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

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

Early Morning at the Laguna Environmental Center

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big Splash Hotel and Spa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shady Oak Root Of It All — Prep before the workshop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final Report

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

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

A big thank you to Tractor Man — Stuart Schroeder.

Enjoy your wildlife habitat creations.  Habitat it!

Tony

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jul 092015
 
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, adobe soil, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, field sedge (Carex praegegracillus), juncus, Juncus patens, California gray rush, fieldstone, Shady Oak Seat, pond algae, oak, oak tree, Quercus lobata

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, adobe soil, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, field sedge (Carex praegegracillus), juncus, Juncus patens, California gray rush, fieldstone, Shady Oak Seat, pond algae, oak, oak tree, Quercus lobataGetting ready for this Sunday’s workshop — Tony’s truck bed load of fieldstone.  The fieldstone will be used to create habitat installations during the workshop.  Hands on!

Some of the fieldstone (above photo) has a lot of holes on its surface.  Those stones will be useful in Cricket Corral Splash, Sunday’s habitat installation that will utilize the Laguna Environmental Center’s garden hose drip at the Native Plant Nursery.  Every hose must eventually be shut off (very old saying), so when the Nursery’s hose is closed down, the drip will be caught by layers of pourous and water-holding fieldstone.  A new Water Park for Cricket Corral Compost‘s critters!  Critters will come from far and wide (from the compost and surrounding habitat) for the wet rock, for the moisture, for the pooling drops, for the water!  Great place to meet other critters, too; might even find some to eat.  It’s habitat!  Was a hose shut off and left to drip dry BUT now is also a watering hole for microbes and crawly critters AND a hunting ground for larger animals.

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, adobe soil, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, field sedge (Carex praegegracillus), juncus, Juncus patens, California gray rush, fieldstone, Shady Oak Seat, pond algae, oak, oak tree, Quercus lobataA larger fieldstone will be used in the new Shady Oak Seat wildlife habitat installation.  The installation will include planting 2 majestic valley oaks (juvenile trees are in 1-gallon pots), creating a subterranean wildlife habitat using a large oak tree stump and other wood hulks, and using a large rock to create a seat under the soon-to-be shady oak, while creating a habitat under the seat.

From the Laguna Foundation’s Events page:

About my workshop at the LEC on Sunday morning:

How to Create Residential Wildlife Habitat
Hands-on Workshop with Tony McGuigan
Sunday, July 12, 10:00am-4:00pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$55 ($45 for Laguna Foundation members). Suitable for 14 years and up (teens must be accompanied by an adult). Pre-registration required.

Join us for this informative and fun-filled hands-on workshop with habitat landscaper, Tony McGuigan.  Learn how to “think like a plant,” “think like a critter,” and how to creatively foster wildlife habitat and thriving biodiversity in your own yard. Tony will begin the morning with a presentation inside Heron Hall (without Powerpoint!), then move outdoors for a tour of the habitat projects already installed in the landscape. Then we will dig in to create several new wildlife habitats at the Laguna Environmental Center!  This workshop will include light to strenuous landscaping work in the sun, although there will be tasks for every ability. Local materials will be used including native plants, local rock and soil, tree debris, and driftwood. With a strong emphasis on creating natural-looking beauty and aesthetics in the landscape, this workshop will be practical and inspirational.

Tony McGuigan is a Learning Laguna Docent and creates wildlife habitat in residential and educational settings. He is author of the book Habitat It And They Will Come.  His Spore Lore blog discusses Wildlife Habitat Installation and Outdoor Classroom projects. Tony (a Registered Nurse) is currently writing about the health benefits of working with soil and loving Life! See Tony’s monthly project work at the Laguna Environmental Center with Orchard View high school biology students and their latest project, “Turtle Pond Float.”

 

About my talk at the LEC on Saturday afternoon:

Habitat It And They Will Come
Presentation with Tony McGuigan
Saturday, July 11, 3:00-4:30pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$10 at the door. No RSVP necessary.

Join us for this entertaining and informative talk about the why, who, and fun-how of creating animal habitats in residential gardens. Learn about some of the challenges wildlife face in suburbia and solutions to create wildlife-rich neighborhoods. Discover what wildlife might be present in our gardens and practical means to attract those critters.

Tony is owner of Spore Lore and the author of Habitat It And They Will Come. His education includes Biology at Long Island University and certificates in Permaculture and Sustainable Landscaping.  His passions include being a Learning Laguna Docent, a Wildlife Habitat Instructor for Orchard View School’s high school Biology outdoor hands-on class at the Laguna Environmental Center, a habitat landscaper, and doing creative wildlife gardening at home.

