My name is Gaby, and I’m the Volunteer Coordinator here at the Dunes Center. I have a new-found interest in Botany thanks to my work here. The world of plants has always been a little intimidating with extensive scientific names, multiple plant functions, and established geological history, but after spending some time in the Dunes Center’s Native Garden and the Guadalupe Native Garden, I have found myself stopping to smell the roses more often…literally. Nowadays, it’s been easy for my peripheral vision to catch a brightly-colored flower.
In the past two months, the Dunes Center’s two native gardens have received a bunch of love from local volunteers. In February, a group of 23 volunteers from Cambria Winery came out to do some major pulling, trimming, and transplanting in the native garden surrounding the Dunes Center. Having done this directly after the heavy rains, the garden has been growing quite nicely. I can’t wait to see how the newly planted Coastal Morning Glories turn out; they were installed on the right side of the building where they will extend up onto the railing. Hopefully, they grow beautifully in time for the Dunes Center’s party in June (Libation: a Summertime Soiree and Fundraiser). The signage throughout the garden also needed to be redone and updated, which played a huge part in helping me learn the names and functions of plants. The main purpose of this garden is to create an outdoor tour for our visitors and teach them about the different ways these plants were utilized by the Chumash Indians.
The Guadalupe Native Garden (on the corner of 7th Street and Campodonico Ave.) is an on-going project directed by the Dunes Center, and it was greeted with about 15 volunteers in early March. Thanks to the USC Association of Alumni, the Native Garden underwent some majorly needed maintenance! The Guadalupe Native Garden’s most frequent visitor and long-time Dunes Center volunteer, Judith Evans, helped direct the USC group in pulling weeds, trimming back trees and shrubs, and cleaning up trash in the garden. The Guadalupe Native Garden still has some work to be done, but the community is thankful that this group came in and spearheaded a tough project.
If anyone is interested in helping the Dunes Center maintain either of these gardens, please reach out to us ([email protected])! We want to help spread the word that native plants are important to California’s environment because they are the foundation of a natural ecosystem and biological diversity.