Skyline Earth Team and San Lorenzo Earth Team joined forces to help make Oyster Bay Regional Park a more beautiful place! The two teams of environmental leaders worked under the direction of Pamela Beitz of East Bay Regional Parks. She taught the team how to identify Stinkwort and Pampas Grass, and how to effectively remove both invasive species from the restoration area.
The interns focused their invasive removal efforts on an area of the park that is being converted into a community disc golf course, which is a project that will draw visitors to the park and increase awareness for issues of restoration and the environment in the East Bay.
The whole team spent some of the day removing juvenile plants before splitting into two groups to do more challenging work. One group of youths worked together to remove massive clumps of adult Pampas Grass, using their combined strength to dig through the strong, tangled roots. The moment when the largest grass was pulled was a moment of shared victory!
The other group of interns scanned the park for fallen buckeye seeds from established buckeye trees. They then learned how to plant the buckeyes beneath a couple of inches of soil after digging through the tangled leaf litter on the surface of the ground. The team of gatherers was able to plant 50 buckeye seeds along the southern edge of the disc golf course and are looking forward to coming back to the park in years to come to see how their trees grow!
An expert on benthic macro-invertebrates, or bugs, has been helping Skyline Earth Team collect samples and inventory invertebrates throughout Sausal Creek Watershed. Interns have spent recent weeks testing water at different sites along Sausal Creek, and these tests have included benthic macro-invertebrate inventories.
These tiny bugs can tell us big stories about whats going on in the creek! If many different varieties of invertebrates are found in a sample, it means that a stream is functioning to a good extent. Certain species are more sensitive to stream conditions, so finding those species is even more exciting. Finding a range of invertebrates, including some that graze on algae and some that are predators, shows researchers that a food web has been established in that particular ecosystems.
Skyline Earth Team is working on a project to protect water quality and stream biodiversity at Dimond Park, and sampling benthic macro-invertebrates provides great insight into what’s going on in the watershed!
On an unseasonably hot day in late October, Skyline interns journeyed to Dimond Park to survey dog owners about their opinions on pet waste and water quality. The interns spent the past weeks preparing a survey that would help reveal the challenges of preventing dog waste from contaminating Sausal Creek.
The survey was concise but in depth, and focused on personal habits, opinions about park infrastructure, and knowledge and values about water quality and fish life in Sausal Creel. The interns decided that they wanted to participate in the survey process directly by asking respondents the questions out loud, and initiating more in depth conversations about the issues. While the survey questions provided a lot of good insight, many of our interns felt like the most valuable lessons they learned came from conversations that stemmed from them.
Some interesting experiences and stories came out of the survey day, including one group of interns who were lectured by a woman about how people should stay away from dogs and focus on all the problems that people cause directly. Luckily, the interns thought it was funny and not too intimidating!
In general, the experience was positive for our Skyline interns. They were definitely nervous during the first round of interviews, but once they got into the swing of things, they enjoyed the experience and were able to get 22 responses on a relatively quiet Wednesday afternoon!
The data collected from this survey will be used to move forward Skyline’s project focusing on reducing pet waste contamination in Dimond Park. The next step in the investigation is to do water quality testing in the park to figure out what the real issues are! Stay tuned for updates about our Dimond Park Pet Waste Project!