AmeriCorps Over the past 6 weeks an AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) team has been at the Hamilton Wetlands Restoration Project. They have been busy planting native plants to help restore the wetlands that once existed on the former Hamilton Airfield site. The team consists of twelve 18 to 24 year old individuals, from across the country, who have worked hard to plant 11,000 plants, rain or shine. Everyone on the team enjoyed planting, knowing they were helping to create a large and functional seasonal wetland. The team also enjoyed working with the project supervisor Christina McWorter.
Being outdoors was great and the team loved watching the sun rise over the bay. The team liked to spend time discussing the conditions in which they are planting, and had debates as to whether wet or dry mud is better. Most NCCC members found that when it comes to planting, dry soil is the way to go. It makes for easy digging and easier backfilling. Corps member Elijah Rutledge said, ”Planting on dry land is heavenly.” However, wet mud has its advantages. Even though the digging is sloppier, and the backfilling takes more time, smoothing the mud out afterward becomes so much easier after planting in wet mud. Stefanie Landman said, “ I like working in wet mud, taking my gloves off. Working with the plants and feeling the mud around them. Making it look like the plants just grew there.”
Rain: Soon after the team arrived in Novato, the rainy season began. In the beginning of the project, the sun was out and smiling on the members. The last half of the project is when the rain really hit. AmeriCorps member Joshua Williams cheerfully announced, “It can be very difficult to work in the rain, but we can always find a way to make it fun. Plus a little rain has never hurt anybody.”
Plants, Plants, and MORE PLANTS! As the AmeriCorps NCCC members will tell you, they were always planting a variety of plants, including pickle weed, gum plant, cattail, coyote brushes, salt grass, alkali heath, common rush and bull rush. They also spent some time pulling invasive species such the Russian tumble weed. There are so many joys to planting, from working in the mud and digging holes to the satisfaction of being able to see the progress that the team completed at the end of the day.