Short Summary

Garber Park is a 13-acre City of Oakland woodland park located behind the Claremont Hotel. The mile long Loop Trail takes us through a forest of oaks, Bay Laurel, Big Leaf Maples and California Buckeyes to the 1920's era stone Fireplace Plaza. The Garber Park Stewards vision is to safeguard the native wildland resources of Garber Park while reducing the risk of wildfire and improving the trail system.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Rewarding Mid-Summer Workday

BobS dove into the knee high ivy and
uncovered a California Buckeye!

In a short time mounds of ivy removed and
ferns freed.
Working in Fern Glade has become the most rewarding and satisfying experience, and today, even those who always head for the steep slopes removing thistles and himalayan blackberry joined us pulling ivy along the Claremont Trail and in expanding Fern Glade - Garber's Fern Garden  A perfect Summer day of "freeing up the ferns."  But I'll  let the pictures do the talking.......And, do come and visit Garber - a gem of a wildland park, just behind the Claremont Hotel in Claremont Canyon.

Lauren, Garber's newest Steward, from the
 Claremont Hotel's Sustainability Committee,
 is all smiles as she freed a hillside
of ferns from the trail just above Fern Glade.
An hour ago this beautiful grove of ferns
was smothered in ivy.

Fern Glade today - it's hard to believe that 1 1/2 years ago Fern Glade was smothered in
ivy.  It was  Lech Naumovich, Golden Hour Restoration Institute, that had the vision
that the ferns and other natives would thrive once the ivy was removed.  The flags represent
the ferns that we uncovered in December, 2013 - the rest propagated since.  Click here to see pictures of that workshop in which Fern Glade was born.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

July Volunteer Workdays

(maps and directions


Join us in the cool shade of Garber’s beautiful native oak woodland as we continue attacking the fire-prone invasive weeds and clear the trails that have been hidden by Spring growth. You have many choices:  easy weeding at Fern Glade, Harwood Creek, and along the trails.  For those who enjoy working on steep slopes, the Evergreen Restoration Site needs your help removing poison hemlock and erhardta grass. Wear long sleeves and pants and shoes with good tread.  Bring a water bottle for re-fills.  We provide tools, gloves, water and snacks. Everyone welcome - no experience necessary and students looking for community service hours are welcome. Those under 18 must bring a signed Volunteer Waiver and Release of Liability Form (download from

For questions and more information contact Shelagh

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Freeing the Ferns on Earth Day

On Saturday, April 18, The Garber Park Stewards celebrated Five years of restoring and protecting the native oak woodland habitat and watershed of Harwood Creek in Garber Park by participating in the City of Oakland’s Earth Day.   This year our focus was on “freeing the ferns” in the western part of the park. Volunteers met at the Claremont Ave. entrance and began attacking the Algerian Ivy along the Claremont Avenue Trail to beautiful Fern Glade, our newest Restoration site.  Freeing the ferns from the invasive ivy allows the ferns, trilliums, snowberry, false solomons seal and other natives to thrive and multiply.  And multiply they have - the return of the natives along this trail has been phenomenal!  

Thanks, everyone, for another fun and successful morning.  We couldn’t do it without you!

While Earth Day has ended our twice monthly stewardship days continue with a focus on improving Fire Safety by removing the fire prone invasive weeds throughout the park, and providing defensible space against wildfire for the many homes adjacent to Garber Park.  Won’t you join us?  Our May volunteer workdays are:  Tuesday, May 6, and Saturday, May 16 from 10am-Noon. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

April 2015 in Garber


April is FREE THE FERNS month in Garber.  Join us as we work along the Claremont Avenue Trail removing invasive algerian ivy from existing ferns at the trail head parking lot at Claremont Ave,  along the trail, in the trees, and in our newest restoration site, Fern Glade.   A little over a year ago Fern Glade was blanketed with Algerian/English ivy with only the tips of the native ferns showing above the ivy.  At a Winter Workshop conducted by Lech Namovich, Golden Hour Restoration Institute, we cleared a beautiful, flat meadow of ivy and other invasives.  The ferns and other native plants - Trillium, False Solomon's Seal, Fairy Bells, and others - have rebounded.  It's a lovely area and demonstrates the native resources in Garber that were waiting to be "free of ivy."  

