Most High Schoolers like to sleep in on a Saturday, but San Lorenzo High’s Earth Team woke up early to help protect sensitive habitats at MLK Shoreline Regional Park. With help from Castro Valley High Earth Team and some East Bay Parks Rangers, the group cleared a large upland area of invasive species.
The interns learned about the park at the mouth of the San Leandro Creek, which is one of the few remaining wetlands in the Bay Area. They learned of the three endangered birds that call the park home during their annual migrations, Clapper Rails, Burrowing Owls, and Least Terns. Unfortunately, the birds were not present for the us to see and appreciate, but we saw a lot of other wildlife at the park!
Interns were mostly working to remove Stinkwort, Dittrichia graveolens, a plant native to the temperate parts of Eurasia. This weed is common throughout California and can cause a lot of harm to sensitive species because of its foul smell and its sharp seeds, which can damage the digestive tract of animals.
At MLK Shoreline, the weed outcompetes the native plants that the native wildlife needs to survive, as well as shading out large areas, creating a unsuitable habitat for many species. The work the interns did protects habitat for the endangered birds as well as many other native plants and animals.
After a long day of work and learning, interns felt satisfied knowing they had helped protect California native plants and animals. With almost a whole year of work ahead of them, San Lorenzo High’s Earth Team is sure to do much more great work in the months to come!