Spore Lore

Jun 072017
 
0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Acorn Launch Pad, Cold Water Canyon rock, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, California Valley Oak, acorn, Quercus lobata

Ants!Acorn Launch Pad is an Outdoor Classroom wildlife habitat installation at the Laguna Foundation‘s Laguna Environmental Center, or LEC, located at 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, California, 95401. Date: June 6, 2017.  School: Orchard View School, Sebastopol, California.  Teacher: Sunny Galbraith.  Me: Tony McGuigan, from Spore Lore.

Management reserves the right to change a name!Acorn Launch Pad, hereinafter at times referred to as “ALP” for brevity, is a 3-season wildlife habitat installation.  The project evolved during the winter, spring, and summer months of 2016 into 2017.  The installation highlight is to plant a valley oak tree between a hubba hubba hulk of a log and a 1000 pound Cold Water Canyon Rock slab.  Will the valley oak (Quersus lobata) live to 500 years?  Will the tree lift the rock slab as it grows?  Not for me to know in 30, 40, 50 years from now, but perhaps the students planting the tree will.

1 Year, 5 Months Before Installation

east view -- Laguna Foundation, Santa RosaDriveway of Laguna Foundation’s LEC (Laguna Environmental Center), east view.  The gate is behind me about 50 feet.  Note the rock patch left of the road, at the foot of the culvert pipe, and the juncus rush clump.  Juncus (Juncus patens), culvert, and ditch — sounds like water to me!  This lower area will make good wildlife habitat, providing habitat’s 4 elements — food, water, shelter, and a place to raise young.  Juncus at the site indicates year-round water; the valley oak and critters living in the tree, under the rocks, and in the soil will use that water.

east view -- Stone Farm, Santa RosaSame view as above pic, but along the fence.  Not too early to envision the project; Permaculture principles entail waiting a year (12 months!) before working a site.  This winter’s job is to watch the water — how much water from winter floods will fill the site AND where will the water line be?

driveway road culvertCulvert pipe outlet, north side of driveway, which connects low-lying pastures so the driveway does not flood so quickly.  Will take lots of rain to flood over the road.  Note how thick (happy) the juncus clump is.

7 Months Before Installation

Habitat Landscaper -- Tony McGuiganIt’s been nearly a year waiting on harvesting wood for Acorn Launch Pad.  Last winter’s wet wood (WWW — and nothing virtual about it!) has sunbaked dry, has become lighter.  Lighter wood means we can harvest a larger, bulker, hulkier log or tree trunk.  Took 4 hours to get Hulk (strapped at angle) into the truck.  Note the plywood board under the rear tire — the soft November ground is soft and a tire rut left in the mud would look messy.

Digging bars keep the plywood in place as the truck’s wheel spins right.

Webbing straps secure Hulk to a perfectly placed telephone pole.  Ready?!  Set!

Hulk has arrived homeGo!!!  Hulk, an oak tree trunk section, arrives home, about 50 feet from the installation site, which is close to the fenceline on the left.

5 Months Before Installation

Always set an anchor!So where’s that driveway road?  Winter in Sonoma County means water, sometimes flooding.  Note how Hulk rests in slightly higher ground above the culvert.  Note the lushness of the terrain — hard to imagine that in six months it will be a parched dry golden brown.

Photo courtesy of Brent Reed Kayaking ToursLater that same January 2017 day; the water has risen fast.  Yikes!  Almost lost Hulk to the flood, but now we know where flood level goes to at the site.

2 Months Before Installation

Thanks Stuart!A rock slab is placed on top of 3 smaller landscape boulders.  The rock slab, “Rock”, is a 1000 pound (½ ton) Cold Water Canyon (local to Sonoma County) rock.  Thank you Stuart Schroeder for the fork lift delivery!  The 3 smaller rocks will slow down Rock’s sinking into the soil and will create cavities for critters under Rock.

Installation Day — Part 1 (6 weeks before Part 2)

setting come-a-long chainThe students from Orchard View School have arrived.  Rolling Hulk on its side, we discover . . .

ants!ants!  Lots of ants.  Busy, swarming red ants, that bite.  Obviously, we will be destroying some of their habitat, most likely a nest built under Hulk, as we install another habitat.

Heave!Today’s outdoor classroom project is about mechanical advantage, mostly class 1 leverage.  Left, a long metal pipe is toed into the earth and pushed forward, from the top end, to move Rock more centered on top of the 3 landscaping boulders below.  A student (second from right) pulls Rock at the same time using a come-a-long.  A third student (right) keeps Hulk in place; on the other side of Hulk (far right, out of photo) are digging bars and pipes to anchor the come-a-long.  Note that Rock still sits on the fork lift skid/pallet that helped Farmer Stuart deliver it.  The wood pallet creates a lot of catching resistance — all the more reason to use mechanical advantage.

Almost there!Fine tuning placement of Rock and retrieving the come-a-long chain.

Who left this pallet here?Students begin digging Hulk’s hole, near enough to the rocks so that the tree trunk section will surface and rest on the rocks.

Dig a hole, make a mound.Topsoil and weeds from the hole is thrown into the rock pile to create a rich foundation for planting the valley oak tree.

Sticky, heavy mud!Extra logs are temporarily placed to help create a mound of soil up against the rocks.

Excuse me, what are the Rec Room's hours?A western fence lizard (tail and foot visible under the pallet) inspects the new Recreation Room.

Mount St. Helena to the north.Finished for the day.  Acorn Launch Pad waits for the next work session.  North view.  Note that weeds and mud have been thrown against the rock pile.  Also, the extra logs have removed from the soil-mounding area and are now placed into the hole started by the students to alert anyone walking in the field.

Can we have some quiet, please?!A lizard on its way to the rock pile.

setting sun, day's endThe warm sunny rock has coaxed a lizard out.  Notice the little rock alcove it basks in, complete with overhead shelter from predators.

Habitat it and they will come!

Installation Day — Part 2 — Completion on June 6, 2017

Warm rocks -- lizards have moved in!East view.  Time to finish this job, 6 weeks later than scheduled.  Soft adobe mud has turned into brick hard adobe mud.  Today’s job is a different job than it would have been in soft-mud spring.  Summer’s heat and dryness have hardened the heavy soil.  But we can fix that!

North view.  First order of business — get water to the hole so that the soil will soften.  A garden hose is stretched out in the sun to warm while tools are gathered.  Removing any kinks in the hose now will help increase water flow.  Note the dryness of the terrain.

native plant nurseryCollecting tools and water from the Laguna Foundation’s Nursery.

Habitat Landscaper at work!Spore Lore™ Mobile Hydration Station on truck.  Hoses deliver water into Hulk’s hole started by students.

Close-up view of getting water to the installation site.  The odd-looking dome screen above the barrels is merely to keep the sun-warmed hose from kinking; I ran out of hard pipe to plumb the siphon.  5-gal buckets of water are used to replenish water flowed out of the drums, before the siphon is lost — sure beats carrying the water buckets to the site!

chop wood, (don't) carry waterAnd we have water!

bar marks the spotPlenty of time for the hole to be filled with water.  Time to take in the beauty of this pasture land, and time to imagine how this habitat might contribute to it.  A good time to plan completion of the job, work some art into the finished product.  The metal digging bar represents how Hulk is to rest.   Catching the eye — visitors to the Laguna Foundation will spot the oak log from afar.  Diagonally, and opening away from the road, the log is positioned to welcome visitors.  And as for the critters visiting or living in Acorn Launch Pad, they could care less about such artsy stuff.

Metal digging bar representing Hulk’s position — close-up view.  Hulk and Rock will form a “planting box” for Acorn (the acorns planted to seed the valley oak tree).  Fill canyon (trench between Rock and Hulk), plant tree.  Simple!  Oh, that’s right, no such luck; I’m doing the digging.

Mountain Climber makes it look easy!A lizard climbs rock,

small dinosaurand stops.  Perhaps to savor warmth?  Perhaps to conceal, not give away so freely, its hideout and/or home.  “Who me?  I am not here.  I have disappeared into camouflage.”  Note this camouflage expert’s position.  Is it coincidence that this striped animal rests parallel to a like-colored, bleached grass stalk?

I usually sleep in for BreakfastClose-up of western fence lizard entering ALP.  Note pattern, color, and texture of Lizard’s right arm.  Now do the same for the lichen it has landed on.  This guy is good!  “Where’s dinner?  I heard there were wood beetles, earthworms, and froglets here.”

stay where you are, pleaseLet’s do the Can Can!  Driwater® hydration cans will provide time-released irrigation to young tree roots a year from now.  Acorn is set for launch in Fall 2017.  Winter rains will help mature the valley oak seedling.  Time-released irrigation, using the Driwater® system, will water the seedlings through next late spring and next summer.   [No statement here is by Driwater®.]  Note the twine line — it was used to keep the cans in place and to “chalk line” surface level.  In order words, the twine marks how high the soil will be mounded.  Keep in mind that this view of the planting mound is looking through Hulk — Hulk will be installed up against these cans, parallel to them and will form a “planting box”.  Note how the cans’ tops have been positioned above soil level.  The top will be removed to fill the cans with Driwater® material.  Note the oak limbs under and alongside the cans — mycorrhizal fungi trenches in waiting.  Those small oak limbs will break down, rot, and become food and homes for soil creatures from today till Acorn is planted.  Then, upon planting, the decayed oak limbs will support growth to Acorn through absorbing and holding water and by providing an enhanced mycorrhizal fungi network.

Let water do the workOak Lake fills while weeds/topsoil are harvested into a storage bin (pond liners are lightweight and strong).  The alive weeds/topsoil will be used used to dress Acorn’s adobe hillside.

treasure trashRoadside trash harvested.  These old tree branches are good organic material that will come in handy.

wet mud on a dry dayOak Lake expansion.  The water is about 6 inches below grade, just low enough to be contained in the hole and not overfill.  Time is the most powerful working agent — the longer the water sits in the hole, the softer the adobe clay becomes.  Note the planting of sticks in the center of the soil mound.  Those antennae are broken roadside trash branches — wood that will absorb water, break down, and leave a more alive soil for Acorn.

underwater mud is slow digging More water.  Now the digging is under water, sliver of mud by sliver of mud.  Slow digging but doable.

Hulk flipped into position.  Note the closer (foreground) digging bar — it provides our workhorse, leverage, and will pull Hulk to it.

Ready?!  Set!

Perfect!  Hulk has cleared the end of the hole and can be flipped in.

It’s a flawless half turn nose dive!  Notice how much more hole there is surrounding Hulk.  Hulk will be pulled to the closer shore, toward the red strap.  Doing so will allow Hulk to rest parallel with the hydration cans.

Supporting logs floated in Oak Lake to provide more organic material AND to preserve precious backfill soil.  More wood in the hole means less soil needed to fill it.

16 pound sledge hammer, The PersuaderPersuader (sledge hammer) sinks another supporting log next to Hulk.  Note that Hulk has twisted on its side.  Each flip of Hulk produces a different rainwater collecting surface.  Might not sound like much but every drop of rainwater is a big deal to the fungi, flora and fauna that will call Hulk home.

Hulk lays almost parallel to the can line.  Half of the adobe mound in the background will line the bottom of the canyon wedge, ensuring that Hulk will absorb water/moisture during rain/fog.

Mudworks.  Downhill side of Hulk filled in with Oak Bog (puddle) created to capture rainwater.

Our old friend, Culvert.  A great place to collect straw.

Straw is used to cover the wet mud and to help the habitat blend into local terrain.

Finished!  North view.  Acorn Launch Pad wildlife habitat installation is in.

Closer view of finished habitat.  Acorn will be planted at the blue flag, between Hulk and Rock.

West view of soil mound awaiting Acorn.

South view.  Note that the hydration cans are hidden from road traffic.

Acorn Blast Off coming Fall 2017East view.  Note that the hydration cans are usable (the lids can be accessed) yet blend into the habitat’s features.  The cans will be more hidden in high grass as the habitat fills in with Life.

See you in the fall to plant (Blast off!!!) Acorn.

Thank you, as always, to Sunny Galbraith, teacher at Orchard View School, Sebastopol, and her students.  Also, much thanks to the Staff and Board of the Laguna Foundation, particularly the Restoration and Conservation Science Department: Wendy Trowbridge, Director; Brent Reed, Ecological Program Manager; Sarah Gordon, Conservation Science Program Manager; Paul Weber, Restoration Field Supervisor; Asa Voight, Restoration Technician II; Hannah Werdmuller, Restoration Technician; and Julie Skopal, Nursery Manager.

Enjoy your habitat installations.  Habitat it!

                                                                               Tony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 212017
 
0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherum

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumDark Soil Light Wood Saddleback is an Outdoor Classroom wildlife habitat installation at the Laguna Foundation‘s Laguna Environmental Center, or LEC, located at 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, California, 95401. Date: February 23, 2017.  School: Orchard View School, Sebastopol, California.  Teacher: Sunny Galbraith.  Me: Tony McGuigan, from Spore Lore.

Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback (now that’s a name!) hereinafter “Saddleback” installation.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumThe Plan, from 2 months before the project.  Name change was inevitable; the students had not been consulted.  Plan is North View.  Our project, Saddleback, is under East Log and the mounding of soil/rock/plants between the two logs.

In a nutshell, Saddleback is a wildlife habitat installation using a large trunk section to shelter an underground tunnel that leads to a rock outcropping and the surface.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumDark Soil Light Wood Saddleback — The Before.  North east view.  February in Sonoma County means mustard!  Note the swath of vibrant yellow mustard in the lush grass-happy cow pasture beyond the Laguna Environmental Center’s fenceline.  The line of trees on the pasture’s north border is Irwin Creek.

