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.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

April 2022 Volunteer Days!

Earth Month in April!


Four volunteer workdays, two workshops, one ceremony, and a full dumpster!  


Earth Month Efforts

We started off with a call to action as part of our Earth Month 1,2,3! Initiative. This encompassed our first three workdays of the month, in which we had multiple organizations join us and share in the work...and snacks! All of this effort payed off as we logged over 150 hours of volunteer time in April! 

April 2nd : Garber Park Stewards joined by the Cal Rotaract club


This amazing group helped clear debris left behind by the removal of a downed tree across the stairs to the Evergreen Lane entrance and an array of other activities. We started the day by eating snacks and learning about the interests of our volunteers and how, for many, it was their first time in Garber Park! It was so fun to get invigorated with everyone's passion as we went over the tasks before us. We separated into two groups, one to clear the debris on the stairs and the other to weed and clear around the Fireplace. 


The two groups made fast work of the objective and then we switched to mulching the trails and removing Eucalyptus debris. We were able to fill quite a few bags, and finished the day in a more relaxing, but rewarding ivy pulling and fern finding session in Fern Glade. Once everyone seemed satisfied, we went back for more snacks, debriefed, and a large group decided to go for a self-guided tour of their neighborhood park!


April 9th : Oaks, thistles, and trail maintenance!


For our second weekend we were joined by our dedicated UC Berkeley volunteers, who helped us mulch the top of the Loop Trail leading towards the switchbacks. Mulching makes the trails more resistant to erosion and makes it less slippery for hikers and runners who enjoy the park. Around one of the switchbacks we also had a struggling oak, in which volunteers helped us try and uncover the root crown, to allow for proper air circulation and lower the stress on the oak. Oaks like to have a slightly exposed root crown, but growing next to the trail means that it can become covered and compacted, which can stress the tree and may even lead to its eventual death, so uncovering these root bases is very helpful to a healthy oak woodland ecosystem. After uncovering the oak, we then moved on to tackle some thorny thistles in Horsetail Meadow. The volunteers took this on with glee, and made a quick and fun work of pulling hundreds of thistles!



April 16th : Welcome CAL Habitat club!



This week we were joined by the CAL Habitat club to continue with thistle removal, work on the trails near the Alvarado Road entrance, and finished the day with some more fern finding and ivy removal. 



We started by splitting into two groups, a trail group led by one of our long-time volunteers and trail coordinator, Alex, and another to tackle the thistles in Horsetail Meadow. Trail work is a critical component of a safe and usable Garber Park. The trail near the Alvarado Road entrance was crumbling in a few places, so we worked with a small but dedicated crew to shore up the sides to limit erosion and hold the trail in place. This seemed to have an immediate difference in creating a safer and more comfortable walk on the trail. 




Our other team was very gungho on removing thistles and pretty much cleared the open area in which they were sprouting! After that they moved to work on another invasive plant, English Ivy in Fern Glade. The experience was definitely rewarding for all, and we are happy they stuck it out through our initial wet weather conditions! 



April 23rd : Earth Month Cleanup!



The city of Oakland provides us bins sometimes so we can conduct large clean-ups of the park. With the bin we were able to remove all the previously cleared tree debris, and the Eucalyptus debris that volunteers had collected. We had a small but dedicated crew that allowed us to get the dumpster over 3/4 full! It was a large and momentous effort but well worth it, as it's one of the few times a year that we can remove a lot of debris quickly from the park, which really helps us lower the fire hazard and create a safer space for everyone. A special thank you to our long-time volunteer Ricardo, who worked with us and let us use his truck to haul down all the debris to the dumpster!


April 24th : Botanical Plant ID Walkthrough



We partnered with East Bay CNPS chapter member and long time steward, Janet Gawthrop, for a Botanical Walkthrough of the park. The goal was to help interested stewards learn a bit about plant identification and work to update the list of species found in Garber Park, which hasn't been updated since 2017. It was a deeply enlightening event where everyone was able to learn so much and we were also able to add a few native plants to the list that weren't previously recorded! Thank you Janet, and to everyone who joined!




April 30th : A Special Celebration for Shelagh Brodersen 

Founder, Garber Park Stewards 



To wrap up this amazing month, in partnership with the Claremont Canyon Conservancy, we held a special ceremony to honor one of our founders and sponsors, Shelagh Brodersen. Shelagh started the Stewards around 2010 with the purpose of opening up Garber Park for everyone by making it more accessible, promoting a healthy native plant ecosystem, and building a community around the park. 12 years later and those goals have been successful, with our wonderful trail system installed, our bustling native communities, and successful network of volunteers! With that in mind, a plaque was installed on the Fireplace, honoring Shelagh and her work with the Garber Park Stewards. A celebration was held and many long-time stewards gathered to acknowledge Shelagh and remember the hard work put into the park. The work isn't over, but Garber Park wouldn't be what it is today without her dedication and efforts - Thank you Shelagh! 




