Volunteering with the San Lorenzo Estuary Re-Vegetation Restoration Project
by Jessica Calvillo
At the nursery I’ve had the chance to speak with people involved in a wide range of inspiring projects around the community. It was last Fall when I first had the pleasure of meeting meeting Jane Mio, City Lead for the San Lorenzo Estuary Re-Vegetation Restoration Project, as I assisted her with selecting native plants to provide habitat for our local wildlife. Each time Jane came to the nursery I became increasingly curious about her project and where our plants would find their new homes. On March 9th Jane invited me to join in on a special volunteer event being held at her project site along the river and what an inspiring day it turned out to be!
That morning, I suited up in all my rain gear and headed to Mike Fox Park where I met with an impressively large group of AmeriCorps members and community volunteers ready to brave the rains. The group gathered together around the special event’s hosts, interns Karlee & Lindsay of the Watershed Stewardship Program in partnership with AmeriCorps. There to provide guidance to the interns and their volunteers were Jane Mio and Linda Skeff, director of the San Lorenzo Valley Women’s Club’s Native Habitat Restoration Program, who have both been on the front lines orchestrating the Estuary Project since its beginning in February 2017. As we spent the day removing invasive plants, repairing weed cloth, spreading mulch, and planting natives I got the chance to hear more about Jane and Linda’s involvement with the Estuary Project and their personal connection to the river.
Outside of special events like these, Jane leads regular volunteer events every 3rd Saturday of the month with the aim of following up on previous restoration efforts that took place in 2003. According to Jane, “in 2016 Linda Skeff suggested that [they] submit a proposal for The Estuary Re-Vegetation Restoration Project (Estuary Project) to the City’s Park & Rec Dept Dept, which was approved & in Feb. 2017”. Describing herself as a ‘boots-on-the-grounds’ kind of person, Jane says her, “decade long involvement with the San Lorenzo River has offered [her] unbelievable enriching, magical insights about its rich, determined fauna & flora treasures. These experiences have given [her] such great pleasure & joy, which [she] wants to share with [her] Community. At the same time [she] also wanted to enhance & protect the fauna & flora so that it could thrive & expand.” The fruits of her and her volunteer’s labor can be seen just starting to bloom including Ceanothus, Gumplant, Fuchsia Flower Gooseberry, Bee Plant, and many more. By improving this important habitat for wildlife like birds, pollinators, and migrating Salmon, Jane feels, “the Estuary Project is achieving a win-win situation. This brings the community together, creates new relationships & builds co-working with groups, City Departments & other agencies. I am very proud of what the volunteers have accomplished & grateful for the Park & Rec. Dept support, help & encouragement!!!”
As a nursery whose mission it is to restore biodiversity to our wild lands, it fills us with much joy to see these sentiments grow and blossom within our community. This could not be better exemplified than in the volunteer events hosted by Jane and Linda. If you are interested in doing something good for our local wildlife and community come join Jane and her volunteers every third Saturday of the month at Mike Fox Park from 9am-1pm. Also check out Jane’s blog detailing all the exciting work happening along the San Lorenzo River.
Jane Mio’s blog: https://sanlorenzoriverblog.com
Photos by Jessica Calvillo