Harvesting Milkweed Seed, Releasing Wildlife, Watering Native Trees

Stewardship Update

Written by Haley Sutton, Land Stewardship Associate

Watering Native Trees and Plants

We held two back-to-back DiRT watering days this month, one at Marsh Creek 6 and another at Curry Canyon Ranch, both with a great turnout!

Photo by David Ogden

During the first DiRT day, volunteers watered all the restoration plantings at Marsh Creek 6 before heading down to Marsh Creek 4 to remove invasive plants including morning glory, thistles, stinkwort, and mustard. The following day volunteers tackled the growing number of young oaks in need of water located behind the field station at Curry Canyon Ranch.

The scarlet monkeyflower was in bloom at both sites, rewarding everyone with the vibrant flowers! Please join our DiRT watering days next month!

Wildlife Releases and Mulching

Staff partnered with Lindsay Wildlife Experience to release nine more rehabilitated American kestrels back into the wild between Curry Canyon Ranch and Borges Ranch. These are the last of the rehabilitated fledgling kestrels to be released this year in partnership with Lindsay Wildlife Experience.

Save Mount Diablo is proud to have contributed to the rearing and release of 93 American kestrels over the last three years by installing nest boxes around the mountain and supporting direct bird releases.

Kestrel release. Photo by Mary Nagle

We also worked with Lindsay Wildlife to release 12 juvenile ground squirrels at Curry Canyon Ranch near the valley. We set up a wildlife camera on one of the litters to see how the grounders were adjusting to their new home, and they were very active in the area around the release box, perched on top of it and the nearby elderberry tree.

Ground squirrels after release

Staff also mowed and sheet mulched the island at Marsh Creek 4, where we will install restoration plantings during a future winter and began chipping the branches from the fallen oak at Marsh Creek 6.

Marsh Creek 4 island with burlap. Photo by Haley Sutton


Marsh Creek 4 island with mulch. Photo by Haley Sutton

Property Stewards in the Field

This month our stewards helped us out with a lot of invasive species removal.

One of our Smith Canyon stewards removed yellow star thistle from the property, and a couple Curry Canyon Ranch stewards pulled milk thistle.

A few other trees have fallen on our properties, including a heritage valley oak that our caretaker, Venny, observed, and our Lot 25 stewards found a tree down at the property along Marsh Creek.

Harvesting Milkweed Seed

Last month we placed bags around select California milkweed (Asclepias californica) fruits so that the broadcasted seeds would be collected rather than spreading with the wind.

This month, we gathered most of those bags, now full of seeds that will be propagated by our partner, the Watershed Nursery, for restoration plantings around existing milkweed populations.

A bag with the brown seeds attached to white floss that aid in seed distribution. Photo by Haley Sutton

Education and Outreach Update

Written by Denise Castro, Education & Outreach Associate

Mangini Ranch Educational Preserve: We Are Looking for Volunteer Docents!

The Mangini Ranch Educational Preserve is officially open to the public through our online reservation system! We’re currently accepting reservations for groups of three or more people (completely free!). Take this opportunity to explore six different trails across the property and visit the adjacent Lime Ridge Open Space.

Ready to reserve? Fill out our reservation request form.

people hiking over a bridge

Photo by Al Johnson

We’re looking for more Mangini Ranch Educational Preserve docent volunteers!

Docent responsibilities include

  • Help with parking
  • Introduce Save Mount Diablo and our mission
  • Provide information about Mangini Ranch
  • Provide safety notes
  • Answer questions
  • Stay on the site until the group leaves and lock up afterward

UC Berkeley HAAS School of Business group at Mangini. Photo by Denise Castro

Discover Diablo Program

Sign up for any of our Discover Diablo events through Eventbrite.

July 9th Beat the Heat Hiking the Suburban Interface with Local Open Space: led by Discover Diablo volunteers Steve and Carolyn Balling and attended by 13 participants. It was a beautiful early morning, and everyone enjoyed the cool weather before the heat settled in.

July 9th Beat the Heat hike. Photo by Mary Nagle

Thank you to all our Discover Diablo volunteers!

Top photo by Roxana Lucero

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

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