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.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Impromptu Workday, Saturday, Feb. 5

Lynn decided the best way to free the branches was to
sit down and carefully cut the blackberry.

The Himalayan blackberries had another bad day in Garber Park today - our Blackberry Bashing Crew was back.  Today's success story - freeing a beautiful willow that is ready to leaf out into a green canopy.  Not only does Lynn receive credit for suggesting a stewardship session today, but, at the end of the day when I thanked her, she responded with, "Thank YOU for letting me come and work in Garber Park."  Gotta love that enthusiasm.  
The Restoration Site received some TLC as well today, moving us one step closer to Restoration Planting Day on Feb. 19.  See the sidebar on the right for details, contact info, and directions.  In the meantime do come and enjoy the park.
John and Bob decided to remain standing, and managed
to free a big, beautiful willow.  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Day of the Buckeyes

John, Tim, and Mary clearing the Restoration Site
for native planting of the understory on Feb. 19.
A good time was had by all on our regular 1st Tuesday of the month morning workday (Feb1) as we raked and shoved the last of the eucalyptus duff down the hillside and into Fireplace Plaza.   We had to be careful, though, because we wanted to also expose and nurture any natives that might be surviving under the duff.  To our surprise, we found at least seven small Buckeyes scattered across the hillside.  The champion of finding the these new Buckeyes, which we quickly flagged and photographed, was John.
Native California Buckeye Bud ready to burst
into bloom.

Looking up the hillside from Fireplace Plaza, with the sun shining through the oaks and maples, we saw a hill free of eucalyptus debris, a slope with bee plants, native blackberry, and many “baby” buckeyes emerging.  We were tired, but felt a great satisfaction, and we are definitely looking forward to our Restoration Planting Day.  We hope you can join us.
February Volunteer Events in Garber Park
Friday, February 18, 1-3pm.  Join us, even for a short time, as we do final preparations for planting day on Saturday.  Activities range from challenging (crawling up the hillside) to helping catalogue the plants.
Saturday, February 19, 9am-12:30pm.  Restoration planting. Activities range from digging on the hillside, planting, to secretarial/photographic activities.  Followed by a light lunch.
Meet at the Evergreen Lane entrance to Garber Park. For directions and further information visit our blog, or contact Shelagh:
As always dress in layers and wear shoes or boots with good traction.
View from Fireplace Plaza
Tim Wallace, soon to be President of Claremont
Canyon Conservancy told us he "had a ball!"
John Kenny on his first visit to Garber Park
said his specialty was "raking downhill."

Sunday, January 30, 2011


The next time you visit Garber Park at the Evergreen Lane entrance, you will notice about a hundred little flags planted on the steep hillside that descends into Fireplace Plaza. These flags mark the outlines of  five separate planting areas at our Restoration Site, which will be filled with groupings of local native plants.  They represent one of the final preparation tasks before our Restoration Planting Day scheduled for  Saturday, February 19.

Approximately one year ago the Garber Park stewards began remediation of the Evergreen Lane entrance hillside by removing a small but robust section of Cape ivy that blanketed the slope.  Once the hillside was temporarily free of invasives, we could see that it was a good candidate for a “restoration site”.   Throughout the year our volunteers, your neighbors and friends,  logged over 150 hours hauling debris and removing invasives, hoping to uncover and restore the native oak woodland understory that  many years of neglect had suppressed.   By December this hillside had been transformed into the palette for which the restoration plan was developed. This is well documented in pictures.

For the details of the restoration plan itself, Garber Park and the stewards are fortunate to have the professional  plan and hands on guidance of Lech Naumovich,  Restoration Ecologist, whose exemplary work in the East Bay is well known. The plan has the approval of the City of Oakland, and is being funded by the Claremont Canyon Conservancy’s special Garber Park Fund.  On January 27 the Stewards and Bryn Samuels, Environmental Resources Analyst, City of Oakland met with Lech to finalize the plans and to plant the flags that mark out the five planting areas.   

Our achievements over this past year could not have been accomplished without the energy and involvement of our volunteers.  We hope you will join us in our continued efforts to protect, preserve, and restore the beauty and natural open space of Garber Park.  In the days before our Planting Party we have two workdays (Tues, Feb. 1 and Friday, Feb. 18) in which we will continue clearing and preparing the hillside.  We especially need your help on Saturday, February 19 to ensure a successful Restoration Planting Day.  As always, there will be many different kinds of activities that volunteers can do on planting day -  not everyone needs to climb the hill or dig in the dirt.  

February volunteer events in Garber Park:
Tuesday, February 1, 10am- noon. We will continue preparation of the restoration site for planting.  Other activities include attacking Himalayan blackberry and Cape ivy at designated spots along the Loop Trail.  Following the stewardship, join us for a discussion of restoration activities in the park.
Friday, February 18, 1:00-3:00.   Please join us, even for a short time, as we do final preparations for planting day on Saturday.
Saturday, February 19, 9am- 12:30pm.  Restoration planting.  Followed by a light lunch. 

As always dress in layers and wear shoes or boots with good traction.

Meet at the Evergreen Lane entrance to Garber Park. For directions and further information visit our blog, or contact Shelagh at