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

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

 

 

 

 

May 012015
 
mulch, wood chips, adobe soil, berm, ditch, badger, American Badger,  (Taxidea Taxus), Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, Garter Snake Ravine, field sedge (Carex praegegracillus), piggy-back plant (Tolmiea menziesii), juncus, Juncus patens, California gray rush, oak, valley oak, Quercus lobata, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, Orchard View School, 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

Badger Hole Hollow is a cleanup project turned Wildlife Habitat Installation.  This project is an Outdoor Classroom project: Orchard View School; Sunny Galbraith, teacher, and 7 of her Biology students.  Location: Laguna Environmental Center.  Date of classroom project: April 15th, 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 borders the LEC’s (Laguna Environmental Center’s) Native Plant Nursery, which is used for the Foundation’s Conservation Program.

About 2 years ago, on October 3, 2013, a massive valley oak fell in Doyle Park, Santa Rosa.  The City of Santa Rosa had sections of the tree hauled off to one of its wood “graveyards”.  The Laguna Foundation coaxed Stone Horse‘s farmer, Stuart Schroeder, to use his implement carrier to bring sections of the huge Doyle Park valley oak to the Laguna Foundation, the purpose being to foster landscape rehabilitation to the Laguna Environmental Center’s fairly recent construction zone around Heron Hall.

“Just a little to the left and back a bit.”  Doyle Park Heritage (valley) Oak section is added to the habitat landscaping of the LEC.  Note the implement carrier, with its 4-chain hoist — a flywheel at the head of the metal frame’s roof turns pipes that winds those chains around the pipes.  The chains shorten thereby lifting the load.  Great way to lift a tree!  And move it!

2013.

2015.   These oak sections, although they will ultimately “return to the earth”, could look more naturally placed in the landscape.  They will be repositioned to hide the human-made chainsaw cuts.  And in doing so a wildlife habitat will be created.

Close-up of BEFORE.  Two oak log sections with their chainsaw cuts facing each other.

A lot to prep before the students arrive.  The larger section will be partially buried — the chainsaw cut will sit in a hole and the shredded, more-naturally broken end will twist skyward.  One end will create den structure for subterranean animals and the other will provide perch-above-the-grasses for climbing animals and birds.  Woodchip mulch is dumped against Trunk (the larger section) 2 weeks before installation date to wick water  to the adobe soil below.  Softening the soil with moisture will make the digging soooo much easier!

Woodchip mulch is piled up against Trunk (larger section) and watered to moisten the adobe soil 2 weeks prior to digging.

One day before installation date.  Staff and an intern discuss pulling weeds.  One staffer has a weed by the throat.  This native plant landscape will some day be a native plant meadow; till then, weeding is an essential job.  Note the soil bins in queue next to the oak logs — they will store soil as the hole for Trunk is dug.  Bin 1 = top soil; Bin 2 = layer under the topsoil; Bin 3 = less rich sol, adobe clay; Bin 4 = heavy adobe clay.  The bins were labeled as dug and stored to allow the correct bin/soil layer to be returned to the habitat installation at the right time.  Preserving the soil layers helps disrupt the soil ingredients less, including critters and soil microbes.  Nutrients and critters that were living in the topsoil remain in the topsoil.  The same is true for the other soil layers.

A note labels Bin 3 to sequence when its soil will return to the installation.

 

The spade head marks the spot — we will bury our treasure (Trunk) here.  The smaller oak tree section, which has been subsequently named “Crocodile”, has been moved out of the way.  A cardboard barricade has been temporarily installed to throw dug soil onto; a pile will be created close by to be able to cover over Trunk/hole once Trunk is slid into position, that is, dropped into the hole.

Digging so that Trunk can drop into a hole.  The soil pile will return over Trunk, then planted.

Trunk is coaxed via truck chain into its 4-foot hole rest.

Almost there — time to remove the lower chain bolt.  Once the lower bolt was removed, the Trunk was edged vertically into the hole from the chain looped around Trunk’s “top” end.

