Oyster Bay Restoration Day Fun!

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Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline – what once was a landfill is now a regional park in development. The weekend before Thanksgiving, our teams from San Lorenzo High School and Skyline High School joined forces to help the restoration effort at this beautiful and lesser known shoreline location at the end of Williams St. in San Leandro.

Because the park area used to be a landfill, many steps must be taken to turn it into a suitable park for the public. The Park District has spent a lot of time importing fill soil to ensure the ground is stable and surface drainage is adequate. They also plan to place soil so as to promote tree and vegetation growth and to create landforms for a variety of public uses, including walking trails, a bicycle skills area, and an off leash dog park. They are even installing a disc golf course!

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The workday was led by Pamela Beitz from the East Bay Regional Parks District. First, she instructed our interns on how to remove two invasive plant species from the park – stinkwort and pampas grass. Some of the clumps of pampas grass were so big it took multiple people and several tools to remove them. It was hard work but as the morning progressed, the teams were able to work together to figure out the most efficient ways to remove the plants.

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Some students also helped collect and plant Buckeye seeds. The seeds are quite large and have a light colored spot that makes them look like the eye of a deer – hence the name “buckeye”. Collecting some of the seeds off the trees and planting them can help increase the chances that new seedlings will propagate. It will take some time to see the results of this effort, but it will be rewarding to come back in the future to see the natural development! The team looks forward to working more on this project in the next few months – until next time!



Earth Day at Root Park


Root Park is a small plot of land located in downtown San Leandro. You can easily miss it if you aren’t looking. A staircase exists right at the edge of the park, between E 14th Street and Dan Niemi Way that takes you straight to San Leandro Creek.

This unique space is used by the community as a green space to visit, by teachers as a space to take their classes, and on Saturday April 9th it because a vibrant celebration space for Earth Day. Organizations from all over San Leandro came together to support in a morning cleanup and cleanup, complete with performances, workshops on sustainability, and tabling demonstrations from organizations that set up information tables.

The morning began with a creek cleanup. Our group got our boots and headed into the creek. Not long after getting into the water we discovered litter. We started removing litter, from small plastics to wood debris and even finding an abandoned grill! As we walked through the creek, we could see houses with fences right on the creek bank.

After our cleanup, we set up for tabling and our Ghost Creek Demonstration. Our goal was to raise awareness about San Leandro Creek and share our work highlights from the internship so far. Half of the interns ran the Ghost Creek Demonstration and the other half ran the information table. Interns took shifts to support one another and to check out some of the other organizations present.

It was a great experience to get out to the community to share our work and learn from others about their work. We still have so much more to do before the year is out! Stay tuned for more updates.


Oyster Bay Reflections

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Field outings have been an important part of the internship ever since I joined EarthTeam. They are usually fun and helps everyone work together. The more people join the event the more fun it is. One of my favorite events of the year was the Oyster Bay field outing. this was fun for may reasons.

We went to Oyster Bay to learn more about the history of the area and to restore the place. We learned about how invasive plants take nutrients away from native plants and we got rid of 2 invasive species – french broom and fennel. We used tools such as the polaski, where we trimmed the fennel, hoe heads to pull out invasive plants and pullers to remove the french broom. It was hard work but that made it more rewarding. It also helped that the view was nice. There weren’t a lot of people there but everyone that went worked hard and had fun.

It was fun learning about plants. The best part of the event was eating burritos. We had tortillas, beans, cheese, sour cream, and lettuce. The burritos were really good and warm. They were not the best burritos but I rate them 8/10.

Some advice I would give to the next interns going to Oyster Bay would be to wear comfortable clothing. be prepared to do anything from trimming branches to removing debris. Newcomers should also be sure to go to field events! They are fun, chill vibes, god food, and you get to work to change the environment which makes you and your group feel good.

Overall the day at Oyster Bay was chill and a we got lot of work done. It made me feel good to think we made a positive change in the environment. The exciting parts were when my friends and I went on a hike and got a little lost. It was exciting and the food was great. In the end the best part of this event was seeing an oak. tree growing where we cleared invasive plants and knowing we helped it grow.

This post was written by Russell F. and Adan M.