Another special event was a workshop by Lech Naumovich, titled, Building Community and Climate Resilience at Garber Park. Lech was also pivotal in forming a plan to restore the park, leading educational workshops, and educating volunteers. He was there to honor Shelagh and explain where Garber Park is heading, the things we can expect, and the actions we can take to help. It was a very nice and educational walk through parts of the park, and we were given a multi-part strategy to keep in mind.


Overall, we had a very bustling and fruitful Earth Month! Thank you to all our wonderful volunteers and the clubs that helped make this such a success! Garber Park is only made possible through the community's action and we thank you!


Come join us on our upcoming Volunteer Days on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month as we continue restoring areas of Garber Park to be better suited for native species, and in doing so, creating a more fire safe park for everyone. 


If you'd like to volunteer with us visit our Volunteer Opportunities page for more information and if you'd like to join our mailing list please email Wyllie at gpstewards@gmail.com.     

If you're interested in seeing what's in bloom through the seasons at Garber Park, please take a look at our Plant Highlights Page!


Take a look at our past events

Fun Snapshots of our Restoration Efforts at Garber Park 

MLK Day of Service: Seeds of Hope

Plant Highlights at Garber Park 

 

Sunday, June 5, 2022

March 2022 Volunteer Days!

 

March is in Bloom!

A busy month of uncovering ferns, debris removal, and thorny thistles.


Restoration Projects

Volunteer efforts in March shifted towards removing one of our seasonal invasive plants, Italian Thistle, continuing our fire-prone Eucalyptus debris removal, and continuing our work on removing English Ivy from Fern Glade. We had three work days this month, our two regular ones and a special Claremont Club & Spa sponsored one! Stewards were able to remove over 21 bags of debris for the month! This really helps us get prepared for the fire season to come! 

Volunteers from Claremont Club & Spa are weeding thistles in the clearing near our Garber Oak site. 
After a hard day of work all the volunteers were awarded with oven-fired pizza at the Claremont Hotel. 

March 4th was our first workday and Garber Park welcomed volunteers from Claremont Club & Spa in a restoration weekend. One group, led by members of the Claremont Canyon Conservancy, focused on clearing debris and weed management from Evergreen footpath - amounting to about 13 bags of debris which was later collected by the city of Oakland. In Garber, another group tackled a prickly thistle patch and helped remove some of the Himalayan Blackberry growing abundantly over miner's lettuce, (native) blackberry, and other native plants! Claremont volunteers managed to collect about six bags of debris and ended the day by being rewarded for their hard work with oven-fired pizza!

Volunteers are continuing the rewarding work of uncovering ferns and other natives from under the sea of English Ivy.
Over 15 bags of Eucalyptus litter and thistles were collected and taken out of the park by the dedicated volunteers.

One of the many bags of Eucalyptus debris collected by volunteers to help protect the park from any risk of fire.  

On March 5th volunteers from lambda Theta Nu Sorority and our regular volunteers worked to build on the work of the Claremont Hotel volunteers, and continue clearing thistles and blackberry, which we were able to clear most of the area. We then shifted to removing Eucalyptus litter to get ahead of the fire season, which resulted in over 15 bags of debris taken out of the park! To end off the day volunteers worked on a continuous relaxing project of pulling English ivy from under the canopy of Fern Glade and allow the ferns to grow abundantly.  

Ruby--one of our volunteer coordinators for Garber Park--is revisiting and clearing out new ivy.

Some of our returning volunteers work to expand a cleared area and provide the native plants space to grow and expand.

March 19th saw a quieter volunteer day in which we continued the important work of uncovering ferns in Fern Glade. The first steps are identifying and flagging the ferns and other natives under the ivy, and then pulling the ivy that is directly on top of and around the plant. We then create a buffer of about 4ft-6ft around the plant to give them room to grow and spread its rhizomes and seeds! We have seen some major success with this method of passive restoration, and it's both satisfying for both newcomers and returning volunteers as they can see the difference right away or come back after a month and start to see the native plants fill back in!

Our amazing volunteers and guests from the Claremont Hotel joined the work in Garber Park with zest, and didn't mind pulling out the prickly thistles or the thorny blackberry! Amazing progress was made! Without your help, Garber Park wouldn't be as rich and full of like as it continues to be. 

As spring is here, Garber Park is starting to transform with some of our native plants starting to come out of their "dormancy" period. If you're interested in some of these plants, please check out our Plant Highlights Page!

There's still so much we can do. Come join us on our upcoming Volunteer Days on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month as we continue restoring areas of Garber Park to be better suited for native species, and in doing so, creating a more fire safe park for everyone. 