The next morning — installation day for Badger Hole Hollow!  The digging bar perimeter will help the students walk carefully around the native plants living alongside Badger Hole Hollow, or “BHH”.  Trunk is far enough in the ground it will stay put, minimizing any danger issue.  The smaller oak section, Crocodile, will be positioned by today’s Biology class students.

Julia, a student donating her time at the LEC, transplants native plants, like the California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) shown above, to a temporary mound of moist woodchips.  The collected plants will be saved from being trampled during the installation and then will be replaced on or alongside Badger Hole Hollow as a finishing touch.  If 1 out of 3 or 4 survive the transplant, at least there will be one more native plant to jumpstart the installation.

 

Orchard View students are on site.  Red and blue irrigation flags were used to create easily visible walkways between the established (wanted) native plants.

Crocodile wrestling — students position Crocodile into a position that will maximize the wood hulk’s ground surface coverage (for animal shelter) and its landscaping beauty.

Students break up a stick pile 1) to get rid of the pile of sticks from the compost pile, and 2) to provide organic debris under the habitat installation’s soil planting.  Microbes to crawly critters to critters that eat those lower trophic animals will call the small buried stick pile home, habitat.

A student breaks up sticks, then uses his body weight to compress the broken stick pile up against Trunk and Crocodile.

Soil is backfilled (background) and woodchips are mixed into the habitat to prepare for plantings.

Juncus, or California gold rush (Juncus patens), is planted in between and at the base of Trunk and Crocodile.  The juncus, which love moisture, will be on and downslope of the soil/woodchip pile between the 2 oak tree sections.

 

Field sedge (Carex praegegracillus) plugs are planted in the surrounding area of BHH.  –Per Wikipedia, “ [Field sedge] tolerates disturbed habitat such as roadsides and thrives in alkaline substrates.” In other words, field sedge is a good choice for our native plant restoration, and subsequent wildlife habitat creation, of this graded soil next to LEC’s road.

Fields sedge and juncus are planted on Badger Hole Hollow’s hill.

Badger Hole Hollow gets water.  This outdoor classroom rocks!

Badger Hole Hollow wildlife habitat has been installed AND field sedge plugs have been planted up to the road’s edge.

A jack rabbit leaps (center of photo) above the landscape’s sedges and grasses as the project is cleaned up.

Badger Hole Hollow will rest now and enjoy the sunset.

Close-up of AFTER.  All in all, Trunk and Crocodile have had a great day.

Will a badger come to live under or near Badger Hole Hollow?  Perhaps, perhaps not, but in the meantime, the critters of the landscape have another option in the terraine.

The students of Orchard View School, teacher Sunny Galbraith, and Cordy and David and I had fun at this outdoor classroom Biology project.  A thank you also to the Laguna Foundation’s staff, especially Wendy Trowbridge, Director of Restoration and Conservation Science Programs, and Brent Reed, Restoration Projects Supervisor.  Thanks for the plants, Brent.  Cool project!

Enjoy your wildlife habitat creations.  Habitat it!

Tony

 Pics from last month:

[To the Orchard View Students — Sorry I did not get last month’s photos out sooner. I must have had my drill set for REVERSE!]

 Native Plants installed in Habitat Garden, March 2015

A Western Fence Lizard crawls into the sun from Compost Cricket Corral.

 

 

Mar 052015
 
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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View School

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View School

Cricket Compost Corral is a wildlife habitat installation that was installed October 2014 at the Laguna Environmental Center.   This post is about moving a garden resource (debris) pile to Cricket Compost Corral.  The new compost will help jumpstart the compost pile and the wildlife habitat features of the pile.  The new compost will help raise the soil level of the compost so that the compost will drain better, stay warmer, and work more efficiently.  Also, the new compost resources will come with a rich biota of fungi, soil microbes, crawly critters, and perhaps animals of higher trophic levels.

The Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, operates the Laguna Environmental Center, on Stone Farm, at 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, California, 95401. This wildlife habitat installation borders the LEC’s (Laguna Environmental Center’s) Native Plant Nursery, which is used for the Foundation’s Restoration Program.

