Learn to Conduct Tree Inventory (Video)

Starting this upcoming week, Earth Team interns will once again be spending meetings surveying neighborhoods in unincorporated Alameda County for tree data! As a refresher, our team from San Lorenzo High has been inventorying as many trees as possible in these county areas using a map called OpenTreeMap. Not only does this map allow anyone to see the data we’ve collected, but it also has built in calculators that can quantify the large number of benefits the trees provide.

As part of their presentation at the YES Conference, some of the interns made a short video that shows how anyone can take part in tree inventory. Click here to check out the video and start logging trees near you!

LEADERSHIP | STEWARDSHIP | SERVICE

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Surveying and Educating the Public

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Educating and engaging the public in restoration work at Oyster Bay has been a large focus of San Lorenzo High Earth Team’s project at this site. Although many people already enjoy using Oyster Bay for it’s walking trails, bike paths, and off-leash dog policy, it is still a relatively unknown recreation area.

To get a better understanding of who uses the park and what they know about its evolution from a landfill, our students decided to take a survey. They spent a Saturday morning interacting with the public at Oyster Bay and asking them to fill out short surveys on iPads. Question categories included demographics, usage of the park, restoration knowledge, and opinion scales.

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Many people were happy to take the survey and had questions about what Earth Team is doing at Oyster Bay. As it turns out, most people visit the park for its awesome dog related perks! Additionally, about half of participants reported that they would be interested in volunteering at a restoration event. A handful of visitors declined to take the survey for various reasons but we hope next time they will stop and share their opinion! This activity definitely got the interns out of their comfort zones. However, by the end of the day they were pros at approaching passerby. We hope to use the data from the surveys to figure out how to best get people interested in the park and the work we are doing there.

LEADERSHIP | STEWARDSHIP | SERVICE 

 

 

Community Restoration Day at Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline

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Despite worries of cold, rainy weather, Earth Team’s community restoration day at Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline went amazing! Interns from San Lorenzo High hosted this volunteer event March 24th, 2018. As you may already know from reading our blogs, Oyster Bay is a beautiful coastal park that used to be a landfill. Earth Team has been working on restoring the natural habitat at this site, thanks to the Alameda County Fish & Wildlife Commission. With the help of East Bay Regional Parks, our teams have been participating in public outreach and education, invasive plant removals, native plant and tree plantings, and vegetation monitoring.

To start out the day, our interns gave a short welcome speech to over 15 volunteers and split them up into two groups; invasive species removal and planting of native species. Those removing invasive species focused on 2 different plants: pampas grass and French broom. Both of these plants are stubborn and take a lot of effort to remove. The teams removed several large bags full of both species of plants.

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The other group focused on planting native plants that will enhance the habitat here, including sagebrush and toyon. Time flew by as they planted quickly and efficiently. These efforts were incredibly successful and a total of 89 plants were planted! Way to go volunteers! We had individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds and ages.

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After all the hard work was over and the mud was scraped from everyone’s boots, it was time to come together and celebrate. Over a light lunch, interns and volunteers reflected on the satisfaction of a hard day’s work. East Bay Regional Parks was even nice enough to provide some awesome swag for our volunteers as well as information about summer job openings. (Click here for more information about seasonal employment with EBRPD). A big thank you to everyone who came out and helped make this day so successful and productive! See you next time.

LEADERSHIP|STEWARDSHIP|SERVICE

Volunteering at San Lorenzo High School’s “Beautification Day”

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Back in March, several San Lorenzo Earth Team interns attended San Lorenzo High’s “Beautification Day”. This event was hosted by the school’s environmental club called “Druids”, whose goal was to plant over 30 trees that day. It’s great to see that our group of Earth Team students go above and beyond in their roles as environmental stewards and attend events outside of our program. Here are some reflections from the day:

“On Beautification Day I joined other students, staff, and even parents to plant trees that will benefit our school campus. Altogether, we planted almost forty trees. There was already a plan for where the trees were going to be planted. Our job was to put the tree in the ground, making sure it was leveled, and mixing the soil and dirt. We also put wood chips around the tree and watered them. It was a fun event and we all worked together to do something that will benefit our school campus for many years to come.”

– Sarai Montes, San Lorenzo High Earth Team Intern

Beautification Day this Saturday was really fun. We learned how to plant a tree so it doesn’t get too much moisture but also doesn’t dry up. A lot of people showed up to help plant a total of 37 trees. We had to plant the trees while it was raining but I think that made it a lot funner. I had a lot of fun on Saturday and I would love to do something like this again.

