Last week all of us in Archives got together to do a volunteer day with the Sutro Stewards working in their nursery and doing maintenance on the Sutro Forest. You might think of the Archives as a bookish place, but we’re not afraid to get our hands dirty with other kinds of stewardship besides the historical. As spits of rain began to fall we climbed the hill to the summit of Mt. Sutro to spend a day digging in the dirt and working in the weeds and the fog.
The Sutro Stewards work to conserve habitat through ecological restoration and native plant propagation while providing recreational opportunities in the UCSF Mt. Sutro Open Space Reserve. We were led in our work by Amy Kaeser, executive director of the stewards, who explained the group’s activities collecting and propagating native Bay area plants in their nursery and restoring native habitat while building and maintaining trails and recreational facilities on the mountain.
Our volunteer tasks for the day consisted of re-potting plants in the nursery and weeding areas in the field where native plants had recently been re-introduced. Half of us started by re-potting native Yerba Buena, Sticky Monkey, and Columbine plants that needed bigger pots to continue their life. We finished almost 200 of these by the end of the day.
The other half of us ventured out into the field to pull weeds (himalayan blackberry, cape ivy, and nasturtium) from newly-planted plots where natives were being in the process of being re-introduced. We successfully pulled innumerable weeds, and also discovered several buckets worth of weird trash, all while learning about the ecology of the Sutro forest and mountaintop. Did you know that you can eat the seed pods of nasturtium? They taste a bit like horseradish.
We had a great day digging in the dirt, being outside, and helping re-introduce some of the natural biodiversity back to Mt. Sutro. As much as we love the vaults, it’s always good to get some sunshine (or, in this case, fog and rain).