“Cricket Compost Corral Gets A Habitat Blanket” is an outdoor classroom project — Science is just the beginning!  The students of Orchard View School, substitute teacher Alison, and I had fun at this outdoor classroom Biology project.  Teacher Sunny Galbraith worked logistics before installation day.

Before the students arrive — fenceline garden resource pile:

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolForeground = Veggie Garden at the LEC.  The resource debris pile to be moved is in the background, straight back off the garden’s corner, next to the fence, left of the propane tank.

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolWinter rains have greened the grass around the resource pile.

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolEveryone grab a tool.  Let’s move this pile!

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View School“Rusty” will help us move the resource pile across the LEC grounds quickly, saving a lot of wheelbarrow loads.

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View School

Gathering organic debris (horse manure and fallen poplar branches) to add to Cricket Compost Corral.

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolUsing the gathered manure/branches to build up a side of CCC.

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolFarmer Stuart Schroeder, of Stone Farm, lends a tractor to add a layer of wood chips for the students to spread.

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolLogs are used to frame the new resources added to CCC.  The wood frame will help keep the new higher soil level intact, wick water to the Santa Barbara sedge to be planted, and provide habitat for critters.

 Moving the resource pile:

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolStudents haul off the resource pile to the truck trailer.

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolA Pacific Tree Frog (Pseudacris regilla), green phase, hides in the resource pile.

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolKeep it Science — we listed all the critters we saw.  The resource pile is a critter mystery pile.

Adding the resource pile to Cricket Compost Corral:

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolWood chips are spread to make a rich base for the resource pile on Cricket Compost Corral.

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolForeground, a student plants Santa Barbara sedge, a native, drought-tolerant plant that will hold the compost’s hill in place.  Far right (back), students install driftwood to complete the frame of CCC.

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolUnloading Rusty the Trailer.  About this time during unloading, a western fence lizard was found in the trailer and introduced into Cricket Compost Corral.  You have a new home!

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolA bouquet of veggie garden sticks for Cricket Compost Corral.

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolOne garden’s debris is another garden’s treasure.

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolSecuring the end of CCC’s frame with driftwood held in place by palm tree frond wedges.

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolIn goes a palm tree wedge — local, FREE materials!

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolA sledge to finish CCC’s frame.

 Finishing touches on CCC gets a habitat blanket:

 

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolThe veggie garden resource pile now sits on top of Cricket Compost Corral.

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolTree limbs are staked into place to terrace plant Santa Barbara sedge along CCC’s front edge.  The compost gets a lot of fuel from keeping the Nursery’s concrete swept.

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolMore stakes.

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolCleaning tools before our class is finished. 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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolTerrace planting of Santa Barbara sedge to keep the compost’s soil level from eroding.  Ultimately, the wood will rot away but the sedge mound will hold the soil in place.  The sedge will also provide habitat for the compost’s critters. 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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolClose up of sedge planting.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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolA plug of sedge (center) sits in a soil-filled raised bed made by two tree limbs.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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolWeeds in front.  Sedge behind the terracing limb.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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolA plug of grass with yarrow plants planted at the base of adjacent Log Pile Apartments.

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolWatered down and ready to call the job done.

A thank you to the Laguna Foundation’s staff, especially Wendy Trowbridge, Director of Restoration and Conservation Science Programs, and Brent Reed, Restoration Projects Supervisor.  Cool project!

Enjoy your wildlife habitat creations.  Habitat it!

Tony

Wildlife at Orchard View student-built habitats at the LEC

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolWestern fence lizard in Log Pile Apartments.

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolResting bird about to get company.  Habitat is Garter Snake Ravine.  Bird cam photo.

 

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolViolet Green Swallow perching westward.  Habitat is Garter Snake Ravine.  Bird cam photo.

 

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, driftwood, Orchard View SchoolCaught one!  White Short Bill, male, seasonal outfit, unshaven.  Bird cam photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 282015
 
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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Garter Snake Ravine, owl perch, barn owl, Tyto alba, poplar tree, willow, block and tackle, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, coyote brush, Baccharis pilularis, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Log Pile Apartments, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, wildlife cam, driftwood, palm fronds, Orchard View School,

Students pull up Garter Snake Ravine’s barn owl perch using a block-and-tackle.