– Ruth Montes, San Lorenzo High Earth Team Intern

On Beautification Day there was much rain and it made it difficult to work. During this event there were many people attending like QTSA members, 2 members from our board, and Druids/District Task Forces. It was interesting to see all the volunteers try to figure out what to do. There was a lack of tools and moments when people weren’t distributed efficiently. But over all we accomplished  a lot and did achieve our goal of planting all the trees.

– Charlie Pereda, San Lorenzo High Earth Team Intern

A Day in Nature at Carlos Bee Park

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San Lorenzo High interns Aubury (bottom) and Bella (top) exploring the creek.

After taking a few months off from conducting tree inventory, it’s time for San Lorenzo High interns to get back in the swing of tree ID and tree inventory so that they can continue logging trees in April and May. To refresh the topic in their minds, we went on a trip to Carlos Bee Park in Hayward. This park has a diverse and dense assortment of tree species, a creek, and a view of the bay, making it a great place to observe trees and connect with nature.

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Tree species: Acacia dealbata, commonly known as a silver wattle tree.

Interns started the meeting by participating in a two part group assignment/competition. The first part was tree identification: identify as many tree species as possible in the time limit by removing a leaf and labeling the leaf with the name of the tree. The second part was a nature scavenger hunt, where the teams had to find and collect or take pictures of specific items and things found in nature. The winners of each section would get a prize at the end of the time limit. The interns had a ton of fun with this assignment and identified several trees, some of which they had never seen or noticed before. It also gave them the chance to explore the creek area and the hillsides. They enjoyed the park so much, almost everyone asked to come back another day!

After the competition, the group had one more task for the day. On March 17th, all Earth Team schools will be participating in our annual Litter March in Oakland, hosted by our awesome intern team from Oakland LPS High School. During this march, Earth Team members and people from the community will be teaming up to clean up the streets of Oakland. Our team from San Lorenzo High prepared for the event by making signs to carry along with them during the march. As the picture below shows, they had a lot of fun creating their signs and coming up with litter related slogans. We can’t wait for the litter march (and we hope to see you there)!!

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San Lorenzo High interns Jazmin (left), Ariana (middle), and Tony (right), working on their sign.

 

Practicing Communication Skills at the 2018 YES Conference

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At the end of February, our intern team from San Lorenzo High got up early on a Saturday to present at the 2018 Youth for the Environment and Sustainability (YES) Conference at Laney College in Oakland. The YES Conference is put on annually by Spare the Air with sponsorship from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. At this event, students, teachers, and youth leaders from the Bay Area come together to discuss transportation, climate change, and air quality. At this year’s conference, there were youth from all over the bay presenting on a wide and rich variety of topics. There were also great activities for attendees throughout the day, including a make your own smoothie bike blender and “eco-carnival” games.  For most of our interns, this was their first experience attending a conference, let alone presenting at one.

After several weeks of preparation, the team was ready to present on “Tree Inventory & Urban Forest Value”. They were scheduled to present in the morning session, so shortly after we arrived and checked in, we did a practice run through in an empty corridor. Following the quick practice, there was an opening ceremony that was PACKED with people. Speakers ranged from ambitious youth to mayor of Oakland Libby Schaaf, and even a Native American man that recited a traditional chant meant to inspire a sense of connection to each other and the Earth.

As the welcoming ceremony came to a close, the interns started to feel nervous and made their way to the room where they would present. They got to the classroom and set up their presentation slideshow and interactive activity. Audience members trickled in until the room was completely full! Once they started their presentation, the time flew by. The team was able to get audience members to ask questions and participate in their activity, which gave everyone a sense of purpose and satisfaction. Once it was over, everyone felt empowered and were able to enjoy the rest of the day. The interns visited various tables, played games, won giveaways, and attended other youth’s presentations during the afternoon session. At the end of the day, everyone came together for the closing ceremony where they heard additional speeches and even a poet from an organization called Youth Speaks. It was a great way to close out a great event!

After having some time to reflect, the interns obviously had a valuable and memorable experience. Most expressed wanting to return next year and attend other conferences as well. Here are what some interns had to say about the experience:

 

“I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to remember everything I needed to say in my part of the presentation but it was rewarding to see that the audience reacted well to what we had to say. It was nice that the audience wanted to hear about our own personal experiences with tree inventory and working with trees in our own communities.”

-Aubury Freed, San Lorenzo High Intern

“The event was really comfortable. I really don’t know what it was but it felt like I could be myself. We were all sharing something in common. It felt good to have people listening and a group of people who care about the same environmental issues and problems we all face. I learned that you really have to put yourself out there and not be shy so the audience trusts you.”

