Native Restoration

"TreeBeard" restoration area May 2015

“Treebeard” restoration area at the Visalia campus – May 2015

Our students have many unique opportunities here at ERCLC. In the fall of 2014, ERCLC middle and high school students were given this question: “How can we restore, improve and connect people to the natural environment at ERCLC?” Students came up with the following ideas: by planting native vegetation, understanding the Native American use of those plants, putting in an access trail, outdoor furniture, educational signs, a trail camera to record animal life, and bat and owl boxes.

It has turned into the start of a multi-year project with student and parent involvement, and support from government and community organizations such as the Sequoia Riverlands Trust. Bobby Kamansky, COS biology professor, who has done ecosystem restoration on numerous sites in our area, has been guiding and advising the project.

So far, a demonstration model area has been done in the southeast corner of the property by the large oak named Treebeard. The trail has been started, the owl boxes are up, and work is progressing on other projects. Eventually, a beautiful California prairie of native grasses, and perennial and annual flowering plants will cover a large portion of ERCLC. Native shrubs and trees will grow along the fence line. A half-mile trail will encircle the property with educational signs and interpretative materials, as well as sitting areas with outdoor furniture.

Besides beauty, recreational, and educational value, a trophic cascade will be created which establishes the base level of an ecosystem, in this case, the vegetation. The associated insect, animal and bird life returns and the interesting living complexity of an area is restored.

Special thanks, as huge supporters of this project, go to: Sequoia Riverlands Trust, and Bobby Kamansky of Kamansky’s Ecological Consulting.

If you want to be part of this effort, or have questions or resources to contribute, please contact Jeff Alexander at jeff@erclc.org

Photos from the project…

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