Saturday, March 26, 2011
After a very dry January, it seems like we're finally getting our late rains. Nothing is more exciting than watching Strawberry Creek during a storm; stop by and take a peek if you happen to venture outside. One thing to look for are the check dams that are periodically positioned along the creek. Be sure to observe their effects on the depth of the streambed and the steepness of the banks.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
This is the first installment of what will (hopefully) be a series on the restoration areas around campus. Today we look at the strange and exotic West Grinnell grassland.
|Elymus glaucus (blue wild rye) are the small, lonely tufts of|
bunchgrass in the foreground. Evans Field is in the background.
Located north of Evans Field baseball diamond, this small grassland is a veritable safari tucked away on the Berkeley campus. Whereas most, if not all, of the other restoration areas are full-shade riparian zones, the West Grinnell grassland is the exact opposite: full sunlight and far from the stream. These low-moisture conditions are ideal for grass habitat.
|Bromus diandrus (ripgut brome)|
Currently, the majority of the grassland consists of Bromus diandrus (ripgut brome), an invasive grass species introduced from the Mediterranean. Over past semester, we've worked hard to weed out B. diandrus and replace it with Elymus glaucus (wild blue rye), a native perennial bunch grass and lupines (see below). Though we've made some headway, B. diandrus remains the dominant species on the site.
|Lupinis ssp. (lupine)|
So, if you're ever in the area, be sure to drop by and take a look at the grassland. It's a nice spot and will hopefully become increasingly so. As we plant more native pollinator-attractants, expect to see more bee/butterfly/insect activity.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Thanks to all the wonderful participants from GETH (Global Environmental Theme House) making the world a little bit greener!
|One seedling at a time.|
|Chris is in the zone.|
|Rose giving a demonstration.|
|The cavemen (left to right): Chris, Prashant, and Addien|
|The GETH crew.|
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Friends of Strawberry Creek,
Every semester there is a shining date in the calendar that doesn’t seem to come soon enough. It is on this day that Berkeley Project sends a solid work-force over to Strawberry Creek in an effort to restore native biodiversity. The weather forecast on Saturday predicted a small batch of rain, but that didn’t deter any of our potential volunteers. Showing up an hour early, our crew was ready to work from the get-go. Oddly enough all of the volunteers were female, and they had something to prove. We conducted our business in the Goodspeed Natural Area. This site has not been touched by our restoration efforts in the past, but our new friends were not intimidated by the vast monoculture of invasive plants. Working harder than many fraternities these gals starting ripping out invasive ivy as if there were no tomorrow. Complex roots, dead squirrels, and glaring sun were no match for these heroes as they spent the majority of their midterm-season Saturday conducting restoration.
Throughout our work-day we took breaks to discuss some natural history of the local area. David and I were surprised at how inquisitive the volunteers were, and there were some terrific exchanges. David discussed the difference in Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) and Coastal Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), which were both present at the site! Conversely, other students borrowed a pair of binoculars to determine what bird life was in the local vicinity while yet another group of students found an Aneides lugubris (Arboreal Salamander)!!
This restoration event was a great way to kick-off efforts in the Goodspeed Ecological Natural Area. I’m already starting to countdown the days until Berkeley Project Fall 2011. Please contact me if you have any questions, or want original picture files.
~Tyler ‘Fungi’ Grinberg~
Friday, March 4, 2011
We've finally begun planting in the long-awaited West Crescent area. I wish I had a before photo, but this area was formerly chocked in with a wall of Chilean red currant. It'll be exciting to see things fill in again once the native plants start taking off.