Help with East Bay Sudden Oak Death Bioblitz, April 11-12

Want to help the environment while enjoying the beautiful outdoors? Volunteers are needed for the 2015 East Bay “blitz” survey tracking Sudden Oak Death, the pathogen that threatens our beautiful coast live oaks.

On Saturday, April 11, you can attend a 1-hr training in one of two places easily reached by BART: at 10 am the Orinda Public Library Garden Room (sign up at wllhh@ymail.com) or at 1:30 pm in on the UC Berkeley campus (sign up at http://sodblitz2015.eventzilla.net/).

Then on your own schedule, you’ll collect suspect leaves, returning samples to a drop box by Monday morning. You can survey in your own back yard, or anywhere outdoors. Organizers will gladly suggest likely routes that work for you. After lab testing, results are made public in early fall.

Sudden Oak Death is a fungus-like water mold that has killed large numbers of tanoaks and oaks in the cool, moist coastal areas of Northern California since the 1990s. No cure has been found, but well-timed action can slow spread and save specific trees, as well as the many birds and other wild creatures that depend on oaks. For that, we need to know where SOD is spreading.

Dr. Matteo Garbelotto, who organizes the blitz surveys, also offers training on the UC Berkeley campus in how to deal with Sudden Oak Death. For information on those sessions, times of “blitz” surveys in other parts of the Bay Area, or information on past results or SOD generally, go to http://nature.berkeley.edu/garbelottowp/?page_id=117 .