Lake Merritt Area Earth Day Volunteer Opportunities

Earth Day is Saturday, April 22, 2017 and there are a lot of opportunities around the lake for engaged neighbors to jump in.

Lake Merritt Weed Warriors: 

We’ll collect litter and pull weeds in and around the vegetated stormwater basin just downstream from the Lake Merritt Blvd. bridge from 9 a.m.- 12 noon. April rains have encouraged weed growth, but have also softened the ground for easy pulling.

If you have favorite gloves and a weeding tool, bring them along. If not, Public Works will provide loaners. We’ll have refreshments too.

Parking should be available at the adjacent parking lot of the mothballed H.J. Kaiser Convention Center (10-10th St.), and Lake Merritt BART is about 3 blocks away. We’ll meet between the parking lot and the pathway that runs from Lake Merritt down the channel. See you there!

Splash Pad Park:

The park’s Earth Day Celebration is on Sunday – which happens to coincide this year with our monthly fourth Sunday work day.  On the other hand, every day is Earth Day in a native plant garden. Birds and insects are foraging and can use so much of the garden because they co-evolved to use local plants. The Splash Pad native plant garden is looking very Spring-like with all the Douglas Iris in bloom, as are the sages that hummingbirds frequent, drinking the nectar.

This upcoming Sunday work session will be mostly weeding. Those invasive weeds love the rains too. We’ll also be giving away some of the 50 sprouts of native Yellow Tree Lupins that have popped up in the garden from a now dead bush  that was growing there 2 years ago! Lupins can be dormant a long time waiting for the rains to wash out their chemical inhibitions. I posted an announcement on Next Door for people to bring a plastic pot and come Sunday if they wanted one or two for a sunny spot in their yard. 

Right now there are lots of ladybug larvae in the garden snacking on aphids and so much growth everywhere from the rains and the warming longer days. The Keep Oakland Beautiful grant-funded expansion plot we planted  last fall is growing by leaps and bounds, filling in nicely. Lots of annual wildflowers like Wine Cup Clarkia and California Poppies are just coming into bloom. Many of the new Channel Island Alum Roots are also in flower and the White sage is sporting 6′ tall flower stalks.

We are getting ready to finally put in a couple of decomposed granite paths by the concrete sitting walls.  We will have many students from local high school Key Clubs volunteering too. They have worked with us all year, first clearing the Bermuda Grass in the expansion bed, sheet mulching and planting the baby plants. In addition, a big contingent from Beatie Street Preschool will be returning.  Hours are 9 a.m. – 12 Noon followed by a festive picnic lunch provided by neighborhood restaurants, farmers market vendors and Grand Crew volunteers.  

The Morcom Rose Garden:

Earth Day is traditionally a big volunteer work day at Morcom as we are preparing for our annual Mother of the Year event in mid-May. This year the organic garden is more overloaded than usual with weeds from winter rains, and need lots of help. Saturday’s weather looks good – in stark contrast to many of our recent work days that were rained out. We will provide homemade baked goods and fruit for volunteers.   Hours are from  9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

The Gardens at Lake Merritt:

Sign up here:…/o/FE/s/ID/OAK026214

Project Times:  9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Check in location: Under the 20 foot-tall red Shrine gate (Torii) which is adjacent to the Sensory and Bonsai Gardens. To access from 666 Bellevue Garden Center, walk due south through the 3 acre garden.   To access from the Boat House, cross Bellevue and enter the first gate.