If you'd like to volunteer with us visit our Volunteer Opportunities page for more info and if you'd like to join our mailing list please email Wyllie at gpstewards@gmail.com


Take a look at our past events

Fun Snapshots of our Restoration Efforts at Garber Park 

MLK Day of Service: Seeds of Hope

Plant Highlights at Garber Park 


Saturday, May 14, 2022

February 2022 Volunteer Days!

French Broom Sweep

Searching for French Broom: An Annual Mapping Project


Restoration Projects

 

Volunteer efforts in February shifted towards lowering fire risk in the park. 

Stewards cleared debris and continued our annual French Broom sweep to map and lower the presence of this persistent invasive plant. The French Broom Sweep will be an ongoing project as French Broom seed can be viable upwards of 70 years!

Volunteers looking for broom seedlings growing among a field of miner's lettuce and many other plants.

We started off with a gridded map of the park, and split into teams to search the different sections. When we got to a section we searched for French Broom, then estimated the number of individuals, and what maturity the plants were at - this helped us determine the urgency to treat that section. For example, a section with two mature plants, would be a high priority, as they will flower and spread seed this year, whereas a section with 20 seedlings, would be unlikely to go to seed this year, and can be mitigated during our future volunteer workdays. 

Wyllie, our volunteer coordinator, helps volunteers identify French Broom at different maturities and shows the best strategies for hand pulling if needed.

Volunteers were also encouraged to pull any mature plants and if there were a small enough amount of seedlings to pull, to hand pull the area. After we finished the sweep of the park, we gathered the maps together to make a condensed map with all the data, and give us a picture of the current state of the French Broom in the park. Be sure to check back for an updated map!

Some of our returning volunteers searching for broom among the understory of Garber's Oak Grove. 















One highlight of the French Broom sweep was mapping and counting areas of French Broom plants that are still present in the park, and comparing it to last year. Last year we led another search and pulled over 800 plants! This year we pulled a substantially lower amount, and didn't find them in some of the past areas. This gives us good insight for future restoration events and lets us know that the past efforts are paying off! 

Before the month ended, large broom bushes were found and removed from Garber Park! We will be returning to the site where these were found in order to continue removing any other seedlings in that area.


Our amazing volunteers joined the search with enthusiasm and put their best effort out there to help Garber Park be more fire safe and get our French Broom populations under control! Without your help, Garber Park wouldn't be as rich and full of life as it continues to be. 

As winter turns to spring, Garber Park is starting to transform with some of our native plants starting to come out of their "dormancy" period. There's still so much we can do. Come join us on our upcoming Volunteer Days on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month as we continue restoring areas of Garber Park to be better suited for native species, and in doing so, creating a more fire safe park for everyone. 

If you'd like to volunteer with us visit our Volunteer Opportunities page for more info and if you'd like to join our mailing list please email Wyllie at gpstewards@gmail.com

Monday, January 24, 2022

MLK Day of Service: Seeds of Hope

We are very excited to have started the new year honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during MLK's Day of Service, and what better way to do so, than by working alongside future generations in an effort to plant seeds of hope!

Pictured are some of our volunteers, Janet, Christie and Ruby who worked hard to remove invasive non-native plant species throughout Garber Park, while at the same time making room for many native plant species such as ferns, oak saplings, and miner's lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata). 

One highlight of January 2022 was planting Purple Needlegrass (Stipa pulchra, left) and Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa, right) seeds in sunny bright areas around Garber Park, in hopes of new native plant growth! 

Our amazing volunteers joined us with enthusiasm and put their best work out there to make Garber Park a better habitat for so many species! Without your help, Garber Park wouldn't be as rich and full of life as it continues to be. 

Winter in January also marked a time of heavy rainfall, which allowed for ideal habitat conditions for our amphibian friends. The photos below are believed to be a Yellow-eyed Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica) which are commonly found throughout the Bay Area and here in Garber Park! 

While removing invasive English Ivy to uncover native ferns, our local steward, Rich, came across this curious salamander as it tried to climb on him. After being carefully placed back in its habitat, the restoration efforts continued as we pushed to create better habitats for our amazing species friends!
There's still so much we can do. Come join us on our upcoming Volunteer Days on February 5th and 19th as we continue our efforts on our French Broom sweep and focus on restoring areas of Garber Park to be better suited for native species, and in doing so, creating a more fire safe park for everyone. 

Volunteers locate native ferns in Fern Glade to continue uncovering and expand their habitat by creating a buffer around them to protect them from English Ivy. 

If you'd like to volunteer with us visit our Volunteer Opportunities page for more info and if you'd like to join our mailing list please email Wyllie at gpstewards@gmail.com

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Fun Snapshots of our Restoration Efforts at Garber Park!

