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, 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

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

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!