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A New View with the College of Marin Ecology Group

Our restoration day started with an ear-throbbing chorus of Ferraris (they weren’t on their way to help remove invasive species). As they sped by the SPAWN offices beside Lagunitas Creek, Emi and I turned from analyzing a bramble of Himalayan blackberry slated for demolition by a College of Marin Ecology class.

Minutes later, a motorcycle turned off of Sir Francis Drake Blvd. and revved down the gravel drive. Our first volunteer had arrived!

Professor Fernando Agudelo-Silua interjected ecological tidbits as we toured the Turtle Island Restoration Network property. His students’ inquires highlighted land use: one is hard-pressed to wander the series of odd structures half-submerged in the floodplain without pondering the history of this site. We admired willow branches arching across the creek and marveled at a carpet of freshly-sprouted poison hemlock. Then we pulled on work gloves and tackled the blackberry, bamboo-like arundo, and trees of English ivy.

The group’s energy tore past a small fence and into the thicket behind. Within the hour, they’d completed our planned invasive removal project for the day. Mountains of twisted ivy trunks sprawled across the lawn. Blackberry tentacles stretched beside them, as the diligent students wielded clippers, turning vegetative chaos into ordered piles.

When it was over, we stared in awe. A ferocious bite of invasives lay in tatters while exposing a view we’d never seen before: behind the 500 feet of blackberry, ivy, and arundo the students had removed stood another fence mangled by ivy and guarded by dense arundo. Prime for the next restoration workday!