Valley Life Sciences Building (VLSB) Native Plant Restoration

Valley Life Sciences Building (VLSB) Native Plant Restoration

Project Leads: Peter Oboyski

Sponsor: Essig Museum of Entomology

TGIF Grant: $7,076

Project Theme: Habitat Restoration and Native Landscaping

2019 Application

Project Description: The Essig Museum and UCB Entomology Club propose to revitalize areas around the Valley Life Science Building with native vegetation. Currently many areas are covered by wood chip mulch where grass lawn was removed during the prolonged drought. As high visibility areas along major walkways, these revitalized landscapes will improve the aesthetic appearance of campus with flowering plants, minimize water usage by choosing locally adapted species, provide forage and habitat for native insects and birds, and provide educational spaces to reinforce principles taught in conservation biology, botany, and entomology courses. Selection of plants and the design of each space will be lead by students. Stage 1: Design – students research native plants appropriate to the area and their use by insects and birds and meet with faculty and others to discuss design. Stage 2: Weed removal and prep – students and volunteers will pull ivy and other weeds and redistribute chip mulch in preparation for planting. Walking paths will be laid out. Stage 3: Planting – students will help amend soils and plant native species per their designs. Stage 4: Maintenance – Each semester, the Entomology Club, URAP students, and other volunteers will be assigned maintenance tasks that focus on native plant health monitoring, weed pulling, garbage pickup, etc. Throughout the entire process, individual students will record the insects and birds that use the habitats as part of a long-term study of restoration ecology. Metrics for the success of this project will include diversity of species (plants, insects, birds) over time and water usage. Signage will inform the public of the project and direct visitors to an informational website.

Goals: 1) restore a locally-adapted native landscape around the Valley Life Science Building that will function as an environmental education resource.

2) engage students by creating a high visibility demonstration landscape where students participate in planning, implementing, and monitoring the installation of locally-adapted plants, learning valuable concepts in conservation and wildlife interactions. Students benefit most from hands-on experience and direct observation. We expect this landscape to be used by many classes and workshops on the UCB campus related to conservation, natural history, landscape design, entomology, ornithology, botany, and ethnobotany.