Volunteers Invited to Plant Native Garden on Jan. 28

Jan. 23, 2023

A student environmental club at San Lorenzo High School invites the greater San Lorenzo community to rejuvenate a longstanding native plant garden on school grounds by joining a Restoration and Beautification Day event this Saturday, Jan. 28.

The Restoration and Beautification Day event will be held from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the greenspace adjacent to the school, with parking accessible from Ashland or Lewelling avenues. The program will include recognition for longtime supporters of the native plant project, known as the Fishman Forest, and the Druid Environmental Club, which includes students from East Bay High School, co-located at San Lorenzo High.

People of all ages and physical abilities are welcome and encouraged to register in advance using this online form. A free lunch will be provided for volunteers.

Participants will plant dozens of trees, shrubs and other native species in the forest, all provided by the SLZUSD with guidance from Pete Veilleux, an Oakland-based native plant landscaper. The work will replenish the forest’s abundance and biodiversity following district work to improve visibility through and within the site for safety reasons.

The day’s activities will begin with an indigenous land acknowledgment for the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe and appreciation for Alan Fishman, a retired San Lorenzo High environmental leadership instructor. Fishman, along with others, founded the Druid club in 1994 and, along with others, began to nurture the small forest that bears his name.

Allison O’Brien, a former San Lorenzo district science teacher who is now working with students on the forest project, said both the site and the upcoming event are an opportunity for students to flourish. She is employed by Growing Together, a non-profit organization that provides gardening support and mentorship to school garden programs.

“Really the point of inviting community members and staff and families to the beautification event is to show that these students are doing awesome work,” O’Brien said. “They are really invested, and this type of native plant forest is unique, especially on a school campus.”

In May , SLZUSD received a $305,420 Outdoor Equity Grant from the California Department of Parks and Recreation, which supports student learning through the forest at San Lorenzo High and related learning programs within the district.