Some will say to practice moderation in all things, but we have found a few exceptions to that rule. For instance, we never tire of hearing the inspiring stories of members of our North Bay community rising up to help each other recover from the devastating fires this past October; another example is the insatiable appetite of Audubon Canyon Ranch volunteers for pitching in to help protect and manage our preserves. At the Modini Mayacamas Preserves near Healdsburg, we have experienced both of those phenomenon in a concentrated burst as the Bouverie Stewards came to our aid over the past two weeks.

The Bouverie Stewards are a dedicated group that have lent their time, energy and manifold talents to stewardship projects of the Bouverie Preserve every Monday since 2007 but ever since the Nuns Fire called a halt to access to the Bouverie Preserve, they have been without their usual outlet.

We at the Modini Mayacamas Preserves were well aware of the positive energy available in this group – the Bouverie Stewards visited to help us launch our own stewardship workday program back in September of this year. So we offered them a few chances to return and release some of that pent up elbow grease while they wait for the chance to return to Bouverie.

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The first visit on October 30th was a single-minded attack on invasive teasel, a tall, non-native forb that has broken the borders of its typical wetland habitat and spread to a large patch of our grasslands. With the willing hands of volunteers, there is hope that we can contain the spread of this invasive population and keep it from overshadowing native grasses and forbs. In a few hours, the Bouverie Stewards removed hundreds of seed heads, representing hundreds of THOUSANDS of seeds that would otherwise have been added into the ground. They also cleared a large patch of young plants from the borders of the population, preventing new seed heads from blooming there next year. 

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(above) Bags of invasive teasel collected by the Stewards await disposal.

The second visit on November 6th addressed two issues that resulted from the intense wind event that fed the massive fire storm. Using muscle, know-how and a few power tools, some of the stewards focused on removing the large debris that was blown onto our Foss Road Trail by the winds. The rest of the crew spent the morning giving some needed TLC to a patch of forest that had been cleared as a fire break against the Pocket Fire. CAL FIRE had used bulldozers to clear away low-lying foliage along an existing dirt road to increase the width of the fire break. While most of the large trees had been left intact, the area needed some educated hands to sift through the area to reclaim and replant the remaining shrubs and forbs. 
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The Stewards also planted some native seeds (previously gathered from Modini Mayacamas Preserves habitats) in bare patches to encourage native plants to re-vegetate the area. In the photo below, each orange flag represents a reclaimed plant or patch of planted seed.

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We cannot express enough gratitude and pride for the generous hearts and hands of our Bouverie Stewards group. Thanks, crew!

If YOU are interested in joining for stewardship activities at our preserves, visit https://egret.org/volunteer_plant for more information.