Virtual Tour of the East Shepherd Canyon Native Plant Trail

Congratulations to the Girl Scouts of Troop 3278 for completing a great Silver Star project!

Congratulations to the Girl Scouts of Troop 3278 for completing a great Silver Star project!

The East Shepherd Canyon Native Plant Trail is all done, finito, up and running, and ready and waiting for our fellow Tierrasantans and San Diegans to come and enjoy it.  The trail head is right at the corner of Santo Road and Antigua Boulevard, in lovely Tierrasanta.  Our beautiful suburb of San Diego is just off of the 52, easy to find!

The Native Plant Trail extends 1/5 of mile along a very accessible walking and biking trail in East Shepherd’s canyon.  There are 20 posts along the trail that identify native plants and give some information on each of them.  The troop also completed an accompanying plant guide, which has lots more information on and great photos of the 20 plants on the trail and another 20 plants commonly found in our San Diego Canyons.  The link to downloaded the guide can be found up at the top of this blog, and I am working on getting it uploaded onto Createspace, where anyone who is interested in owning their very own printed copy can order one.  When this is ready the link will be up at the top of the blog next to the link to download the guide.

Below are photos of the trail, a virtual tour of our lovely East Shepherd Canyon.  But nothing beats seeing, hearing, and enjoying the real thing.  So pack up your self, your kids, your dogs, your friends, your students, everyone and anyone, and head on out to the East Shepherd Canyon Native Plant Trail!  Nature awaits…

The beginning of the trail.  There are 20 plants in all that are identified.

The beginning of the trail. There are 20 plants in all that are identified with posts.

Informational posts at the beginning of the trail explaining the project.

Informational posts at the beginning of the trail explaining the project.

Rub the leaves of both of these plants, they are really fragrant.

Rub the leaves of both of these plants, they are very fragrant.

The Gooseberry has REALLY big thorns!

The Gooseberry has REALLY big thorns!

In the early spring and summer Lemonadeberry has sticky, red berries that are SUPER tart!

In the early spring and summer Lemonadeberry has sticky, red berries that are SUPER tart!  Which is how the plant got its name.

6.Deerweed to Mulefat

This is a very exciting area…5 posts in all.

7.Willow+Toyon

Willow was one of the most utilized plants by the Kumeyaay Tribe, and Toyon has clusters of bright red berries in the winter.

8.Buckwheat

Buckwheat is crowned with white flowers in the summer that turn to rusty brown seeds in the winter.

9.Sycamore+Cottonwood

Two awesome trees! Sycamores have lovely soft leaves, give them a feel.

10.Bushmallow

Bushmallow has cup-shaped pale pink flowers in the spring.

11.Chaparral Broom

The Kumeyaay used the branches of this bush as brooms.  As for a dustpan, who knows?

Try to get out to see this in the early summer.  The flowers are gorgeous!

Try to get out to see this plant in the early summer. The flowers are gorgeous!

13.Laurel Sumac

The last plant on our trail. And one last fascinating fact!  Laural Sumac is related to Poison Oak, and can cause skin irritation in some people.

Just because our trail is done, it doesn’t mean you should stop exploring.  There are lots of great plants and animals in our canyons and open spaces.  Our guide has another 20 common plants found in our area, in addition to the 20 on the trail.  Get yourself a copy and see how many of them you can find.  And have fun!

 Map of Native Plant Trail

Native plant trail.list of plants

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Installation of the East Shepherd Canyon Native Plant Trail

Google maps trail overhead

Our Girl Scout troop handed off our completed posts to Dan Foley from our Maintenance Area District for Tierrasanta and to Treebeard Landscape, who will install them for us in the canyon.  This involves digging holes about a foot deep into packed, rock-filled soil and clay, which, as anyone who lives in Tierransanta knows, is not easy!  You can’t dig more than 3 inches and not hit a rock.  So many thanks to the workers who are installing our posts, and securing them into the ground with concrete.

Here are all 22 posts, loaded up in a truck and ready to be taken to the canyon.

Here are all 22 posts, loaded up in a truck and ready to be taken to the canyon.

Schematic map of the plants that are included in our native plant trail.

A map of the plants that are included in our native plant trail.  22 posts means 22 holes to be dug!

The workers laid the posts out by the plants.

Dan and the Treebeard guys laid the posts out by the plants.

Here is the cheerful crew, doing the hard work of getting the posts in the ground.  Thanks guys!

Here is the cheerful crew, doing the hard work of getting the posts in the ground. Thanks guys!

When I went back into the canyon the day after I took the pictures above, there they were, all of our posts installed!  Here is a quick view down the trail head.  The next post on our blog will be a virtual tour of the trail, which is the next best thing to visiting San Diego and seeing it for yourself…

A view down into East Shepherd Canyon from the trailhead.  You can see two of our posts to the right and two to the left.

A view down into East Shepherd Canyon from the trail head. You can see two of our posts to the right and two to the left.

 

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Assembling Guide Posts for the Native Plant Trail

Our next project is to create plant identification posts to be installed along the Native Plant Trail in East Shepherd Canyon.  Dan F. with the Tierrasanta Maintenance Area District, along with Treebeard, a local company, will do the actual installation once the troop puts the posts together.

