We want to thank our amazing volunteers who contributed over 27,000 hours in 2019 to help our CNPS East Bay Chapter with restoration, communications, conservation, rare plants, field trips, Native Here Nursery, and tabling at public events. Marcia Kolb, a long-time chapter volunteer, exemplifies the benefits of volunteering: to the environment, to our chapter programs, and to volunteers themselves. Marcia has been working on restoration at Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve, removing invasive plants there for more than 15 years. She finds the work “meditative and soothing” and says, “I enjoy being in that beautiful, peaceful setting, and the sense of accomplishment when the native plants return to places I’ve worked on.”
Board members have dedicated many hours to strategic planning, fundraising, revamping our Rare Plant Program, and other administrative business to lead our volunteer-run chapter. For example, a new board member coordinated the redesign of our website. Our stimulating speaker programs that are usually held at the Orinda Library are continuing for the time being on Zoom so you can participate without leaving your home.
In the past year, Conservation Committee volunteers worked over 2,650 hours on:
- conserving open space in Antioch and Tesla
- conserving coastal scrub and grasslands at Richmond’s Point Molate
- conserving grasslands and a willow corridor at Coyote Hills Regional Park
- helping plan for eastern Alameda County open space and the future of the big N3 Ranch in Livermore
- advocating for careful work within oak woodlands and other sensitive plant communities in the vegetation fuel management plans of the East Bay Regional Park District, Moraga-Orinda Fire District, and City of Oakland
- advocating for a sensible trails policy at Sibley-McCosker, Las Trampas, and other East Bay Regional Parks
- protecting oaks during a cemetery expansion
- developing a new project to reduce fuel loads on East Bay hills sites by restoring oak woodlands
- helping with pallid manzanita management and stewardship planning.
The Bay Area can be grateful for the work of this skilled team of persevering volunteers who are working to protect plant ecosystems in addition to their already-busy personal work schedules. We are grateful to have our new Conservation Analyst, Joanna Garaventa, on board to help us with this heavy workload, and we want to thank you, our members, for responding to our fall conservation program funding appeal.
Our diligent Native Here Nursery volunteers contributed over 8,400 hours:
- collecting seeds and cuttings
- growing plants from seeds and transplanting them several times over many months
- watering plants during the dry months
- helping customers buy the most appropriate plants based on their location and garden conditions
- developing standards and procedures to protect the nursery’s plants from diseases
- planning and implementing construction projects to upgrade the nursery’s infrastructure.
We offer gardening talks at the nursery four or five times each year in the fall and spring, many of them presented by long-time volunteer John Danielsen. This past year, we had some new speakers, including Arleen Feng, who has volunteered at Native Here Nursery for years. Arleen’s talk, “Getting Started with Native Plants,” drew from her own experience of planning habitat groupings where plants do well and dealing with issues of pruning, weeding, and dormancy in native plant gardens.
In mid-March, Native Here Nursery closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we lost over two months of sales. This income supports our chapter’s yearly expenses, and we’re happy to announce that Native Here Nursery will begin taking online orders later in June. (Be sure you’re subscribed to our East Bay Native Plant Google Group to receive the announcement and details of our reopening.)
Many of you responded to our chapter’s calls for volunteer help on specific projects last year, and we also welcomed four new board members. There are multiple ways to volunteer in our organization no matter what your interest—please keep an eye on our website for future calls for volunteer assistance, or contact Delia Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can get involved.
— Judy Schwartz, Chapter President