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.

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!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Winter Planting Workshop Series off to a Great Start!

The first planting one year later.
Click here for more pictures of this
exciting time.
Our first workday, Dec, 2009. We
attacked the Evergreen Lane
Hillside removing a small
patch of Cape Ivy.

Today’s workshop and planting event was a special day for the Garber Park Stewards – December marks the 5th year anniversary of the Garber Park Stewards, the 5th year that Lech Naumovich, Golden Hour Restoration Institute has guided us in our restoration planting, and the 5th year Garber Park’s Winter Workshops have been sponsored by Claremont Canyon Conservancy.

December, 2011 Planting.
Expanding upon last year's flourishing
beds.  More pictures
Dec, 2012. Planting all the way to
 Fireplace Plaza.
  See Lech's video of this three day planting event.
Five years ago in December, we first began restoration of the Evergreen Lane entrance by removing a small section of Cape ivy that blanketed the slope.  Throughout the following year volunteers logged over 150 hours hauling debris and removing
invasives. One year later the hillside had been cleared and we had our first planting event, conducted by Lech. It was a huge success - and our first Restoration Site, and our partnership with Golden Hour was formed.  

Prepping below Fireplace Plaza in
2013. But there was
no planting due to severe drought
Wrap-up at the end of todays fun
morning of planting.
See more pictures of this 5 year celebration
Today’s workshop began with a lively and information packed discussion about the components of a healthy forest, the many threats to our oak-bay-maple woodland forest, and the possible solutions to keeping the forest healthy.  

Dividing the grasses before planting
The most important factor for forest health, both overstory and understory is a mixed, age, multispecies woodland, which has the highest botanical diversity.  The most critical factor influencing forest health today in the wildland/urban interface is disease, particularly Phytophthora. It is also important to know that by understanding the issues and taking appropriate precautions you can successfully work to restore and protect our natural environment.  (Read more in Lech's Hand-out from today's workshop).

By dividing the grasses we created
more plugs for the hillside
We also took the opportunity to look back at the last four years of restoration on the Evergreen Hillside – learning what was successful and the implications for today’s plantings.  Three grasses were chosen – Elymus glaucus (blue wild rye), Agrostispallens (bent grass), and and Festuca californica (California fescue) for their success on the Evergreen Hillside as well as their resistance to the Phytophthera virus.  

Team Work. Click here for more
pictures of this fun morning.
And then it was on to getting those 200 plants in the ground–actually, after dividing them we counted over 300 plants that will be waiting happily in the soft, wet soil for our next expected rain this coming week.    This year we had an additional pleasure of digging up some of our very successful – large plantings of Juncus Patens (California Grey Rush) dividing them, and planting them in our always expanding restoration site.   

Thanks, Lech, for another informative and exciting restoration experience.  And special thanks to all of our volunteers  and Claremont Canyon Conservancy for supporting restoration in Garber - we couldn’t do it without you.   

The GPS are taking a break for the Holidays, but January, 2015 will be a busy month in Garber.  Please join us for our Habitat Restoration Workdays, Tuesday, January 6 and Saturday, January 17.  We will return to pulling out the invasive weeds that are popping up in our restoration sites.  It's also the time to do some trail maintenance - shoring up the trails and improving drainage.  On Saturday, January 24, Lech will be leading Winter Restoration Workshop on Passive Restoration along the riparian corridor of Harwood Creek.  Click here to download a flyer of the Workshop Series.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS and we hope to see you in
Garber in January.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Habitat Restoration Series with Lech Naumovich

Winter Restoration Workshops in Garber Park
(near the Claremont Hotel in Claremont Canyon
Workshop Leader – Lech Naumovich
(Golden Hour Restoration Institute)

The Garber Park Stewards are pleased to be partnering with the Claremont Canyon Conservancy to once again offer a Restoration Planting Series throughout the winter season. Lech Naumovich, botanist and ExecutiveDirector of Golden Hour Restoration Institute, will lead the workshops, which will highlight the ongoing restoration efforts in Garber Park. Come learn about the incredible progress that has been made by a fantastic group of volunteers to restore the native oak woodland understory in Garber Park. 

Saturday, December 6. Restoring and Maintaining Diversity of the Oak Understory: Implications on Woodland Health. Help plant native grass plugs on the hill behind the 1920’s Fireplace for erosion control – and in the gently sloping oak woodland meadow below the Fireplace. We will discuss “lessons learned” from the past 4 years of plantings, and set up a monitoring protocol for the hillside. Other topics include soils and soil amendments, including mychorrhiza.
Saturday, January 24. Passive Restoration Workshop: Using Available Materials on-Site for Restoration. Help us expand the lovely restoration area near the restored drainage of Harwood Creek. All materials for restoration will originate from onsite and will include the basics of monitoring. Learn about in situ propagation techniques for a number of native plants – techniques that are powerful tools for habitat restoration.
Saturday, February 21. Fern ID and Fern Glade Expansion.
Garber is home to many beautiful native ferns, including our well known Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum) and beautiful Wood Fern (Dryopterus arguta). We will continue expanding our newest restoration site, Fern Glade, begun only last year, and an incredible success story!
Time: 9:30AM-12:30PM. Come early to enjoy coffee, snacks and meet fellow workshop participants. 
Questions? or to RSVP  Contact Shelagh or 510-540-1918

Directions. Meet at the Evergreen Lane Entrance to Garber Park. The closest address is 144 Evergreen Lane, Berkeley. From Ashby Ave, take Alvarado Rd to Slater Lane, turn Right onto Evergreen Lane. The park is at the end of the street. For internet directions: Click on directions in the menu bar. 
All skill levels are welcome and no previous experience is necessary. Come to one workshop or come to all! Dress in layers you can get dirty, wear sturdy shoes, and bring a refillable water bottle. We provide tools, water and snacks. We work in light rain, downpour will cancel. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Shout-Out to our Volunteers!!!

It was a busy, fun, and rewarding Fall in Garber.  Even with the dry conditions we continued pulling, chopping, and evicting fire prone invasive weeds, and preparing our restoration sites for winter planting and clearing the trails for easier walking.  THANKS EVERYONE – we couldn’t do it without you!  

Working in Fern Glade, our newest restoration site.
The recent light rains have teased the plants into popping up - and us into looking forward to Winter Stewardship.  But before we do, take a look at back at the activities of our hard working and dedicated volunteers in the pictures below.  Then come to Garber, enjoy the trails - and if you see a volunteer, stop to chat and say "Thanks."  And even better - come join us on a workday or a special event!

 Clearing ivy above the Claremont
Avenue Trail at our November 15
Bob is happiest seeking out the broom and Himalayan
Blackberry on the steepest slopes.

Relaxing and sharing stories about the day - here, celebrating
Mark's birthday with cupcakes!  

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Creek to Bay Day - an Overwhelming Success!

Thanks to all who came to Garber to help remove invasive weeds on Creek to Bay Day. Some worked in Fern Glade freeing trees and ferns from the ivy that was choking them. Others worked along Harwood Creek removing Himalayan blackberry, Cape ivy, and even cutting up a tree that had fallen into the creek at Bridge One. Still others walked the trail cutting back and pulling the invasive weeds to help keep the trail accessible for all to use. At the end of the day we all gathered together sharing our stories and pleased at the advances we made towards restoring this beautiful native oak woodland park.  Click here to see more pictures.