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