Stewardship, Joy, and Gratitude at LandPaths’ First Volunteer Stewardship Workday at Ocean Song Preserve
By LandPaths Staff
February 20, 2020
Set to a soundtrack of soothing ocean waves rising from the Sonoma Coast below, LandPaths’ hosted our first stewardship workday of 2020 in January at Ocean Song preserve. It was the inaugural official workday since LandPaths acquired and protected the 421-acre property last November.
“It felt like a new beginning,” says Bilingual Stewardship Specialist Nicolas Whitaker. “The land that we now call Ocean Song has been tended by human hands for thousands of years; the landscape has been shaped by its stewardship. The excitement to continue in the tradition of tending this beautiful preserve was palpable for all those present.”
The event drew an eclectic mix of 24 volunteers, including former Willow Creek trail stewards, former Coyote Camp summer nature campers, and members of the well-established, decades-long Ocean Song community.
“It just feels so good to have people on the land again. This is how it is supposed to be,” said one volunteer who had helped to steward the Ocean Song property for many years under the previous owner.
One group of volunteers cleared blackberry and invasive teasel plants. In the span of a few hours, they cleared a few thousand square-feet of long fallow garden. What was previously a weed-choked patch of land gave way to a ready-to-go mulched garden beds for future planting.
Meanwhile, another group hammered and pried away to remove the straw bale benches inside the main barn. Though beloved, the benches had to be removed because of code violations. LandPaths’ stewardship staff turned a negative into a positive by spreading the cob material in the garden area to suppress invasive species, a full circle reuse of the materials to benefit the land.
“Speaking with the volunteers as we worked, the sentiment that kept popping up was gratitude,” says Nicolas. “Gratitude for the feeling of community, the opportunity to tend the land, and for LandPaths’ new role as stewards of this special place.”