Strawberry Creek Native Plant Nursery & Garden

Project Leads: Sintana Vergara, Ben Runkle, Tim Pine, & Karl Hans

Sponsors: Engineers for a Sustainable World-Berkeley and Office of Environment, Health & Safety

NurseryTGIF Grant: $12,865

Project Theme: Habitat Restoration

Project Location

2008 Application Submission

Status: Complete

Project Description: The project team designed and constructed a native plant nursery and garden between Giannini Hall and Wellman Court in order to support the restoration of Strawberry Creek. The project plans included an outdoor nursery of seedlings, a demonstration garden of native plants, and signage illustrating plant species and nursery education for community members.

Strawberry Creek Website

Goals: Design and construct a native plant nursery and garden. Maintain a seed stock for restoring Strawberry Creek's riparian zone with native plants. Preserve species endemic to Strawberry Creek and whose existences are threatened by the spread of invasive species. Provide ecosystem services to the campus landscape. Serve as an effective site for environmental education. Support and expand the EH&S Strawberry Creek Management Plan of 1987, which aims to combat pollution and preserve the natural habitat of the creek area. Expand the EH&S volunteer restoration program which will transfer the natives grown in the nursery to Strawberry Creek's riparian zone. Measure and record the number of species successfully planted both at the garden and near the creek, the number of pollinators frequenting the garden, the area of riparian land converted and restored to native species, and the creek runoff volume and turbidity near replanting sites. Work with academic departments to incorporate the nursery, garden, and restoration program into class lesson plans.

TGIF Blog Posts about Strawberry Creek

Project Photos

2011 Project Poster


2008-2009 Accomplishments
Construction began on the Native Plant Nursery.

2009-2010 Accomplishments
During the week of May 10th, interviews were held with interested students to fill the position of Nursery Coordinator for the summer months; student David Pon was selected and he was formally hired. On May 11th and 12th 2010, irrigation plumbers from PP-CS Grounds, along with a backhoe operator from PP-CS Utilities, installed pipe chases for the irrigation service to both the nursery shade-structure as well as the demonstration native plants garden plot. SCNPN is now operational thanks to the PP-CS Irrigation crew getting water to the shade house.
As of June 1, 2010, work yet to be completed included purchasing and installing flame resistant black shade cloth on the shade structure, installation of an automatic drip/mist irrigation system and a packed decomposed granite pathway, planting of border plants and specimen plants, and purchasing of worker and coordinator office cabinets.

2010-2011 Accomplishments

  • Construction volunteers installed a decomposed granite pathway from the asphalt walkway skirting the west side of Giannini Hall to the entrance of the Nursery.
  • Construction of the Native Plant Nursery was completed, having installed hardware cloth on the doorway and four walks to provide security for the plants and equipment stored inside the Nursery. The Nursery held its grand opening on May 4th, 2011. The opening was well attended (approx. 50 guests including the Dean of the College of Natural Resources and the Director of Friends of Five Creeks, Susan Schwartz) and well covered by the Berkeleyan and the Berkeley Daily Planet.
  • Construction was also completed on the site adjacent to the shade house once the project team installed the pathway and planting beds for the native plant demonstration garden. The demonstration garden design will tie in the nursery operation providing visitors with examples of mature and developing native plants and will feature interpretive signage and seating for small groups.
  • From November 2010-March 2011, the Strawberry Creek Restoration team grew and planted several hundred native plants.

Nursery Grand Opening
2011-2012 Final Results & Accomplishments
The main goals of a establishing the native plant nursery & garden were to maintain a seed stock for restoring the creek's riparian zone with native plants, to preserve species endemic to Strawberry Creek, whose existence are threatened by the spread of invasive species, to provide ecosystem services to the campus landscape, and to serve as an effective site for environmental education. TGIF funds were used to purchase construction materials and equipment, and to support a work-study student for one year to oversee project development. The now completed project is composed of an outdoor nursery of seedlings, a demonstration garden of native plants designed to attract local pollinators, and signage illustrating plant species and project motivation to community members. The project team envisioned an architecturally integrated garden with curvilinear walking paths that separate raised beds of native species. Visitors to the nursery and garden are be encouraged to visit the Strawberry Creek riparian zone, where they can compare exotic and rehabilitated regions and see locally native plants functioning in restored habitat.
The mission of using the nursery and garden as an educational resource has been accomplished both through the DeCal course taught by paid Cal student Restoration Leaders as well as hosting many classes, clubs and day camps such as the Kids for the Bay summer camp. The location is also a frequent stop on campus tours given by EH&S Environmental Protection staff focusing on UC Berkeley sustainability efforts.
The nursery is presently being used by ESPM graduate and undergraduate students as part of a another TGIF grant to study the characteristics of native and non-native vegetation and the suitability of these plants for use in local habitat restoration while continuing to propagate plants for use within the Campus Natural Areas.

Final Report

Other Strawberry Creek-related TGIF Grant Projects:

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.