CREEC Greenhouse Youth Group Report, January 2020
By Kay Smith
CREEC Greenhouse was open seven days in December (on Wednesdays and Saturdays, except for Wednesday the 25th, Christmas Day). We will continue this winter schedule in this new year. Please make a plan to come visit this beautiful place on Saturdays from 10 am-2 pm and/or Wednesdays from 1:30 pm-dark. There is always something growing!
With the rain and cooler weather, we have no watering to do! It is really exciting to spend all our time working with the plants. There’s always weeding to do, and we make sure to look for dormant plants so as not to dump them out thinking the pot is only full of weeds. A red or blue tag marks the ‘sleeping’ ones. Native milkweeds, many grasses, herbs, and trees go dormant in the winter. Trees just drop their leaves and you can see them standing bare in their pots, but other plants leave no trace on the top of the soil. That is why the labels are so important.
We have lots of acorns caged up and waiting to sprout from 2019. The 2018 acorns are growing well and we will divide them into the 4-inch tree pots as they get bigger. We have also started lots of seeds. We will begin dividing them as they grow. Baby seedlings are my favorite task and it is exciting to watch them grow.
I had to move, but CREEC got my outdoor furniture! The round table with holes in it makes a much better workspace for the students to work around and get more done. Students continue making clones from our gardens and doing plant grooming tasks. We find that Aloe vera leaves with holes poked through them and nested in pumice stone root well. We are having nearly 100% success with milkweeds, roses, and salvias so far—we will keep you posted.
We transplanted some ferns that escaped onto the greenhouse floor one rainy day and weeded inside the greenhouse. It was a very busy and productive day. We even have lots to do in the rain at CREEC! We will continue with our plant propagation and weeding on Saturdays from 10 am-2 pm and Wednesdays from 1:30 pm-dark in 2020 until Spring Break when it gets a little warmer. The students and I would love to show you around. Most of the plants are for sale to the public, and we have lots of different plants and trees, both native and non-native, for your growing pleasure.
The Carquinez Regional Environmental Education Center (CREEC) is a state and federally recognized, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3), public interest charity that was incorporated in 1995. The role of this nonprofit organization is to effect wildlife habitat and enhancement, maintenance and restoration projects in the communities and open lands surrounding the Carquinez Strait - California's most significant wildlife migratory corridor. The sole goal of CREEC is the betterment of the area's natural resources through cooperative, constructive and mutually beneficial partnerships with the industries, families and agencies who live and work along the Strait.
The CREEC Youth Program is dedicated to environmental improvement in the Carquinez Strait region. Students participate in habitat restoration, native and butterfly plant propagation, and butterfly rearing and release. Participants earn a stipend for their participation, after completing ten volunteer hours. The program started in 1998 and initially included five students for a ten-week summer project. It has expanded to a year-round opportunity for youth to earn while they learn by improving the surrounding community and open space. Tasks are designed to create a hands-on learning experience in environmental restoration, basic horticulture, environmental science, non-profit management, and basic work skills.