Good Morning Barbara,
On Thursday, the 23rd our hands descended on the weeds at the Riverside St/ San Lorenzo Blvd. corner, right above the newly planted Fruit Orchard. We had arrived for this kick-off day after Linda & I had brainstormed for months on various ways to bring upper and lower river communities together. Linda came up with the brilliant idea to bring the AmeriCorps Team to the lower river to work on a project. The current 11 member Team is under the wings of The Native Habitat Restoration Committee of the Valley Women’s Club, co-sponsored with the Santa Cruz County Parks Department. Instantly I knew where our focus should go: The Estuary Reach! because heaven knows it deserves some caring attention and so the ‘Estuary Re-Vegetation Restoration Project’ was born. We submitted our plan to Mauro Garcia, the Director of City Park& Rec. Dept. After some suspenseful nail biting, Mauro Garcia gave us our ‘go ahead‘ and assigned Leslie Keedy, the City arborist, as our lead person.
I am going to spare you all the planning details and just tell you that Linda’s words kept ringing in my ears as we planned for the Project start date: This will be a great adventure! I learned a lot with Linda by my side. She was/is an amazing partner, who looks at any obstacle as the perfect opportunity to navigate around it with her grace, knowledge and humor. And the universe kept lining up for the 2/23 date: the Team came back in time from their heroic Oroville stint, the Poppy seeds had arrived, in spite of her heavy work load, Leslie came through with help, supplies, plants and supportive cheer and after heavy rains the sun was shinning…
So within 1.5 days we turned the ‘Island’ into a future food source for the 3 Bs(Butterflies, Birds, Bees). We received various special Community treats, which made all the difference to the Team and the ‘Island’ result. Our City Mayor Cynthia Chase, City Council Member Cynthia Matthews welcomed and cheered the Team, who felt shy and honored by their gesture. Bill Henry (Groundswell) came by to donate plants, Mauro Gracia and Parks Superintendent Monica Rubio visited the site to give their appreciation for the Team’s work on the Project. Andy Moskowitz visited, gave us his thumbs up and shared some of his deep plant knowledge.
I have to tell you that I really enjoyed getting to know the AmeriCorps members individually as we tackled weeds, turned the clay soil, chipped, pruned and planted. And yes, it’s true: several times I got sidetracked by birds. How could I ignore the KINGFISHER on the wire, watching us with tilted head, the HUMMINGBIRD sitting in the tree right next to us, the TOWNSEND’s WARBLER scurrying through the bush… We were ecstatic for the extra, awesome helping hands, which belonged Dan Frisch, Sue Stoebner, Robert Orrizzi, Janet Fardette, Steve Fuehrer, Julie M. I just loved looking around and see us all working together making a difference. Tired and content we completed our Project task on Friday evening and wished the ‘Island’ a ‘Good-night’ while we sprinkled Calif. Poppy seeds over it.
As you know a mudslide took a big chunk out of the Jessie St Marsh bank. When I went to check on it, I discovered that the tall Eucalyptus trees next to the gap had come down. Right away I thought of the RED-shouldered HAWK, who had just lost its favorite lookout perch. As I was getting closer, I noticed the Red-shouldered HAWK sitting on the fallen tree’s highest protruding branch. It seemed the HAWK was evaluating the changed tree position as it was turning the head in all directions, sat motionless, looked around again, repeated the sequence several times. Then it flew to a tree higher up on the bank, stayed there briefly and took off across the river. I hope the beauty will find a new, close by perch, so that the mating calls and spectacular flights above the river will continue.
sunny river greetings, jane