Interns develop their own Tree ID!


This past week, San Lorenzo interns welcomed the amazing Prof. Joe McBride into the classroom as they continued there training and preparation for upcoming Tree Inventory with the Alameda Public Works Agency. Prof. McBride has been teaching Forestry classes for over 40 years at UC Berkeley and just recently retired, but that doesn’t stop him from sharing his excellence and experience with our youth!

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Prof. McBride had an awesome lesson plan lined up all towards interns getting a hands-on experience creating a taxonomic tree ID for the most common trees found in San Lorenzo (where we will be conducting inventory). First, interns learned about the importance of naming trees, including the different variables that go into naming of trees like characteristics, origins and so on.

Than, Prof. McBride handed it off to the students, where they worked in small teams (Conifer Team & Hardwood Team) to organize the differences of each leave and tree sample into their very own dichotomous key. Interns were asked to draw out the different types of leaves so that anyone could be able to figure out the key. Drawing also helps with remembering and looking at the details.


 Lastly, interns presented their key to the class, explaining their decision making process and how they arrived at their conclusion. Samples of leaves were handed out so all interns could get a first hand look on the differences that created these two keys.


To end the fun filled day, interns took a visit outside where they were able to test our their guides to identify some trees on campus. We cant’t wait to take them out in the field when we start up our Tree Inventory in April!

Thank you Prof. McBride for joining us and sharing your wisdom!


Interns put the FERN in Fern Ravine!

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On February 7th we took an excursion to Fern Ravine in the Oakland Hills to do some planting and beautification with Friends of Sausal Creek. Friends of Sausal Creek is an organization with the intention to restore, maintain and protect Sausal Creek. They focus on educating the community on the importance of our environment and working with other organizations to create a positive impact on the ecosystem and influence further generations to continue the work.

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As we drove down the rode and rose in elevation our visibility slowly decreased as the fog accumulated. When we arrived to fern ravine we were greeted by FOSC Outreach and Education Coordinator, Jill along with the various ferns we were prepared to plant, and some tools and gloves. The weather was ideal that day, as the cool mist ensued a tranquility and allowed me to truly be present in the moment and enjoy all the nature I was surrounded by, along with my fellow interns. We trekked our way down to the creek along the muddy path, and  Jill told us about the wetlands there and what types of species grow. When we arrived to our plot of open space we received a few instructions then began planting.

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Honestly, the most challenging part of the day for me was that we couldn’t stay and plant more. The day altogether was amazing, learning about the wetlands with all its different species, and the mini hike,  although my favorite part of the day was being able to plant. Just realizing that this simple task is a small contribution to the large task of stewardship and sustaining a diverse ecosystem is incredibly powerful to me. And although all I really did was plant a few  lady fern’s I’ve realized that collectively our collaboration with Friends of Sausal Creek and the knowledge we acquired is incredibly impactful as a we continue our lives with this awareness and action of sustainability.

Written By: Naliyah, SLZ Intern 



Interns get a visit from ACPWA Arborists!

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On Feb, 14th interns kicked off their tree inventory service learning project with an extremely informative and exciting visit by Inta Brainerd and Jim Browne, County Arborists/Environmental Compliance Specialists for the Alameda County Public Works Agency.

To kick things off Jim first shared about how he was actually them man that awarded the grant to plant the trees that now make up San Lorenzo’s beautiful Native Plant Garden. It was awesome for students hear about the history of their schools urban forestry, a perfect segue into the history of Urban Forestry in San Lorenzo and the importance of Tree Inventory.

Interns learned all about the different ordinances that restrict tree removal, as well as the punishment for doing so. In addition, they learned about their role as “Tree Ambassadors” for the Alameda County Public Works Agency and what significance it has helping out the agency and the local community.

Here is a bit what interns are looking forward to! 

“I am excited to get into community outreach projects that have the potential to make a positive impact on my neighborhood. I want to see less violations! I am also looking forward to being able to say that I worked for a government agency.” –Courtney, SLZ Intern

“I am probably most excited working with everyone and working at a county-wide level” –Allen, Skyline Intern

“I am most looking forward to being able to recognize tree species and be able to spread awareness to people around me about the tree right of way” -Bella, SLZ Intern

“Something I want to take out of Tree Inventory is to spread awareness in the community. I also find it amazing that I can be involved with the county agency.” -Kristine, SLZ Intern

“I am looking forward to working with the ACPWA. I am looking forward to helping them with their cause and get experience that I can use. I also look forward to crunching numbers, statistics, and the tree knowledge I can use in the future to show my future kids about this.” -Glenn, SLZ Intern

 Thanks for reading! Check out next week as we start training for work in the field! 


