Short Summary

Garber Park is a 13-acre wildland park owned by the City of Oakland located behind the Claremont Hotel in Claremont Canyon. Garber Park is home to significant stands of big-leaf maple, California buckeyes and regenerating coast live oak woodland and forest. 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.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Fabulous February

Bagging Cape ivy in Horsetail Meadow.
For our Tuesday February Workday (Feb 3) we were joined by the City of Oakland’s Environmental Stewardship Team.  With their help we were able to make a HUGE dent in the Cape ivy blanketing Horsetail Meadow.  The weather was beautiful and warm, and the ground was still soft enough from the rain last week to pull the Cape ivy by it’s roots!  It turns out that several from the Stewardship Team had much experience with Cape ivy – we enjoyed sharing stories and learning about new techniques to help us rid Garber of this most invasive weed.  The Horsetails (equisetum) for which the meadow is named are popping up; in another week or two will once again be the dominant plant in the meadow – and a truly beautiful site.

Fern ID and Fern Glade Expansion Workshop with Lech Namovich
A beautiful day, a diverse group interested and excited to learn about ferns and their habitat, and Lech's hands-on and informative workshop made for a FANTASTIC DAY!

After the rains in early February Garber has sprung back to life - and at this time of the year the ferns are at their loveliest.  We learned to identify the five abundant and common ferns of Garber, their habitat, and how to create good conditions on-site for their regeneration and conservation.  The last part of the day was spent enthusiastically pulling up ivy in Fern Glade and expanding this new restoration site that until a year ago, was a solid blanket of ivy and today is a site where the ferns - and trilliums, sanicles, fairy bells, California Buckeye, and California Maples are flourishing.
Working in Fern Glade.  Photo by Lech Naumovich

Click here to download and read a copy of Lech's very informative hand-out The Ferns of Garber Park:  Ecology and Habitat Restoration.  In this hand-out you will learn about the fern lifecycle (unique and fascinating), conditions needed for conservation measures to help maintain ferns, and a chart of Garber's Ferns and their characteristics essential for identification.   Included is a longer list of Ferns found in the East Bay from Ertter and Naumovich, 2013.

Click here for more pictures of the workshop

This was the 3rd and final workshop for this Winter Season.  The response has been overwhelming with each workshop filled. The entire series has been exciting, fun, and informative.  Many thanks to Claremont Canyon Conservancy whose sponsorship makes these workshops possible.  And special thanks to Lech for another fun, hands-on, and informative workshop series.


Removing Cape ivy in Horsetail Meadow.
January Volunteer Workdays
It was a busy and productive January in Garber.  In spite of no rain, the ground was still soft, making our return to removing invasives an easy task.  Our focus for our two workdays, Tuesday, January 6 and Saturday, January 17 was eradicating a most invasive weed - Cape ivy - which is once again trying to blanket Garber’s meadows and hillsides.  Very sharp and thorny Himalayan blackberry is also trying to make a comeback, but the "blackberry bashing group" is making great headway removing it, root and all.  During a storm in December another huge limb broke off the acacia tree near Harwood Creek – volunteers have spent several workdays chopping up the branch and using the logs for shoring up the trails.  Good to know acacia has some value!

Passive Restoration Workshop - Led by Lech Namovich, Golden Hour Restoration Institute
Creating the transect.  Permanent anchors at
each end of the rope will make it easy to
monitor the exact same place next year.
The highlight of the month was the 2nd in our Winter Restoration Workshop Series in Garber:  Passive Restoration Workshop:  Using Available Materials on-site for Restoration, on January 25, led by Lech Naumovich.  We began by learning about simple Monitoring techniques,  which should be as simple and clear as possible - and is an essential part of any restoration project -  yet is often overlooked.  We created a belt transect from one end of Bob’s Place, across the creek to the other end – a 3 foot wide swath in which we counted and named the native plants and the estimated cover.  Several participants said they found the monitoring activity the most fascinating – it forced us to look carefully at what was happening in each quadrant.  We found new natives we never knew were there, and really got a feel for both the invasives that are there and the natives that we wish to encourage to grow. Many thanks to Frannie for putting all the data into a spread sheet for us to use next year.

After the monitoring project we set about finding, digging up and dividing several of the native plants in this resource rich part of Garber.  And then the fun part – planting them and watering them in (Harwood Creek is still flowing).  Snowberry, Cow Parsnip, Osso berry, willows and other natives now have a new home.  Our task now is to give them some TLC by keeping the invasives away – one we’re looking forward to.  

Identifying and Counting the native plants and the
invasives in each quadrant.

Thanks, Lech, for another fun and informative hands-on workshop.  And thanks to all the participants who helped us advance restoration in Garber.  Garber workshops are always collaborative, hands on, and I learn to much just from the other participants.   And special thanks to the Claremont Canyon Conservancy for sponsoring the winter restoration workshops in Garber. 

Click here for more pictures of January Habitat Restoration and the Passive Restoration Workshop.

3rd Winter Restoration Workshop:  Fern ID and Fern Glade Expansion, February 21:
Lech will be leading one more Winter Restoration Workshop in Garber -  Saturday, February 21 from 9:30 am - 12:30 pm: Fern ID and Fern Glade Expansion.  Garber is home to many beautiful native ferns.  We will ID these ferns, and continue expanding our newest restoration site, Fern Glade, begun only last year, and an incredible success story!  Details and to RSVP: or contact Shelagh 517-1918.  We still have several spots open!