As we welcome 2022, we'd love to thank our Garber Park Stewards and many Volunteers for their dedication, time and efforts towards restoring Garber Park this past year! 
We hope you enjoy taking a look back at the many activities that took place at Garber Park this summer, fall, and winter and hope to see you again soon on our Volunteer Days: 1st and 3rd Saturday of Every Month! Update: January's 1st Volunteer Day will be on Jan 08, 2022 

Winter marked a time for plant IDing and removal of invasive non-native plant species, such as Cape Ivy and Blackberry. As volunteers took time to learn about the various characteristics of these plants, they also learned some of the best practices for removal. (Image Below)


One of our amazing volunteers clearing the top layer of cape ivy in order to get to the roots for removal (Left)

Composting onsite has been one of our newest projects at Garber Park. We've been sharing knowledge with our volunteers on how we add, spread, and compact what we collect from a workday into our growing pile! (Right)

Mushroom Galore!

As the rainy season visited Garber Park, we also had enriching sights of various mushroom types, shapes, and sizes throughout the park! Many were easily spotted next to rocks and on logs, while others were hidden underneath leaf litter, in between stones, or next to our pathways. Can you ID them?

Winter Planting 

It was also a time of planting as the rainy days continued. We managed to place over a dozen plants with a focus on erosion control, which is especially important during these large rain events.  

Fall Fern Flagging & Fireplace Plaza Fire Safety 

During our Fall days, we had a great time working around Fern Glade. We were able to flag many ferns hiding underneath the English Ivy and worked to uncover them by pulling out a lot of the invasive ivy! By removing the invasive non-native plant species, we are allowing the native plant species underneath to grow in a clearer space, just in time for Spring. 

At the same time, we have been working near Fireplace Plaza to remove as much of the duff accumulated by an array of Eucalyptus trees, in order to limit the risk of wildfires in the park due to the dry hot days we've had this year. This work has also allowed many of the native blackberries and other plants to have space to grow and has also opened up the area of new native sprouts!

Fern Growth

The amount of rain Garber Park has been receiving this year has allowed new Fern growth! We are so excited to see new native plant species popping up in more areas!

Buckeye Trimming and Onsite Composting

We are always excited to see our volunteers show their many skills at the park! Some of our volunteers helping to clip our tangled Buckeyes during their dormancy period. (Above)

The accumulation of leaf litter from our volunteer workdays have also ignited our new on-site composting experiment throughout the park. Watch this short video (below) to see how we compact our compost piles onsite! 

Eucalyptus Debris Collection & Acacia Weaving 

Volunteers bagging Eucalyptus litter for fire safety during some of the hot days at Garber Park. (Above)

Some of the Acacia trees are growing alongside the trail, and helping to stabilize the path. With the help of volunteers, we were able to cut them back and weave them into a barrier wall. This will also help us keep the Acacia growth in check and make it easier to remove seed, so we can try and control new seedlings. 

Fireplace Plaza Restoration, Tree Trimming & Path Maintenance 

Thanks to our volunteers we worked on preparing and beautifying Fireplace Plaza for future renovation. This included uncovering the Fireplace by removing dirt and debris that was encroaching on it (lower right), restoration tree trimming to open up the space a bit and help the trees (upper right), clearing of debris from the area and mulching of the paths to help make them less slippery (upper and lower left). Thanks to our devoted stewards, we were also able to collect some rocks for the restoration of our Fireplace Plaza, which thanks to CCC, will be restored in honor of all the hard work Shelagh and Garber Park Stewards have made towards Garber Park's restoration! 

Creek to Bay Month 

Creek to Bay Month also brought many wonderful volunteers full of excitement and willing to spend their time outdoors pulling English Ivy, removing eucalyptus litter and opening some areas for native plants to grow! We had a great time working towards making Garber as fire safe as possible, which was especially important during the red flag season we had. Many efforts were put in to remove much of the duff under the larger Eucalyptus trees, and near the homes surrounding the park, so much that we were able to fill an entire bin, as can be seen (above right)!

We were also able to work on upkeeping the paths throughout Garber (above left). This involved replacing steps with new pieces, adding new steps to allow for a better walking experience, and clearing debris to make it less slippery. We worked on improving paths from the Claremont Avenue Entrance to Fireplace Plaza, the switchbacks on the upper Loop Trail, and did more general maintenance on the rest of them. We plant to continue this trend in 2022 and if you're interested in this, come join us on our volunteer days!

We still have lots of work to get done and we are grateful to our many volunteers these past months who have been helping us with various weeding projects for fire safety, gathering stones for our fireplace restoration, and our newest experiential compost project onsite. Come join us on our next volunteer day January 08, 2022 to learn more about our amazing park!