See you this weekend!  Habitat it!

Tony

 

 

 

Jun 032015
 
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, adobe soil, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, field sedge (Carex praegegracillus), juncus, Juncus patens, California gray rush, eucalyptus tree, bay tree, pond algae, oak, oak tree

 July 12 Workshop at the LEC -- Creating Residential Wildlife HabitatA Sonoma fieldstone landscape boulder on deck for July 12th’s workshop, Creating Residential Wildlife Habitat, at the Laguna Environmental Center.  Note the boulder’s ability to hold water — it’s a critter waterhole!

Tony McGuigan to Give Talk in Heron Hall

Saturday, July 11, 2015:

Habitat It And They Will Come

Come hear the why, how, and fun of Tony’s passion for residential wildlife habitat landscaping.  Hear how YOU can do such landscaping in YOUR own home gardening. Before and After pictures of the Laguna Environmental Center’s native plant landscape.  Presentation will be followed by question session.  Snacks.

When: Saturday, July 11, 2015, 3:00 – 4:30PM.

Place: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, or LEC, on Stone Farm, at 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, California, 95401.  The LEC is operated by the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation.

$10 at the door. No RSVP necessary.

Laguna Foundation’s Outings and Events

July 12 Workshop at the LEC -- Creating Residential Wildlife HabitatA red-winged blackbird struts his stuff atop Oak Tunnel Tower, a wildlife habitat installed by Tony McGuigan and the students of Orchard View School at the LEC, January 2014.

Tony McGuigan to Give Hands-On Workshop at the LEC

Sunday, July 12, 2015:

Habitat It!

We will build several wildlife habitats, ranging from simple to more complex.  All installation projects will emphasize how such a wildlife habitat installation can be installed in a residential, city, suburban, or country garden.  Short talk (no PowerPoint) with snacks, then hands-on landscaping.  We will have fun!

When: Sunday, July 12, 2015, 10AM.

Place: Meet at Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, or LEC, on Stone Farm, at 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, California, 95401.  The LEC is operated by the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation.

$55 ($45 for Laguna Foundation members). Suitable for 14 years and up (teens must be accompanied by an adult). Pre-registration required.

Laguna Foundation’s Outings and Events

May 272015
 
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!, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, adobe soil, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, field sedge (Carex praegegracillus), juncus, Juncus patens, California gray rush, eucalyptus tree, bay tree, pond algae

Turtle Pond Float is a fix-it landscaping art project turned wildlife habitat installation.  This project is an Outdoor Classroom project: Orchard View School; Sunny Galbraith, teacher, and 7 of her Biology students.  Location: Laguna Environmental Center.  Date of installation project: May 20th, 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 at the LEC’s (Laguna Environmental Center’s) pond.

We will “fix” the problem of a sunken pond turtle haul out; the log that was installed on the pond’s sloping bank and into the pond last year has sunken below water surface level.  Also, we will make the landscaping seem more natural by hiding another log’s unsightly sawcut.

A western pond turtle climbs onto Turtle Pond Pier at the LEC, summer of 2014.  The log has since sunken below the pond’s surface.

Prep for the installation

A volunteer steps forward. This eucalyptus arching limb, stored dry for a few years, will become Turtle Pond Float – a haul out and sunning log for Western Pond Turtles and a perch-over-the-pond for birds and flying insects, like dragonflies and damselflies.  Note how I am using one finger to hold the arch upright — the log’s center of gravity is being displayed.  Understanding the log’s density and center of gravity will help determine where a float (an empty bottle) will be attached to the log’s under side.

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!, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, adobe soil, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, field sedge (Carex praegegracillus), juncus, Juncus patens, California gray rush, eucalyptus tree, bay tree, pond algaeA eucalyptus arched limb comes out of storage.  The long arch creates a wide floatable frame; the log will not spin in the water like a more linear log might.  Therefore, the log will not roll over in the water and the perch end, foreground, will stay above water.  An installed float under the perch end will keep the perch above the pond’s surface.

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!, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, adobe soil, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, field sedge (Carex praegegracillus), juncus, Juncus patens, California gray rush, eucalyptus tree, bay tree, pond algaeIn the workshop, making a tether bolt/washer for Turtle Pond Float.  [L to R]: my hand holding a 1/2″ hex head bolt, used cap to a 5-gal water cooler jar, 2″ plastic washer with 1/2″ hole (a 2″ hole saw cut the lid of a 5-gal bucket), the hex head nut.

