Last Saturday we had one of our volunteer habitat restoration days for the month of January. We had four groups out with us: Sierra Club, National League of Young Men, Rotaract of UCI, and Ms. Boardman’s Cerritos College Biology class. All in all we had over 100 volunteers which is great! I had walked the area the day before to prepare the area and a lot of non-native grass had exploded in growth around some of the grasses we planted last October and November. I ended up flagging the native grasses to help volunteers know where and what to water because it was hard to see the colored Popsicle sticks next to the plants with all the tall grass. I also had to barricade areas off because the endangered Southern tar plant (Centromadia parryi ssp. australis) is profusely sprouting in many locations which is wonderful news. Southern tar plant is one of the plants we have planted in hopes of increasing the population on the Mesa and we have been very successful.
The work of the day was to clear a patch of land of non-native grasses and plant young Southern tar plant (about 350 plants). If we are successful as last year, these baby tar plant will mature, flower (which attracts native insects), and produce seeds. The Southern tar plant sprouts growing in the barricaded areas is from seed from the previous year’s plants we planted. Therefore, we know that our plants from last year and the year before increased not only that year’s population, but produced seed to increase the population in the future.
After the work day the Stewards and Jr. Stewards all went out for lunch at a local restaurant across the street. We surprised Danny the Jr. Steward Coordinator with a cake for his birthday as well. What a great way to end a productive day!