15.11.2010 - 22.11.2010 40 °F
A few weeks ago my crew and four others went to work at Lake Matthews Preserve in Western Riverside County, California. I could not honestly do any justice to the Preserve and all the hard work that the people there do. It was probably one of the best places I have been able to work for the sole reason of the people who put everything they have into the park.
My crew was lucky enough to do a variety of projects throughout the week. Our first project was creating seed banks so that the preserve could spread the small amount of native seeds they posses throughout the preserve in a natural way. First we marked out 30' x 140' area of land that is perpendicular to the Santa Ana winds. Then we weed whacked and raked up the grass and spread the seed. Over time the wind that blows through that area will pick up the seeds and deposit them throughout the preserve. There were three banks in total throughout the preserve.
Our next project was to clear some land for a native plant nursery. This was pretty tedious work because the land was once a citrus farm and there was a lot of wire and tubing left behind. Not to mention the rocks and cement that our lovely little friends, Black Widow spiders and Rattlers like to hang out under. This project was done throughout the week and by the time we left we had cleared the area, turned up the soil and dug some ditches for irrigation.
The last project we had was by far the most satisfying project. We were digging, assembling, and covering up artificial burrows for Burrow Owls. The Preserve is trying to bring back the Burrow Owls that once lived throughout this area. We assembled the prefabricated wood burrows and set them into the hole then covered the burrow for insulation, placed a perch on top of the burrow and cleared a perimeter around it. It doesn't seem like it would be that great of a project, but when we went back to check our work and make sure we got all perimeters around the burrows there was already an owl living in one of the new artificial burrows we had installed just two days before. It was really exciting to see the owl fly our and that he had eaten (his pellets were outside the burrow entrance) and also started "decorating" his new home with his waste. It was all very exciting and just made the rest of our time working in the preserve that much more special.