Big Bunny Seat is a wildlife habitat installation.
Big Bunny Seat is a wildlife habitat installation that is an art installation.
Big Bunny Seat is a wildlife habitat installation that is a seat, a resting place.
Big Bunny Seat wildlife habitat installation is an outdoor classroom project. School: Orchard View School, located in Sebastopol, California.
Big Bunny Seat wildlife habitat installation, AKA “Big Bunny Seat”, AKA “BBS”, was fun!
The Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, located in Santa Rosa, California, operates the Laguna Environmental Center, on Stone Farm, Stanford Road. The LEC’s (Laguna Environmental Center’s) path to its Observation Platform and adjacent viewing bench terrace wanted something artistic.
BBS (Big Bunny Seat) will be created here in two weeks (from photo date). It will be a seat alongside the path, so that someone just leaving the bridge over the LEC’s Pond will have a place to rest. This habitat installation (because all this effort is about habitat installation foremost!) will be a solid, secure, trustworthy seat for the weary traveler. In other words, while considering the safety and comfort of the sitter, we will be considering this art installation’s ability to nourish wildlife habitat.
Alas, a lone log lays. This log will be removed to create BBS and will ultimately be dug into the woodchips under the Observation Platform’s ramp. Note!: A student from Orchard View’s Biology class (Teacher: Sunny Galbraith; school located in Sebastopol, California) found 2 praying mantis cocoons on the log’s underside. We also saw an empty paper wasp nest. When relocated under the ramp, care was taken to protect the cocoons.
Note also, in the pic above, the irrigation tube (exposed), and the easy, smooth slope of land, particularly in the middle of the young shrubs. The shallow bowl of woodchips and the exposed black tubing will change during this project.
Big Bunny is a hulk of redwood, perhaps a chip off a great redwood tree’s top crown to early trunk. In other words, the bulky “head” wood grain is swirly like root wood, while the other end is more linear, like a tail.
Habitat feature: Redwood loves water. The soft, moisture-laden wood will work in tandem with the adobe soil to create a moist soft interface, mud. That’s a great amphibian, soil microbe, crustacean, gastropod place to be. Biodiversity is likely to thrive in this proposed wildlife habitat. Note: The Sonoma fieldstone (local rock) on the skid in background waiting for the installation to start. Thanks for the delivery Stuart!
Fungi hunting grounds at the LEC – Heron Hall’s back slope mulching woodchips. The woodchips are a habitat restoration resource. Heron Hall was recently built. The woodchips will allow the native plants and seeds, provided by the Laguna Foundation, time enough to establish, to thrive, before weeds take over. Race between Weeds and Native Plants aside, we get to harvest mushrooms. Those mushrooms will be used to inoculate the new habitat’s (Big Bunny Seat’s) new woodchip mulching. Note: White polka dot irrigation flags (pretty fancy stuff!) mark mushroom colonies.
Beginning of class. Today we will be making an art installation as well as a functional bench. And, it will be a wildlife habitat.
The 10-foot trench for the redwood branches starts at 6” (six inches) deep and gradually surfaces. The longest branch will rise out of the trench and become a small snag below the Observation Platform ramp. Small snag to you, nice perch for a field mouse or Pacific tree frog.
Water to the rescue! A quick hosing and the trench’s adobe clay will become easier to dig.
Student digs hole for the “praying mantis head” alongside the packed granite path. The Sonoma fieldstone rock is roundish up top and angular on bottom. It will sit firmly in the small hole dug for it. Besides providing a pool of moisture, the rock will prevent Big Bunny from tipping when the next traveler sits.
Spades and trench shovels and digging bars, oh my! Students eke a trench out of the stubborn adobe soil.
Student levels the Sonoma fieldstone. The rock has a dip on one side, which is facing skyward in the pic. Water is used to determine “level”, or better, that position of the rock that holds the most water. The goal is to create a mountain lake for tiny critters, like amphibians, reptiles, and crawly creatures smaller.
A student and I have the redwood hulk balanced on its head, resting before the final flop.
Lowering the redwood seat into position. The Bunny’s tail will rest on the water-holding fieldstone, ensuring a stable seat.
Sonoma fieldstone offers a shallow hillside lake to the critters inhabiting Big Bunny Seat. Newly planted grass will add to the installation’s richness.
Covering the spore-covered redwood branches with straw.
Students plant native grass plugs. Note: The facing side of Big Bunny has been covered with woodchip mushroom harvest. Those old chips will inoculate the new wheelbarrows of chips in queue.
This student knows plants, and this one is the native California fescue, Festuca californica.
This biology class is outdoors. Exposure to soil, Nature, time off campus are among the curricula. Note: Adobe soil from the trench is used to create a new grass hill. Mix things up a bit, change the terrain. The trench, topped with a layer of moisture-loving straw, is ready to be covered with new woodchips.
Student unwinds the flexible black irrigation tubing (plastic python).
Oops! Forgot the irrigation. The flexible black emitter hose, which was watering the young coyote bushes (4) and the larger ceanothus, has been hijacked. Those five emitters will now irrigate the mulch woodchip bed that encompasses:
–drought resistant native grasses
–a clay trench that is filled with a lasagna of redwood branches, puffball spore (Found by redwood roots as whole dried puffball.), and straw. The straw will hold moisture, perhaps nourishing the puffball spore. Maybe we’ll see fungi emerge from the trench this winter. (Outdoor classroom.)
–a hulk of redwood that wants water.
Any time soon the irrigation can be removed; BBS is a drought tolerant wildlife habitat. In the meantime before the piping is removed, the new grass plugs will be in Water Joy.
The day Big Bunny Seat was installed. View sitting on the redwood seat, or standing very close to it. Mid November afternoon in Northern California. The LEC’s Pond and native plantings and habitat landscaping look beautiful, thriving.
The day Big Bunny Seat was installed. Late afternoon November skies. This outdoor classroom rocks!Big Bunny Seat’s first day. Who will sit on you tomorrow, Big Bunny?
Thank you for the wonderful pictures, Jenna. To all the Orchard View students, and teacher (Sunny), and Cordy and David, and the Laguna Foundation’s staff (especially Brent Reed, Restoration Projects Supervisor), cool project!
Enjoy your wildlife habitat creations. Habitat it!