Prep — 3 Months Before Installation

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumSaddleback is a sister habitat to a previous outdoor classroom wildlife habitat installation: Twisted North Mound.  In foreground, a student removes clay soil from under East Log to build the soil mound behind him.  The trench was then filled with woodchips for easy removal when East Log’s habitat is created (beats digging out clay soil!).

Prep — Installation Day — Before Students Arrive

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumTurkey tail fungus on the oak trunk of West Log.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumTurkey Tail fungus.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumMeadow barley (Hordeum brachyantherum) plugs that will be used for the project.  These plugs are leftovers in the Nursery; their survival rate will be poor.  But, some may live to thrive in the habitat.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumA plug of meadow barley.  Note the moss “weed”.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumScraping away woodchips from under the East Log.  See “Prep — 3 Months Before Installation“, above.  Note the earthworm at my fingertips.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumSoil critters thriving in the moist decaying woodchips under (shaded from sun) in the previously made trench.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumScraping away woodchips to preserve their integrity.  We want to keep the soil we move from mixing with the woodchips.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumShading the woodchip pile with landscape cloth to minimize soil microbe/fungus fatality.  The partially broken down woodchips are richly impregnated with decomposers, that is, microbes and fungus and arthropods and gastropods that want to eat the woodchips, thrive in them.  Would be a shame to kill off such biota while installing a habitat.  The opaque landscape cloth will keep harsh sunlight from the woodchip dwellers.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherum

Taking shape.  The trench under East Log is deepened.  Soil in the tub, from the trench, will be added to Saddleback when the meadow barley is planted.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumShopping for something organic, something ALIVE! at the Habitat Resource Pile (an old woodchip pile with buried treasures).  Note the middle stump, adjacent to the eaten out stump in the foreground — it has lived inside a large woodchip for over 3 years, always covered by chips.  Now it is ripe to pick and place in a wildlife habitat.  The stump itself is alive — it is impregnated with Life.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumPrying Middle Stump (think Middle Earth) from the Habitat Garden’s woodchip pile.  Note the dark richness of its bed — Are these woodchips are is this soil?!

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumHabitat it and they will come!  Lots of Life, critters seen and unseen, fungi, stored water and its biome.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumStored in a tub, the precious stump is shaded in a plastic barrel.  The stump’s transfer to the habitat will be in a few hours.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumHarvesting compost from Compost Cricket Corral, as mentioned in my last post, Centipede Tunnel Perch.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumPrep.  Clockwise from foreground: 4-15 gallon pots filled with Nursery-discarded potting soil (free!), West Log, Cold Water Canyon rock slabs (standing and on garden cart), Middle Stump in white plastic shaded bin, plants (behind East Log in shade), black plastic bin of topsoil from East Log trench, tunnel of corrugated perforated habitated (holes cut in for critter entrance/exit) 6″ ABS, palm fronds, black landscape cloth covered mound of woodchips, wheelbarrow (rusty) of compost with an algae covered log, wheelbarrow (blue) of compost.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumA bonus gift!  We have 5 juncus Juncus patens to plant.  Juncus, a reed, loves water; their presence indicates year-round water.

Installation — Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumStudents have arrived and gather woodchips that will be used to finish the project.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumIn goes the tunnel, a custom designed critter tunnel, “Each Exit/Entrance is about 6-8″ long and 2″ wide (2 corrugation trenches).”, as described in Centipede Tunnel Perch.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumDecisions, decisions — it is a school day after all.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumCritter tunnel in place.  Note the spaced cut-outs.  Are you [critter] in or are you out?

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumOld palm fronds, salvaged/harvested from the Habitat Garden Resource Pile, are used to line the tunnel.  Accomplishes: 1) keeps tunnel in place, 2) installs Life-alive! biome to project, 3) provides critters with a moisture laden maze of cavities, and 4) empties the palm frond pile.  Turn trash to treasure!

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumMiddle Stump has a new home.  Saddleback gets an infussion of life.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumAdding more wood for the habitat’s cavern-filled mound.  Also, scraping soil to cover tunnel/palm fronds.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumBackfilling to plant up against East Log.

2017020- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherum28-DSLWS_81-800Moving a rock slab into Saddleback.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumAnd another rock.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumThe goal here is to create a planting mound joined with the plants in the foreground, those meadow barley of Twisted North Mound.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumSoil for the mound.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumIn comes a cavity maker.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumSaddleback’s north side is about to get a rock slab that will create cavities.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumNorth end of Saddleback sealed off with a rock slab.  Middle Stump is really now in Middle Earth!

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumMounding soil.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumAnd the bin of topsoil.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumWoodchips.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumTime to reclaim the woodchips from the start of the project.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumPlanting meadow barley.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumEach meadow barley plug is planted top flush with soil surface.  Then the grasses are lightly surrounded with woodchips, enough to support the grasses but not so much to block sunlight.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumPlanting meadow barley and juncus.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumDark Soil Light Wood Saddleback — The After.

1 Month After Installation

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumA western fence lizard surfaces from within Saddleback.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, spore lore, sporelore, sporelore.com, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, Dark Soil Light Wood Saddleback, Cold Water Canyon rock, woodchip mulch, compost, straw bales, bird perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Cookie Monster Perch, ABS perforated corrugated drainpipe, adobe soil, berm, swale, posthole digger, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherumSame lizard back inside and out another exit.  Fun in the sun.

Thank you, as always, to Sunny Galbraith, teacher at Orchard View School, Sebastopol, and her students.  Also, much thanks to the Staff and Board of the Laguna Foundation, particularly the Restoration and Conservation Science Department: Wendy Trowbridge, Director; Brent Reed, Ecological Program Manager; Sarah Gordon, Conservation Science Program Manager; Paul Weber, Restoration Field Supervisor; Asa Voight, Restoration Technician II; Hannah Werdmuller, Restoration Technician; and Julie Skopal, Nursery Manager.

Enjoy your habitat installations.  Habitat it!

Tony

 

Feb 142017
 

Centipede Tunnel Perch -- The BeforeCentipede Tunnel Perch — The Before.  Northwest view.  Previous installations in the Habitat Garden (nearest to farthest): Cookie Monster Perch, Garter Snake Ravine, Log Pile Apartments, Compost Cricket Corral, Big Splash Hotel and Spa, and Salamander French Drain, the last of which is nearly under the willow to the left.

Centipede Tunnel Perch is a wildlife habitat installed near the Habitat Landscaping Resource Center (otherwise known as the “compost” and “log pile”) at the Laguna Foundation‘s Laguna Environmental Center, or LEC, located at 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, California, 95401.  The installation was an outdoor classroom activity.  Date: January 19, 2017.  School: Orchard View School, Sebastopol, California.  Teacher: Sunny Galbraith.  Me: Tony McGuigan, from Spore Lore.

In a nutshell, this wildlife habitat installation is 3 tasks at the Habitat Garden.  The Habitat Garden can be considered the collective of wildlife habitat installations, some of which are listed under the photo, above, and all the natural (organic) materials on hand.  Most of those on-hand materials are the compost and branch/log pile.

1st Task — To get a large mass of wood buried deep into the soil so it will provide moisture to critters months after the rains have gone.

2nd Task — To use the soil dug from the wood’s hole to direct water to the wood.

3rd Task — To plant native sedge to hold the soil bank downstream from Centipede Tunnel Perch.

 

Prep — 3 Days Before Installation

left is Santa Barbara sedge; right is Italian ryegrass Northeast corner of concrete slab behind the Nursery.  Right: Garter Snake Ravine habitat with “weeds”, mostly the alien (non-native) Italian rye grass, an annual (per the local farmer, Stuart).  Left: Log Pile Apartments and Compost Critter Corral habitats and Santa Barbara sedge (Carex barbarae).  The students will be sheet mulching over the weeds and planting Santa Barbara sedge to cover both sides of the slab’s corner.

straw used to guarantee moistureA pile of old straw is moved away to dig the deep hole for the habitat.  Ultimately, a perch-like long piece of tree trunk will stand upright in the hole.  The deeper the hole, the more stable the vertical post/pole will be.  Also, the deeper the hole, the shorter (off the ground) the pole becomes.  Grandiose towering structure VERSUS safety — always a hard weighing between the two!  Note the old straw was left there to break down AND to keep the adobe clay soil moist, for digging such a hole.  Wet/moisturize the dry, hard adobe clay soil one day and dig into soft, pliable adobe the next day.

A further note about digging here.  The digging is horrendous at this site — all the more reason to be digging here.  We will be unearthing the nearby road crew’s dumping of asphalt road grading, circa 1950’s, including many book-sized slabs of asphalt.  That “worthless” soil will be our new treasure in creating a berm of soil to direct rainfall to the habitat.

photo ops are take a breather breaksA shovel head deep into the center of the Earth.  Note the straw bale far right and the little berm of hole soil between the straw and the hole.  That berm will help keep rainwater (we are expecting rain on installation day) away from the area.  The installation area will be slippery enough without a running creek!

 Prep — 2 Days Before Installation

wet dayCentipede Tunnel Perch’s perch has arrived, complete with safety cone hat.

Ridge Lake, Middle Lake, Hole Lake -- free camping all crittersLate morning rain.  Perfect time to start work.  Tomorrow, this new wildlife habitat will be installed by Orchard View students.  Note this microcosm canyon.  Our intention here is to capture as much water as possible and store it for as long as possible, so that amphibians would thrive here.  (If amphibians can thrive, most other critter groups will have a fair chance of survival, too.)  So, the adobe canyon, once a road crew dump, has become an adobe-lined, wood-filled water basin with outlet.

Regarding the habitat’s water outlet (mentioned in last paragraph), it is the height of the Santa Barbara sedge thicket, downstream from Centipede Tunnel Perch, that determines how far and wide Habitat Garden Pond becomes.  Alas, a lake is born, on each good rain.  As rainwater sits in the Lake, submerged wood will saturate that rainwater and store it. (Habitat Garden Adobe Canyon if you must have a name.)

water headed to Habitat Garden PondWater!  Precious stuff.  So, rather than allow this road runoff rainwater to escape into the field downstream, through the double gate, a small soil berm will direct the rainwater to the Habitat Garden, to then be drained behind the Nursery and flow into the field.  Either way, berm or not, the downhill field will get the water.  With berm keeps the gate area dryer and brings water to the Habitat Garden.

 Prep — Installation Day — Before Students

custome posthole digger -- Thanks Jim!Installation Day.  The soil is saturated with very little water in the hole.  Perfect!  I like easier digging.  Note the black ABS tape on the posthole digger’s handles at 3-feet and 6-feet.  The hole will be dug to the 6-feet mark.

who cleans out the barrel?Preparing to dig.  Note that the wheelbarrow is lined with straw to cleanly dump the wet adobe soil harvested from the hole.  The metal digging bar will straddle across the sides of the wheelbarrow and provide a knock-off edge for clearing out the posthole digger clams.  Posthole digger in foreground (clams are at collecting end).

stingy mucky wet heavy mud!Muck removal on a bright shiny day.  Note that the wood, blue-painted metal trench shovel (top) has its curve parallel with the curve of the posthole digger clam (below).  The shovel will be flipped to clean the posthole digger’s right side, maintaining curve-curve parallel position.  Note digging bar for banging the mud loose.

Run! giant centipedeDry Run photo op.  Sizing the ABS 6″ corrugated perforated drainpipe Tunnel in the habitat.

do not forget extra battery!Using a Milwaukee HACKZALL® to cut the plastic corrugated perforated pipe to install Exit/Entrance’s in the tunnel.  Centipede Tunnel Perch includes tenancy options for critters using it.  Eat, stay, have a family here, at least take a drink of water (meets the 4 elements of Habitat), then you can enter or leave through the many Exit/Entrance’s.  Each Exit/Entrance is about 6-8″ long and 2″ wide (2 corrugation trenches).  Note my boots are pinning the drainpipe up against the table’s leg posts.

keep doing the same thingHalfway done installing Exit/Entrance’s on this side of the pipe.  The pipe will then be flipped over so that Exit/Entrance’s can be cut into that side, position alternating with the first side’s Exit/Entrance’s.  Note the sawblade’s angle to ensure that both long sawcuts will meet.

Tunnel with Exit and Entrance openningsThe Tunnel is ready for installation.  Exit/Entrance’s cut-outs collected in center.

critters in, critters outView THROUGH the Tunnel to the concrete slab below.

Installation Day — The Students Are Here!

harvesting soil to make a bermRemoval of the adobe berm inside the installation zone.  This soil will be the foundation for the road runoff berm.

love the moss on the Cold Water Canyon fieldstoneWeeding the soil bank before sheet mulching.  Weeds are dropped in place to keep the topsoil nutrients/microbes on site.

transplanting sedge to hold a bank of soilThriving on a damp winter day.  This outdoor classroom rocks!  Takes a Village to support outdoor classrooms.

dig deeper!  dig deeper!Progress of the hole.  A lower platform has been stomped around the perch’s hole.  That’s adobe!  Note the rain workgear: mud boots and work-friendly rainsuit.

plants on top of sheet mulchingYour job (Yellow Slicker) is to stand here.  And teacher Sunny did it so well while students pried Santa Barbara sedge plants from their pots.  The sedge clumps were evenly spaced on the cardboard sheet mulching.  Loose soil fill over the cardboard and between the plants will secure the plants in place on the bank.

