Beginning in 2004, WildPlaces volunteers and the U.S. Forest Service have worked together at our shared Springville Nursery to plant thousands of Blue and Valley oak acorns, which were collected by private property owners and residents of the Springville area. The Springville Nursery functions as both an educational opportunity for local students and community members and a functioning native plant nursery.
The regeneration of oak seedlings throughout California and particularly the southern Sierra and foothill regions has dramatically slowed due to damaging ranching practices and climate change in the last century. Also, pressures from poorly planned urban and foothill developments plus population growth have further threatened this important and rare environment, one of the last great stretches of contiguous oak woodland habitats remaining in California. Some of the most affected oaks are the Valley Oak (Quercus lobata) and Blue Oak (Quercus douglasii)-both of which are emblematic of the Sierra foothill landscape.
WildPlaces and the USFS distribute oak seedlings to private landowners, WP members and civic groups for small-scale restoration projects and to promote the use of native drought adapted plants.
Protecting Oak Woodlands Through Smart Growth
WildPlaces believes that development should be focused in existing cities and unincorporated towns, allowing Tulare County to enjoy the benefits of appropriate development while avoiding the urban and rural sprawl; increased traffic congestion; greater air, soil, and water pollution; water shortages; and loss of prime agricultural and natural resource lands that too often result from poor development choices.
Yaudanchi Ecological Reserve
WildPlaces and the California Dept. of Fish & Game have begun a long-term restoration and study project planning process at the Yaudanchi Ecological Reserve in Porterville, CA. Volunteers planted 17 Valley Oaks that they protected from cattle in stock fence enclosures. An invasive species survey was also completed, and invasive Tree of Heaven were removed. It is our desire to utilize YER as an outdoor science classroom for local schools and community organizations.
Propagating oak acorns is an opportunity for volunteers to serve their community while learning new skills. Volunteers learn how to plant and grow healthy oak trees from acorns, and also discuss oak woodland habitat restoration, oak trees in private landscapes, and wildlife likely to co-exist with oak trees.