Garter Snake Ravine is a wildlife habitat installation that incorporates a deep hole cut into adobe soil, a water reservoir, a large-branches heap (BIG stick pile), a Fungus DreamWorld, and a Science Experiment.

The Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, operates the Laguna Environmental Center, on Stone Farm, at 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, California, 95401. This wildlife habitat installation borders the LEC’s (Laguna Environmental Center’s) Native Plant Nursery, which is used for the Foundation’s Restoration Program.

As mentioned in Spore Lore’s post,  Prep for Garter Snake Ravine, 1-3-2015, the adobe hole, AKA “Ravine”, was left full of water to soften the hardpan adobe soil in the bottom of the hole.  Sure enough, a week later, we were able to dig the hole another foot deeper — that much more space/capacity for the new habitat installation.  The deeper hole will also give the owl perch more vertical stability; the upside down poplar tree will be buried deeper.

A long-handled posthole digger at the ready in Garter Snake Ravine after a week of soaking the hole with water.

The dug-out adobe soil was used to raise the compost’s ground level to help keep the compost out of winter’s wet.  Garter Snake Ravine is two doors down from Compost Cricket Corral; Log Pile Apartments is between them.  So to review, in the photo above, the water is overflowing Garter Snake Ravine, flowing under Log Pile Apartments, and moistening the raised banks of Compost Cricket Corral BUT not saturating the compost pile because of the now raised soil level of the compost piles.

A tree has fallen!  No one was there to hear it but the crushed fence leaves a reminder.  The poplar tree split at its crown with the snapped-off trunk landing into the adjacent horse corral.  Problem: tree in corral.  Solution: we just found ourselves an owl perch.

A 16-foot section of this poplar tree trunk will become an owl perch in Garter Snake Ravine wildlife habitat.

Because the tree is a poplar, we want to use it in a way that it will not sprout, thrive, and eventually shade the compost piles which are west (shady side) of Garter Snake Ravine.  Poplar (Populus) trees are similar to willow trees in that they are both riparian species widely used for stream/watershed restoration.  Both Poplar and willow have high levels of rooting hormone.  And that’s a problem here — the Ravine habitat will be a water-/moisture-filled vase, like that for table flowers, during the coming wet months.  Solution: “plant”, or install, the poplar tree upside down to prevent the rooting process. 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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Garter Snake Ravine, owl perch, barn owl, Tyto alba, poplar tree, willow, block and tackle, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, coyote brush, Baccharis pilularis, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Log Pile Apartments, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, wildlife cam, driftwood, palm fronds, Orchard View School,And don’t forget the trunk stump.  This hulk of poplar wood will add to the habitat’s hugelkultur mass.  Also, heavy, bulky pieces of wood like this one and others will help stabilize the owl perch, keep it from falling.  Note how a staircase of skids was used to roll the stump into the bed trunk.  Great to have a helping hand.

The poplar trunk stump waits on the sidelines until the owl perch is placed into the Ravine.

Our initial desire was to raise an owl perch high in the sky to encourage barn owls to hunt and feed at the compost pile.  A perch that the barn owls that live on Stone Farm can use.  That pair of barn owls (Tyto alba) can sometimes be seen in the palm trees below the Office’s front porch.  Hoo called in Rodent Management?

IPM, a Permaculture term, stands for Integrated Pest Management.  Rodents can be pests around a farm and Stone Farm is no exception.  IPM is a way to handle one of Nature’s jobs by Nature.  Traditionally, by introducing, a cure animal.  Problems arise when the cure-all species becomes a problem — no other species is well suited to control the alien plant or animal.  Such is part of the reason that Native Plants and IPM are considered solutions to removing pests ecologically. 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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Garter Snake Ravine, owl perch, barn owl, Tyto alba, poplar tree, willow, block and tackle, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, coyote brush, Baccharis pilularis, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Log Pile Apartments, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, wildlife cam, driftwood, palm fronds, Orchard View School,Palm fronds are not accepted in the local Resource Center, which makes soil additives from the garden debris (resource!) brought to it.  But the fronds will be an asset in the hugelkultur — critters will seek the nooks and crannies between the slowly decomposing fronds.