Interns take another visit to Oyster Bay!

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*Student Blog* 

On Saturday Feb, 4, 2017 our team went to Oyster bay, a park that used to be a landfill.  We were not the only school there but Alameda Earth Team was also there to help.  Pamela Bietz a Resource analyst for the East Bay Regional Park District( EBRPD) was there explaining to us our tasks for the day.  

There were lots of trees planted from last time we came, since it is still winter there was a lot of wind and rain that had pushed the the trees in an awkward position.  It was our mission to place them straight with a pole attached with tire rubber around it so it won’t happen again.

While one group did this there was another group taking out shrubs and unwanted weeds to make room for other trees. The weather was perfect, even though we were working hard we had fun. It was a great day just to go out and help mother nature.

Written By: Edwin, SLZ Intern

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Most of the interns and San Lorenzo were already familiar with Oyster Bay since we frequently help out at the park, this made the event funner and  easier since we all knew Pam and were more familiar with the equipment and how we were supposed to do things.

It’s always fun working with new people and the interns at Alameda High were very enthusiastic and helpful. With everyone working together it was easy and we made a smooth transition from helping the existing trees to planting new ones.

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One of my favorite parts of the event was just looking at the view when we got there. It was early in the morning and it was quiet and peaceful and it was just a relaxing atmosphere which helped me realize that I was helping the environment and helping persevere the view that I was enjoying for others in the community to enjoy as well.



Overall this event was a great experience for both our new and experienced interns since we got to know each other and meet other High schoolers, all while making a difference in our community.

Written By: Adan, SLZ Intern 




Interns give a lesson in Sustainability!


On January 24th, interns were invited to pilot their City Danger educational board game and present their 8 tips to be more sustainable. At first, the interns were allocated 30 min, but after Ms.Borajas witnessed how interactive and educational our board game was, she asked if we could extend for the whole period!

The day began with an awesome presentation from our SLZ interns educating their peers on 8 easy tips to be more sustainable in your daily life. The list included; using a reusable water bottle, bringing your own meals, turning the lights off/unplugging, walk n’ roll, supporting local, turning off the water, sorting your trash, and finally, thrift shopping!


Next was putting our City Danger, city sustainability educational board game to the test. Three games were rolling (literally) at once, with interns leading the groups and helping explain rules. The game encompasses all the complexities of city sustainability:

Resource Cards = Funding for Infrastructure 

Resources Pieces = Infrastructure on the Cities 

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Chance Cards: Random Events


Dice Rolls = Environmental Conditions 

The game went smoothly, and we received great feedback from students. Overall, majority of students said that the game helped them better understand the importance of being prepared. Also, the game helped students better understand the multitude of positive effects that trees, rain tanks, and bikes can have on a city.

Keep an eye out as we prepare for our next project, conducting Tree Inventory for the Alameda Public Works Agency!


Interns add vegetation to Oyster’s Bay new Disc Golf Course!

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This past week, San Lorenzo Interns partnered up with the East Bay Regional Parks to lend a hand in native tree planting in the developing recreational area. Working with fellow interns from Alameda and Skyline High School, collectively, 18 trees were planting to add obstacle, aesthetics, and more to the up and coming disc golf course.


Oyster Bay used to be a major landfill, and has since been covered with an average of six feet of ground cover and handed over to the East Bay Regional Parks for restoration. Restoring a landfill is not the easiest task, but by planting a variety of natives the land can be wild once again!

Interns began the day with tool introductions and a step by step walk thru of how to plant the trees from Pamela Bietz, Resource Analysts for East Bay Regional Parks. From digging bars to nitrogen fixers, mulching to root rot interns learned a whole lot about tree planting! I think it is safe to say the biggest learning lesson of the day is to never underestimate the work that goes into 15-gallon tree planting.

Here is what some of our interns had to say!