Hey down there!   Send up some lunch.Perch has been dropped into its hole.  Note the ropes hanging on Perch.  A triad of ropes was used to upright the tall, heavy tree trunk.  One more rope was used to spin Perch after it vertically rested in the hole.

Square Dancing in Habitat GardenStudents secure/stuff/wedge one end of Centipede Tunnel alongside Perch in the hole.

Looks good to me!Inspection.  And good news — Centipede Tunnel Perch passes.  Note that the left end of Tunnel goes into the hole for Perch, toward moisture.  The other end of Tunnel opens to ground level, under a log pile (or wood causeways if you are a cricket) where food (smaller critters) are plentiful.

aiming for mud bootsStudent stands on Tunnel while it is buried with old straw.

Outdoor Classroom in actionForeground: Finishing touches for sedge transplanting — loose soil to fill in thin spots.

Background: Entire old straw pile is thrown at the base of Perch.

Haircuts 50 CentsTrimming the sedge = twist and cut with pruning shears.  The sedge leaves are used for mulch between the newly transplanted sedge bundles.  Do plants have a feedback system such that dead leaves in the soil trigger growth?  Always questions!

Digging Bar and Sledge CrewStudents installing a temporary soil bank retaining wall.  Short branches horizontal, saved-from-the-wood-bin stakes vertical.  By the time these flimsy materials rot, like next year, the sedge bank will be glad to eat it up, glad to be nourished by the decaying wood.  AND, most of that decay process will be from our Decomposer friends.  Habitat it!

Garter Snake Ravine likes the company.  Cookie Monster Perch might not.Sedge Corners.  Note the tempory retaining wall of mulch material (little sticks, stakes, woodchips, soil).  Perch is the blonde piece of wood on the far right of the tower of perches.

<<< This Way WaterCentipede Tunnel Perch — The After.  Note far right, the pooled water stopped from going to the gate by the new berm.

"Where's the Party?", asks Froggy.  Hop, hop, and a few more.  Wonder if my froggy friends will be at Habitat Garden Lake tonight?

movin' hayFarmer Stuart moving hay for Stone Farm‘s plow horses.

Irwin Creek flooded (in distance)Sedge Corners lookin’ good!

Water -- Slow it.  Spread it.  Sink it.Centipede Tunnel Perch lookin’ good!

 

Time to call it an Outdoor Classroom Wildlife Habitat Installation Day!  Time to give up the habitat to the critters.  Time to go home, watch the receding Laguna de Santa Rosa leave the oak meadows along its banks.

Thank you, as always, to Sunny Galbraith, teacher at Orchard View School, Sebastopol, and her students.  Also, much thanks to the Staff and Board of the Laguna Foundation, particularly the Restoration and Conservation Science Department: Wendy Trowbridge, Director; Brent Reed, Ecological Program Manager; and Paul Weber, Restoration Field Supervisor, and Julie Skopal, Nursery Manager.

Thank you to Aaron Nunez, the then Ecological Project Manager.  Aaron has left the Laguna Foundation’s employment and is currently working elsewhere.  Yay for Aaron!  We teachers, students, and critters all appreciated his work while at the Laguna Foundation.

Enjoy your habitat installations.  Habitat it!

Tony

Nov 172016
 
20161110-tnm-_96-800- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, western fence lizard, redwood, Cold Water Canyon rock, avocado leaves, bamboo leaves, woodchip mulch, compost, torrent sedge, weeding, millipede, Jerusalem cricket, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherum, garter snake, genus Thamnophis0cr

Orchard View students with teacher Sunny GalbraithTwisted North Mound is a wildlife habitat installed behind Heron Hall at the Laguna Foundation‘s Laguna Environmental Center, or LEC, located at 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, California, 95401.  The installation was an outdoor classroom activity.  Date: November 10, 2016.  School: Orchard View School, Sebastopol, California.  Teacher: Sunny Galbraith.  Me: Tony McGuigan, from Spore Lore.

In a nutshell, this wildlife habitat installation is a wad of clay, organic material, topsoil, and new meadow barley plants shoved up against a very large trunk section of a downed oak tree.  A large rock slab, hovering off the ground, snugs up to the tree trunk and earthen, cavity-filled mound.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, western fence lizard, redwood, Cold Water Canyon rock, avocado leaves, bamboo leaves, woodchip mulch, compost, torrent sedge, weeding, millipede, Jerusalem cricket, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherum, garter snake, genus ThamnophisOctober 2013 (three 3 years ago) Stuart Schroeder, of Stone Horse Farm, uses an “implement carrier” pulled/pushed by a tractor to move West Heron Hall Log into place.

Heron Hall Logs East (L) and West (R)The BEFORE.  Heron Hall Logs East (L) and West (R).  One goal of Twisted North Mound is to have these large hulks of wood look more naturally placed in the terrain, for instance, as if the tree had fallen on site.

Habitat Installation Day — Prep before students arrive

c8-20161110-tnm-_0cr-800Habitat Resource Depot (fancy name!) at the Laguna Foundation’s compost (left) and woodchip pile (right).  Pulled from the depot for this installation: tree logs and small rootballs, rock slab (center), old surface compost with fresh grass weeds, and under-the-pile compost soil.

c7-20161110-tnm-_6cr-800Lifting a rock slab for use in the habitat installation, a millipede is disturbed. Note the wisp of spider cob web lower left — a busy underside of the rock that has rested here only a month.

c6-20161110-tnm-_11-800East view of East Heron Hall Log (there are two; the other is West Log), which is next to the habitat installation site.  Note the sun-protected trays of meadow barley starts that will be planted.  The south face of the log is thick with woodchip mulch to suppress weeds.  Lush green grass and weeds in the background — now is the time to plant in Northern California.  We can plant native plant starts now and the coming rains will water them, increasing plant survival despite no irrigation used.

c5-20161110-tnm-_12-800Clear the table!  Top layer woodchip mulch is scraped away from the work site for 4 reasons: 1) to harvest/collect woodchips that will be under Twisted North Mound (AKA “TNM”), mostly between the 2 large oak tree sections, 2) to access soil from under East Log (foreground), to harvest a thin layer of decayed woodchip-rich topsoil from under the scraped away woodchips, and 4) to keep the woodchips clean and usable as mulch (no soil!) while the habitat site is built.

c4-20161110-tnm-_13-800A western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis) is well camouflaged on West Log (center, far edge).

c3-20161110-tnm-_17-800Close-up of wary lizard.  Throughout set-up, lizards darted in and out of the Logs’ thick bark layer that has sagged from the harder cambium wood.  Perfect habitat for these small creatures.

c2-20161110-tnm-_20-800Gathering organic material to create a planted mound, here includes shovel skimming ALIVE topsoil and fresh weeds from a dormant Compost Cricket Corral bin.

c1-20161110-tnm-_22a-800A garter snake escapes from one side of East Log (where I was removing woodchips) to the back side of the log.

b9-20161110-tnm-_23cr-800Ouch!  Now I know these Jerusalem crickets can bite.  Allowing this critter to crawl over onto my hand turned out to be a bad idea; luckily the skin of my finger was not broken by the insect’s jaws.  Note that topsoil from under East Log is being harvested for use, and thrown on a tarp, for the West Log habitat mound.

b8-20161110-tnm-_24-800Topsoil on a tarp (foreground) has been harvested from under East Log.

b7-20161110-tnm-_26-800Mushroom layer has been exposed as the oak-tree-to-woodchip-mulch interface is exposed (at tip of shovel).

b6-20161110-tnm-_36-800Bucket Man collects fresh compost soil from under compost; note shovel under compost pile in background.

b5-20161110-tnm-_42-800Prep for Twisted North Mound wildlife habitat installation.  Starting from west face of West Log, in foreground, moving clockwise: rakes to return woodchip mulch after installation is in, shovels, logs and root pieces (mostly river wood — not salt-cured driftwood), large pond-liner bin of avocado and bamboo leaves, buckets of compost soil, wheelbarrow of old compost and weed surface soil, wheelbarrow of heavy clay soil from under East Log, berm of woodchip mulch, tarp with pile of topsoil from under woodchips, Cold Water Canyon rock slab on rolling cart.

b4-20161110-tnm-_46a-800Site scraped and ready for the students to create Twisted North Mound.  Note the berm of woodchips on the north side — it will be pushed onto the mound when mulch is called for.

b3-20161110-tnm-_50a-800Close-up view of meadow barley plants in waiting.  Note the shelf fungus‘ thriving on East Log’s shady side.

Students Arrive

b2-20161110-tnm-_53-800The students have arrived.  Their first assignment is to figure which pieces of riverwood/driftwood will create the habitat between East and West Logs.  Lots of physics to move the wood around AND not get hurt.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, western fence lizard, redwood, Cold Water Canyon rock, avocado leaves, bamboo leaves, woodchip mulch, compost, torrent sedge, weeding, millipede, Jerusalem cricket, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherum, garter snake, genus ThamnophisStudents deliberate while a great blue heron flies by.  Outdoor classrooms rock!

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, western fence lizard, redwood, Cold Water Canyon rock, avocado leaves, bamboo leaves, woodchip mulch, compost, torrent sedge, weeding, millipede, Jerusalem cricket, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherum, garter snake, genus ThamnophisGetting somewhere — this “T-bone” triangular piece of wood will be the habitat’s foundation.

a8-20161110-tnm-_62-800Instructing that we want to snug T-bone up to West Log and to fill it with soil and to be able to plant meadow barley in the crevice.  Note that these pieces of wood between East and West Logs will be completely buried, slated to decompose and ultimately leave organic material in the surrounding soil and to leave cavities for critters to someday take advantage of.  Are we talking about next year, 2 years from now, or ten years from now?  The answer is yes.  Habitat It And They Will Come!

a7-20161110-tnm-_63-800Flipping up T-bone (left) to allow a small piece of old (ready for insects to eat!) wood to snuggle under T-bone.

a6-20161110-tnm-_64-800Back down goes T-bone, over other hulks of wood.  Different pieces of wood mean different resources for habitat critters — different food, different water saturation, different decay schedules and by-products.  Our aim here is to invite DIFFERENT critters.

a5-20161110-tnm-_66cln-800Orchard View students and teacher Sunny Galbraith at work.  (Foreground) Digging out clay soil from under East Log.  East Log is unashamedly laying with its cut end in full view (a problem).  Following the permaculture principle “the problem is the solution”, we use clay soil from under East Log to cover West Log’s exposed corner and Twisted North Mound.  Stay tuned for what happens to West Log.  (Center) Working the clay soil from under East Log in the crevices of TNM.  We want to pack in the soil so the plants will have maximum soil, no air pockets that would kill the meadow barley starts roots.  (Background) Weeding Torrent Critter Crag, giving the torrent sedge plugs a better chance to survive, thrive.

a4-20161110-tnm-_69-800Twisted North Mound gets avocado tree and bamboo leaves over its clay soil base.  The organic layer will break down, while it is eaten by soil microbes and crawly critters, and leave a loose, cavity-filled layer under the barley meadow root canopy.

a3-20161110-tnm-_73-800Covering the leaves with the soil scraped under the woodchips that were pushed back from the habitat site.  Buckets of compost soil at the ready; that layer will be the top layer that the meadow barley starts are planted in.

a2-20161110-tnm-_74-800The rock slab is moved into position.

a1-20161110-tnm-_75-800And down, with the tip of the rock resting on a short length of rootwood (hard, long-to-decay wood) and the rest of the rock resting on the pile of small rocks that we collected while digging under East Log.  The rocks found while digging, a problem, became a solution when wanting to create a space under the rock slab.

9-20161110-tnm-_78-800Another organic layer — the old compost and fresh grasses/weeds, complete with thriving soil microbes and crawly critters, will make a rich layer under the compost soil.  The goal is to have the compost soil and woodchip mulch kill down any of the grasses/weeds.

8-20161110-tnm-_79-800Compost soil is sculpted to create a planting mound.

7-20161110-tnm-_84-800Meadow barley starts are planted.  Note the rectangular root form to the plant in the foreground — these start plants were touseled, squeezed, massaged, and even roots ripped free to allow the plant a non-rectangular root spread.  Free the roots!

6-20161110-tnm-_85-800Meadow barley starts planted among woodchip mulch.

5-20161110-tnm-_89-800And a little water for the meadow barley,

3-20161110-tnm-_93-800and for rock slab.

4-20161110-tnm-_90-800Twisted North Mound wildlife habitat installation is in!  East view of back side.

0- Habitat Landscaper-Instructor for hire — Tony McGuigan — international consulting available — install@sporelore.com , Tony McGuigan, Habitat it!, Spore Lore©, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, soil microbes, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, how to build wildlife habitat, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Sunny Galbraith, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Anita Smith, western fence lizard, redwood, Cold Water Canyon rock, avocado leaves, bamboo leaves, woodchip mulch, compost, torrent sedge, weeding, millipede, Jerusalem cricket, meadow barley, Hordeum brachyantherum, garter snake, genus ThamnophisNorth view of habitat’s “front”, that is, the view from behind Heron Hall.2-20161110-tnm-_96-800Students deliberate, time to talk amongst themselves after a successful work session.

1-20161110-tnm-_97-800Brent Reed, of the Laguna Foundation, inspects Twisted North Mound on installation day.  Good thing this habitat was built to meet or surpass the latest Habitat Building Code.

