Share this page

Sausal Creek Restoration Project

East Hills 4-H | Alameda County Status: Complete Categories: Citizenship, Environmental Stewardship, Gardening and Landscaping, Physical Activity and Exercise Youth Leader: Kai | Age: 9

When we hiked along Sausal creek we saw the Friends of Sausal Creek collecting native plant seeds to grow in their nursery.  We asked for some information about their organization and they shared with us the work they're doing to restore and protect the creek and the surrounding environment.  As educating youth about our environment is part of their mission statement, we felt that getting involved in their work was very much in line with the mission of our 4-H club. The Sausal Creek Watershed is a critical waterway that flows through Oakland, CA. 4-H partnered with the Friends of Sausal Creek, a non-profit organization that has decades of experience in restoring and protecting the creek, to adopt a site at a local park that our youth frequent. Along the way, we hoped that the youth would develop a sense of ownership and pride in their community, connect to the uniqueness of the environment in which we live, and learn about the challenges of protecting our environmental resources in a heavily populated area.

The project is important because we are trying to restore the Sausal Creek that was damaged from people littering and invasive plants. Once we get the invasive plants out of there, the native plants will be able to take over the land. People will respect it more, once new plants are in place and there is less trash.

How did 4-H Help?

We've adopted a site along Sausal Creek at Diamond Park in Oakland, CA.  We've partnered with the Friends of Sausal Creek to transform a section of hiking trail that is currently overgrown with non-native invasive plant species.  Once 4-H youth cleared the invasives, they had the opportunity to redesign the area by choosing and replanting native plants.  We planted lots of native plants, such as strawberries, bee plant, ninebark, Iris leaf rush, wood rush, and thimbleberry that look really cool but it still gives the appearance of more ivy and spiderwort. We have weeded regularly and mulched the plants. We also watered the plants regularly because of the drought and picked up trash during our meetings. In addition to educating 4-H members, our members are educating park-goers about the vital work of protecting our natural resources.  Since our work site is in a very visible location, they've been able to enlist the assistance of community members and frequently have the opportunity to share information with curious onlookers. You can learn more about the restoration project here >.

The Impact

We planted lots of native plants, such as strawberries, bee plant, ninebark, Iris leaf rush, wood rush, and thimbleberry that look really cool but it still looks like there are lots more ivy and spiderwort and we have done lots of clearing." "We have weeded regularly and mulched the plants. We also watered the plants regularly because of the drought. We have picked up trash during our meetings."
"All the Alameda 4-H members involved in the project learned a lot. They learned about the different native and invasive plants and how they have an impact on the environment. The site looks a lot nicer because of all the variety that is there now. The coolest award that we got out of the project was the golden clover award partly where we were awarded 5 hundred dollars. Some families have even begun growing native plants at their homes. There seems to be less litter at the site. The participants have volunteered at the Oakland Native Nursery where we had a scavenger hunt for native plants and weeded and learned how to look for weevils in potted plants before re­planting them. Outside of the impact on the project members, we have had many conversations with park visitors about the work the youth are doing in the park. Several visitors have asked for more information about 4-H, the Friends of Sausal Creek, and how they can get involved in caring for the park. The Friends of Sausal Creek have expressed on numerous occasions how much they have enjoyed working with the 4-H youth, and how our enthusiasm has reaffirmed their commitment to continue providing meaningful community service opportunities for even the youngest members of our community.