Employees and students at Camp Cuyamaca are working to beautify the
campus and make it more welcome to wildlife: one native plant at a time.
For the last seven years, they have planted hundreds of
native plants on the 6th Grade Camp campus in areas that were
previously small patches of weeds.
“This is my passion,” said Sharyl Massey, a head outdoor
education specialist there. “To have this native garden right here in the campus is way
better than a weed lot.”
The first step was to work with the California Native Plant Society to design the landscape. Then, they worked to install fencing in the
areas with the help of inmates at a local conservation camp.
As part of the effort, they have put together an
interpretive trail with grant money. The trail looks at the destruction caused
by wildfires over the years and the native grass that is the first thing to
return to the charred earth.
Having the displays and native plants so close to the cabins
there helps students with limited mobility to be able to enjoy some of the same
learning experiences as other students without going on long hikes.
Eventually, the goal is to be certified by the National Wildlife Federation as part of its Schoolyard Habitats program.
Photo: Sharyl Massey poses in front of one of the patches of native plants at Camp Cuyamaca.