Fitting Plant to Place: Site-Specific Restoration Planning on Strawberry Creek

Project Lead: Dylan Chapple

Sponsor: Suding Lab, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management

TGIF Grant: $12,388

Project Theme: Habitat Restoration

Project Location

2013 Application Submission

Status: In Progress

Project Description: Fitting Plant to Place will refine the trait-based approach tested by the 2012 TGIF Grant Filling the Weed-Shaped Hole by measuring soil characteristics (moisture, organic matter content, nitrogen, texture and pH) and landscape factors (proximity to road, slope, and surrounding vegetation communities) at each site before planting. Fitting Plant to Place will also engage 500 volunteers and improve the efficiency and standards of the Strawberry Creek volunteer program.

Goals: This grant will assist two undergraduate students selected from Dr. Suding's Restoration Ecology course with senior thesis projects tracking restoration success, mapping soil conditions along the creek, engaging community members, and compiling findings into a restoration guide. These students will also lead and organize volunteer days with various student groups around campus and oversee the Strawberry Creek Native Plant Nursery.

TGIF Blog Posts about Strawberry Creek

Project Implementation Plan

Task Time Frame
Hired and trained 2 student staff, Ken Schwab and Ariel Cherbowsky Complete
Coordinated with Tim Pine to lead 4 nursery field trips for Kids for the Bay camp group Complete
Maintained and updated nursery facilities Complete
Moved plant stock from Richmond Field Station Nursery Complete
Contacted local nurseries and coordinated purchase for initial 250 plants. Complete
Coordinate nursery payment for initial plant purchase Complete
Collect GPS data for planting sites and creek Complete
Current Plant Inventory  
Initial Experimental planting and data collection on plant and site characteristics  
Meeting with Berkeley High Env. Sci. teacher to plan curriculum for school visits  
Present project poster at Society for Ecological Restoration national conference  
Engage at least 100 High School and Middle School students through Berkeley High and OSMO mentorship program  
Engage at least 500 Cal students in creek restoration activities  
Scientifically assess trends in experimental planting to inform future work on the creek  
Plant at least 500 plants along the creek  

2013-2014 Accomplishments 

  • Acquired 300 native plants from local sources.
  • Measured the condition of all 300 plants to establish relative growth rates over study period.
  • Cleared 34 square meters of ivy and planted 250 plants at 9 sites along the creek.
  • Coordinated upcoming site visits for 5 student volunteer groups.
  • Led 3 nursery visits for Kids for the Bay Summer Camp, for a total of 60 elementary school students participating.
  • Led a site tour for the Berkeley Eco-Poetry festival.
  • Led first round of monthly Berkeley High class visits for a total of 70 students.
  • Updated Strawberry Creek nursery irrigation system.
  • Presented a poster at World Congress on Ecological Restoration in Madison, Wisconsin Oct 7th-10th
  • Working with Berkeley High AP Environmental Science Teacher Russell Campisi to create monthly curriculum around creek restoration and the scientific method. First day covered creek history and mapping of lower creek watershed. 
  • Weekly Saturday volunteer days began in October.
  • Designed new informational signage for the project:

Fitting Plant to Place Flyer
2014 Accomplishments (as of March 3)
  • Planted and watered over 350 native plants
  • Engaged over 200 UC Berkeley Students for over 600 hours of creek volunteer events
  • Engaged 60 Berkeley High students over many visits for a total of over 1000 project hours
  • Developed data-oriented research program for IB High School Program
  • Controlled invasive species populations over 600 square meters
  • Collected follow-up data on initial research plants for senior thesis research project
  • Collected information about soils for TGIF project information

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.