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, December 21, 2014

Winter Planting Workshop Series off to a Great Start!

The first planting one year later.
Click here for more pictures of this
exciting time.
Our first workday, Dec, 2009. We
attacked the Evergreen Lane
Hillside removing a small
patch of Cape Ivy.

Today’s workshop and planting event was a special day for the Garber Park Stewards – December marks the 5th year anniversary of the Garber Park Stewards, the 5th year that Lech Naumovich, Golden Hour Restoration Institute has guided us in our restoration planting, and the 5th year Garber Park’s Winter Workshops have been sponsored by Claremont Canyon Conservancy.

December, 2011 Planting.
Expanding upon last year's flourishing
beds.  More pictures
Dec, 2012. Planting all the way to
 Fireplace Plaza.
  See Lech's video of this three day planting event.
Five years ago in December, we first began restoration of the Evergreen Lane entrance by removing a small section of Cape ivy that blanketed the slope.  Throughout the following year volunteers logged over 150 hours hauling debris and removing
invasives. One year later the hillside had been cleared and we had our first planting event, conducted by Lech. It was a huge success - and our first Restoration Site, and our partnership with Golden Hour was formed.  

Prepping below Fireplace Plaza in
2013. But there was
no planting due to severe drought
Wrap-up at the end of todays fun
morning of planting.
See more pictures of this 5 year celebration
Today’s workshop began with a lively and information packed discussion about the components of a healthy forest, the many threats to our oak-bay-maple woodland forest, and the possible solutions to keeping the forest healthy.  

Dividing the grasses before planting
The most important factor for forest health, both overstory and understory is a mixed, age, multispecies woodland, which has the highest botanical diversity.  The most critical factor influencing forest health today in the wildland/urban interface is disease, particularly Phytophthora. It is also important to know that by understanding the issues and taking appropriate precautions you can successfully work to restore and protect our natural environment.  (Read more in Lech's Hand-out from today's workshop).

By dividing the grasses we created
more plugs for the hillside
We also took the opportunity to look back at the last four years of restoration on the Evergreen Hillside – learning what was successful and the implications for today’s plantings.  Three grasses were chosen – Elymus glaucus (blue wild rye), Agrostispallens (bent grass), and and Festuca californica (California fescue) for their success on the Evergreen Hillside as well as their resistance to the Phytophthera virus.  

Team Work. Click here for more
pictures of this fun morning.
And then it was on to getting those 200 plants in the ground–actually, after dividing them we counted over 300 plants that will be waiting happily in the soft, wet soil for our next expected rain this coming week.    This year we had an additional pleasure of digging up some of our very successful – large plantings of Juncus Patens (California Grey Rush) dividing them, and planting them in our always expanding restoration site.   

Thanks, Lech, for another informative and exciting restoration experience.  And special thanks to all of our volunteers  and Claremont Canyon Conservancy for supporting restoration in Garber - we couldn’t do it without you.   

The GPS are taking a break for the Holidays, but January, 2015 will be a busy month in Garber.  Please join us for our Habitat Restoration Workdays, Tuesday, January 6 and Saturday, January 17.  We will return to pulling out the invasive weeds that are popping up in our restoration sites.  It's also the time to do some trail maintenance - shoring up the trails and improving drainage.  On Saturday, January 24, Lech will be leading Winter Restoration Workshop on Passive Restoration along the riparian corridor of Harwood Creek.  Click here to download a flyer of the Workshop Series.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS and we hope to see you in
Garber in January.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Habitat Restoration Series with Lech Naumovich

Winter Restoration Workshops in Garber Park
(near the Claremont Hotel in Claremont Canyon
Workshop Leader – Lech Naumovich
(Golden Hour Restoration Institute)

The Garber Park Stewards are pleased to be partnering with the Claremont Canyon Conservancy to once again offer a Restoration Planting Series throughout the winter season. Lech Naumovich, botanist and ExecutiveDirector of Golden Hour Restoration Institute, will lead the workshops, which will highlight the ongoing restoration efforts in Garber Park. Come learn about the incredible progress that has been made by a fantastic group of volunteers to restore the native oak woodland understory in Garber Park. 

Saturday, December 6. Restoring and Maintaining Diversity of the Oak Understory: Implications on Woodland Health. Help plant native grass plugs on the hill behind the 1920’s Fireplace for erosion control – and in the gently sloping oak woodland meadow below the Fireplace. We will discuss “lessons learned” from the past 4 years of plantings, and set up a monitoring protocol for the hillside. Other topics include soils and soil amendments, including mychorrhiza.
Saturday, January 24. Passive Restoration Workshop: Using Available Materials on-Site for Restoration. Help us expand the lovely restoration area near the restored drainage of Harwood Creek. All materials for restoration will originate from onsite and will include the basics of monitoring. Learn about in situ propagation techniques for a number of native plants – techniques that are powerful tools for habitat restoration.
Saturday, February 21. Fern ID and Fern Glade Expansion.
Garber is home to many beautiful native ferns, including our well known Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum) and beautiful Wood Fern (Dryopterus arguta). We will continue expanding our newest restoration site, Fern Glade, begun only last year, and an incredible success story!
Time: 9:30AM-12:30PM. Come early to enjoy coffee, snacks and meet fellow workshop participants. 
Questions? or to RSVP  Contact Shelagh or 510-540-1918