Combating Invasive Plants with Weed Warriors at Hayward Regional Shoreline

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Finding a medium sized stinkwort plant

The weed warriors event was held last sunday to try to help some of the endangered species that are being affected by the overgrowth of weeds such as Stinkwort and Ice Plant. These plants are taking over habitat, causing harm to the Pickleweed plant and the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse mice who eat from it.

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High turnout of volunteers clearing our hundreds of pounds worth of Ice Plant!
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50 bags full of invasive plants removed today

I believe we did a great job with the task even though it was challenging. We met our goal and hopefully the mice get to benefit from our work. Something that caught my eye was when we were at the shoreline was the fact that there was a lot of litter around and was wondering if this will cause any effect to the marine species.

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Beautiful day to be out helping the environment. Our crew put some major hard work in to help give Pickleweed more habitat to grow and the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse more habitat to live in

Campus Beautification: Community Tree Planting Event

Over twenty students participated in a community service event on November 26th, 2015, planting twenty California native Elderberry trees to create shade on our campus, and pruning countless trees and shrubs while removing invasive species from San Lorenzo High School’s native plant garden.  These efforts both prepare the native plant garden for the annual plant sale/native garden tour to take place in May, as well as maintain San Lorenzo’s sustainable landscaping.  In the process, students learned how to successfully transplant young trees and prune mature ones.

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In my experience, this tree planting event denominated “SLZ Arbor Day”, is the most productive and convenient way for students like myself to gain hands-on knowledge and experience with environmental science concepts.  It was exciting for me to absorb that the California Buckeye is deciduous, thus losing its leaves in the summer, and that watering a plant around a relative radius as to not expose the roots and remove air bubbles from the freshly planted soil guarantee its prosperity!

Native landscaping and invasive species removal is critical to a region like California, experiencing exceptional drought. However, this education will hopefully last longer than our current predicament and persuade the community, especially the youth, to consciously consider garden sustainability.  This is something that encompasses all environmental work from conservation to habitat restoration.  Events like these are significant because through the eye of a student, understanding the connections between the water that comes out of the faucet, and the succulents replacing our lawns create a network of environmental awareness.

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Native Plant Sale Success!

Last Sunday on May 3rd, San Lorenzo High hosted its very own plant sale with record-breaking outcomes! Over 250 people, mostly from the San Lorenzo area, came with overwhelming support and enthusiasm to partake in garden tours, lawn removal talks, “how-to’s” by Project Eat, homemade Mexican food by our La Raza club, and last but definitely not least, our very own Zero Litter Booth. At our table, we provided our guests with litter bingo, our Apple & Eve petition, some Q&A trivia, as well as our very first “Earth Team Zero Litter Tree” where you were able to tape up the litter you collected. Those who fulfilled these tasks were entered into a drawing for prizes ranging from gift cards to bags of tangerines! Personally, I ran the garden tour where I was able to share with the public of how the hard, persistent work of students and teachers transformed a rubble filled, demolished swimming pool into a thriving native garden. It was a truly fun and rewarding experience to receive positive feedback from the community and to actually be a knowledgable tour guide! Thanks to the 40 students who helped ran the event along with teachers and staff, San Lorenzo High raised nearly $2,600 in just a single day from plants grown and propagated by students for its Green Academy.

-Kevin Duong


Creek Fun

Last Saturday we went to Bay Trees in Castro Valley to help with restoration. My group and I planted a lovely native Toyon plant. Since there was no way to create an irrigation system, we placed dry water on the sides of the plant which is just water with cellulose. This product helps the plants get through dry weather. While touring some of the park we came across the creek which made me a bit disappointed. The creek itself was beautiful! But, there was so much graffiti and empty spray paint cans that were just contaminating the water. Some of my fellow classmates and I went under a minuscule hole in a fence, crossed a path of several rocks and picked all the cans and litter pieces we could find! We observed the designs and shapes of the concrete creek in Bay Trees. It was very interesting how some parts of the creek were shaped like a funnel, and had smooth concrete. Meanwhile others had trees and rocks. We realized that the design of the creeks really determine how fast the water flowed. Overall this was a great experience and I would definitely do it all over again! -Carissa Cerna