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By on July 16, 2021 in News, Newsletter

You may have noticed some new voices on our social media the last few weeks. Thanks in-part to a generous grant from the Rotary Club of Ojai, we have two interns from Nordhoff High School: Alessandra (Ally) Lucchesi and Corallyn Moss. They will be assisting OVLC Nursery Manager, Ron Singer, in growing and caring for the thousands of plants that the OVLC uses annually in restoration projects. 

OVLC Nursery Interns, Alessandra Lucchesi (left) and Corallyn Moss (right) propagate plants for future restoration projects.

The OVLC native plant nursery internship is designed to engage youth in ecological restoration and foster leadership in environmental stewardship. The interns gain skills through hands-on field learning and experience with written and verbal outreach. In conjunction with the Green Valley Project, this 6-month program focuses on growing practical and leadership skills. 

One of the Green Valley Project’s pilot programs is restoring oak trees to the Ojai Meadows Preserve. Once established, these oaks will provide as many as 200 years of habitat benefits as well as ecosystem services like carbon sequestration to the Ojai Valley. Ally and Corallyn will lead groups of their peers in this restoration project and will educate their peers and the public about the importance of restoration in the Ojai Valley. 


Above: Ally removes tamarisk from the Ventura River during a volunteer event she led in the fall.

What is your favorite plant and why?

Without a doubt California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum)! It is my favorite plant for numerous reasons – I love the delicate bloom, the sweet rust color it produces towards the end of the bloom period, how easy it is to collect seeds from, and it was the first plant that my mom showed me so it’s sort of comforting when I see it. 

Why did you want to become an intern with OVLC?

I wanted to make an impact in the Ojai community in the most environmentally oriented way possible, so I thought why not start with protecting our natural ecosystems. I have always been fascinated with ecology, but after learning that humans are a leading cause of biodiversity loss globally, I was interested in restoring habitats and understanding how every aspect of an ecosystem depends on each other. I’ve always wanted to be involved with restoration work because it’s important to be aware of what the native biome is and how it can be supported to ensure a blossoming future. I am so thankful for the opportunity OVLC has given me, the land, and our community to come together and protect the native ecosystem. 

What is something cool you have learned thus far?

The relationship we have with our environment depends entirely on us and what we do to protect it, and this takes patience and dedication. Taking care of restoration plants has not only taught me responsibility but also the value of hard work. The process of collecting a seed, creating a seed tray, watching a seedling grow up, transferring the seedling to a larger pot, and finally to a restoration site, has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had as an intern with OVLC. 

Below: Ally and Corallyn embrace for a photo-op while filming a video about oak restoration for the Green Valley Project. 

What are some of your other interests?

In my free time, when I’m not geeking out about plants, I like to hike, surf, run, tend veggies on Steve Sprinkle’s farm, make smoothies at Farmer and the Cook, cuddle my dog Mac, and soak up sun rays (with sunscreen of course). 

If you could share one piece of gardening/restoration advice, what would it be?

Do not get discouraged! Nature is unpredictable but any form of restoration work is ensuring our native existence has a prosperous future 

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