Coastal Prairie Restoration and Commemoration

Project Leads: Jennifer Podvin, Ariel Cherbowsky

Sponsor: Suding Lab

TGIF Mini-Grant: $1,500

Project Theme: Habitat Restoration

Project Location

2013 Application Submission

Status: In Progress

Project Description:   This grant will finance restoration projects in two campus areas: the last remaining area of open grassland on the main campus within the Grinnell Natural Area, and north of VLSB by the West Oval Glade near the wooden bridge that crosses the north fork of Strawberry Creek. The Strawberry Creek Restoration DeCal, ESPM 187 class, and volunteers will work on the projects.


  1. Complete two projects that seek to restore California native plant species and habitat.
  2. Foster the collaboration of students from the Strawberry Creek Restoration DeCal, Professor Katharine Suding's ESPM 187 Restoration Ecology class, and other Berkeley community members interested in volunteering.
  3. Encourage environmental stewardship of Strawberry Creek and the campus "natural" areas.
  4. Create an outdoor experimental laboratory for ecological theories.
  5. Foster awareness on campus for the ongoing need to establish, monitor, and manage native Californian plant species.
  6. Control invasive species, and establish habitat along our highly frequented and disturbed urban creek.

2014 Progress

  • Successfully initiated a small scale grassland restoration project involving a variety of students, UC Berkeley staff, and a few community members from the city of Berkeley.
  • Worked through various stages of a restoration project including conducting an initial site assessment, researching various scientific sources to inform the strategies of invasive plant removal and grassland restoration, and planning and organizing restoration events to remove invasive plants, prepare the site for planting, and then revegetate the area with native plants from the desired grassland plant communities
  • Over 100 native grasses and forbes from the coastal prairie and valley grassland plant communities have been planted at the site of the restoration project

Timeline Progress and Next Steps

Summer 2014

  • Water and maintain the plants throughout the summer
  • Collect native plant seeds from a variety of local grassland ecosystems in the East Bay and propagate them in the Strawberry Creek Native Plant Nursery
  • Finish writing the restoration management plan for the project
  • Finish spreading mulch on site and remove remaining weeds
  • Make or purchase educational and botanical signage for the site

Fall 2014

  • Host additional planting and restoration events
  • Plan for the ongoing maintenance of the project and increase student and faculty involvement and expand leadership positions and opportunities
  • Monitor site to prevent reinvasions by exotic plants

Summer 2015

  • Hosted planting event as part of the California Native Plant Society’s “Native Plant Week” on April 12th 2014. Planted various native grasses and wildflowers from the coastal prairie plant community and delivered a talk on the history of coastal prairie on campus.
  • Successful seed collection ventures
  • Recruited new project coordinator and student nursery coordinator for the Strawberry Creek Native Plant Nursery 


Mission Statement

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) provides funding for projects that reduce UC Berkeley's negative impact on the environment and make UC Berkeley more sustainable. TGIF will allocate funds to projects that promote sustainable modes of transportation, increase energy and water efficiency, restore habitat, promote environmental and food justice, and reduce the amount of waste created by UC Berkeley. Portions of the fund also support education and behavior change initiatives, student aid (via return to aid), and internships. TGIF is supported by student fees and administered through a student-majority committee and a program coordinator.