A bird cam is installed — the camera will be trained on the perch to view owls hunting and eating their meals.

Students create a small retaining wall made from stones and heavy clay removed from the Ravine’s hole.  This berm will direct runoff water under the adjacent wildlife habitat 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, outdoor classroom, nonvirtual education, touch the soil!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Garter Snake Ravine, owl perch, barn owl, Tyto alba, poplar tree, willow, block and tackle, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, coyote brush, Baccharis pilularis, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Log Pile Apartments, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, wildlife cam, driftwood, palm fronds, Orchard View School,The poplar owl perch is here!  Students walk the perch up the woodchip pile to gain height advantage for installing the perch into Ravine’s hole.

Here comes the perch, heading for Ravine’s hole.  Note the thinner tree limbs in the foreground; the tree section is being flipped upside down.

The poplar tree section’s thinner branches are tied together to better fit the upside down tree into the Ravine.  Note the green rope crossing back and forth — the block and tackle is being threaded for pulling the tree vertical.

Students, on top of the woodchip pile, wait for the signal to assist the block-and-tackle’s raising of the owl perch.

Signaling to the rope puller, “Pull in the slack, batten down the hatches.”

“Pull!”, and up the perch goes with a little help from the top of the woodchip pile.  Two safety lines were used in case the perch was accidently pulled past vertical. Note the safety line from the right-most student (right of the woodchip pile). The left-sided safety line is being held by a student standing behind and to the left of the woodchip pile.

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Garter Snake Ravine, owl perch, barn owl, Tyto alba, poplar tree, willow, block and tackle, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, coyote brush, Baccharis pilularis, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Log Pile Apartments, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, wildlife cam, driftwood, palm fronds, Orchard View School,The owl perch is edged into place.  The poplar tree section has been up-ended.

Students stuff driftwood logs, the poplar stump, palm fronds, and smaller poplar braches (upside down) around the perch to stabilize it.  Plenty for all hands to do now; we want to vertically secure the perch and remove the block-and-tackle lines and safety ropes.

Safety check!  Lookin’ good; keep packing the hole around the perch.

Still more materials to pack around the perch as it approaches standing on its own, without stabilizing lines.

A breather while the owl perch is finalized.  This outdoor classroom rocks!

Students are busy planting Santa Barbara sedge (Carex barbarae), programming the bird cam, and packing the Ravine.

Garter Snake Ravine wildlife habitat installation is completed.  Note that the habitat has three major elements: a deep moist adobe hole that will fill to a small pond during the rains, a pile of branches and sticks, and an owl perch.  That’s a lot of nooks and crannies for critters to hunt, hide, cool-down, and LIVE! in.  First will come the wood-eating fungi and decomposer microbes, then higher trophic critters, then perhaps a mammal (an even higher trophic animal), like a skunk or a possum, that wants to reign over the habitat.

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!, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, Garter Snake Ravine, owl perch, barn owl, Tyto alba, poplar tree, willow, block and tackle, mulch, wood chips, hugelkultur, adobe soil, berm, ditch, coyote brush, Baccharis pilularis, garter snake, Compost Cricket Corral, Log Pile Apartments, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, wildlife cam, driftwood, palm fronds, Orchard View School,Garter Snake Ravine waits for a perching barn owl throughout the dark night.

Thank you for the wonderful pictures, Jenna.

The students of Orchard View School, teacher Sunny Galbraith, and Cordy and David and I had fun at this outdoor classroom Biology project.  A thank you also to the Laguna Foundation’s staff, especially Wendy Trowbridge, Director of Restoration and Conservation Science Programs, and Brent Reed, Restoration Projects Supervisor.  Cool project!

Enjoy your wildlife habitat creations.  Habitat it!

Tony