Thank you, as always, to Sunny Galbraith, teacher at Orchard View School, Sebastopol, and her students.  Also, much thanks to the staff and board of the Laguna Foundation, particularly the Restoration and Conservation Science Department: Wendy Trowbridge, Director; Brent Reed, Ecological Program Manager; Aaron Nunez, Ecological Project Manager; and Paul Weber, Restoration Field Supervisor.

Enjoy your wildlife habitat installations.  Habitat it!

Tony

Oct 162016
 
Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, western fence lizard, Bee Plant, California figwort, scrophularis californica, redwood, Cold Water Canyon rock, Carex nudada, torrent sedge, Meadowhawk dragonfly, Kathy Biggs, Amphibian Amphitheatre

Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, western fence lizard, Bee Plant, California figwort, scrophularis californica, redwood, Cold Water Canyon rock, Carex nudada, torrent sedge, Meadowhawk dragonfly, Kathy Biggs, Amphibian AmphitheatreTorrent Critter Crag is a wildlife habitat installed next to Amphibian Amphitheatre at the Laguna Foundation’s headwater Irwin Creek property, the Laguna Environmental Center, or LEC, at 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, California, 95401.  The installation was an outdoor classroom activity.  Date: October 13, 2016.  School: Orchard View School, Sebastopol, California.  Teacher: Sunny Galbraith.  Me: Tony McGuigan, from Spore Lore.

In a nutshell, this wildlife habitat installation is a deep clay-lined hole with a large hulk of redwood tree crown/trunk partially buried in it.  A large rock slab at ground surface snugs up to the tree crown/trunk.  Torrent sedge starts blanket the swale of the habitat.

1 Week Before Habitat Installation

Amphibian Amphitheatre at the Laguna Environmental CenterIn the pic above, Amphibian Amphitheatre BEFORE Torrent Critter Crag habitat installed.  The field behind Amphibian Amphitheatre Ravine‘s berm is lush with tall weeds.  Two months have gone by since the area has been weeded.  Today, I weed the area to restore dignity to the habitat installations AND to gather organic material for next week’s installation.

Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, western fence lizard, Bee Plant, California figwort, scrophularis californica, redwood, Cold Water Canyon rock, Carex nudada, torrent sedge, Meadowhawk dragonfly, Kathy Biggs, Amphibian AmphitheatreNote the collected water — our berm (created during the Ravine installation) works!  Downside: the water is most likely the result of an irrigation line leak.  Upside: critters and plants have a swimhole.  The next three photos are close-ups from this area on that day of weeding.  The dragonfly was at the water’s edge on the tree limb surfacing from the water (far right of the pooled water).  The lizard was under the figwort plant in the foreground.  The California mantis, Stagmomantis californica, was discovered while weeding golden dry grasses — note how well the mantis is camouflaged.

Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, western fence lizard, Bee Plant, California figwort, scrophularis californica, redwood, Cold Water Canyon rock, Carex nudada, torrent sedge, Meadowhawk dragonfly, Kathy Biggs, Amphibian AmphitheatreA dragonfly rests alongside the pooled water below Amphibian Amphitheatre Ravine’s berm.  Perhaps this is a female Meadowhawk (and there are many species).  Can you ID it?  Try Kathy Bigg’s, our local Sonoma County dragonfly expert, pages on dragonflies.

Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, western fence lizard, Bee Plant, California figwort, scrophularis californica, redwood, Cold Water Canyon rock, Carex nudada, torrent sedge, Meadowhawk dragonfly, Kathy Biggs, Amphibian AmphitheatreA western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis) is well camoflouged in the woodchips below this California figwort, or Scrophularia californica.

Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, western fence lizard, Bee Plant, California figwort, scrophularis californica, redwood, Cold Water Canyon rock, Carex nudata, torrent sedge, Meadowhawk dragonfly, Kathy Biggs, Amphibian AmphitheatreYikes!  Almost weeded this California mantid Stagmomantis californica in Amphibian Amphitheatre.  Nice color match on the camo outfit.

juvenile California mantisClose-up of California mantid, which are typically 50-60 mm (about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches) long.

2 Days Before Habitat Installation

rock slabs make great critter homesShopping for rock.  These rock slabs make good critter homes.  The stack here is Cold Water Canyon rock, local to northern California.

walking a rock slabRock slab being “walked” to the habitat site on the other side of Heron Hall Logs.  View is north to Lower Stone Farm and Irwin Creek (line of trees beyond field in background).

Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, western fence lizard, Bee Plant, California figwort, scrophularis californica, redwood, Cold Water Canyon rock, Carex nudata, torrent sedge, Meadowhawk dragonfly, Kathy Biggs, Amphibian AmphitheatreA pile of weeds, in right foreground, has been processing all week.  The weeds were pulled from inside Amphibian Amphitheatre and from the downslope meadow.  Soil clumps were not shaken from the weeds — many weed clumps had a good sized clump of fresh, healthy, alive topsoil attached to their roots.  Weeds (organic matter) and topsoil (soil) were used to make a compost pile (right foreground) that would have only one week to sit before being planted on as a berm.  The weeds were thickly covered with layers of woodchips and a scattering of compost.  Normally, woodchip mulch does not include compost soil, but this wildlife habitat installation is on the cheap.  Materials on hand are ALL the materials we will ever need!  The woodchips used were collected from the remnants of two piles — one woodchip pile and one compost/planting mix pile.  So, the woodchips have a high component of compost mixed in — perhaps the berm we create for the installation will be a perfect mix to propagate the wild spreading rye already thriving in Amphibian Amphitheatre.

sorting the compost pile The compost pile is pretty much sitting on top of where Torrent Critter Crag habitat will be installed.  The heavier soil and woodchips are pulled to the back of the pile, creating a berm that extends Amphibian Amphitheatre’s berm — more water will be trapped in Amphibian Amphitheatre when the rains come.  The lighter decaying weed pile is pulled to away/uphill from the berm; the weeds are moved uphill from the hole to be dug for the habitat.  After the habitat hole is dug and the habitat’s wood feature is installed, the weeds will be tucked into the remaining hole to create a cache of underground organic matter, AKA buried treasure!

prep before students workThe redwood tree crown-trunk is brought on site.  Note the two distinct piles sorted from the compost pile — soil and woodchips right (which will become a planted berm) and one-week-old dead weeds left (which will be buried alongside the crown-trunk).

mud!Digging produces heavy clay mud quickly.  Note how some of the mud was used to build up the berm in right foreground.  Note the black plastic landscaping tarp used to keep the hole’s mud separate (and movable) from the ground below the pile.

please stay to your leftStakes, string, and flags used to safely leave the hole overnight (left) and protect the rye grass that was planted last year (right).

 Installation Day

Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, western fence lizard, Bee Plant, California figwort, scrophularis californica, redwood, Cold Water Canyon rock, Carex nudata, torrent sedge, Meadowhawk dragonfly, Kathy Biggs, Amphibian AmphitheatreWater in the hole!  Lucky me, there won’t be any more digging today.  The water has seeped in through the surrounding clay basin — note the pooled water in the background, which is water held uphill by Amphibian Amphitheatre’s berm.  Note the materials layout: left = organics (weeds) pile and redwood crown-trunk for burying; foreground = mud pile for surounding buried organics and crown-trunk; right = berm to receive torrent sedge planting; background left (out of view) = woodchip pile to mulch the new planting and suppress weeds over the habitat.  Time for the students to take over.

Carex nudata is torrent sedgeTorrent sedge Carex nudata plants for this habitat have been grown at the Laguna Foundation’s Native Plant Nursery.  Torrent sedge grows in mounds below the high-water mark in marshes and on river banks — perfect for this swale area that is expected to gather and hold water.

Come see at the LEC!A thriving clump of torrent sedge in the Pond swale at the LEC.

Ready, set, plant!Torrent sedge prepped for the students to plant.  The plants were cut out of their 4X4 pots and stored under a Heron Hall log for easy, quick access.

The Students Have Arrived

Help has arrived!Two hours to wrap up this project!  Students prepare the torrent sedge transplants by giving them a “haircut” — trimming the sedge stalks will ensure that the roots will not become overwhelmed and will increase the transplanting survival rate.

Look!  A habitat.Deciding how to place crown-trunk in the habitat is a collaborative student decision.

Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, western fence lizard, Bee Plant, California figwort, scrophularis californica, redwood, Cold Water Canyon rock, Carex nudata, torrent sedge, Meadowhawk dragonfly, Kathy Biggs, Amphibian AmphitheatreAll hands on deck, working together to find the wood hulk’s center of gravity, which will help us know how to move it into position in the hole.

flipping rather than liftingFlipping the crown-trunk into position — sure beats lifting it.

1, 2, 3  LIFT!The crown-trunk is headed to the digging bars straddling the hole.  The digging bars will suspend the wood over the hole in case we want to make any last minute position changes.

Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, western fence lizard, Bee Plant, California figwort, scrophularis californica, redwood, Cold Water Canyon rock, Carex nudata, torrent sedge, Meadowhawk dragonfly, Kathy Biggs, Amphibian AmphitheatreAlmost there!

surf's upThere!  A student presses crown-trunk into the muddy hole.  Note how the students have decided to bury crown-trunk’s thin end, leaving the bulk to breach (yes, like a whale!) out of the soil.  Also, the west facing slope of the wood is designed to attract sunning reptiles that might live under the habitat’s rock slab (in background, waiting to be installed).

heavy clay mud!Opps! The log is flipped to the side of the hole to move the heavy clay mud pile from underneath it.  We moved the mud to the planting berm for temporary keeping.

Log finds a home.The crown-trunk log is secured in place with clay mud.  The cardboard “dropcloth” used to keep the site natural looking is removed.

work the soil!Clay mud is worked around the base of the wood to secure it in place and to create a base for the torrent sedge planting.imagine!Students hold the rock slab vertical while design elements are discussed.

making a path for the rock slabMoving some of the weed pile into the hole so that the rock slab can rest up against the log.

heavy clay mudTime to fill the hole, grade the habitat soil.  We are skimming the clay mud off the top of the berm, stopping at the layer of woodchips that will become the planting surface.

grading the soil, by hand!Final grading of the planting mix.  Note how little of the log is visible above ground.

planting torrent sedgePlanting plugs of torrent sedge with 18″ spacing.  Some day, these sedge bunches will spread together, hiding the rock slab (right of log).  Plenty of critter homes to be had!

Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, western fence lizard, Bee Plant, California figwort, scrophularis californica, redwood, Cold Water Canyon rock, Carex nudata, torrent sedge, Meadowhawk dragonfly, Kathy Biggs, Amphibian AmphitheatreWoodchip mulch to surround the sedge plugs.

more mulch!And more woodchips.  This is the fun part — our mud hole is beginning to look like something pretty.

Aaarrggg!Okay Class, put your paper and pencils away and take out your digging bars.  Outdoor classrooms rock!

teacher on the sceneTeacher Sunny Galbraith calls in the cleanup.

Torrent Critter CragTorrent Critter Crag wildlife habitat installation is in!  Northeast view.

we are done!Torrent Critter Crag, southwest view.  Teacher Sunny and her students, in background by the Laguna Foundation’s office, visit habitats installed by previous students.

2 Days After Installation

Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation, Stone Farm, western fence lizard, Bee Plant, California figwort, scrophularis californica, redwood, Cold Water Canyon rock, Carex nudata, torrent sedge, Meadowhawk dragonfly, Kathy Biggs, Amphibian AmphitheatreTorrent Critter Crag enjoys its first rain.  Northwest view.

And more rain will come this winter season, perhaps pooling at the base of crown-trunk log and flooding the torrent sedge.  Rain on!

Thank you, as always, to Sunny Galbraith, teacher at Orchard View School, Sebastopol, and her students.  Also, much thanks to the staff and board of the Laguna Foundation, particularly the Restoration and Conservation Science Department: Wendy Trowbridge, Director; Brent Reed, Manager, Aaron Nunez, Tech II, and Paul Weber, Tech I.

Enjoy your wildlife habitat installations.  Habitat it!

Tony

Apr 122016
 
Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Santa Rosa Waste Water Treatment, Denise Cadman, Bee Mountain Pond, tarweed, madia elegans, narrow-leaf milkweed, asclepias fascicularis, California aster, Aster chilensis, snowberry, smphovicarpas alba, Bee Plant, California figwort, scrophularis californica, fieldstone, landscape cloth, violet-green swallow,

Become a Docent of the Laguna Foundation at lagunafoundation.orgBee Mountain Pond is a wildlife habitat installation.  The plan is to provide a small water bath to the critters of the Native Plant Demonstration Garden at the City of Santa Rosa’s Waste Water Treatment Plant.  Address: 4300 Llano Road, Santa Rosa, California 95407.

Denise Cadman, a Natural Resources Specialist at the Plant, and the overseer/magical wonder of the Native Plant Garden, invited me, Tony McGuigan, of Spore Lore, and my Outdoor Classroom Wildlife Habitat Installation class (name of class is very new) to install a wildlife habitat at the Garden.

start with a visionPLAN — Bee Mountain Pond.  The mountain is a 1000 pound (1/2 ton) fieldstone landscaping boulder that holds water — a tiny mountain lake for tiny critters.  The “Path” is a swath of woodchips for walking through the garden.  the pile of subterranean smaller rocks under Bee Mountain will catch any overspill water from the Pond.  Critters under the Mountain will have water, shelter, food (tiny critters feeding on the moisture AND on critters feeding on the moisture), and cavities to raise young in — they will have habitat!