We provide drinks, snacks, tools, and gloves.  Everyone welcome.  Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult and have a WAIVER signed by their parent or a responsible adult.  

Wear long sleeves and pants and shoes with good tread.  For directions (public transportation and car), maps, and further information go to the menu on our home page, or contact Shelagh

Sunday, March 22, 2015

March in Garber - beautiful Spring weather

Fern Glade one Year After clearing the ivy.   The flags
represent the ferns and natives found a year ago - the ferns,
Trilliums, sanacles, False Solomon's Seal have all popped up
after being freed from the ivy.  We push back the boundaries
of the ivy and the natives re-bound!
It was another busy and successful month of habitat restoration in Garber during March - and very bad day for the invasive weeds! Our dedicated group of volunteers enjoyed warm, sunny weather with ground soft enough to pull Cape ivy, Algerian ivy, poison hemlock, and other weeds by the roots.  And pull they did!  Cape ivy and poison hemlock that was blanketing much of Horsetail Meadow and the surrounding area - gone.  Horsetails are once again dominating the meadow.  A favorite place to work is along the Claremont Ave Trail from Fireplace Plaza to the Claremont Avenue Entrance - especially Fern Glade, where just over a year ago Algerian ivy covered the area, even climbing into the trees.  We cleared a small patch in a meadow and freed the ferns. Now, not only are the ferns re-bounding, but Trillium and False Solomon's Seal, and other Spring flowering natives are enjoying the ivy free environment.  This is truly a fun and rewarding place to work - the resources in Garber are amazing - once the invasive are removed the natives thrive.

Making the trails safe and enjoyable.  Special thanks
to Bob and Ricardo who cut up some big downed logs
to shore up the trail at the creek crossing on the
Claremont Ave. Trail.

Spring is beautiful in Garber.  Do come and enjoy this gem of a Wildland Park at the Gateway to Claremont Canyon, and if you see a volunteer say "Thanks."  Better yet join us on:

 Earth Day in Garber Park
Saturday, April 18
Meet at the Claremont Avenue Entrance for coffee, snacks. Then be ready for a fun morning
of restoration work.  Help clean-up and improve the parking area, weed along the trail, or spend the morning in lovely Fern Glade clearing the ivy and other exotic weeds away from the existing population of ferns.

Everyone welcome, no experience necessary. Dress in layers and wear sturdy shoes.  We provide tools, water and snacks.  Click here for driving and public transportation directions or contact Shelagh

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Fabulous February

Bagging Cape ivy in Horsetail Meadow.
For our Tuesday February Workday (Feb 3) we were joined by the City of Oakland’s Environmental Stewardship Team.  With their help we were able to make a HUGE dent in the Cape ivy blanketing Horsetail Meadow.  The weather was beautiful and warm, and the ground was still soft enough from the rain last week to pull the Cape ivy by it’s roots!  It turns out that several from the Stewardship Team had much experience with Cape ivy – we enjoyed sharing stories and learning about new techniques to help us rid Garber of this most invasive weed.  The Horsetails (equisetum) for which the meadow is named are popping up; in another week or two will once again be the dominant plant in the meadow – and a truly beautiful site.

Fern ID and Fern Glade Expansion Workshop with Lech Namovich
A beautiful day, a diverse group interested and excited to learn about ferns and their habitat, and Lech's hands-on and informative workshop made for a FANTASTIC DAY!

