Restoration at Oyster Bay Regional Park

CVHS Earth Team Intern Angel Chen reflects on her experience helping East Bay Regional Parks District with restoration projects at Oyster Bay

As an Earth Team intern, I was thrilled when I found out that we got to visit and restore Oyster Bay for several of our meetings for the rest of the year, after having so many meetings indoors earlier in the year. Oyster Bay is a Regional Park located in San Leandro and has a history far from what it is today. Formally, Oyster Bay was a massive landfill for garbage but was later sealed up after it reached maximum capacity. Later, it was turned into a Regional Park. With this restoration effort, Oyster Bay was able to become the park it is today, housing several species of wildlife and native plants. Additionally, Oyster Bay also has a built in disc golf course for recreational uses as well. 

Our first visit was during one of our weekly meetings. We drove out to Oyster Bay in San Leandro and we took a short walk to the disk golf areas where there were an assortment of trees. Here, we did some weeding to combat the weeds growing around the trees and to tidy up areas around the park. In addition to that, we spotted several parts of wildlife including ant hills, insect eggs in weeds that strangely looked like soap bubbles, large monochrome beetles, and camouflaged lizards. 

With our next visit, we were introduced to Jaclyn Lim, the lead coordinator between Earth Team and East Bay Regional Park District. Rose and Steve were also staff members that came out that day to guide us how to prune trees, specifically oak and pine trees located throughout Oyster Bay, as well as educate us what purpose it serves to the overall growth and health of the trees pruned. We learned from Steve that when pruning trees, you should not take off too much as it can impact the overall growth and health of the tree. To prune pine trees, we trimmed off the bottom two feet of the tree, and cut off the cones of the tree in half so that the dominating growth wouldn’t have competition. Having a singler growth on a pine tree helps it grow stronger as there’s less competition to provide nutrients to several parts of the tree. With oak trees, we used a similar method, trimming of the bottom two feet and not taking off too much of the tree. In addition to that, we would also need to observe the overall shape of the tree and trim off the parts that grew unnaturally or were weighing down the tree. It was fun and fascinating to learn how to prune trees as I’ve wondered how they grew so well the way they were. 

Our last day of Oyster Bay was coincidentally our last Earth Team weekend event and it was a huge restoration event with other Earth Team interns. Here, we were split into four different groups to work on several parts of the park including weeding out fennel and more tree pruning. I was part of the fennel wedding group in which we used special tools to hack off the roots of fennel so that it wouldn’t grow back again, as fennel is an invasive plant species here. After a couple hours of work, we were given the opportunity to learn the sport of disc golf and use equipment by the local disc golf club located in San leandro. Oyster Bay is an amazing park to visit where you can spot several parts of nature from the plants to the wildlife as well as have fun playing in the huge disc golf course. 

-Angel Chen, Junior CVHS Earth Team Intern

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