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2011 Laguna de Santa Rosa Tree-a-Thon

horse-drawn carriage

On a foggy Saturday morning I met up with a group of people to plant trees and shrubs for the restoration of Irwin Creek in the Laguna de Santa Rosa watershed. Having signed up for the event a couple months prior through the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, I did a little fundraising for this annual "Tree-a-Thon" event to earn money to support their watershed rehabilitation efforts throughout the year. Thank you to those who contributed!

After observing the two little sleeping barn owls in palm trees in front of the Foundation's offices, we were taken to the creek-side planting site by horse-drawn carriage, with a little pony excitedly galloping along with us in it's pasture on the other side of the driveway fence.

Prepared with my hat, boots, and gloves, everything else was conveniently supplied and ready for us when we arrived, including a breakfast of spinach croissants and water in a booth set up by Whole Foods.

The site was a strip of area that had previously been part of a cow pasture where the cows were allowed to graze right up to the creek, allowing manure to pollute the watershed as well as cause destructive erosion. The understanding I gleaned by asking questions of as many people as I could, was that the county bought an easement from the property owner in order to protect the watershed by planting a riparian buffer between the relocated pasture fence and the creek.

Irwin Creek-side planting site

We were organized into groups, assigned rows to work down, and given a demo of how to dig, plant, and use the cardboard weed barrier and juice-box to protect the young seedlings. Three of us from our group ― me, and a man and woman a bit younger than me ― volunteered to began the digging of holes so that the children and older members of our group could begin putting plants in the ground. After more than half the row was dug, I went back and joined in the planting. I planted 8 oaks, 3 ash, 1 box elder, 2 California blackberries, and 2 California rose.

oak seedling Irwin Creek restoration

After our row was finished, I went on to help dig holes and plant in some of the more difficult areas, the wet, lower areas closer to the creek. When every plant was in the ground, we got a carriage ride back up to the offices and were served pizza in the backyard while the fundraising leaders were honored by Executive Director, David Bannister.

David Bannister

$22k was raised by the event, and a total of 500 native plants were put in the ground that day. It was a fun and fulfilling experience that I plan to take part in again soon.

creek (4), laguna (3), santa-rosa (20), trees (28), volunteerism (1), watershed (1)

Degree (56), Santa Rosa (21)

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