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NURSERY UPGRADES

By on November 21, 2022 in Featured, News, Newsletter with 0 Comments

OVLC is expanding and upgrading its Native Plant Nursery at the Ojai Meadows Preserve. Built in 2007 to support restoration efforts at the Ojai Meadows Preserve, the nursery was originally intended to be temporary. However, over the past 15 years the number of OVLC restoration projects and community plant sales have increased. The need for native plants as a means to restore our local ecosystems in the face of climate change is greater now than ever before. 

Late summer, the foreboding heatwave loomed over the horizon. Sweat nervously beaded on the brow of us nursery folk, caring for the tender green youth. We acted swiftly; volunteers and field crew building a shade structure in the nick of time. When the dappled light filled the nursery, and plants rested on tables beneath, it was a tangible breath of relief from us and the plants. 

The stress of transpiration and high temperatures threaten their growth rates, but with just the right amount of shade and water, it settles them into the sweet zone. Ever since the shade structure, we have been counting the nodes like the ticks of a clock. A clock that reads the time of summer plenty, in which roots fill pots and green arms spread. 

The nursery has been a foundation for supplying our preserves with restoration stock for over a decade. Thank you to Ron Singer, the previous Nursery Manager, who built the nursery program to supply our sites and community with thousands of plants. He taught interns, collected seed, and grew every plant. We are grateful for Ron’s contributions to OVLC for all those years. 

These past few years, there has been a lot of change and growth. Professionalizing the nursery has been instituted for the mission of native plants. There are libraries beyond humans, and histories written without words. I believe that these languages are within the soil and the seed. It is a goal to transcribe these living stories across OVLC preserves, through methodical planting of what we have studied to belong. Our new initiative, Rewild Ojai hopes to connect deeper to habitat and trail restoration, using science and good stewardship as a waypoint. 

We are trudging along now, transplanting on the shoulder of summer relief. We have hired a new Nursery Assistant, Wyatt McLean, and are continuing the student internship program with The Green Valley Project. The nursery is expanding not just in infrastructure, but in new opportunities for learning, professional development, and capacity. Soon enough, the nursery will be a community gathering place, central to our shared landscape. 

Sophie McLean, Native Plant Specialist


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