After the rains in early February Garber has sprung back to life - and at this time of the year the ferns are at their loveliest.  We learned to identify the five abundant and common ferns of Garber, their habitat, and how to create good conditions on-site for their regeneration and conservation.  The last part of the day was spent enthusiastically pulling up ivy in Fern Glade and expanding this new restoration site that until a year ago, was a solid blanket of ivy and today is a site where the ferns - and trilliums, sanicles, fairy bells, California Buckeye, and California Maples are flourishing.
Working in Fern Glade.  Photo by Lech Naumovich

Click here to download and read a copy of Lech's very informative hand-out The Ferns of Garber Park:  Ecology and Habitat Restoration.  In this hand-out you will learn about the fern lifecycle (unique and fascinating), conditions needed for conservation measures to help maintain ferns, and a chart of Garber's Ferns and their characteristics essential for identification.   Included is a longer list of Ferns found in the East Bay from Ertter and Naumovich, 2013.

Click here for more pictures of the workshop

This was the 3rd and final workshop for this Winter Season.  The response has been overwhelming with each workshop filled. The entire series has been exciting, fun, and informative.  Many thanks to Claremont Canyon Conservancy whose sponsorship makes these workshops possible.  And special thanks to Lech for another fun, hands-on, and informative workshop series.


Removing Cape ivy in Horsetail Meadow.
January Volunteer Workdays
It was a busy and productive January in Garber.  In spite of no rain, the ground was still soft, making our return to removing invasives an easy task.  Our focus for our two workdays, Tuesday, January 6 and Saturday, January 17 was eradicating a most invasive weed - Cape ivy - which is once again trying to blanket Garber’s meadows and hillsides.  Very sharp and thorny Himalayan blackberry is also trying to make a comeback, but the "blackberry bashing group" is making great headway removing it, root and all.  During a storm in December another huge limb broke off the acacia tree near Harwood Creek – volunteers have spent several workdays chopping up the branch and using the logs for shoring up the trails.  Good to know acacia has some value!

Passive Restoration Workshop - Led by Lech Namovich, Golden Hour Restoration Institute
Creating the transect.  Permanent anchors at
each end of the rope will make it easy to
monitor the exact same place next year.
The highlight of the month was the 2nd in our Winter Restoration Workshop Series in Garber:  Passive Restoration Workshop:  Using Available Materials on-site for Restoration, on January 25, led by Lech Naumovich.  We began by learning about simple Monitoring techniques,  which should be as simple and clear as possible - and is an essential part of any restoration project -  yet is often overlooked.  We created a belt transect from one end of Bob’s Place, across the creek to the other end – a 3 foot wide swath in which we counted and named the native plants and the estimated cover.  Several participants said they found the monitoring activity the most fascinating – it forced us to look carefully at what was happening in each quadrant.  We found new natives we never knew were there, and really got a feel for both the invasives that are there and the natives that we wish to encourage to grow. Many thanks to Frannie for putting all the data into a spread sheet for us to use next year.

After the monitoring project we set about finding, digging up and dividing several of the native plants in this resource rich part of Garber.  And then the fun part – planting them and watering them in (Harwood Creek is still flowing).  Snowberry, Cow Parsnip, Osso berry, willows and other natives now have a new home.  Our task now is to give them some TLC by keeping the invasives away – one we’re looking forward to.  

Identifying and Counting the native plants and the
invasives in each quadrant.

Thanks, Lech, for another fun and informative hands-on workshop.  And thanks to all the participants who helped us advance restoration in Garber.  Garber workshops are always collaborative, hands on, and I learn to much just from the other participants.   And special thanks to the Claremont Canyon Conservancy for sponsoring the winter restoration workshops in Garber. 

Click here for more pictures of January Habitat Restoration and the Passive Restoration Workshop.

3rd Winter Restoration Workshop:  Fern ID and Fern Glade Expansion, February 21:
Lech will be leading one more Winter Restoration Workshop in Garber -  Saturday, February 21 from 9:30 am - 12:30 pm: Fern ID and Fern Glade Expansion.  Garber is home to many beautiful native ferns.  We will ID these ferns, and continue expanding our newest restoration site, Fern Glade, begun only last year, and an incredible success story!  Details and to RSVP: or contact Shelagh 517-1918.  We still have several spots open!