. The mile long Loop Trail takes us through a forest of oaks, Bay Laurel, Big Leaf Maples and California Buckeyes to the 1920's era stone Fireplace Plaza. The Garber Park Stewards vision is to safeguard the native wildland resources of Garber Park while reducing the risk of wildfire and improving the trail system.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Rain, Sunshine, and a Bird' s Nest

One of the many discoveries on
our Tuesday workday.  If you know
the name of the bird that inhabits
this nest please contact
 Much to my surprise, our Tuesday Workday was on - the rain stopped and three Stewards came to help with our first Spring Invasive Weed Pull.  Unfortunately, it was too wet, soggy, and muddy to be tromping on the hillsides.  What to do?

With the sun peeking through, the bright green of the ferns and newly leafed out Buckeyes and Maples beckoned us to take a slow walk along the trails with an eye to planning future activities and projects.  Along the lower loop trail we discovered false solomons seal, cow parsnip, and giant vetch just coming into bloom as well as a superbly constructed bird's nest anchored high in the tree.  In Horse Tail Meadow, on the Upper Loop Trail, the Equisitum (horse tails) is dominating the meadow, and on Sylvan Trail it was most satisfying to see the abundance of ferns, false solomons seal, and trilliums in Garber's newest restoration site at Fern Glen thriving.

Unfortunately, our break from restoration work was short lived. Along Sylvan Trail at Sylvan bridge, the water was pouring down the creek, creating waterfalls and overflowing the trail.  A storm drain was plugged near Evergreen Lane, sending a cascade of water down the creek threatening to erode the trail and the creek banks.  I called Public Works while Ricardo and Bob set to work shoring up the trail.  Several hours later, their work complete, the rain began once again.   Many, many thanks to you both!
Horsetail Meadow

Our next volunteer workday is Saturday, April 19.  We will meet at 10AM at the Evergreen Lane Entrance.  

SAVE THE DATE:  Saturday, April 26.  TAKE ACTION and join The Garber Park Stewards and Claremont Canyon Conservancy in cleaning and beautifying Claremont Avenue. 
We hope you can join us.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Great Day for Invasives Removal

Cal Rotaract students help pull invasive weeds.  We always
appreciate the help of this energetic group.
Many Thanks to all the volunteers who came to Garber over the past two months while I was away.  And, thanks to Bob Strayer for leading the February 15 workday.

With the strong showing of Cal Rotaract students   plus some of Garber's veteran weed warriors in February we made great progress in removing invasive weeds from our newest restoration site at Fern Grove as well as selected sites along the Loop Trail.

In March we had to cancel our third Saturday workday, but our veteran weed warriors found time to do some serious weed removal - Cape ivy, poison hemlock, Himalayan blackberry, and Algerian Ivy.  In addition volunteers were rewarded with a beautiful show of blooming Trillium, which have made a tremendous come back this year in Garber.  Their colorful show is fading, but false solomon seal and cow parsnip will soon be blooming.

SAVE THE DATES:  As I write this blog we are receiving another bit of much needed rain ensuring a few more weeks of easy weed pulling.  We hope you will be able to join us for one of our Spring Weed Pulling Workdays in April:  Tuesday, April 1; Saturday, April 19; and Earth Day, Saturday, April 26.   

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Saturday, February 15, 10Am-Noon
Uncovering Trilliums, ferns, even
several oak seedlings as we weeded
and mulched in Fern Glen on our
first Tuesday in February - a most
gratifying day.

Please join us in Garber Park as we assess drought conditions, weed our restoration sites to give the natives their best chance to survive, perform trail maintenance, and continue removing ivy from the ferns and other natives we find in the western part of Garber. 
Wear long sleeves and pants, and shoes with good tread. Drinks, snacks, tools and gloves are provided, but do bring your own gloves and water bottle if you have them.
As usual we have activities for all ability levels, from easy weed removal on flat easily accessible areas along the Loop Trail to the more heavy lifting activities of trail maintenance and Algerian ivy removal from around the ferns on the steep hillsides along Sylvan Trail.  
Meet at the Evergreen Lane Entrance  Directions: From Ashby take Alvarado Rd to Slater Lane, turn Right onto Evergreen Ln.  The entrance is at the end of the street.  For a map and directions click here 
For more information contact Bob Strayer  

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Erosion Control Workshop - Great Start to a New Year

What a great start to the New Year - nineteen volunteers came to Garber on a beautiful Saturday in January to learn bioengineering techniques for erosion control in a workshop conducted by Lech Naumovich, Golden Hour Restoration Institute.   The day began with Lech talking and demonstrating hillside erosion techniques – in particular, the use of fascines (living branches bound together in long bundles) and spilings (using branches to create a retaining wall), both techniques used to protect a slope from erosion.   Then the real fun began – we set about building a fascine and spilling and installing both on our eroded slope.  

We divided ourselves into several groups – some went to collect live branches, others cut and prepared the branches and wove them into a long bundle. then carried the long sausage shaped  (now called a fascine) to the crew who had been working to prepare the slope.  At the same time still others were working on making a spiling (retaining wall).  After the stakes were driven into the ground it was time for weaving branches through the stakes to make a retaining wall.  One volunteer yelled out, “I’m a weaver!” and proceeded to direct the weaving crew.  The result - two structures built out of live materials, gathered onsite, and designed to hold and slowly release water.  Ideally, the cut branches of the fascines should grow producing roots and top growth,  but  in this year in which Gov. Brown just declared a drought emergency we are hoping that at least a few of our willow branches will sprout.  