Come see the Native Plant Garden!The Before.  The Native Plant Garden looks north to the Laguna de Santa Rosa, which is swollen from rain the week before Bee Mountain Pond is installed.  In the photo, the birdhouse to the back left marks where the habitat will be installed.  Note the woodchip mulch used to keep weeds out and make walking paths.

a rain-happy Laguna“Driftwood” (river wood washed up on the beach) stored at the Plant’s woodchip pile await installation day, in a week.  The rain was so generous to soak the adobe soil and make digging easier.

birdhouse to be transplanted This birdhouse must go!  It marks the spot where Bee Mountain Pond will be installed.

violet-green swallowsA mating pair of violet-green swallows before the birdhouse is relocated across the Garden.

Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Santa Rosa Waste Water Treatment, Denise Cadman, Bee Mountain Pond, tarweed, madia elegans, narrow-leaf milkweed, asclepias fascicularis, California aster, Aster chilensis, snowberry, smphovicarpas alba, Bee Plant, California figwort, scrophularis californica, fieldstone, landscape cloth, violet-green swallow, Preparing for Bee Mountain to be moved into position.  The half-ton rock will be placed on a mound of woodchips next to is intended resting site.  Note the layering of woodchips and tree-hole landscaping cloth; the landscaping cloth will tie together the small hill.

Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Santa Rosa Waste Water Treatment, Denise Cadman, Bee Mountain Pond, tarweed, madia elegans, narrow-leaf milkweed, asclepias fascicularis, California aster, Aster chilensis, snowberry, smphovicarpas alba, Bee Plant, California figwort, scrophularis californica, fieldstone, landscape cloth, violet-green swallow, Here comes the rock!  Plant employees forklift and move Bee Mountain.  Thanks Richard, Tony, and David!

Mountain on top of a hillBee Mountain in place to be repositioned when help arrives — when the students get here.  The plan is to “slide” this half ton rock downslope into the habitat.  Good luck!

snowberry moved to wait in the shadeA snowberry, Symphovicarpas alba, is removed to shade while the habitat foundation is created.

Santa Rosa Waste Water Treatment, Denise Cadman, Bee Mountain Pond, tarweed, madia elegans, narrow-leaf milkweed, asclepias fascicularis, California aster, Aster chilensis, snowberry, symphovicarpas alba, Bee Plant, California figwort, scrophularis californica, fieldstone, landscape cloth   ************************************************************************************************************ Paste This!: Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Santa Rosa Waste Water Treatment, Denise Cadman, Bee Mountain Pond, tarweed, madia elegans, narrow-leaf milkweed, asclepias fascicularis, California aster, Aster chilensis, snowberry, smphovicarpas alba, Bee Plant, California figwort, scrophularis californica, fieldstone, landscape cloth, violet-green swallow, The foundation of the habitat takes place.  Center: Topsoil has been scraped from the habitat’s base and shoved to the side (against the cardboard in the rear) for later use during planting the habitat’s newly planted native plants.  Right: Riverwood waiting to be buried in the habitat’s berm.  The soil berm will be water-loving wood filled and allow for greater diversity of soil level.  Note the California aster patches that will ultimately grow together, both in the foreground left and to the side of the habitat, behind the wheelbarrow and cardboard.

what's in a berm meets the eyeRiverwood layered to form a soil berm above it.  Moist nooks and crannies for soil lions, soil tigers, and soil bears, oh my!

All in a day's workBee Mountain Pond’s planted soil berm takes shape.  Bee Mountain will sit just on the other side of the yellow shovel.  Soil from a hole at the base of the Mountain rock will be added to the berm to increase its height.  Then, once the berm’s foundation is created with heavy adobe clay sol, the topsoil from Cardboard Dump will be called into action.  The “old” topsoil, bagged planting mix, and compost created by the Plant will be mixed as a base for the habitat’s new plantings.

Santa Rosa Waste Water Treatment, Denise Cadman, Bee Mountain Pond, tarweed, madia elegans, narrow-leaf milkweed, asclepias fascicularis, California aster, Aster chilensis, snowberry, symphovicarpas alba, Bee Plant, California figwort, scrophularis californica, fieldstone, landscape cloth   ************************************************************************************************************ Paste This!: Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Santa Rosa Waste Water Treatment, Denise Cadman, Bee Mountain Pond, tarweed, madia elegans, narrow-leaf milkweed, asclepias fascicularis, California aster, Aster chilensis, snowberry, smphovicarpas alba, Bee Plant, California figwort, scrophularis californica, fieldstone, landscape cloth, violet-green swallow, In search of compost, we are told to go the “pile in the back corner” of the Waste Water Treatment Plant’s compost making facility.

A bucket of compost a day keeps . . . .Denise Cadman and I collect state-of-the-art-made compost at the Plant’s compost-making facility.

Bee Mountain askew!Bee Mountain is almost in place, BUT is pointing skyward, that is, 90 degrees off level.  The “peak” will be pulled right and the base will be pulled left, resulting in a level, water-holding position.

Strap down that rock!Bee Mountain has been leveled, with the rock’s shallow bowl pointing skyward.  Note the buckets of compost awaiting mixing into the planting soil.

tweeking Bee Mountain into placeTweaking Bee Mountain into place.  Metal digging bars are used for leverage.

PUSH!Bee Mountain hovers in place.  Stones are used as fulcrums for the digging bars’ leverage.

It holds water!  (for now)Bee Mountain is leveled to maximize its water-holder capacity.  Planting mix is piled up against the fieldstone boulder.

Planting out Bee Mountain PondSoil prep for planting out Bee Mountain Pond.

Plant native plants!Native plant seedlings surround Bee Mountain Pond wildlife installation.

Denise Cadman’s sketch of Bee Mountain Pond.

Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, native plants, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Santa Rosa Waste Water Treatment, Denise Cadman, Bee Mountain Pond, tarweed, madia elegans, narrow-leaf milkweed, asclepias fascicularis, California aster, Aster chilensis, snowberry, smphovicarpas alba, Bee Plant, California figwort, scrophularis californica, fieldstone, landscape cloth, violet-green swallow, Common Name                                                  Scientific Name

1) tarweed                                                            Madia elegans

2) narrow-leaf milkweed                                  Asclepias fascicularis

3) California aster                                             Symphyotrichum chilense (formerly Aster chilensis)

4) snowberry                                                      Symphovicarpas alba

5) Bee Plant, California figwort                     Scrophularia californica

Sunny Galbraith (Orchard View School) and Denise Cadman (Santa Rosa Waste Water Treatment)

Sunny Galbraith (Orchard View School) and Denise Cadman add final touches and a little water to the plantings.

Bee Mountain Pond is in!Bee Mountain Pond is in!

The berm side of Bee Mount PondThe berm side of Bee Mount Pond.  Note how some wood disappears under the berm’s woodchips.

Habitat it!Bee Mountain Pond wildlife habitat installation includes a portal into the berm — all ye small critters enter here!

And we are done.  Bee Mountain Pond has been installed.  Thank you to the City of Santa Rosa, Waste Water Treatment Plant administrators and Denise Cadman for inviting me, Tony McGuigan, of Spore Lore, and Sunny Galbraith, teacher at Orchard View School, of Sebastopol, and her students, to create this wildlife habitat installation at the Plant’s Native Plant Garden.

Enjoy your wildlife habitat installations.  Habitat it!

Tony

Dec 232015
 
Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, redwood, buried tree burl, juncus, juncus patens, Artemisia douglasiana , mugwort, seed collecting,  Big Splash Spa and Resort, Compost Cricket Corral, Wood Chip Pile, berm, swale, Amphibian Amphitheatre, Amphibian Amphitheatre Hollow, Science Station Shelf, rain gauge, leymus triticoides, creeping wild rye, mud, western blue bird, (Sialia mexicana), irrigation flags, pond overflow, straw mulch

Sure beats sitting in a schoolroom desk!Amphibian Amphitheatre Ravine is a wildlife habitat landscaping project, an “installation”, that capitalizes on available moisture, on capturing pond overflow.  This installation is another Outdoor Classroom monthly session with Orchard View School (Sebastopol, California) students and their teacher, Sunny Galbraith. Date completed: December 17, 2015.

The Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation operates the Laguna Environmental Center, or LEC, on Stone Farm, at 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, California, 95401. This wildlife habitat installation is in an open grassy area behind Heron Hall and east of the pond, down slope from Science Station Shelf.

Prep (before students)

The BeforeThe Before.  West view of Amphibian Amphitheatre (AA), a swatch of slope outlined by a down-slope berm.  Amphibian Amphitheatre will contain many wildlife habitat installations.  One installation, Amphibian Amphitheatre Hollow, installed last month, creates the north boundary of Amphibian Amphitheatre.   Weeds had thrived in the shallow bowl of a slope, which is being kept moist by the pond overflow, and perhaps pond water weeping through the berm surrounding the pond.  Those weeds and topsoil were scraped to create the down-slope berm of the Amphitheatre; since then, weeds are poking through the berm soil and mulch of dead weeds.  Installing a new wildlife habitat, Amphibian Amphitheatre Ravine, will 1) provide a means to collect water in this already moist meadow, and 2) kill back weeds so that starts of native plants will thrive until established.

got weeds?Weeds poking out of the berm down slope of Amphibian Amphitheatre (left).

weeds in the center of AAAnd more weeds in the center of Amphibian Amphitheatre.  Straw mulch will be added on top of these weeds to kill them back.

irrigation flags for Don't-Walk-Here outlineIrrigation flags outline where students can walk, or not.  The north west corner of Amphibian Amphitheatre is off limits — we do not want to disturb last month’s work — a patch of juncus plants and Amphibian Amphitheatre Hollow.

saving straw for mulchStraw mulch is scrapped away to reuse as mulch, that is, to remulch the area once the Ravine is dug and filled with wood.  A hay fork was easy to use because it did not mix soil into the straw.

using hay fork to dig wet adobe soilUsing a hay fork to dig wet adobe soil.  SOMETHING LEARNED! — I discovered how much easier digging the clinging, heavy adobe mud was with a fork instead of a shovel.  When tossing a fork-load, the mud flew off the fork.  So much easier than having to knock or pull mud off of a shovel.

topsoil thrown onto the bermInch by inch, slowly the hole crept (got deeper).  Note the clean (little-soil) piles of straw (top of photo) and the berm’s fresh topsoil ridge.

time to clock out!Progress for the work day.   Note how high the berm is and the sun in the deep hole.  Tomorrow, perhaps a little more digging, then the students will backfill the hole with wood and soil from the berm.

collecting juncus californiansTomorrow is here!  Today is Amphibian Amphitheatre Ravine’s installation day.  First job — collecting juncus patens from my (Tony’s) barrel ponds for transplant into the installation.  Of all the tools shown in the photo, I wound up using only the bow saw.

exposing juncus patens rootsBy the hair!  Holding up enough plants to lift the root mass out of the water with one hand, while cutting through the root mass with the bow saw with the other hand.

using collected rainwater to transport juncusA bundle of juncus awaits transport to the LEC.  Collected rainwater was used to keep the pond juncus thriving till transplanting.

Spore Lore delivers!Juncus bunches ready for Amphibian Amphitheatre Ravine.  Note the buckets full of water to ensure the roots are not exposed to the air.

Installation Day -- Who brought the mud?!Installation Day, and we are starting with puddles of water in mud.  Yuck!  But such is exactly why we have chosen this sight as an amphibian wildlife habitat — available water.  There was no rain last night at the LEC (CoCoRaHS says so for 12-16-2015, at rain gauge station Santa Rosa 6.7 WSW).  This precious water either seeped through the Pond berm or collected from morning moisture draining down slope.  Either way, the amphibians will love it, and breathe easier.

prep day 2's startThe start of prep day 2, view from over the berm (foreground).

woodchips define the bermWoodchips dumped along the berm will 1) create a thick mulch to inhibit weeds along the berm’s edge, and 2) give the students a relative height when they skim off the top of the berm into the Ravine.

dig dig dig dig dig!Deeper goes the Ravine.  1) Note how the hay fork (left) is in the deepest area of the Ravine.  Digging was slow — the heavy wet clay was hard to get to.  Therefore, a concentrated hole (versus the entire length of the berm)  about 3 feet X 3 feet was dug as deep as possible.  “Possible” was limited by the length of the hay fork and my not falling in the hole.  Original vision: the entire length of the berm would be very deep.  Reality: the 9 square foot hole attained a good depth, that is,  deep enough for the students to anchor a bird perch in.  2) Note how high the berm is; much more soil than we want to be left on the finished, wannabe-natural-looking berm.  Because the students will have little time to back fill the Ravine, keeping the dug-out soil close at hand will facilitate replacing that soil.  3) Note the higher, larger mud/soil pile to the right of the berm with the hay fork at its peak.  The second hay fork was used to slam the digging hay fork into.  Even on the hay fork, the wet mud from the deepest area of the Ravine wanted to stick to the fork; slamming one fork against the other helped clear the digging fork.  4) The large end pile of mud/soil has a 2-fold stategy — a) a depository for excess soil to be thrown back into the hole IF more soil is needed, or b) a landscaped hill, higher and wider than the berm, if the soil is not needed/used.  A win-win pile of mud!  5) Tools, a tree limb, landscaping boulders, and a vent pipe await the students to arrive.

straw to walk on and hold soil/mud pile togetherStraw to walk on lines the Ravine “steps” and holds the soil/mud pile together.

Thanks farmer Stu!Here come the woodchips, to be dumped on the side lines, ready for the students to mulch the Ravine.  Note that more mud was tossed on the large end-cap soil pile, on top of the straw layer.  Digging is now complete, done, finished!

