San Lorenzo Interns & East Bay Parks Team Up for Plantings at Oyster Bay

oyster bay

San Lorenzo High School’s Earth Team Interns have been hard at work the last few week at Oyster Bay. The interns are working with East Bay Regional Parks to restore Oyster Bay, once a garbage dump, to a beautiful park for the people of the East Bay. They started by planting native sage brush, which will serve as a habitat for migrating monarch butterflies.


The Interns also worked to set up caging around recently planted trees to protect them from disc golfers, eager to try out the East Bay’s newest disc golf course. The work the interns are doing will ensure that the young trees can grow to maturity while still allowing people to have a great time disc golfing as well.


With some help from Skyline High School’s interns, the team was able to plant over 30 plants and protect 8 trees. They were able to see the growth on the plants the interns had planted last year, and can expect from their plants this year as well.

It was a great experience for the interns and the Park looks great. The interns can’t wait to return in the spring and see how their “babies,” as they called the plants, are doing.



San Lorenzo Earth Team Interns Speak at Wildland Volunteer Network Seminar


Two Earth Team Interns spoke at the Wildland Volunteer Network’s annual conference in Oakland. The conference dealt with ways to engage and retain volunteers interested in wild land management, and featured speakers from a variety of organizations.

The two San Lorenzo Earth Team Interns, Liza and Nayla, gave brief summaries of why they joined Earth Team and what they have liked about the program. This gave the other attendees a better idea of what they can do to engage youths in traditionally under-served communities.

The event was also a great networking opportunity for the interns, as they were able to connect with professionals in environmental stewardship. All in all, everyone came out ahead and the conference was a great success.

Great job, Liza and Nayla!

Celebrating a Year of Success with San Lorenzo Earth Team


The year has come to an end! This year San Lorenzo High School’s Earth Team met 46 times, completing over 110 hours of education and training. Meetings included 21 class visits, 18 field visits, and 7 public events (one of which they hosted)! Together, we reached approximately 956 community members and classmates. The team inventoried 1,918 trees, planted 164 native plants, picked up 624 pieces of litter, and removed 2,500 square feet of invasive species!

The highlights of our projects were..

  • YES Conference Presentation: At the end of February, our interns had the opportunity to attend and present at the Youth for the Environment and Sustainability (YES) Conference. This annual conference is designed to bring together students, teachers, and youth leaders from around the Bay Area to discuss topics surrounding climate change and transportation issues. San Lorenzo interns presented to their peers about the importance of urban forestry and their tree inventory project in addition to exploring the rest of what the conference had to offer.
  • Community Restoration Work Day at Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline: After several weeks of learning restoration techniques and participating in planning and outreach activities, the team hosted their own community workday at Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline. With the help of dedicated employees of the East Bay Regional Parks District, the interns were able to learn about the ecology of Oyster Bay and the importance of their hard work at the park. Over 25 volunteers attended the community workday and helped with restoration efforts including native plantings and invasive species removal.
  • Presenting at the City of San Leandro City Council Meeting: To educate the community about their work at Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline, several interns from the team had the chance to present a short slideshow about their accomplishments at Oyster Bay to the San Leandro City Council on May 21st. Although they were nervous, the presentation went very smoothly and everyone on the council had beautiful and encouraging comments on all the hard work the team has put into the project. They even got to take a picture with the mayor for the paper!
  • Weekend Tree Inventory: Although the interns spent a lot of time out inventorying trees, they only had one weekend during which they did tree inventory. Eager to get further in their competition, each inventory team worked hard and efficiently! Together, all inventory teams entered a record amount of trees in one session for the year. And to celebrate their work, we finished the meeting with burgers from In-N-Out. Yum!!

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

I know about the trees around me and how they positively benefit us. I feel like now I can educate my family on environmental topics and show them accurate examples. I enjoyed meeting the different people and being active in my community. Working with Earth Team has inspired me to spread knowledge.

-Akiyah Jone

Great job San Lorenzo interns!


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!


Surveying and Educating the Public


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.


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.




Community Restoration Day at Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline


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.


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.


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.


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


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

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.

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)!!

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


Practicing Communication Skills at the 2018 YES Conference


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!