Directions. Meet at the Evergreen Lane Entrance to Garber Park. The closest address is 144 Evergreen Lane, Berkeley. From Ashby Ave, take Alvarado Rd to Slater Lane, turn Right onto Evergreen Lane. The park is at the end of the street. For internet directions: Click on directions in the menu bar. 
All skill levels are welcome and no previous experience is necessary. Come to one workshop or come to all! Dress in layers you can get dirty, wear sturdy shoes, and bring a refillable water bottle. We provide tools, water and snacks. We work in light rain, downpour will cancel. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Shout-Out to our Volunteers!!!

It was a busy, fun, and rewarding Fall in Garber.  Even with the dry conditions we continued pulling, chopping, and evicting fire prone invasive weeds, and preparing our restoration sites for winter planting and clearing the trails for easier walking.  THANKS EVERYONE – we couldn’t do it without you!  

Working in Fern Glade, our newest restoration site.
The recent light rains have teased the plants into popping up - and us into looking forward to Winter Stewardship.  But before we do, take a look at back at the activities of our hard working and dedicated volunteers in the pictures below.  Then come to Garber, enjoy the trails - and if you see a volunteer, stop to chat and say "Thanks."  And even better - come join us on a workday or a special event!

 Clearing ivy above the Claremont
Avenue Trail at our November 15
Bob is happiest seeking out the broom and Himalayan
Blackberry on the steepest slopes.

Relaxing and sharing stories about the day - here, celebrating
Mark's birthday with cupcakes!  

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Creek to Bay Day - an Overwhelming Success!

Thanks to all who came to Garber to help remove invasive weeds on Creek to Bay Day. Some worked in Fern Glade freeing trees and ferns from the ivy that was choking them. Others worked along Harwood Creek removing Himalayan blackberry, Cape ivy, and even cutting up a tree that had fallen into the creek at Bridge One. Still others walked the trail cutting back and pulling the invasive weeds to help keep the trail accessible for all to use. At the end of the day we all gathered together sharing our stories and pleased at the advances we made towards restoring this beautiful native oak woodland park.  Click here to see more pictures.

Sudden Oak Death Treatment Workshop


Saturday, October 4
Attend a 2-hour field treatment session offered by Dr. Matteo Garbelotto, UCCE Specialist in Forest Pathology and Mycology, UC Berkeley. 

Dr. Garbelotto will present and demonstrate the latest methods aimed at the prevention and spread of the SOD pathogen.  For treatment to be effective, a number of factors need to be considered.  Dr. Garbelotto will address these factors and demonstrate application techniques in the lovely outdoor setting at Garber Park's Fireplace Plaza.  

Meet at Fireplace Plaza - accessible from either the Claremont Ave Entrance or the Evergreen Lane Entrance. For a map and directions:    

For questions and more information contact Shelagh  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

UCB New Student Service Day

Today was New Student Service Day at UCB and the Garber Park Stewards were happy to host a group of these energetic and enthusiastic students. Lead by four veteran Stewards we were able to divide into several groups.

One group cleared ivy and expanded the Fern Glade Restoration area. Another group performed trail maintenance, cutting back and removing the invasive weeds that were rendering the trail almost impassable.

A third group hiked to the top of the switch backs, removed broom and spurge resprouts from a corner of the park where a wall of broom once stood. But the really "heavy lifting" was done by the crew that removed the remains of a large acacia tree that had fallen across the trail at Harwood Creek Restoration area. In between the hard work there was a lunch break and at the end of the day - ice cream!  THANK YOU from all the Garber Park Stewards for choosing Garber.  Click here to see more pictures of this hard working group.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fall Restoration Events in Garber Park

Come join us for a fun morning of restoration activities at the Harwood Creek Restoration Site. 

Five years ago the Harwood Creek Restoration Area was covered in Himalayan blackberries and Cape ivy.  Today, the natives are now dominating, but we need   your help in removing the invasives that keep wanting to invade this lovely area.   Meet at Fireplace Plaza at 9AM for coffee and drinks before walking to Harwood Creek for our morning activities. 

Wear long sleeves and pants and shoes with good traction.  We provide tools, gloves, water and snacks.
Click on the VOLUNTEER and MAP and DIRECTIONS buttons above for full details, including  directions to our new Claremont Ave Entrance.  From there a short, but steep hike on Sylvan Path past Fern Glen takes you to Fireplace Plaza.  For questions and more information contact Shelagh 

Click here to download a Creek to Bay Day flyer
We hope to see you there!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Summer Restoration a Success

Working in Fern Glade is always a rewarding experience.
Thanks to all who helped make our Summer Habitat Restoration Workdays an overwhelming success.  Throughout July and August volunteers cut and pulled fire prone invasives in our most critical areas for fire safety -  especially along the trails, the perimeter of the park (22 homes have backyards contiguous with the park), and along Claremont Avenue.   