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!, Orchard View School, Laguna Environmental Center, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, environmental conservation,  Stone Farm, mulch, wood chips, adobe soil, Santa Barbara sedge, Carex barbarae, field sedge (Carex praegegracillus), juncus, Juncus patens, California gray rush, eucalyptus tree, bay tree, pond algaeTurtle Pond Float tether snapped together.

Using salvaged electrical wire and a 2-liter bottle to outfit Turtle Pond Float for the Pond.  Note, for the bottle float attachment, four 1/2″ 90-degree metal brackets provide strapping holes for the electrical wire.  2″ deck screws secure the the brackets to the log.  The loop of wire in my boot will help me tighten the bottle’s wire knot.

Turtle Pond Float’s bottle float sealed and secured.  Ready to go!  Note the wire ends tucked under the bottle.  Also, the bottle cap was closed down tightly, wrapped with tape, and the tape was then pull-tied.  Please don’t leak!

Installation Day

View north from the Laguna Foundation’s back porch. The outdoor classroom project today is across the pond.

The Before of the wildlife habitat installation, Turtle Pond Float.  A bay tree log is beached against the pond’s sedge and juncus rush bank.  One of the purposes of this wildlife habitat installation is to relocate/reposition the bay log, AKA, the Bay Log.  The landscape will look more natural when Bay Log’s sawcuts are more hidden.  Note the abundance of algae on the pond surface.  Tule reeds grow out into the pond, left.

Before, west view.  Note the pond surface, May 20, 2015, on installation day.  We are moving toward hotter, dryer weather, summer.  The pond surface will lower then.  Alternatively, the pond level will rise in rainy winter.  To keep the turtle haul-out log at a consistent level above the surface, the floating log will be loosely tethered to the shore, which will allow the log to rise and fall as the pond surface does.

The PLAN — Turtle Pond Float.

Pondside instruction. We will create a small juncus (Juncus patens, California grey rush) patch growing at the base of two partially buried and partially water saturated logs. Both the mud-to-log and water-to-log interfaces will provide habitat for pond creatures. Larger trophic animals (like turtles, water-loving snakes, salamanders and frogs, and birds) will utilize Turtle Pond Float’s logs as a sunning haul-out, a resting or hunting perch, or a wall in the mud to snuggle up to.  Ducks and other shore birds will enjoy the cover of the bankside vegetation.

Digging the hole to bury the short (20 inches) tether log. Some of the sedge (Carex barbarae) dug out will return back to the hole. Rocks are collected in a separate bucket; they will be tossed on the tether log before the hole is filled in with mudbank soil, plants, and the end of Bay Log. Many buckets are used to separate out what comes of digging the mudbank hole. Organization now helps safely store away those pondside plants that we may use later. Better to have some resources, like native plants and good alive mud, left over than not enough to finish the project.

Mucking it up — digging away the bankside for planting and to bury the tether anchor (a sturdy, short branch section).

Four teams running. 1—Sedge mudbank diggers (right). 2—Pond algae collectors (left). 3—Field sedge planters (behind, out of view). 4—Historians — thank you photographers Jenna and Anita!

Holding a Pacific Tree Frog (Pseudacris regilla), also known as the Pacific Chorus Frog, found among the sedges. This non-virtual contact with Nature alivens the outdoor classroom project.

A crew of students (and teacher) weeds up slope from the installation site.  Log of Truth, right, which some of these students installed in February of 2014, has grown in nicely.

Turtle Haul Out is being moved from its launchpad at the LEC’s Observation Platform’s packed gravel (water permeable) path. Note the eucalyptus limb’s modifications: the bottle float and the tether pin (1/2” bolt with 2” white plastic washer). The students will lower Turtle Pond Float to the installation crew waiting at pondside.

Instruction to the students: Get the log in the water without knocking off the bottle. So far, so good. The bottle end of the limb will go in first, with the float UNDER the log, and will be floated out to the middle of the pond.

Tying the driftwood “anchor” to Turtle Pond Float using salvaged electrical wire.

Clipping/cleaning the wire tie tether.

Juncus patens has been planted on top of and next to Bay Log (left, horizontal) and Turtle Pond Float (right bottom). Pond algae was used to mulch the planting. Note that Bay Log’s largest sawcut has been hidden in the reeds. Shhhhh!

Almost done. The wood limbs are in place and the planting is finished.  Note how Turtle Pond Float’s end is above the water’s surface, now.