View and Download Lech’s Hand-out explaining the bioengineering techniques we used in Garber, complete with References for those who wish to explore more.  It is important to note that this project is being implemented in an area that will not require permits.  Creating such structures in an active stream or around a wetland would require consultation, plans, and possibly permits.  

We were all excited to have the opportunity to learn these erosion control techniques and were looking forward to returning in February to learn to use passive restoration planting techniques to further stabilize the slope.  Unfortunately, because of the severe drought conditions we have cancelled the February workshop.    Stay tuned for some exciting workshops led by Lech later this Spring and Summer.   Looking further into the future - we hope to again offer the Erosion Control Workshop series next year. 

THANKS, Lech, for leading another unique and special workshop,  and to all the participants for a productive and fun morning.  We hope to see you all again soon in Garber.   Special thanks to Claremont Canyon Conservancy for their generous funding of our Winter Workshop Series, and the City of Oakland for their support for our volunteer work in Garber Park.    

Please join us for our February Volunteer Workdays:  Tuesday, Feb. 4 and Saturday, Feb 15, 10AM-Noon. Meet at the Evergreen Lane Entrance.  We will weed our restoration sites and perform trail maintenance.  

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fern Glen Workshop and Restoration - A HUGE SUCCESS!!

Establishing the Fern Glen Restoration Site by freeing the
ferns and other natives of Hedera (ivy). 
Thanks to all the volunteers who braved the frigid weather and helped us establish our 3rd restoration site in Garber – Fern Glen along Sylvan Path.  Warm drinks inside and Lech’s informative talk energized and inspired us to head out in the cold, free the ferns from the ivy, and flag any natives that were in the area.  Garber has surprised us with rich native resources hiding under the invasives that have blanketed Garber.  And, today, Fern Glen was no exception.  We shouted with glee as trilliums, ferns, and even an oak seedling were discovered.  Once the Restoration Site was cleared of Hedera and the natives flagged, we mulched the site. 

 Come to Garber, walk the Sylvan Trail, and peek into our
Wildlife Habitat Pile to see what creatures have made
a home!  
But, restoring an area isn’t only about removing invasives and planting natives – it’s all about establishing a diverse and sustainable habitat for flora and fauna.  So, our last and most fun task was to create a habitat pile for the birds and other animals  from the downed wood in the area.

Lech, sporting a new mustache, begins the
workshop inside in the warmth.  

Workshops with Lech are always hands-on, informative and FUN.  And, we all especially love the time-lapse videos of our hard work.  View a video of our successful Fern Glade Restoration Workshop set to the music of Baby Please Don't go by Big Bill Broonzy.  

Lech always provides us with an informative Hand-out.  Click 
here to view and download a copy of the hand-out.  And, do
join the fun at our next workshop:
               Woodland Slope Restoration
           Saturday, January 18, 10AM-1:00PM.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Passive Restoration Workshop in Garber

Fern Glade Stewardship 
Woodland Understory Restoration 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Garber Park Stewards and Claremont Canyon Conservancy are excited to be partnering with Golden Hour Restoration Institute for several exciting workshops throughout the winter season, beginning with a Fern Glade Stewardship and Woodland Understory Restoration Workshop in Garber Park on Sunday, December 8. There is a large relatively flat spot near Fireplace Plaza along Sylvan Path where the ivy has not yet totally engulfed the native ferns  which will become our new restoration site.

Lech Naumovich, Executive Director of GoldenHour, will be leading the workshop, and will discuss Best Practices for Ivy Removal, including the Bradley Method, which we will then remove from the project site, find and flag any new natives we find in the area, track these through the year, and create a small woodland habitat pile using existing, on-site materials

Location:  Evergreen Lane Entrance to Garber Park (near the Claremont Hotel in Claremont Canyon.  Enjoy coffee, tea, and snacks.  Then be ready to walk along Sylvan Path to our restoration site.

Wear long sleeves, long pants and shoes or boots with good traction as the trails are rugged and the hillsides are steep in Garber. 

Directions:  The nearest address is 144 Evergreen Lane, Berkeley.  From Alvarado Road take Slater Lane, then turn Right onto Evergreen Lane.  The entrance to the park is at the end of the street.  A map and google directions can be found at

Please RSVP to Shelagh or 510-540-1918 as workshop may be limited to reduce impact in this restoration area.

Most exciting of all, Lech said this will be a great workshop for another Time Lapse Video!  Click here to view a video of two days of planting on the hillside at the Evergreen Lane Entrance compressed into 3 minutes and set to the music of Louis Armstrong.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

WPAD Clears Claremont Avenue!

Oakland's Wildfire Prevention Assessment District cleared Claremont Avenue today!  We can actually see a shoulder so bicyclists can ride without being pushed into the fast moving traffic,  and a parking turn-out near the old 1920's built trail (that the Garber Park Stewards are restoring) into Garber Park was revealed.

Thank you, Vince Crudele, the newly hired WPAD vegetation management supervisor, for getting this done.  We've never seen such a thorough job on Claremont Ave.