Thirty-one years ago, TNC began the habitat restoration for the Cosumnes River at what is now known as “The Trail Head”. For our first acorn plantings, we applied every technique we could think of to insure success. That included a bottomless plastic cottage cheese container for each acorn (to discourage burrowing herbivores). The plantings were protected from above ground herbivores by an attached metal fly screen. To give the roots from the seedlings an environmental head start, we added a handful of duff from the adjacent forest.
As we refined our planting technique, those three elements were found to be unnecessary for optimal survival. Fast forward to last Saturday’s restoration workday when the HRT added one of the many rounds of “under-story shrubs and grasses” to the fledgling forest. We were surprised to make an archaeological find. Hiding under the forest duff between the now 15-foot-tall trees was an intact cottage cheese pot and its attached metal fly screen. Buried for 31 years and its ready to try it again. This 31-year-old artifact from our first planting at Cosumnes had survived our frequent cleanups and vegetation monitoring. The Habitat Restoration Team took the artifact back to The Barn for safe keeping now that the forest no longer protected it. That being done, HRT went about planting the under- story for the Trail Head forest.
We searched out the dripline which we previously laid and then “flagged” where we wanted to add some willow cuttings and grass plugs.
Alex found some saplings in front of The Gray House that needed some native grasses planted under them to help “crowd out” the nonnatives that already have a foothold.
There were only a couple of hundred of each so it didn’t take the crew long. If it wasn’t for the few pieces of old shiplap someone had dumped alongside of the road near our gate, we would have been done with this part of The Preserve that day. We tied them to the top of a pickup truck and hauled them to our recycle staging area.
We had a fun day so you missed out by not being there.