|My "oak babies."|
That was cool.
When I arrived with my seedlings at the Redwood Valley Outdoor Education Project, Erich Sommer was there to show me the spots he carefully picked out for the trees.
“We we were trying to think about where they could get some full sun, but still get some protection as well,” he said while standing next to one of the holes he already dug. Since I was a bit disappointed we couldn't plant the trees right then, he offered to take pictures of them once they were put into the ground. “Or you could come back and visit your babies.” (I loved that he called them my babies, because while I certainly felt that way about them, I wasn't going to be the first to say it!)
After some of the trees were planted, Maureen Taylor, education coordinator for RVOEP, sent me pictures as promised. She said I delivered far more seedlings than she had expected, but she enjoyed gently separating their roots in preparation for planting, though only a few were put into the ground before the weather got too hot.
“I’m taking the rest home to baby on my porch until the fall, after we get some rain,” she said.
Taylor said the program’s staff was inspired to begin planting oaks after a crew from Cal Fire helped them clear tree limbs and other wildfire fuels from the property. “Then we looked at all the empty land and thought about what we wanted to put back.”
Knowing how much of the local wildlife depends on oaks — caterpillars who eat the leaves, the birds who eat the caterpillars, plus the deer, squirrels and, of course, acorn woodpeckers who depend on acorns for food — Taylor said they began an Oak Restoration Project, and happily folded my trees into the mix.
And what was also cool? I was particularly inspired to find a home for the tiny trees when a family member sent me an article from the New York Times called, of course, “Why you should plant oak trees.”
“Oaks support more forms of life and more fascinating interactions than any other tree genus in North America,” writes Douglas W. Tallamy in his new book “The Nature of Oaks: The Rich Ecology of Our Most Essential Native Trees,” which explores a year in the life of an oak tree, and the different forms of life it supports each month.