October 25, 2014

Adopt a Baby Oak at TCC

 

Adopt a Baby Oak at TCC

Topanga, CA—On Saturday, January 25, a group of 48 volunteers gathered for a community event at the Topanga Community Club (TCC) to plant 34 Coast Live Oak saplings to replace the trees that were recently removed through a grant to the North Topanga Canyon Fire Safe Council (NTCFSC). Six of those trees still need to be adopted. Participants included the parents and children of the Topanga Youth Wildlife Project, members of the NTCFSC, TCC, Topanga Creek Watershed Committee (TCWC) and the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains (RCDSMM) and the Topanga Stream Team.

The event began with a demonstration of how oaks help stabilize slopes and prevent erosion. Volunteers, young and mature, discussed the value of the trees for their low water consumption, wildfire resiliency and the habitat they provide for local wildlife. Before the volunteers dispersed to plant the baby oaks on the slopes leading to the club, there was a detailed demonstration on proper sapling planting techniques facilitated by Rosi Dagit, Senior Biologist for the RCDSMM, in collaboration with Doug Allen, Ken Wheeland, and John Sherman. This included instruction on how to create a chicken wire basket to prevent gophers from snacking on the young oaks.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CRYSTAL GARCIA

Adopt a Baby Oak at TCC

Some of the 48 volunteers as they planted Coast Live Oak saplings encased in chicken wire along the driveway of the TCC.

Teams of adults and children then spread out up and down the slopes of the driveway to dig holes and plant oaks.

As a final step, oak leaf litter collected from volunteers’ yards was placed around the trees to keep weeds at bay and provide nutrients.

Susan Nissman, Sr. Deputy to Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, and one of the day’s volunteers, commented, “What a great coming together for the oak trees! Thanks to all who participated in this wonderful project and for teaching us all what a little digging in the dirt can do to support greening and restoring the Topanga Watershed with the loveliest of all trees—the oak.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF CRYSTAL GARCIA

Adopt a Baby Oak at TCC

One of the oak saplings that was planted along the driveway at the TCC.

As the event wrapped-up, many participants chose to take a few free saplings home for planting. The Los Angeles Fire Department Forestry Division provided the trees. Coordinated by Watershed Stewards Project members Crystal Garcia and Lizzy Montgomery and the RCDSMM, the event was a true collaboration of local and regional organizations.

We thank the NTCFSC, Gabrielle Lamirand of the TCC and Connie Najah of the Topanga Youth Wildlife Project for all their contributions.

Connie Najah stated, “If anyone ever asks me to volunteer again to plant more oaks, I will give a big ‘Yes’ and hope those who couldn’t make it to this event will get the chance to as well.”

Planting the trees was fun, but it is only the first step towards building an oak woodland along the driveway. Twenty-eight of the 34 trees planted have been adopted by local volunteers and families who will give one to three gallons of water to their oaks and take a height measurement once a month to monitor their growth and health. Six trees still need to be adopted!

If you are interested in adopting a tree, please contact crystal.garcia@ccc.ca.gov.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CRYSTAL GARCIA

Adopt a Baby Oak at TCC

Kids push each other up the hillside at the Topanga Community Club on Jan. 25 to plant Coast Live Oak saplings.

The mission of the AmeriCorps Watershed Stewards Project (WSP) is to conserve, restore, and enhance anadromous watersheds for future generations by linking education with high-quality scientific practices. A special project of the California Conservation Corps, WSP is sponsored by CaliforniaVolunteers and administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service.