Finishing touches include returning some dead grass and organic debris to the planting AND slopping Bay Log with pond algae (right).

Log of Truth gets some TLC – weeding, planting field sedge (Carex praegegracillus), and mulching with woodchips. Note Turtle Pond Float just right and downhill of Log of Truth. The view is looking south, cross the pond.

The Laguna Foundation’s Director of Restoration and Conservation Science Programs, Wendy Trowbridge, inspects the completed Turtle Pond Float installation.  Hmmmm.

Orchard View Biology students and teacher Sunny Galbraith, and me (Tony McGuigan) celebrate Turtle Pond Float and a successful school year of wildlife habitat installations! We are looking directly at the pond, west view.

View from the bridge, west, 27 hours after installation. Sunset bathes the pond. Turtle Pond Float will most likely sink an inch or two underwater as it saturates with pond water. However, the air-filled bottle will keep the haul out and sunning perch (left end) afloat. Calling all Western Pond Turtles!

And Thank You, too, Orchard View Biology students and teacher Sunny Galbraith. Nice bird, Cassidy!

Enjoy your wildlife habitat creations.  Habitat it!

                                                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

 

 

Jan 032015
 
spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pond

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pondA garter snake soaks up the sun while Garter Snake Ravine is dug.  I worked not more than ten feet from this snake, banging and chopping at the rock/stone/gravel hardpan surface for a couple of hours till I spied it under the coyote brush.

This month’s project with Orchard View School at the Laguna Foundation’s property, the Laguna Environmental Center, is called Garter Snake Ravine.  The  name was inspired by the many garter snakes that have been seen at this wildlife installation’s site.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pondThe wood chip pile to be moved/shaved off a dozen feet or so to create space for Garter Snake Ravine.  View from behind Compost Cricket Corral, looking past Log Pile Apartments.  Habitat it!  Note the coyote brush at the pile’s left edge.  Coyote brush is a very important native, drought tolerant habitat shrub in our environs of Northern California.  The coiled garter snake in the first picture was basking under that shrub while I worked.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pondFront view of the wood chip pile to be moved away from Log Pile Apartments to make way for the new wildlife habitat installation, Garter Snake Ravine.  Note the coyote brush (large shrub, right) and the ceanothus (smaller, left) behind the wood chip pile.  Those native plants will be good habitat components of the adjacent Garter Snake Ravine.  Ultimately, the wood chip pile will work together with (right to left) Garter Snake Ravine, Log Pile Apartments, and Compost Cricket Corral to support wildlife habitat — food, water, shelter, and a place to raise young.  As for water alone, the wood chip pile will store moisture and wick it to the habitats’ grateful critters during the long, dry summer months.  Critters feeding daily/nightly in the compost will seek refuge in the many (too many to count!) nooks and crannies of these habitats.  Microbe- and nutrient-rich soil amendments will made by those willing habitat critters.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pondThere’s a wood chip pile to be moved!  Note the Laguna de Santa Rosa is cresting in the background.  By tomorrow it will flood Sanford Road (the white station wagon, top left, is heading south on Sanford).  This is tree frog, salamander, and newt weather.  Rain, rain, rain!  The Laguna floods its banks every year, providing the services of the wonderful watershed it is — to allow water to spread out and return to the land before rushing down river and out to the sea.  A great place to kayak!

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pondStuart from Stone Horse Farm gave the pile a shove and scrapped the top soil layer off to one side.   Thanks for the tractor (top right) work, Stuart!  Note the packed gravel and stone soil base that was uncovered from under the wood chip pile.  Unlucky for us and the critters, the small area seems to have been a road surface debris pile at one time.  Lucky for us and the critters, the habitat microbiome will eat up the asphalt debris.

 

20141210-GSR--b6(sfw-18)The coyote brush, a sacred plant (especially to the snake living under it), is roped off to protect it during the wildlife habitat installation.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pondHoles are dug into the packed gravel, hardpan adobe clay, and stone surface.  Water soaking in the holes will soften the surrounding ground to allow faster digging progress.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pondLooking south to the Hop Barn, with manure pile on concrete slab.  The Foundation’s Native Plant Nursery is off to the right.  Currently, the manure is too wet because water from the road (left and alongside the barn) runs downhill, past the barn, and onto the concrete slab.  The soaking water displaces oxygen in the manure pile; an anaerobic, poorly composting pile results.