-Ariana Umildad, San Lorenzo High Intern

Thanks for reading – until next time!

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An Intern’s Experience in Environmental Leadership

*STUDENT BLOG*

I joined Druids at the beginning of my sophomore year, hoping to become more involved with my school’s community. When I could, I attended after school native garden labs on campus, and I felt more and more connected with the Earth as I learned to nurture our local environment by working with and learning about native plants.

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Druids teaching local elementary students about Native American survival in the Native Garden. At this station, they learn how to use friction and sticks to make fire.

I also attended the Druid’s weekly on-campus recycling, and learned that the Druids club alone was responsible for separating recyclables from trash and ensuring that we had a recyclable program at all. Druids do on-campus recycling weekly. The image below is only about half of that week’s bottles and cans in the pile. Several more loads of the same size are separated into aluminum and plastic and taken to the recycling center.

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Prior to the Druids taking on weekly recycling, the Environmental Leadership and Action class did the recycling on campus for class credit, among other parts of their curriculum. They learned how to cook healthy foods from the food garden at school. They also succeeded in petitioning for a tree sound wall next to the freeway that now blocks the freeway from San Lorenzo High’s campus.  Three years ago, the ELA class was discontinued due to lack of promotion and financial support, leaving the task of ensuring recyclables were actually recycled to the Druids.

I saw that a lot of people joined Druids in order to gain community service hours, but left with a better understanding of the natural world, a better understanding of how to be caretakers of the environment, and an appreciation of the Earth.

I was invited to be a part of the Druids board my junior year, which encouraged me to fight for the promotion of environmental justice through education by bringing back the ELA class. After collecting fifty-plus signatures on a petition to restart the class, I was told by administration that there was no budget for the class and that for the district, it wasn’t a priority.

This is why Earth Team is so important to me. It’s a way of learning how getting involved locally can have an impact that is potentially global. It’s because of Earth Team that I will not stop working towards environmental justice in our community and for our world. In the future I believe that the Environmental Leadership and Action class will be an option for San Lorenzo High students. Until then, I am proud to be a part of environmental organizations such as Druids and Earth Team that strive to keep the movement for sustainability going and give me hope for our future.

– Aubury Freed, San Lorenzo High Intern

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More Oyster Bay Restoration

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Pamela Beitz (EBRPD) showing the interns how to clear a planting site.

Did you know Monarch butterflies are currently residing at Oyster Bay? San Lorenzo High interns got to see these beauties first hand this past weekend while engaging in more restoration work here at Oyster Bay. The butterflies were clustering in some pine trees, waiting for the day to warm up so they could go exploring for food and avoiding any photo opps.

After checking out the butterflies in the morning, the interns continued their work from last time: planting native flowering plants that can provide food for the butterflies. In just a short time, the team planted 2 monkey flowers, 4 blueblossums, 1 gumplant, and 8 goldenrods. After putting these plants in the ground, the group then pulled up broom and pampas grass seedlings (both invasive species). Some spots were challenging to dig in due to the large amount of rocks in the ground, but as it was their 3rd time out at Oyster Bay, the interns were able to work efficiently and with confidence.

The group ended the day with a discussion on plans for the future and how to get community members involved. Stay tuned for more information regarding an upcoming community event and a way to get active at Oyster Bay!

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Interns digging a hole for their plant.

 

Preparing to Speak at the YES Conference

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After a refreshing winter break, the San Lorenzo Earth Team interns reconvened and got straight to work to prepare for their next big event: the YES (Youth for the Environment and Sustainability) Conference! The YES Spare the Air Conference is an annual event held in the Bay Area each year. The purpose of this conference is to bring together youth from across the bay to discuss issues of sustainability, transportation, and air quality in their local communities. Our team will be presenting on their tree inventory project in relation to climate change concerns, even including an interactive activity for the audience to participate in.

To begin preparing for the event, we broke the presentation down into three parts/groups and started brainstorming ideas. The three groups are as follows: video production, PowerPoint presentation, and an interactive activity. After brainstorming ideas, we watched a short video on how to give interesting and effective presentations. Finally, we ended with a fun activity that helps practice public speaking skills. Each intern had to get up and talk about any topic they wished for 2 minutes while trying not to use the “forbidden words”: yeah, like, um, and you know. We kept a tally of how many times each of these words was said. “Like” and “um” were by far the most used forbidden words (no surprise there!). The team will continue practicing public speaking skills in the weeks to come.