Connecting Youth with Nature and Hitting the Trails as the Weather Cools

Stewardship Update

Written by Haley Sutton

Connecting to Nature and Building Habitat

We held a Conservation Collaboration Agreement (CCA) with De La Salle students at Mangini Ranch as part of their AP biology curriculum. First, staff conducted an in-person presentation for the students at school.

large circle of high school students at mangini ranch

De La Salle CCA at Mangini Ranch Educational Preserve. Photo by Mary Nagle

Then, students spent a day in the field to participate in a contemplative solo and contribute to an environmental service project.

For the solo, students hiked up to a wooded area on the south side of the property that has fantastic views all around. There, they sat against a tree with a journal and thought about what nature means to them and what their relationship is to nature.

two teenage boys leaning on oak trees and journaling

De La Salle CCA at Mangini Ranch Educational Preserve. Photo by Mary Nagle

For the environmental service project, students sheet-mulched a few areas to prepare them to become interpretive gardens.

The two areas of focus were around the dedication monument and informational kiosk, both among the first things visitors will see when entering the preserve. We appreciate all the students for getting outside with us!

Photo by Sean Burke

DiRT volunteers met up for our triweekly gathering at Marsh Creek 4 and 6 to water the natives and remove some weeds. After all the plants got a drink, everyone focused on removing and bagging thistle seed heads and flowering perennial pepperweed.

Watering plants! Photo by Denise Castro

Our volunteer watering crew continues to water native trees and plants at Ang and Big Bend.

The Trail Dogs cleared brush along fire roads at Curry Canyon Ranch to improve access, and also partnered with the East Bay Regional Park District to work on trail work and fence removal projects.

Thank you to all our hard-working volunteers!

Companies Lend a Hand

Volunteers with DocuSign and Omron joined staff at Curry Canyon Ranch to help us with our 10,000 Trees and Plants project.

Together, they protected and watered 141 additional young trees, bringing our total to 1,755 trees and plants! Thank you to all who helped us improve wildlife habitat.

DocuSign workday. Photo by Roxana Lucero

Omron workday. Photo by Haley Sutton

Property Stewards in the Field

A Mangini Ranch steward observed a wolf spider with an egg sac and babies. Marsh Creek 5 stewards identified additional young manzanita seedlings for protection.

Stewards at Mangini, Curry Canyon Ranch, and Oak Hill Lane all reported more downed trees that have already been cleared or will be cleared soon.

Curry Canyon Ranch stewards and staff assessed the spring that feeds water to the field station and house pond. A break in the spring line was found and repaired.

large spider in a hole

Wolf spider. Photo by Dave DeRose

Seed Collection

The Watershed Nursery staff joined us at Curry Canyon Ranch to collect seed from numerous trees, shrubs, and forbs found around the property. They will propagate the seeds back at their Richmond-based nursery.

When the plants are big enough to be introduced back into the ground, Save Mount Diablo and other folks looking for plants sourced around Mount Diablo can purchase them for restoration and landscaping projects.

Seed collection with the Watershed Nursery. Photo by Haley Sutton


Castle Rock in early spring. Photo by Scott Hein

Education and Outreach Update

Written by Denise Castro

Discover Diablo Program

October 1st Trail Stomp: 5 Miles for 50 Years was led by Save Mount Diablo Land Stewardship Associate Haley Sutton and attended by four participants. This was the first trail run ever organized for the Discover Diablo program.

The run went through Curry Canyon Lower 200, through the valley, and and back to the Curry Canyon field station. We’re hoping to include another trail run event in the 2023 Discover Diablo schedule.

October 8th Curry Canyon Ranch Mt Diablo Audubon Hike was led by Discover Diablo volunteer and Mt. Diablo Audubon Society chapter President Jerry Britten and attended by 14 participants. It was a beautiful day with lots of great bird sightings!

October 15th Walnut Creek Open Space Backcountry Hike was led by Discover Diablo volunteers Jim and Sharon Lawrence and attended by eight participants.

The weather started out overcast and cool, but warmed up nicely with some sunshine by the end. Participants got to see a tarantula in the morning and a gopher snake.

Walnut Creek backcountry hike. Photo by Jim Lawrence

October 22nd Hit the Trail: Mountain Biking was led by Save Mount Diablo Land Programs Director Sean Burke and Discover Diablo volunteer Mike Anciaux.

The ride was attended by four participants and was 2,800 feet in elevation gain from Smith Canyon into Curry Canyon Lower 200.

Thank you to all our Discover Diablo volunteers!

Tabling Events and Presentations

October 2nd: Staff and a volunteer tabled at the Mount Diablo Challenge, where bicyclists participate in an 11.2-mile, individually timed ride that climbs 3,249 feet to the summit of Mount Diablo starting up South Gate Road.

October 22nd: Staff tabled at EcoFest at Civic Park in Walnut Creek. This event emphasizes that Earth Day is every day and celebrates many different sustainability organizations.

EcoFest tabling.

October 27th: Staff presented at two De La Salle AP Biology classes about the CCA program, Save Mount Diablo’s mission, and the importance of conserving land to combat climate change.

October 29th: Save Mount Diablo Education & Outreach Associate Denise Castro presented at Henry W. Coe State Park’s volunteer training. Denise’s presentation focused on fire followers and rare plants found in the state park.

Save Mount Diablo staff was fortunate to attend the 2022 backcountry weekend at Henry W. Coe State Park this past April to survey the burn site (from the 2020 SCU Lightning Complex) in the Orestimba Wilderness.

Dr. Mary Bowerman Science and Research Colloquium

The Dr. Mary Bowerman Science and Research program is now accepting grant applications for research projects focusing on the northern Diablo Range (beginning at Mount Diablo and going south to Pacheco Pass/Highway 152).

The deadline for this grant round is November 15, 2022. For more information and to apply for the grant program, please visit the Dr. Mary Bowerman Science and Research web page.

The ninth annual Dr. Mary Bowerman Science and Research colloquium is also coming up on Thursday, December 8, 2022. This is a great opportunity to see what kinds of research are being done around the northern Diablo Range.

The event is free and anyone can register through Eventbrite. We’re hosting both an in-person session at the David Brower Center in downtown Berkeley and over Zoom.

Please feel free to circulate this information to anyone who may be interested in applying for the grant or registering for the colloquium.

Top photo by Mary Nagle

Join us to save the remaining natural lands of Mount Diablo!

Make a Donation