Hope for Pollinators

California Lilac (Ceanothus) in Native Plant Area. Ceanothus is a major host for pollinator insects.

There’s more hope for threatened pollinators in Chavez Park now, thanks to an application filed today with the Alameda County Fish and Game Commission for establishment of a native plant pollinator garden in a portion of the Native Plant Area. Prepared by Chavez Park Conservancy Board members Jutta Burger and Bob Huttar, the grant application asks for $5,000 to cover materials and labor. The Fish & Game Commission has previously approved grants for a similar purpose under Section 13103 of the State Fish and Game Code. The Commission forwards its grant recommendations to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, which makes the final decision.

The proposal, if approved, will set out 100 native plants representing 10 species known to be either important nectar sources for overwintering Monarch butterflies or floral and/or host resources for other pollinators. It will also replace California Lilac (Ceanothus) plants dating from the early eighties that have reached the end of their natural life spans. The full application spells out the details, available at this link.

Current members of the Fish & Game Commission are

  • Jackie Charbonneau – for Supervisor David Haubert (District 1)
  • Derek Johnson – for Supervisor Richard Valle (District 2)
  • Carla Schultheis – for Supervisor Dave Brown (District 3)
  • Wendy Parfrey – for Supervisor Nate Miley (District 4)
  • Barry Hecht – for Supervisor Keith Carson (District 5)

Readers are free to send emails of support to the Commission members and/or to the County Supervisors who appointed them. The application has the support of Jacob Several, Landscape Gardening Supervisor, and Scott Ferris, Parks Director for the City of Berkeley. In an email, Ferris wrote:


Thanks for the email. We definitely support your application for a pollinator garden at this location in the Park. If you need a letter of support, let me know.

We have now installed 10 pollinator gardens in the City and our biggest concerns for these gardens are maintenance and watering. Thus far, we have been able to identify volunteer groups to maintain them and it sounds like your group is willing to take this on. We have been able to help many of these groups by getting water to the site and we would be willing to do the same in this case too. Jacob will your contact for this moving forward.

Please let us know if you are successful.



Jutta is a member of the Board of Directors of the Chavez Park Conservancy and is the corporation’s Secretary. Her day job is Science Program Director of the California Invasive Plant Council (CalIPC). She previously served as its President. She has a PhD in plant biology. Previously she served as Managing Director of the Science and Stewardship Department at the Irvine Ranch Conservancy, which manages nearly 40,000 acres of open space in Orange County and where she oversaw their natural resource management staff and programs.  Bob, also a member of the Conservancy Board of Directors and its Volunteer Coordinator, is a professional biologist and arborist with extensive field experience who has been leading volunteer stewardship activities at Chavez Park for more than two years.

Some of the Chavez Park Conservancy volunteers working in the Native Plant Area in 2021

P.S. Burrowing Owl Update

The First Owl was last seen on February 19. It was not visible this morning. This is its longest absence of the season and supports speculation that the owl may have left for the season to return to its breeding territory somewhere up north or east. In the past, owls have usually stayed until the first weeks of March before migrating, but possibly due to global warming the birds will now depart earlier.
The Second Owl, as previously reported, was last seen February 3 with what looked like an injury to its wing. It was not seen the next day and has not been seen since. Its fate is unknown.

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