Last Saturday we had our “Earth Day” Stewards work day. Earth Day this year is April 22nd and the closest work day we had was the 18th. We don’t make a big deal about it because to us every habitat restoration work day is a mini Earth Day. Good thing we didn’t make a fuss about it this year because we had a lot of people anyway! We had a local cub scout troop out and a whole slew of college students.
The work consisted of pulling the invasive crystalline ice plant (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum) at the Point. The ice plant has really spread around and is starting to mature into it’s deep red phase. Some of the plants were even in flower. It is an easy task for everyone because the plant looks so unique it is hard to pick the wrong thing. And it’s soft and fleshy so no nasty thorns or spikes to hassle with. It is called crystalline ice plant because of the fluid-filled sacs that cover the entire plant that look like tiny crystals. In total, we pulled about 85 bags of the plant off the Mesa which is wonderful!
During the work, a few college students and I saw a very young cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus sp.) on the trail. It was one of those instances where we all froze and just watched the rabbit stop, look at us, and then hop into the brush. I didn’t even take a picture I was just frozen by its cuteness. It’s the little moments like this that make all the work of habitat restoration worth it!
After the work was done we took the groups on a tour. Kim, the Executive Director, took the college students while I took the cub scouts. I showed them the now abandoned owl nest and the Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) nests. The Great Blue Heron chicks have started to hatch and it was fun to show the scouts the mohawk headed chicks with my binoculars. We even saw a Great Egret (Ardea alba) hunting lizards and a Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) fly by.