September is the month for spiders and praying mantises at Pt. Isabel. While most of the weeds have been plucked or have expired, these two creatures are coming into their own. We are also seeing bumblebees visiting the willow herb (Epilobium ciliatum) that is now in full bloom and hummingbirds enjoying the nectar from the flowering California fuchsia (Epilobium canum).
We have started to clear a new area that will be under the stewardship of Tom Kelly and that will bring us one step closer to connecting the southern and northern sections of the project. Thanks to a small grant from the EBRPD, we placed a plant order at The Watershed Nursery in Richmond and are looking forward to getting those plants into the ground in late fall/early winter.
On September 21 we hosted a Botanic Garden Docent Enrichment tour of the project that was organized by Idell Wedemeyer. The docents were delightful and the plant conversations were lively. Idell provided the docents with our project FAQ that described the history of the project and our plant list (originally created for us by CNPS member and Pt. Isabel volunteer Janet Gawthrop). We discussed the challenges of removing the masses of French broom (weed wrenches rock!) and trash that used to obscure Hoffman Marsh, the multitude of weeds we encountered (ice plant, cape ivy, vinca, radish, mustard and more), the struggling native plants we found onsite that are now flourishing, and the excitement we experienced when we saw native plants (e.g. Madia sativa, Artemisia californica, and Epilobium ciliatum) emerging once the area was cleared. The docent training that Jane received at the EBRPD Botanic Garden has been key to the progression of the Point Isabel project and she expressed her thanks to Glenn Keator and Sue Rosenthal for the in depth instruction and assistance they provided. Jane also thanked Mike Uhler from the Botanic Garden for coming to Point Isabel and identifying the marsh plants and Bert Johnson for his recommendation to plant wax myrtle (Morella californica) that is now thriving at the site.
The project prospers thanks to our remarkable stewards, core volunteers, and the large number of other volunteers who come out to join in the fun. We also thank and count on the EBRPD and CNPS East Bay for all their consistent and enthusiastic support.
Jane and Tom Kelly