I designed 22 posts for the plant trail, 2 introductory posts and 20 posts to identify native plants.  We ordered them from Orion Industries in Arizona.  They were really helpful, and fixed my order for me several times!

The actual signs are inverted, with a black background and white teztx

The actual signs are inverted, with a black background and white text.

After the signs and their holders came in, we got a delivery of posts from Treebeard.

Posts.combo

We broke out the screw drivers, power tools, and glue, to assemble our Native Plant Trail plant identification posts.

Drilling.1

Drilling.2

Our work here is done!

Next up is having Dan and Treebeard put them into the canyon.  This is the schematic of what plants we made posts for and where they will be installed in the canyon.

Native plant trail.list of plants

 

 

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Plant Guide for Southern California Canyons and for the Native Plant Trail in Shepherd’s Canyon

Guide front page

After many hours of researching and writing, our Southern California plant guide is finally done.  You can download your very own version of this FULL COLOR guide by following the link at the top of the page (Download Native Plant Guide Here).  The guide is nearly 300 MB, so it will take a few minutes to download.  But it will be worth it, as it is chock full of beautiful photos and unbelievably interesting information.

Below is the Table of Contents, which lists the native and non-native plants we included in the guide, as well as 4 sample entries from the guide.  The first twenty plants in the guide also have identification markers in East Shepherd’s Canyon, as part of our Native Plant Trail.  The trail begins near the corner of Antigua Boulevard and Santo Road in Tierrasanta, California (92124).

The entire trail is only about 1/2 mile long, and many parts are shaded.  Along with the accompanying guide, we think this trail would be a perfect field trip for preschools or elementary schools.  But who says it’s only for kids!  For the nature enthusiast of any age, this native plant trail is a great way to enjoy a walk while educating yourself on the many wonderful plants surrounding you!

Table of contents.1Table of contents.2

Four sample pages from our plant guide

California SagebrushWhite SageLemonadeberryDeergrass

 

 

 

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Canyon Walk in Shepherd’s Canyon to Identify Plants for the Native Plant Trail – Part II

A view of the restoration site where we will be putting in a native plant trail.

A view of the restoration site where we will be putting in a native plant trail in Shepherd’s Canyon.

On a rainy day Troop 3278 headed out for a final look at the plants we have chosen for our plant guide and for the native plant trail.  Our plant guide will have 40 plants in it in total, though only the first 20 will be represented by markers on the trail.  Dan F. from our local Maintenance Area District came along, and brought his bright orange tape so we could mark the plants we want to include on the trail.  Trusty Roberta F. from The Friends of Tierrasanta Canyons also helped us in identifying plants and choosing appropriate specimens to use for the trail.  It was a rainy day, and we tried to shield our paperwork and cameras from the wet.  So not too many pictures, though we did get a nice group photo at the end!

Harper and Dan tag a Lemonadeberry.

Harper and Dan tag a Lemonadeberry.

Rainy day

Taking refuge under Cary’s umbrella!

Group

We are a little damp and little cold, but our mission is complete! We have all 20 plants along the trail picked out and tagged. Next up, finish the guide and create trail markers…

 

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Shepherd’s Canyon Clean Up

Along with Roberta F. from Friends of Tierrasanta Canyons, Troop 3278 headed out into a local canyon take care of dead brush and non-native, invasive species.  We spent a few hours lopping, cutting, and gathering up dead branches.  It was tiring, but the area we worked in looked much better after we were done!

Cleaning up

Attacking dead brush and non-native plants with our loppers.

How many Girl Scouts does it take to cut down a tree?

How many Girl Scouts does it take to cut down a tree?

Still working on it...

Still working on it…

Almost there...

Almost there…

We got it!  Good work everyone.

We got it! Good work everyone.

 

 

 

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Canyon Walk in Shepherd’s Canyon to Identify Plants for the Native Plant Trail

Last February Girl Scout Troop 985 took a walk into the restoration area in East Shepherd’s Canyon near the corner of Antigua Boulevard and Santo Road, to determine which plants should be included on our native plant trail and in our plant guide.  Roberta F. and other members of The Friends of Tierrasanta Canyons went along with us to help us find and identify suitable plants.  We placed small, temporary copper markers by plants we thought would be good candidates.  After the final list of plants we would like to include is determined, the girls will work on their entries for the plant guide.

Emma found a nice stump to lean on.

Emma found a nice stump to lean on near the start of the trail.

A gorgeous White Sage, now nicely labeled!

A gorgeous White Sage, now nicely labeled!

Labeling more plants.

Labeling more plants.

Using Harper as a desk to write out the plant markers.

Using Harper as a desk to write out the plant markers.

Emma and Sierra sow California Poppy seeds.

Emma and Sierra sow California Poppy seeds.

Roberta points out a lemonadeberry

Roberta points out a Lemonadeberry

Heading back.

Heading back after labeling plants.

The gang, after another great day in the canyon.

The gang, after another great day in the canyon.

 

 

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