Janet working on the trail at Claremont Avenue entrance. A
year ago this 1920's built trail was smothered in ivy.
We have cleaned up trash and debris along the Claremont Ave entrance parking lot, pulled and chopped ivy from the trees and the steep slopes along the Claremont Spur Trail where the buckeyes, big leaf males, oaks, and understory of ferns are now thriving.  We have removed erhardta grass, ivy, Himalayan blackberry and hundreds of brittle limbs extending to the ground  revealing the beautiful understory of  ferns, snowberry, thimbleberry, ossoberry, and other less fire prone natives. 

But the most difficult task and our BIGGEST THANKS go to the group that cut –up, moved and dispersed the logs and branches from an Acacia tree that had split earlier in the year and fallen across the trail near Harwood Creek.   Heavy lifting indeed.  The logs now line the trail preventing erosion.  And thanks to the City of Oakland for cutting the huge logs into movable sizes.

SAVE THE DATE:  Our next Habitat Restoration Workday is Creek to Bay Day on Saturday, September 20, from 9AM-Noon.    We will shift our focus to the lovely Harwood Creek Restoration Site, an area once covered with 12ft. high Himalayan blackberries but where today the natives are thriving, including milkweed, an important native bee pollinator.  Contact Shelagh for more information and ways you can help.

In the meantime, do visit Garber and enjoy the trails through this gem of a wildland park.   We hope to see you soon in Garber!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Focus on Fire Safety

August Volunteer Habitat Restoration Workdays
Help Reduce the Threat of Fire in Garber Park 
Tuesday, August 5 and Saturday, August 16 
10AM- Noon

Tuesday, August 5:  Volunteer Workday:  Your help is needed as we continue preparing for this Fire Season to reduce the threat of fire.  Join us in the cool shade of Garber's native oak woodland as we chop and pull the usual suspect invasive weeds and perform trail maintenance.  We will focus on beautifying the Claremont Ave. Entrance, pulling ivy in beautiful Fern Glade, and removing erhardtda grass on the hillside at the Evergreen Lane Entrance.  

Saturday, August 16: Volunteer Workday:  We will continue removing invasive weeds and performing trail maintenance with a focus on vegetation management for fire safety.  For details see Tuesday, August 5 description above.

For all Restoration Workdays in Garber
Wear long sleeves and pants, and shoes with good traction.  We provide tools, gloves, water and snacks but we encourage volunteers to bring their own gloves and reusable water bottles.  

Map and Directions:
Meet at the Claremont Ave Entrance to Garber. From the intersection of Claremont Ave/Ashby Ave, go .4 miles up Claremont Ave up towards Grizzly Peak to a large parking turn-out just beyond 7380 Claremont Ave. The Claremont Ave Entrance is easily accessible by bus number 49.  Exit at the Claremont Ave/Ashby stop and follow directions above.  For a map and direction:

For more information and questions contact Shelagh at or 510-517-1918.  

We hope to see you there!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Grasses Demystified!!

Careful investigation when identifying grass
anatomy.  Photo by Lech Naumovich
Lech Naumovich, botanist, restoration ecologist, and Executive Director of Golden Hour Restoration Institute, presented another interesting and informative workshop in Garber Park on May 24, 2014.  The goal of this workshop, titled Demystifying Woodland Grasses, was to become familiar with key diagnostic features of the common grasses – both native and invasive – so that we could feel more comfortable weeding out the highly invasive grasses from our restoration sites.  
The attendees were a diverse group of veteran restoration workers from throughout the East Bay, and many were quite knowledgeable in the taxonomy of grasses, but wanted to know more about the local species.  Most of us, though, were encountering the challenge of identifying grasses for the first time.  But we all had the same goal – get to know our grasses so we can do a better job in weeding out the bad and encouraging the good!
We had the opportunity to observe species from a variety of genera including Erhardta, Elymus, Festuca, Stipa, Bromus, Agrostis, Melica and Avena. Lech arrived with a box full of grasses, which we used for the first few activities.  We were then much more prepared when were given the task of identifying these same grasses in the Evergreen Lane Restoration Site. All activities were with partners, and the atmosphere was one of cooperation and excitement at every “AHA, I get it!” moment.  The less experienced teamed up with the more skilled in the various exercises throughout the morning, which was most helpful for those of us who were less knowledgeable.  Fortunately, one of the most easily identifiable grasses, Erhardta Erecta, is also one of the most invasive, and the one we all want to be able to identify with ease as we try to control its range.   
  Photo by Lech Naumovich
A couple of truly amazing take-aways for some of us - we now look at grasses in a whole new way and can talk about them with a whole new vocabulary.  Rather than looking at them as all he same we now see that they are highly varied with very different inflorescence types, awns, ligules, collars, rooting behavior, and vestiture, spikelets, and more!