“My favorite part of the weekend event was the relief of finishing up my first tree. The tree was super big and difficult but we got it done.” –Tony 

“My favorite part of was getting into a team and working together. Something I did not expect was the tree planting to be so difficult. Overall, I had a lot of fun and can’t wait to do it again.” –Kristine 

“My favorite part was using our strengths as a team to make an impact. One thing I was not expecting was my competitiveness.” –Raeanna

Keep a look out as we wrap up our first semester with a visit to Altamont Landfill!



Finishing the year with a visit to the Altamont Landfill!


To finish of the year, SLZ interns piled into the van and headed to the Altamont Landfill, one of the biggest and most technologically advanced landfills in the nation. Joined by Sarah Fockler, Environmental Protection Specialist for Altamont Landfill Waste Management of Northern California, interns went on a driving tour of the 2,000 acre property. It was an eye-opening experience so say the least, and a site that can never be unseen.


This is what our interns had to say! 

“I appreciate how the tour guide made light of such a horrific situation. rather than just being a burial place for our trash and problems they are taking initiatives to reduce the amount of trash we produce as a society.” -Naliyah 

“I thought that today’s trip was super amazing ! The entire trip got me thinking about how I can make an effort in this situation and how impactful putting items on the correct bin really is.” –Tony 

“I learned that we live by one of the most advanced landfills in the world” –Angelo 

“Going to the landfill made me think what will happen when there is no more space for all this trash. I learned the different ways trash goes through to reach the actual landfill. It was an experience I won’t ever forget.” –Edwin 

“I’m a very visual learner who appreciates seeing to learn. Often times I am aware of issues but won’t fully grasp problems until I see it with my eyes or in a documentary. Seeing the landfill in person made me more aware of all the trash I am producing. Whenever I throw something away I’ll be remembering what those landfills look like :///////” –Jessica

“Something I found interesting was that they are allowed to have dead animals up to the size of sheeps in the landfill. I always thought that animal control were the ones that were in charge of disposing the bodies of the dead animals.” –Adan 

“I learned that they try not to make CO2 and there a lot of animals that go to the dump” –Charlie

“I got to learn about waste management and the landfill and how much it impacts the community” –Russell 

“I found it the amount of trash we saw as ridiculous” –Tyler

It has been a great year with San Lorenzo Interns! Our team is looking forward to the next semester with many more exciting projects to come!


Interns get ready for Tree planting at Oyster Bay!


Last meeting interns got a visit from Pamela Beitz, Resource Analysts for East Bay Regional Parks. This Saturday, interns will be planting 40 Native Tree Species at Oyster Bay, a recreational area owned by the East Bay Regional Park system that used to be used as a landfill.


Pam shared with the students the history of the park and how it came to be, as well as gave visual diagrams for how to properly plant a 15-gallon tree.  Interns will be  adding to the new amenities the park has to offer, adding structure and obstacles to the new disc golf course coming soon!

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Interns have been working long and hard on their developing City Danger Board Game, breaking into groups and creating the graphics and design for the downloadable educational game.


We plan to share the game with at least 10 classes at SLZ High School, seeking feedback and recommendations and making changes as needed. Our team is excited to share the project, and we are looking forward to engaging our peers to think about how we all can live more sustainably!

Thanks for reading! 


Interns plant over 100 native species in Oakland!


Last week, SLZ interns took to the road to visit Friends of Sausal Creek and Oakland’s Fern Ravine outdoor trail. Interns participated in a native planting sesh, with over 100 plants planted in just a short hour! It was an amazing time outdoors, and interns were welcomed by hundreds of lady bugs and even a little salamander! Special thank you to Aubree McAtee, FOSC new Outreach and Education Coordinator for working with our students and giving us the opportunity to get out and improve our next door nature!


*Student Blog*

On November 8th, San Lorenzo High’s interns headed over to Fern Ravine. We planted 100 native plants to not only make the park look more beautiful, but because native plants require less water and attract cute lil’ animals.

Although planting was pretty sweet, my favorite part of the day was really enjoying the scenery. It was a nice, warm day so gazing at the sun’s reflection off of the trees really made my heart happy. As we were leaving we also saw a beautiful sunset, what else more do I need? Planting was really exciting and we made it fun through conversations and jokes. I had a total migraine that day but planting honestly made it feel better for a bit.

Written By: Jessica Ko


Thanks for reading! Keep an eye out for more!