Note the grass swath behind the wheelbarrow that runs up to the barn.  SOME DAY a ditch might run along the concrete slab, diverting the road runoff away from it.  Garter Snake Ravine, a pond (during winter rains) and deep hugelkultur (during dry months) habitat is designed to make use of the ditch water before leaving the immediate area.  The deep-hole and bermed soil landscape will also help keep Compost Cricket Corral dry and maximize its aerobic composting function.  The deep hole of Garter Snake Ravine will be underneath the wheelbarrow in the above photo.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pondI like this wildlife habitat installation design!

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pondA hole is dug and filled with water for further digging.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pondLake Mead and the Hoover Dam come to mind as water fills Garter Snake Ravine.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pondGarter Snake Ravine, using hose water during this installation trial run, drains into and under Log Pile Apartments.  Good thing that the Apartments’ rents are stabilized now that the habitat installation will have running water.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, garden, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, compost, coyote bush, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden, garter snake, pondI will be back to finalize the prep for Garter Snake Ravine next week.  Please do not fall in!

Sunny Galbraith’s Biology students from Orchard View School will be here in two weeks to complete the wildlife habitat installation.  At that time, we will install an owl perch, a hugelkultur, a water-collecting soil berm, and a many headed creature writhing out of Garter Snake Ravine.

Enjoy your habitat installations and outdoor classrooms.  Habitat it!

                          Tony

 

Nov 142014
 
amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenBig 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 Before

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenThe 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.

 

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenBBS (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.
amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenAlas, 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.

Installation Day

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenBig 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!

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenFungi 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.

 

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden Beginning of class. Today we will be making an art installation as well as a functional bench. And, it will be a wildlife habitat.

20141112-BBS--aamphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden2,cr(1000)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.

2014amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden1112-BBS--5(1000)Water to the rescue! A quick hosing and the trench’s adobe clay will become easier to dig.

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenStudent 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.

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenSpades and trench shovels and digging bars, oh my! Students eke a trench out of the stubborn adobe soil.

20141112-BBS--4.89Student 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.

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenA student and I have the redwood hulk balanced on its head, resting before the final flop.

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenLowering the redwood seat into position. The Bunny’s tail will rest on the water-holding fieldstone, ensuring a stable seat.

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenSonoma fieldstone offers a shallow hillside lake to the critters inhabiting Big Bunny Seat. Newly planted grass will add to the installation’s richness.

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenCovering the spore-covered redwood branches with straw.

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenStudents 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.

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenThis student knows plants, and this one is the native California fescue, Festuca californica.

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenThis 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.

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenStudent unwinds the flexible black irrigation tubing (plastic python).

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife garden

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.

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenThe 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.

amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenThe day Big Bunny Seat was installed.  Late afternoon November skies.  This outdoor classroom rocks!amphibians, Animal Habitat, biodiversity, birds, ceanothus, compost, coyote bush, earthworms, ecological landscaping, frogs, fungi spore, garden, gardening, Habitat It And They Will Come, hugelkultur, insects, lizards, microbes, mulch, native plants, pollinators, redwood, reptiles, salamanders, snails and slugs, snakes, soil, Sonoma fieldstone, Tony McGuigan, wasps, wildlife gardenBig 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!

Tony

Oct 102014
 
spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logs

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logs

Compost Cricket Corral is a wildlife habitat installation at The Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation‘s complex, Laguna Environmental Center, in Santa Rosa, California, 95401.

Compost Cricket Corral, installed on October 8, 2014 (2 days ago at this writing), is also about both creating an efficient compost system for the Laguna Environment and also having students experience working with Nature, in Nature.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsStakes mark the pole locations for Compost Cricket Corral. Nice view of Stone Farm’s northern pasture, Irwin creek, and Mount St. Helena while we work! The above pic is where Spore Lore left off detailing the progress of Compost Cricket Corral, on 9-4-2014: “Compost Cricket Corral“.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsCompost Cricket Corral – The Before. This is installation day, leaving off from September’s prep of the site. The stakes, as discussed in last month’s article, show the location of the 8 posts to be installed. Six postholes have been partially dug.  The 8 posts will create 3 compost bin areas, each roughly 6 feet X 6 feet.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsSome prep before the students arrive today. The 8 post holes are started and filled with water to make digging deeper in the adobe clay soil easier. Large concrete chucks were found under the soil; they will be used later in the project.  True, the blocks were very hard to extract from the soil but they will come in handy to support the posts upright.  As is said in Permaculture, “The problem is the solution.”