Students at work

treasure to be uncoveredThe LEC’s Woodchip Pile Annex — habitat installation logs, limbs, stumps, and rocks have been stored in the woodchips to promote soil-friendly resources.   The Orchard View students have arrived and pull from the pile to fill Amphibian Amphitheatre Ravine with wood and rock.

what goes where? Students determine how the Ravine’s floor is filled with wood logs and stumps, a collaborative effort.

filling the Ravine with water-loving woodBring on the wood!   More homes for critters and more water-wicks for plants.  Note the Bird Perch climbing up the berm to the left; it is deeply anchored in the bottom of the Ravine.  Critters will seek its water wicking wood, deep in the cool cool clay.

securing the Bird PerchSecuring Bird Perch.

adding puzzle piecesFine tuning.

log slideUsing Bird Perch to slide a large log in place.

Outdoor Classrooms rock!Large stumps in Ravine will soak up water and slowly wick it between morning fogs and seasonal rain.

Special delivery!Redwood Burl Basin arrives.  The dense redwood root burl has a shallow bowl, perfect for trapping water.

4" plastic drainpipe for ventTony pulls the vent pipe, a section of plastic 4″ corrugated drainpipe, into service.

got mud?The bottom of the hole, at the base of Bird Perch, is vented up to the base of the berm, using the black plastic 4″ drainpipe.  Nice muddy boot!

fill -- 50% soil, 50% woodchipAll wood logs, limbs, and stumps are in Ravine.  Time to back fill — equal parts soil and woodchip.  Note 3 students working skimming off the top of the berm soil.  2 students adding woodchips.  1 student leveling off the large soil pile.

getting there!Fill, fill, fill.  There will be plenty of nooks and crannies for critters under the fill.

planting partnersDressing up Amphibian Amphitheatre Ravine with plants — pick a partner!  FRONT LEFT — water-loving juncus between logs and below the berm.  Juncus can be periodically flooded; therefore, it is classified as a semi-emergent species.  RIGHT — wild creeping rye (leymus triticoides) on the berm.  BACK LEFT — more mugwort (Artemisia douglasiana) is planted along Amphibian Amphitheatre Hollow. 


fieldstone boulders grouped around Redwood Burl BasinNot only does this student have five fingers on his left hand, but also Sonoma fieldstone boulders have been grouped around Redwood Burl Basin, which covers the vent pipe.

planting juncus patensDripping wet juncus is planted deep.  In foreground, a line of rye plants are ready for planting.

more plants

sculpting the soil pile to the berm's heightThe large soil pile at the end of the berm has been used to fill in Ravine; the berm and pile are level.

woodchip mulching and cleanupWoodchip mulching around the new plantings AND cleanup.  Amphibian Amphitheatre Ravine wildlife habitat installation is in!

west viewWest view, looking out to the Pond Bridge and Observation Platform.

east viewEast view.

there's wood buried here!West view, close-up.

Look, over there!Nice job, Orchard View!  Orchard View students and teacher Sunny Galbraith scan the Laguna Environmental Center — where will next month’s wildlife habitat installation be?

Final Touches (after students)

western blue bird on Bird PerchAn hour after the students left, I caught this blue bird on Bird Perch as the sun set.

happiness is . . .And the blue bird said, “Habitat it!”

Amphibian Amphitheatre Ravine collects waterJust a few days after installation, Amphibian Amphitheatre Ravine collects rainwater.  Note the pooled water up against the juncus-planted berm.  Water also pools on the other side of the berm, showing how low this area is.

Frog Pond News, December 21, 2015: "New Home Construction Highest Since Cows Left"Close-up of Amphibian Amphitheatre Ravine Lake.  Happy plants, happy soaking logs and stumps!

Much appreciation to the Laguna Foundation’s Restoration and Conservation Science Program staff Wendy Trowbridge (Director), Brent Reed (Manager), Aaron Nunez (Tech II), and Paul Weber (Tech).  And thank you, the Laguna Foundation staff in general, for welcoming and nurturing this Outdoor Classroom over the years.

Thank you farmer Stuart Schroeder of Stone Farm for the tractor work.

Enjoy your outdoor classrooms and wildlife habitat gardening.

Tony

 

 

 

 

Nov 242015
 
Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Cyperus eragrostis, Nutsedge, Umbrella Sedge, Salamander French Drain, redwood, buried tree slab, juncus, juncus patens, Artemisia douglasiana , mugwort, seed collecting,  Big Splash Spa and Resort, Compost Cricket Corral, Wood Chip Pile, Log Pile Apartments, Dirt Road Creek Swale, swale, Amphibian Amphitheatre, Amphibian Amphitheatre Hollow, Science Station Shelf, thermometer, rain gauge

Laguna Environmental Center -- home of the Laguna FoundationScience Station Shelf, in the foreground with its rain gauge ready to be read, was one of two wildlife habitat installations to be installed during November’s outdoor classroom Biology class at the Laguna Environmental Center.  The Biology students from Orchard View School and teacher Sunny Galbraith also installed Amphibian Amphitheatre Hollow, at the edge of the straw mulch, in the background.  Date of installations: November 12, 2015.

The Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation operates the Laguna Environmental Center, or LEC, on Stone Farm, at 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, California, 95401. These wildlife habitat installations are in an open grassy area behind Heron Hall and east of the pond.

Prep (before students)

redwood slab for Science Station ShelfObjective Number One: Install a rain gauge.  Use a large slab of wood to support the rain gauge post AND provide an underground shelter for critters.  Project: Science Station Shelf.

Wendy Trowbridge, Director of the Restoration and Science Programs, wanted a rain gauge to be installed behind Heron Hall in an easily accessible place to be read daily.  The rain gauge manufacturer, Productive Systems, gives specific instructions how to install the gauge.  To start, the rain gauge is to be mounted on a post 20 inches above ground level AND the post is to have a 45-degree angle cut at the the top — the surface angle reduces raindrop splashback.  No splashbacks!  The slab of redwood pictured above will support the post while being buried in the shallow slope of soil behind Heron Hall.  Critters will find their way under and use the “shelf” in the soil as shelter.  Also, the wood slab will wick moisture long after the topsoil is dry.  Habitat it!  Note the square-like hole in the wood knothole — perfect for a post!

rain gauge post being installed in Scince Station ShelfThe original square-like hole in the redwood driftwood is fine tuned to accept the rain gauge post.  Scrap metal is fashioned into a bracket to secure the post’s height through the post hole.  We want the post tip 20″ above the ground + 3″ for soil/mulch to cover the wood base = 23″ of post length through the wood slab base.

Objective Number Two: Replace a thriving weed bog with a planting of native sedge and rushes.  Also, install a swale/berm that will collect water for the plantings.  AND, partially bury a hollow log in the swale to provide moist habitat for amphibians and other animals.  Project: Amphibian Amphitheatre Hollow.

north west view from Heron HallAs can be seen from behind Heron Hall, most of the terrain is dry this time of year.  The wet/green areas are irrigated, like around the pond (left) and behind the back wire link fence.  Cow pasture is beyond the back (north) fence.  The area we are concerned about for the wildlife habitat installation, Amphibian Amphitheatre, is the rich, thriving weedy area behind the picnic table (in the above photo).  The moisture is most likely seepage from the  pond to the west — water working its way through the soil berm that makes up the bank of the pond.  This habitat installation will capitalize on that moisture.

Hey, come pull some weeds!Plants are thriving here.  Too bad for us they are classified as weeds — undesirable plants.  They will be replaced to make way for native plants to encourage native wildlife.  Too many to pull!  So, instead, the McCloud tool, (on wheelbarrow, will rake them to the side.  The bulk of the greens/roots, and loose soil will be used to shape a swale on the downhill side of the gently sloping terrain.  Sounds easier to do than to actually drag the McCloud and rip out the weeds!

Amphibian Amphitheatre taking shape Many weeds have been scraped from the belly of Amphibian Amphitheatre.  Note the berms of built up weeds and soil to the east and north.  Also note the rock pile on the western edge of the shallow bowl — that is the pond outlet (overflow pipe outlet) .  The rock pile hides the 4-inch PVC pipe that allows the pond to overflow if the pond level gets to a certain height (the height of the pond outlet flow pipe at the pond’s edge).  So, in a high-volume rain, this low area will receive not only rainwater from the sky and rainwater flowing down the slope of soil, but also rainwater from the pond’s overflow pipe.  That is a lot of water!

a long dayIt’s been a long day!  Amphibian Amphitheatre is nearly scraped and shaped.  The topsoil was generously scraped to more easily remove weeds and to also bulk up the berm that will surround the low area and help catch water flowing on the gentle hillside.

And let the fun beginBales of straw were tossed off of Stuart Schroeder’s hay wagon into Amphibian Amphitheatre.  Broken up, and mulched, the loose straw will keep weeds at bay until the intended native plants can get a foothold.  Also, the straw will wick moisture to the seedling native plants.  Time will transform the straw into nutrients for the new native plants.

straw mulch buys time while native plants estable themselvesStraw used to smoother out long-established weeds.

Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Cyperus eragrostis, Nutsedge, Umbrella Sedge, Salamander French Drain, redwood, buried tree slab, juncus, juncus patens, Artemisia douglasiana , mugwort, seed collecting,  Big Splash Spa and Resort, Compost Cricket Corral, Wood Chip Pile, Log Pile Apartments, Dirt Road Creek Swale, swale, Amphibian Amphitheatre, Amphibian Amphitheatre Hollow, Science Station Shelf, thermometer, rain gauge“The Swimming Pool” — A thin layer of straw mulch interior AND a curvy thick edge on the downhill slope, made of straw “blocks”, against the weed/scraped soil berm.  We kept the straw and the berm next to each other to smother out weds BUT did not mix the two material edges.  We want as much of the soil on hand in the berm to receive either native plant starts or seeds.

downhill berm of soil LEFT will moisturize the native plantings in the thick straw mulch RIGHT The downslope berm of Amphibian Amphitheatre designed to flow with the gradient of the slope. The objective in the curvy edge is to simulate the slope’s high-water mark where flood debris would have created a berm over the years.  Ultimately, the berm’s exact location will become hidden under a field of native sedges, rushes, grasses, and flowers.  Till then, we pull weeds!

20151112-LF-AAH--4-800Northern, downhill, side of Amphibian Amphitheatre.  Note the mix of weeds and soil in the berm and the homogenous, straw-only mulch layer.  Time will tell how effective the mat of straw is to thwart weeds that where established, yet scraped into the berm.  No chemicals used for all those weeds removed is a great plus.  Poor native plant germination (from seed), high mortality rate of native plant transplants, and excessive maintenance will offset the enlightened non-use of chemicals — EVERYTHING has its costs.  But rarely do critters get to weigh in — and my critter friends tell me that they would rather start with no chemicals.

20151112-Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Cyperus eragrostis, Nutsedge, Umbrella Sedge, Salamander French Drain, redwood, buried tree slab, juncus, juncus patens, Artemisia douglasiana , mugwort, seed collecting,  Big Splash Spa and Resort, Compost Cricket Corral, Wood Chip Pile, Log Pile Apartments, Dirt Road Creek Swale, swale, Amphibian Amphitheatre, Amphibian Amphitheatre Hollow, Science Station Shelf, thermometer, rain gaugeLF-AAH--2-800The straw has sat on Amphibian Amphitheatre for one week, a rain has come and gone, Wendy Trowbridge has marked, via red flag, the position of Science Station Shelf.  Systems are go!

Wood Chip Pile Innoculation Center
Amphibian Amphitheatre Hollow has been stored under the woodchip pile (center, back) beyond Garter Snake Ravine ( left) and Log Pile Apartments (far left).  The hollowed-out log has been dutifully awaiting transfer papers into a wildlife habitat installation.  Today is its lucky day! Storing such wildlife habitat installation materials in an active, fungal spore-rich medium, like wood chips, increases the chances that a living log will be delivered to the wildlife habitat.  Why not start with ALIVE?!

Students at work

Science Station Shelf

a sledge a day keeps the doctor awayA student arrives in time to sledge hammer an angle bracket in place.  The discarded shelving hardware is perfect to secure the rain gauge post to the redwood slab of wood.  Sure beats sittin’ around the class!

measuring depth to bury wood slabUsing post hole diggers to determine ground level, we measure how far to dig Science Station Shelf into the ground.  The top of the post must be 20″ above the restored woodchip-covered ground.

Did you hear it, too?The crew stops to listen for birds.  Was that a Black Crowned Night Heron on its way back to the Laguna?

Measuring height of rain gauge.Measuring height of the top of the installed rain gauge.  Perfect!  Let the rain come.

Burying Science Station ShelfTime to bury Science Station Shelf with returning topsoil, new and old woodchips.  Note how the new resource, the woodchips on the tarp in the foreground, will be used directly over the wood shelf.  The tarp will keep the new-look of the chips from disturbing the immediate area.

add waterA good mud pile of the site ensures that the wood shelf will be “cemented” in place.  Normally, best not to make mud, and drive oxygen out of the soil, but this shelf must be solid — scientists will be collecting rain gauge data daily.  We want to ensure that they have sure footing on the shelf AND we do not want the rain gauge post to move at all.  Mud is the answer!

 Amphibian Amphitheatre Hollow

pulling back the straw mulchPulling back the straw mulch from the inside of the berm to give us plenty of room to work.  We want to get down to the soil to trench in a ten-foot hollow log, partially buried.  Sedge and rush plants will grow alongside the water-wicking log and critters will have a long wood Quonset hut for shelter, for habitat.

