On a cloudless day, the volunteers arrived from campus via the 51B AC Transit bus and walked to the corner of Spinnaker Way and Marina Boulevard where the Conservancy had a table with tools and supplies.
After signing the required waiver paperwork, the volunteers got a short safety talk and orientation about Cesar Chavez Park from Conservancy organizer Marty Nicolaus. Then Conservancy Board Member Jutta Burger, a naturalist well known to readers of this blog as the power behind Flora Friday, trained the students in how to plant seeds in the rough ground left bare by the Rip-Rap Rehab Project of this past summer.
To avoid birds gleaning the seeds or the wind blowing them into the water, Jutta’s method was to scratch a shallow furrow. Volunteers then formed teams of two. One member fed the seeds sparingly into the furrow while another walked behind and closed the furrow by stepping on it. The seeds ended up buried perhaps a quarter of an inch or half an inch on the average.
The chosen seed mix consisted of about 75 percent California poppy, with the balance a mixture of California wildflowers including lupine, flax, grindelia, and others.
The student volunteers were Kitty Thompson, Nada Lamie, Sharon Ye, Katharine (Mimi) Shalf, Serena Lowe, Phi Diep, Sarah Roberts, and Amy Oh. Amy organized the outing and served as liaison with the Conservancy.
In about two hours of intense labor, the student crew thoroughly planted the southernmost area of bare ground behind the orange construction fence. Planting the more northerly segments remains for another day.
At noon, the whole crew retired to the Seabreeze Market at the corner of University Avenue and the frontage road for lunch.
All the student volunteers are members of Ethical Apparel, a student-run social enterprise that provides affordable, high-quality screen printing and free design services on ethically-made clothing.
The day’s project coincided with a big turnout for a Breast Cancer walk and fundraiser that brought many hundreds of participants to the park. Thanks are owed to Marina Supervisor Alexandra Endress for facilitating Conservancy members’ free passage into the otherwise restricted ($20) parking area to host the Berkeley Project gig.
With a favorable rain pattern this winter, which is by no means guaranteed, there is a good chance that next spring, park visitors will be greeted by a floral feast for the eyes as they enter the park in this location.