This is the season of gratitude, gifts and good cheer. Colored lights, bright smiles and late nights on the iPad set the scene for the most stressful time of the year.
The demands of the holidays take their toll, getting you down with the pressure to manage time and money along with crowded malls and excessive calories. During these hectic times, the best way to spread good will and feel good about yourself is to volunteer!
Opportunities to volunteer are plentiful. Some altruistic souls donate part of their income to charities or organizations. Other people give their time and perhaps a specific skill set to a group that they care about. I volunteered my wife and daughter this past Saturday to help get the second year of the Sky Valley Volunteers off to a great start.
Mr. Acorn, a gifted raconteur and President of the non-profit, inspired then organized the assembled group of about thirty eager nature enthusiasts. We felt like caretakers of the regional wildlands. We felt important. After a few minutes we each found a job that suited our mood.
The morning air was crisp, clear; smoke free. Smiles between friends, acquaintances, and first time faces warmed the hearts, but not the hands of those whose job it was to separate the acorns in water. The acorns that floated were discarded. The ones that sank were destined for dirt.
In the months to come our drought and fire damaged Simi Hills will receive these gifts of our labor. Hopefully the Santa Monica Mountains will be included in our rewilding efforts.
Mr. Horton the retired actor was multi-tasked, Wendi and Nikki welcomed the volunteers as they entered our sacred sanctuary. Sharon the herpetologist led a master class on the construction of wildflower bombs. These round dirt balls of future flowers were a big success!
Seeds from local native species like Everlasting, Brickle Bush, Monkey Flower, Black and White Sage, Buckwheat and Purple Sage will germinate in and sprout from the love bombs when the rain arrives. Theses mud balls will fall from the sky on an arc tracing back to the arm of a native plant farmer.
Our first potting party of our second year was also a big success. Baby Oaks, both Live Oaks and Valley Oaks (little dragons) are in containers sending tap roots down, getting ready to be put in the ground.
Photo Credits: Daniel Brin