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SACRAMENTO FWO: Planting in the Shade of a Fallen Oak
California-Nevada Offices , February 19, 2013
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The Service teamed up with the YMCA's afterschool program and others to make conservation happen in Sacramento.
The Service teamed up with the YMCA's afterschool program and others to make conservation happen in Sacramento. - Photo Credit: Robert Moler/USFWS
Planting natives, kids put about 50 different plants in the ground with care and enthusiam.
Planting natives, kids put about 50 different plants in the ground with care and enthusiam. - Photo Credit: Robert Moler/USFWS
Planting a new Valley oak to take root where the fallen tree had been was the crown jewel in the day's activities.
Planting a new Valley oak to take root where the fallen tree had been was the crown jewel in the day's activities. - Photo Credit: Robert Moler/USFWS
At the end of the day, everyone walked away with muddy boots, smiles, and with a little more knowledge about the value of working together for the environment.
At the end of the day, everyone walked away with muddy boots, smiles, and with a little more knowledge about the value of working together for the environment. - Photo Credit: Robert Moler/USFWS
Interpretive signs the kids had made identify the plants for all park goers.
Interpretive signs the kids had made identify the plants for all park goers. - Photo Credit: Robert Moler/USFWS

By Robert Moler

Weeds and debris had invaded the area at Eastern Oak Park in Sacramento, Calif. where an old heritage oak had fallen several years earlier. Noticing the site, and the kids who played around it, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist contacted the adjoining Northeast Sacramento Branch of the YMCA to see if the staff and kids would help reclaim the area with native plants. The answer was a resounding yes!

The partnership grew to include the Mission Oaks Recreation and Park District who authorized the planting in the park and the Sacramento Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society who donated native plants.

Then, on January 24, the kids involved with the YMCA after-school program were ready to get dirty. Or, as was the case, muddy. Rain had fallen the night before making the planting conditions a little sloppy but ideal for a kid’s outdoor activity day. YMCA staff and representatives from the Mission Oaks Recreation and Park District and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service joined the fun.

Together they planted a range of native plants. Sticky monkeyflower, woolly sunflower, California fescue, purple needlegrass and several other local plants went into the ground to the sound of the adult’s helpful instructions and the kid’s laughter and enthusiasm. Roughly 50 plants took root in the dirt and mud with the kids’ care and affection. The crown jewel to the day’s activities was the planting of a new Valley oak sapling to replace the old oak that had fallen years before. It was an afternoon of fun, cooperation, and local environmental stewardship. Everyone walked away with muddy boots, smiles, and with a little more knowledge about the value of working together for the environment.

The project now continues to grow. Interpretive signs the kids had made identify the plants for all park goers. The kids are caring for the plants and the YMCA staff has a new outdoor resource to help foster a connection between people and nature.

Robert Moler is the assistant field supervisor for external affairs at Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office in Sacramento, Calif.


Contact Info: Sarah Swenty, 916-414-6571, sarah_swenty@fws.gov



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