Outdoor Classrooms rock!The tree trunk section has been dropped into position for placement alongside the berm, and now rests alongside while habitat landscapers dig the trench that the wood will rest in.  Shovelful by shovelful, the wildlife habitat comes into being.  Note the woodchips on-hand; they will be used to dress the mugwort and sedge plantings.  Note how the berm curves in the distance.

Have we dug enough?Decision time — have we dug enough?  Will the wood log sit snuggly in the berm?  Is there a welcoming entrance to the log’s hollow?  Does the log look good in the hole?  All answers = maybe!  Note the displaced soil from the trench — a beautiful new resource to have for the plantings.

Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Cyperus eragrostis, Nutsedge, Umbrella Sedge, Salamander French Drain, redwood, buried tree slab, juncus, juncus patens, Artemisia douglasiana , mugwort, seed collecting,  Big Splash Spa and Resort, Compost Cricket Corral, Wood Chip Pile, Log Pile Apartments, Dirt Road Creek Swale, swale, Amphibian Amphitheatre, Amphibian Amphitheatre Hollow, Science Station Shelf, thermometer, rain gaugeYay, we are done digging.  Amphibian Amphitheatre Hollow is in place.

muddng in The HollowMudding in The Hollow.  Students stand on the log to sink it into the mud cast being made for it.  Easy work, if you can get it.

shaping the log into the bermShaping soil alongside the log and grading the berm.

planting nutsedge and mugwortPlanting umbrella sedge (Cyperus eragrostis) starts from one of the Nursery trays; the flat of sedge starts is sitting on top of the partially buried Hollow log.  The sedge will grow together tightly, providing a thick cover for critters.  Also, 2 clumps (of 5 plants each) of mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana, were planted on the berm (foreground and left in photo).  Critters will enjoy the mugwort seeds and the plants’ insectary nature will help keep the LEC buzzin’.  How wonderful that the Laguna Foundation grew these plants on site in the Native Plant Nursery!

planting juncus patensA student prepares to plant out a flat of juncus patens, or California grey rush.  Juncus, like the nutsedge, can be periodically flooded; therefore, both plants are classified as semi-emergent species.

planting nutsedge and juncusEveryone has a job — the plants go in quickly.

Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Cyperus eragrostis, Nutsedge, Umbrella Sedge, Salamander French Drain, redwood, buried tree slab, juncus, juncus patens, Artemisia douglasiana , mugwort, seed collecting,  Big Splash Spa and Resort, Compost Cricket Corral, Wood Chip Pile, Log Pile Apartments, Dirt Road Creek Swale, swale, Amphibian Amphitheatre, Amphibian Amphitheatre Hollow, Science Station Shelf, thermometer, rain gaugeAmphibian Amphitheater Hollow gets watered in.  Note the flare, a remnant from the tree trunk’s crown section, in the foreground.

watering the completed wildlife habitatHappy watered wildlife habitat.

OPEN OPEN OPEN  [flashing sign, Main Street, Critterville]Close-up of The Hollow’s above ground entrance.  All critters welcomed!  This “subway” tunnel ends at, is a way to get to, the buried, cool, damp, night-dark soil of the berm.  “Thanks for stopping by.  What’s for lunch?  Oh, you ARE lunch!” [Hungry Snake].

berm (left) -- Amphibian Amphitheatre Hollow (center) -- Amphibian Amphitheatre (right)Berm (left) — Amphibian Amphitheatre Hollow (center) — Amphibian Amphitheatre (right).  Note the small rise/hill to the berm.  Water draining downslope (from the right) or filling Amphibian Amphitheatre (from the pond overflow pipe) will pool at the base of the log up against the berm.  Also note that the mugwort is given a dryer soil height than the sedge, which thrives from periodic submergence.  [3 years future, during a heavy flooding rain]: A great blue heron walks the log looking for critters flooded out from under Amphibian Amphitheatre’s meadow.

juncus patens (foreground); nutsedge (surrounding The Hollow); mugwort (in berm, ends of The Hollow)Habitat landscapers were here!  Juncus patens (foreground), nutsedge (surrounding The Hollow), and mugwort (in berm, ends of The Hollow).  Note how heavily the bunching of juncus was mulched with woodchip and surrounding straw.  While the 2-3 years that the woodchips break down, the juncus will have gained a head start on competitor weeds.  Also, the mulch will gather and wick moisture to the juncus transplants to bridge dry spells.  The sedge and mugwort plants are equally heavily mulched.

Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Cyperus eragrostis, Nutsedge, Umbrella Sedge, Salamander French Drain, redwood, buried tree slab, juncus, juncus patens, Artemisia douglasiana , mugwort, seed collecting,  Big Splash Spa and Resort, Compost Cricket Corral, Wood Chip Pile, Log Pile Apartments, Dirt Road Creek Swale, swale, Amphibian Amphitheatre, Amphibian Amphitheatre Hollow, Science Station Shelf, thermometer, rain gaugeDone!  2 wildlife habitats installed AND the Laguna Environmental Center has a new rain gauge and outdoor thermometer.  Nice job!, Sunny and your students, and long-time habitat landscaper helper, and me, Tony McGuigan.

Final Touches (after students)

Science Station Shelf

rain gauge data entered here dailyWendy Trowbridge provided this link — the gathering place for daily country-wide rain gauge stations, which the LEC is now one of.  The floating text/data box explains the blue dot — the daily data of the LEC’s station (Santa Rosa 6.7 WSW).  November 24, 2015’s dot is blue because the Laguna Foundation’s Rain-Data-Scientist-of-the-Day (anonymity granted!) recorded 0.08 inches of rain that day.  Rain!  Glorious rain giving the LEC a good soak.

Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Cyperus eragrostis, Nutsedge, Umbrella Sedge, Salamander French Drain, redwood, buried tree slab, juncus, juncus patens, Artemisia douglasiana , mugwort, seed collecting,  Big Splash Spa and Resort, Compost Cricket Corral, Wood Chip Pile, Log Pile Apartments, Dirt Road Creek Swale, swale, Amphibian Amphitheatre, Amphibian Amphitheatre Hollow, Science Station Shelf, thermometer, rain gaugeOpening the link “Go to report details” in the map (previous photo).

At the Habitat Garden

gulf fritillary in Compost Cricket CorralA gulf fritillary in Compost Cricket Corral.

20151029-CTony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Cyperus eragrostis, Nutsedge, Umbrella Sedge, Salamander French Drain, redwood, buried tree slab, juncus, juncus patens, Artemisia douglasiana , mugwort, seed collecting,  Big Splash Spa and Resort, Compost Cricket Corral, Wood Chip Pile, Log Pile Apartments, Dirt Road Creek Swale, swale, Amphibian Amphitheatre, Amphibian Amphitheatre Hollow, Science Station Shelf, thermometer, rain gaugeCC-Gulf-fritillary,Agraulis-vanillae,cr-s-800Close-up of gulf fritillary butterfly in Compost Cricket Corral habitat.

western fence lizard in Salamander French Drain habitatA western fence lizard peeks out of the sitting bench in Salamander French Drain habitat.

Got your tail!Close-up of the lizard that was under the sitting bench.  Note the contour and holes that insects carved into the wood of Salamander French Drain’s retaining wall.  The wood surface itself is habitat for tiny critters, some of which might be prey of the lizards.  Also note the blunt tail of the lizard — this lizard escaped a predator, leaving the predator with the broken off and wiggling tail section.  The “tail drop” is called caudal autonomy.  Lost a tail but granted another life!

Much appreciation to the Laguna Foundation, especially Restoration and Conservation Science Department staff Wendy Trowbridge (Director), Brent Reed (Manager), Aaron Nunez (Tech II), and Paul Weber (Tech).  And thank you, Estrella Phegan, Nursery Manager, for sharing the space.

Enjoy your outdoor classrooms and wildlife habitat gardening.

Tony

Oct 232015
 
Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Cyperus eragrostis, Nutsedge, Umbrella Sedge, Salamander French Drain, redwood, buried stumps, landscape cloth, yarrow, Achillea millefolium californica, seed collecting,  Big Splash Spa and Resort, Compost Cricket Corral, Wood Chip Pile, Log Pile Apartments, Dirt Road Creek Swale, fieldstone

Outdoor Classroom project Salamander French DrainSalamander French Drain is a wildlife habitat installation installed October 8, 2015.

Salamander French Drain is a fix-it landscaping art project turned wildlife habitat installation.  This project is an Outdoor Classroom project: Orchard View School; Sunny Galbraith, teacher, and 9 of her Biology students.  Location: Laguna Environmental Center.  Date of installation project: October 8, 2015.

The Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation operates the Laguna Environmental Center, or LEC, on Stone Farm, at 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, California, 95401. This wildlife habitat installation is behind the LEC’s Native Plant Nursery.

Become a Guide or Docent.       lagunafoundation.orgSalamander French Drain — The BEFORE.

Prep (before students)

Today’s installation, Salamander French Drain, is about protecting the Habitat Garden’s water feed pipe with a gravel filled swale.  Water collected in the swale will soak a pile of rocks under the nutsedge bed the students plant.   AND, there’s a wood creature involved.

3/4 sch 80 PVC inside telescoping drainpipe sectionsThe 3/4″ schedule 80 PVC water pipe that is T’d off at the hose riser (hose faucet pipe) continues underground.  Telescoping sch 40 PVC (3″ and 2″) pipes encase the water pipe to protect it from unwary shovels.  The water/pipe has come from the back of the Nursery in a straight line but a previously installed habitat, Big Splash Hotel and Spa, blocks access where we want the pipe to rise out of the ground.  So, the pipe was diverted at the hose faucet pipe; from there the pipe angles into the Habitat Garden.  A 90-degree elbow (under shovel in above pic) sends the pipe back to the pipe’s original direction, BUT around Big Splash Hotel and Spa.  Big Splash gets water AND maybe the buried water pipe will survive.  One way to help protect the buried pipe is to mark it.

stump was buried in woodchips to keep it ALIVEA wood stump is called into action — it will be a marker post.  It will mark the 90-degree turn in the buried water pipe.  The stump was buried in a woodchip pile for a few months to keep it alive, so the critters and fungus in it could thrive.  The stump goes into action as a wildlife habitat installation resource ALIVE.  The stump itself is habitat, full of microbes, fungi, insects, and crawly critters that are food for larger organisms. Big Splash Hotel and Spa (foreground) Big Splash Hotel and Spa’s hose water comes from the left, behind the landscaping boulder, and up Compost Cricket Corral‘s corner post.

gravel layer under landscape cloth and sedge plants will "french drain" the water into a rock-filled holeA gravel layer under landscape cloth and sedge plants will “French drain” the water into a rock-filled hole.  Note the grasses behind and to the right of the gravel buckets; that invasive alien Bermuda grass will be replaced with native umbrella sedge, Cyperus eragrostis, or, nutsedge.

runoff water will soak Salamander French DrainIrrigation/sprinkler runoff from the Nursery’s concrete slab will keep Salamander French Drain well watered.

grab a shovel!The hole to be filled with rocks gets deeper.  Water was used to soften the hard, dry adobe soil.  The marker stump will be positioned far right.  A second stump will sit in the hole’s middle, with large fieldstone rocks filling in the rest of the hole.  As done in Big Splash Hotel and Spa, moisture holding fieldstone will be used to create an underground moisture sink, a watering hole when all else is dry, prime real estate for moisture-loving critters, habitat!

retaining wall log face cut to slope with soil from Compost Cricket CorralRetaining wall log face cut to slope with soil from Compost Cricket Corral.

 Students at work

Outdoor Classrooms rock!Weeds in front of the compost are not pulled out, but are cut at soil level — “chop and drop” in Permaculture parlance.  The new greens will be added to the compost to feed it, nurture it.

reclaiming potting soil AND removing Bermuda grassIn prep for the nutsedge plants and seeds to be planted, one team (background) harvest discarded potting soil and another team (foreground) removes Bermuda grass thatch.

moving retaining wall log And here comes the retaining wall log that will hold the slope of soil from the compost and leave leg room in front of the bench. Two students pull the log using straps, one steers from behind.

moving the retaining wall logRetaining wall log is ready for placement.  Note how the outdoor classroom students are operating in teams with different jobs.  From left, clockwise: log placers, (back) nutsedge seed collectors, (in willow) nutsedge plant transplanter, and stump leveler.

filling trench with fieldstone rocksFieldstone rocks are placed in the landscape cloth-lined hole before tree stumps are added.  Note the black landscape cloth in the hole; it will keep soil from filling into the cavities and crevices between the fieldstone rock pile in the trench.  The maze of different-sized vaulted-ceiling chambers will become shelter for many different-sized critters.  Also, less soil in horizontally oriented pockets or holes in the rock means more water can fill in those holes.  Every subterranean fieldstone rock in the habitat installation, therefore, will become a Thousand Lakes tiny critter housing development — habitat for microbes, insects, snakes, ground spiders, gastropods, lizards, worms, and many other fauna.

leveling stumpsThe students used a 2-by-4 (2″ X 4″ wood beam) to fix the height of the stumps.  Then, each stump was leveled using a basin of water.  Simple, effective tools and know-how to dial in exact placement of the stumps that will be the sturdy base to a heavy redwood bench.

harvesting yarrow seedYarrow plants, collected from the garden resource bin (AKA “yard debris bin”) are stripped of their seed heads.  The seeds are then spread alongside the Nursery’s concrete slab to discourage water erosion.

weighing down the retaining wall with a rockA large rock is placed against the retaining wall’s slanted cut to help hold the log in place and to hide the saw cut.

nutsedge bed is readyMove over weeds, here comes native umbrella sedge (Cyperus eragrostis), or “nutsedge”.   Note the 2X4 on the right used to position the proposed bench’s foundation height.  Working in the soil — hard not to be happy!

photographer photo opPhoto op for teacher Sunny Galbraith on the compost pile.  Salamander French Drain is just left, downslope from the compost.  The full sheet of corrugated roof tin has been temporarily used to create a wall to collect topsoil from the installation site.  The tin sheet helps keep the topsoil and the compost separate.  After the major rock and adobe clay work has shaped the habitat, the loose topsoil pile will be spread back on top of the site.  Topsoil nutrients, minerals, and microbes return to their correct soil strata, the top layer.

woolly caterpillar“Back you go”, this student returns a woolly caterpillar back to the nearby willow thicket.

gathering nutsedge transplantsTransplanting nutsedge FROM the willow thicket.  Hands on, nothin’-virtual-bout-it! education.  This outdoor classroom rocks!