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsThe students are here! Biology students from Orchard View School, in Sebastopol, will be installing Compost Cricket Corral. Lots of posthole digging! Old wood to be gathered and a wood chip pile to be shifted over a few feet.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsDigging, digging, digging.  Outdoor classrooms include fresh air, sometimes exercise like this one, and kinesthetic learning, or otherwise known as, tactile learning.  Doing is learning!  Note the large wood chip pile (right foreground).

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logs5/16” holes are drilled 3″ deep into the top of the posts to encourage insects to habitat in them.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsMeasuring holes to get 3 plus feet deep.   The deep holes will better support the posts without having to pour new/fresh concrete at their bases.  Also, the overkill deep, untreated fir wood posts will hold life-sustaining water for the habitat’s soil microbes, larger critters, and fungi/plant growth.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsA post is placed in its hole, then leveled vertically. Concrete chucks are used to hold the posts in place and to create shelter cavities for wildlife.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logs Habitat installation at the Laguna Foundation might be hard work but it sure beats being in the classroom. Outdoor classrooms rock!

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsThe Biology students from Orchard View School (Sebastopol, California; teacher: Sunny Galbraith) have installed Compost Cricket Corral’s 8 vertical posts AND have fled. What great work they did! Local materials, especially those that others consider “junk”, will become this wildlife habitat’s treasures.

The compost bins now have defined areas – making compost will now be more efficient for the Laguna Environmental Center at Stone Farm.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsNW view. Student-carried oak logs await insertion into Compost Cricket Corral.

Class is over; Tony stays on to finish the habitat installation. Students gathered these oak logs from the farm to be used in the habitat installation. The logs are used to edge the back of the compost corrals and to create a wood pile next to one end bin. That log pile will house gastropods (snails and slugs), insects, other crawly critters, lizards, snakes, and other animals. The purpose of this habitat installation is to maximize the compost area – the animals sheltering nearby will visit the compost and add to its richness. Rich biodiversity at the compost will create better soil, faster.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsW view. Half of this refuse concrete blocks pile was used to support Compost Cricket Corral’s posts. The blocks were snuggled up against all sides of each post, in the gaps of the posthole.  No new concrete was poured/made for this installation.

Stacking functions (Permaculture) – let’s clean this place up, raise the level of the compost, AND create habitat. Old concrete chunks are used to bolster the back edge of the compost. A raised floor to the compost pile will help it drain better, preventing an anaerobic condition (no oxygen to support decomposition) in the rainy winter months.  Besides holding logs in place, the concrete chunks also create cavities for critters.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logs The sun is setting on this project. Posts are in, the soil base is leveled, and the log pile has been started (far end).

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsTime to call it a night. I finalized the project under a rising full moon. Excited to see the finished result in the morning!

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsNE view. Compost Cricket Corral (CCC) was completed last night and given a good sprinkle of water before being to put sleep by the chill night, enjoying its warm Northern California October night, till the warm fog rolled in this morning.

 

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsE view.  The next morning.  Finished and looking good! Ready to make compost and invite the growing neighborhood of critters.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logs N view.  3 compost pile bins, each roughly 6 feet X 6 feet.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsNW view. Note the sawdust from drilling insect holes on the tarp in the foreground.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsNE view. The log pile, Log Pile Apartments, will house many critters.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsWest view. Critters will travel between the compost, log pile, wood chip pile, and surrounding fenceline.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsVacancy at Log Pile Apartments.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logs5/16” holes drilled into posts to encourage insects to live in the wood. These fir posts will invite insects and fungi to thrive in Compost Cricket Corral. Fir wood (#3 rough) was specifically chosen because of its vulnerability to Nature.

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logsClose-up of post insect holes.

Other Photos of Habitat-Friendly Features of Compost Cricket Corral:

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logs

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logs

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logs

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logs

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logs

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logs

spore lore, habitat it and they will come, tony mcguigan, habitat garden, wildlife habitat, soil, soil under my nails, gardening, gardens, native plants, permaculture, wildlife garden, environmental education, ecological landscaping, compost, cricket, corral, buried wood, hugelkultur, native bees, native pollinators, Laguna de Santa Rosa, Laguna Foundation, Orchard View School, fir posts, oak logs

Nice job, again, Sunny and the Biology students (Uly, Tristan, Nick, Moses, Matt, Lily, Leo, Lauren, Kaleb, Jenna, Hannah, Cordy, Coco, Brendan), and Dave.

Everyone, enjoy your wildlife habitat creations!  Play outdoors!

Tony