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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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