Salamander French Drain completed by studentsThe students have finished, class is over, Salamander French Drain is in!  Note the natural look of this work site that was a deep hole, a trench with an exposed water pipe, and piles of soil just hours earlier.  Nutsedge plants and copious nutsedge seeds cover the soil and rock crevices.  Note the log retaining wall — it serves as a step-down from the higher compost bin.  Also note the pooled water, behind the fence; tomorrow there will be less water there.  The French drain (gravel bed under the soil in the front) will soak up some of each night’s irrigation and divert that water to the buried rock pile.  “New Condos Under Redwood Bench — 246 units, multi-bedroom, all units receive fresh water nightly.  Biodiversity guaranteed.  PRICED TO SELL! [Critter Real Estate Magazine, front page, October 9, 2015]

Final Touches (after students)

final touch -- more topsoil addedThe students have blown through like a force of Nature — a wildlife habitat has been installed.  It is now that I discover the two buckets of topsoil that were set aside AND that were not used.  These two buckets were the first topsoil removed; fitting that they are the last returned.  I sprinkle the topsoil over the site.  The added nutrient-rich soil will increase the sedge bed’s chance of thriving.  Add water and this wildlife habitat is in!

Salamander French Drain wildlife habitat AND resting bench under the willow treeRedwood Bench (driftwood) has been installed, an easy bolt-down onto the sturdy level foundation stumps.  Habitat installations, L to R: Salamander French Drain, Big Splash Hotel and Spa, Compost Cricket Corral, which are connected to: Log Pile Apartments, Garter Snake Ravine, and a massive woodchip pile.  Habitat it!

Western Fence Lizard“Hey, don’t forget me!”  A western fence lizard peeks between fieldstone boulders that were not used in the habitat installation.  To store the rocks for later use, they were grouped together on the woodchip pile, thereby creating shelter for heat-loving critters like this lizard.

Great work, again, Orchard View School Biology students and Sunny.  Much appreciation to the Laguna Foundation, especially Restoration and Conservation Science Department staff Wendy Trowbridge (Director), Brent Reed (Manager), Aaron Nunez (Tech II), and Paul Weber (Tech).  And thank you, Estrella Phegan, Nursery Manager, for sharing the space.

Enjoy your outdoor classrooms and wildlife habitat gardening.

Tony

Aug 022015
 
Tony McGuigan, Spore Lore, Habitat It And They Will Come, garden, soil, Soil Under My Nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, wildlife habitat installation, environmental education, ecological landscaping, Animal Habitat, garden, ecological, landscaping, wildlife garden, biodiversity, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, wildlife habitat workshop, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Stuart Schroeder, mulch, wood chips, adobe soil, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, field sedge, Carex praegegracillus, juncus, Juncus patens, California gray rush, Sonoma fieldstone, Shady Oak Root Of It All, Big Splash Hotel and Spa, oak tree, quercus lobata, valley oak, mycorrhizae, mycorrhizae, mycorrhizal association

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgLet the games begin!  And the players for last month’s workshop (July 12th) at the Laguna Environmental Center are a 600 pound Sonoma fieldstone boulder (left) and an oak rootball with stump (right).  Both the boulder and the rootball will become the main feature of their own wildlife habitat installation.  Stuart Schroeder of Stone Farm helped me (Tony McGuigan) place both the boulder and the rootball near the proposed habitat sites — nice to have a tractor do some of the work!

Early Morning at the Laguna Environmental Center

Here are some photos of the wonderful start to the day while preparing for the workshop to begin:

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgA western pond turtle keeps a wary eye from Turtle Pond Float.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgA blue heron watches,

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgthen flies over the pond.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgA Western Fence Lizard peeks from under the Sonoma fieldstone boulder we will soon move.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgClose-up of the lizard.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgTools at the ready.  From left: pruners, digging bars, roofing tile puller, shovels, soil chisels, hoes.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgAnd some of the materials we will be working with.  Valley oak trees, deer tree tubes, Sonoma fieldstone boulders with water-holding cavities, driftwood, and wood stumps.

The workshop started with a discussion in Heron Hall regarding wildlife habitats for residential settings.  Pastry, coffee, and tea make planning the day so much more fun!  On hand for the habitat landscaping was one Laguna Foundation intern, two Laguna Foundation Guides, four participants, and me, a Laguna Foundation Docent, as instructor.

Big Splash Hotel and Spa

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgBehind the Foundation’s Nursery is a compost area, which itself is a rich animal habitat, as is any thriving compost.  The Nursery manager recently asked all working at the Nursery to hang up the garden hose when finished; she wants to prevent contamination of the water left in the hose.  The hose has been hung up, sometimes here, sometimes there.  “Big Splash” wildlife habitat installation is about getting the hose hung up in mostly one place — the dripping water from the hose will provide water to the critters living under and around the large water-catching landscape boulders.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgThe Before.  Big Splash will be directly under the hose hanging from Compost Cricket Corral’s southwest post.  Moooo!  Note the nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus L.), front left; it will be saved because of its native status.  The surrounding weeds (non-native plants) will be removed to allow native plants to thrive around the habitat.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgA hole is dug alongside the compost post.  The soil is set aside in buckets for later use — this rich topsoil will be used to establish new Santa Barbara sedge and field sedge plants surrounding Big Splash.  The large V-shaped boulder on its side (left) is blocked (to prevent movement) on a pallet next to the hole.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgMelon (cantaloupe and honey dew)-sized fieldstone rocks are carefully positioned in the hole to maximize their water-holding surfaces.  Some rocks have one or two thimble-sized cavities; other rocks present a smear of small holes that will hold water.  The rocks, in total, will provide moist cavities for critters to gather water from.  Other animals will prey upon those seeking the water.  A habitat is born!

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgUsing water to determine a rock’s most-water-holding position.  The rock will be placed on the lower rocks so that the “lake” is most full.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgA foundation of water-holding fieldstone awaits the large V-shaped fieldstone boulder, which will sit on top.  The view is from inside the compost, looking toward the Nursery’s concrete slab.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgThe large boulder is leveled to test its best water-holding position.  St. Mary’s River flows out of Lake Superior — think very small critter!

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgLots of push and pull to get the 600 hundred pound boulder “level” so that it will hold water.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgAnd take a breath — the fieldstone boulder is in place.  The top boulder is placed to receive the hose drip.  Once Boulder Lake (think like a microbe or tiny birdbath critter) is filled, the moistness/wetness/water will drip down the side of the large fieldstone boulder to smaller, also water-holding, rocks.  There are about a dozen such rocks under Boulder Lake.  Soil, plants, mosses, lichens, and critters will call this pyramid of cavities, nutrition, and water “Home”.  In other words, 3 of 4 ingredients of habitat have been met: shelter, food, and water.  Because some critters will stay local to, if not live in, the moist pile of rocks, those critters will reproduce near or in the habitat installation.  Number 4 ingredient, “a place to raise young”, has been met.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgSanta Barbara sedge (Carex barbarae) and field sedge (Carex praegegracillus) are planted among the rocks.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgWoodchip mulch is added to suppress weeds and give moisture to the establishing sedges.  The woodchip mulch will break down, leaving rich organic material, enriching the new sedge planting.  Soon a white net of mycorrhizae will spread throughout the decomposing woodchips, thereby benefitting the sedges.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgThe hose is temporarily positioned using driftwood; we are looking for the hose position that will target the hose drip into the center of the boulder to create Boulder Lake.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgA good watering to jumpstart Big Splash Hotel and Spa wildlife habitat.  Soon the sedge plants will surround and shelter the base of the large boulder, providing food and shelter to small critters.  Larger animals will return to the watering hole.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgBig Splash Hotel and Spa is finished.  One habitat down, one to go for the workshop session.

Shady Oak Root Of It All — Prep before the workshop

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.org Site where rootball was harvested.  The rootball is nearly camouflaged; look between the digging bars.  The oak tree rootball, that is destined to become the focal point of a wildlife habitat installation, is covered in adobe soil, adding to its very heavy weight.    This logger’s garbage is a treasure to us habitat landscapers.  For him, the soil between the roots would ruin the chainsaw blade.  But as a habitat feature, the soil will diversify the habitat’s materials.  Most excess soil will be removed from the rootball just to get it in the back of the truck.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgOak Rootball arrives at the Laguna Foundation in April 2015.  Because the project slated for the rootball is three months away, a corral of logs was made around the rootball.  The logs will help hold the tall mound of woodchips about to cover it.  The rootball will sit in moist woodchips for three months before being installed in a wildlife habitat.  Since the rough plan is to bury the rootball in a new habitat (3 months from now), it will also be buried now — any Life in the soil-impregnated rootball will be welcome in the new habitat.  The dead rootball will be delivered to the habitat ALIVE!

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgA log is attached to the chain tether.  The rootball is nearly buried in woodchips.  Come July, in three months, Stuart’s tractor will haul out the stump by the chain — sure beats digging out the rootball!

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgThe Before.  The Laguna Foundation’s Observation Platform ramp rises from a small hill above the cow pasture (left) and straw field (foreground).  We will take advantage of the small hill’s slope to dig in the rootball, but we must be careful not to undermine the ramp’s supports built into the hill.  The habitat’s valley oak (Quercus lobata) seedlings will be planted to allow tractor travel along the fence.  Also, the trees will be planted a safe distance from the ramp to not encroach upon it.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgDigging goes easier than expected.  Actually it’s a problem — the earth is a mix of gravel and soil fill from the pond grading.  We move the hole for the rootball further downslope to avoid undermining the ramp’s concrete supports.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgTime for the rootball — up and out of the woodchip pile it comes.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgAnd I get to ride.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgThe plan is to lay the rootball downhill to simulate a fallen tree.  The milled (man-made cut) at the crown will be buried to help create a natural look.  Note the straw bales; they were used to keep the loose slope from eroding the few days the hole was exposed before the workshop.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgIn goes the rootball.  Note how the roots extend above the surrounding ground and that the stump cut is down in the hole.  Also note the white patches on the rootball/stump crown — fungi was thriving on the rootball while it was buried in the woodchips.  Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgClose-up of fungi growing on the oak rootball.

Shady Oak Root Of It All — Installation (Workshop) Day

 

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgThe rootball is tipped to lower the stump end below the level of the surrounding soil.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgThe rootball and other wood hulks are positioned half in, half out of the hole.  Fill, fill, fill. Because so much wood is in the hole, there will be extra soil to mound above the hole, on top of the wood.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgSoil engulfs the rootball.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgA critter perch is laid in the hole to the right of the rootball.  It will be mostly buried so that only a 4-foot length sticks out of the hill when the habitat is finished.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgOther wood chunks are thrown into the hole to provide more cavities for wood-loving critters AND to displace soil.  By filling the hole with other than original soil, we will be able to mound the soil higher, or perhaps make a berm of soil where there had not been one.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgIn go small oak branches and twigs, broken up by stepping on them.  We want to create moisture retention and fungi spawning for the valley oak seedlings.  Layers of organic matter (oak rootball/oak branches/oak woodchip mulch) will attempt to humbly simulate oak tree savanah soil, which is layered by decades, if not centuries, of decaying oak wood.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgTopsoil from the hole, which was set aside in large bins, is used to fill over the poorer quality soil and the oak branches.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgHere comes the first valley oak seedling.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgToday I plant a mighty oak tree.  Valley Oak (Quercus lobata) may live up to 600 years old.  The Observation Platform might need a paint job by then!

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgThe oak trees are in,

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.organd covered with plastic tubes that will allow light in but keep deer from eating the young trees.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgOak woodchip mulch is spread around the trees.

Become a Guide or Docent of the Laguna Foundation – See lagunafoundation.orgThe trees are watered as a final step to the completed wildlife habitat installation.  Note the Medusa-like tangle of roots emerging from the ground.  What is going on there?  What critters will seek habitat there?  Questions, questions.  Keep asking!

Final Report

The workshop was a success.  Thank you to  the LF Guides, Marcia and Barbara, the workshop participants, and intern Sasha — we installed 2 wildlife habitats and nobody got hurt.

Thank you’s to the Laguna Foundation staff for your support of my work at the LEC.  In particular, to Wendy Trowbridge and Brent Reed of the Conservation and Restoration Department and to Anita Smith, Public Education Coordinator, for her work in promoting my July 11th presentation and this workshop.

A big thank you to Tractor Man — Stuart Schroeder.

Enjoy your wildlife habitat creations.  Habitat it!

Tony