With the success of the California native garden that was originally designed and executed by Greg Wolford in 2006/2007 at the John Muir National Historic Site Visitor Center in Martinez and the desire to draw more visitors, there was talk of some kind of trail/tie-in between the Amtrak station and the John Muir site. In 2010 a few of us from Friends of Alhambra Creek (FOAC) and CNPS-East Bay started scouting for other potential garden plots with the idea of a creek botanical trail, adding a native plant corridor for birds, bees, and butterflies and other beneficial insects between sites. We identified an area that needed a bit of a spiff-up in front of the Martinez Chamber office located at one end of the Amtrak station, got permission from the city, solicited help from New Leaf Leadership Academy (an alternative high school program in Martinez) and funding from FOAC, and off we went. We then got staff support from NPS (National Park Service) to help us identify and plan other gardens. We caught the eye of some residents and were invited to create native garden pots and plots on their property. Funding from Fish and Wildlife, FOAC, and private donations has made it possible for our “Alhambra Native Plant Trail” team to do matching purchases of native plants from our wonderful local native nurseries along with other garden needs. We now have fourteen gardens planted, five in progress and we maintain one. We are always looking for more opportunities.

Our partners, FOAC, NPS, the New Leaf Leadership Academy, CNPS-East Bay, the City of Martinez, and the community of Martinez have made this project possible.

We were honored this year with the completion of a wayside sign designed in part by trail volunteers and NPS personnel and beautifully made by an NPS graphic designer. There are two and we hope to place one at the Muir garden and one at the beginning of the trail. See photo below.

We will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of our National Parks at this year’s John Muir Birthday/Earth Day free event on April 23rd. at the John Muir National Historic Site, 4202 Alhambra Ave., Martinez,  http://www.johnmuirassociation.org/php/bday-earthday/bday-earthday.php

Come by and visit our CNPS-EB table and learn more about our local projects and partners.

Elsewhere, you will find information about the National Parks BioBlitz at the John Muir site on May 20-21. 

Elaine Jackson

Elaine Jackson and  Jphn Muir New Leaf students
Elaine Jackson and  John Muir New Leaf students