By Sabrina Alonso
This Earth Day, the Young Planners Group and UC Irvine’s Urban Planning Students Association joined forces to restore part of our community’s natural environment with the Laguna Canyon Foundation. This group of students and young planners had the opportunity to restore lands that are part of the greater Little Sycamore Canyon, and this particular parcel has remained undeveloped due to the efforts of the surrounding community members to “keep it wild.” The task was to remove the invasive plant species surrounding the recently planted native species in an effort to restore the Laguna Canyon hillsides so that hikers, joggers, and other recreational users can enjoy this California native landscape.
Restoration in itself can be a daunting task and often the invasive species can out compete with the native species you are trying to plant. However, as this group learned, many hands makes for light work. At the start, there was a plot of few native plants protected by cones, and many invasive grass species surrounding these native plants trying to compete for resources. It did some seem that this whole plot of invasive species could be removed in a few hours; yet, this group got down with their gloves and tools and together were able to remove two full bins of these invasive species in a relatively short amount of time. The plot that had once stood covered with invasive grasses only had small patches, and the impact made by this community was felt at the end of all that hard work. An important take-away for this Earth Day is not to get overwhelmed by the large task at hand, but rather look to your community and peers for a little help and to make it more fun.
Happy Earth Day!