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Rocklin park receives 300 new oak trees

Volunteers close out Creek Week 2008 planting at Johnson-Springview
By: Michael Althouse
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More than 50 volunteers helped plant 300 native oak trees and other native plants at Johnson-Springview Park last Saturday as Creek Week in Rocklin came to a close. Creek Week is an annual event organized by local organizations in Placer County and led by the Dry Creek Conservancy. The project at Johnson-Springview Park was funded by a $5,000 grant from REI in Roseville and a matching grant from Pacific Gas and Electric. In addition to planting native oaks, the volunteers also constructed a fenced-in nursery area with sprinklers and workbenches. Included amongst the volunteers were about ten employees of REI, said Erin Harrington, outreach specialist with REI. “The grant comes from a community grant program which is employee nominated,” Harrington said. “A lot of our employees use this park.” “It’s a unique park in that it has a more natural base to it,” she said. REI Store Manager Mike Henry was also on hand to volunteer his labor. “We opened in May 2002 and we’ve been working with Rocklin since 2002,” he said. “Our first new employee orientation was held at Johnson-Springview. Our employees love this park,” Henry said. Rock Creek Elementary School was represented by volunteers from Chris Anderson’s fourth grade class. The fourth grade class gathered acorns from Johnson-Springview Park and grew the seedlings as a class project, Anderson said. “We talked about the watering and the lighting. We experimented with natural light and grow lights,” she said. “And we had to pick the best acorns.” Because the seedlings were grown in aquariums, the students were able to see the trees sprout and the roots grow. “The roots were really long,” said fourth-grader Jake Sherer. “And the acorn stayed on the roots.” The rest of the seedlings were supplied by a local nursery. Lance Boraja, a Rocklin parks maintenance worker, said the seedlings all came from local native blue and valley oaks. In addition to keeping the landscape natural, Boroja said, “Acorns provide food for all sorts of wildlife.” According to Volunteer Coordinator Patty Tash, all volunteers received a t-shirt “and the pleasure of doing something good for your community.” Volunteers were also treated to a barbeque tri-tip lunch, grilled by Parks and Recreation Operations Manager Rick Forstall. Creek Week was originally comprised of a few volunteers who gathered together to pick up garbage along local creeks. Creek Week now includes projects such as tree planting, removing invasive weeds and other maintenance and improvements. According to Greg Bates, director of the Dry Creek Conservancy, Creek Week is now in its 12th year. “We wanted to do something in Placer County like they were doing in Sacramento County,” Bates said. “Creek Week is about the whole region, not just one city,” he said, adding that creeks don’t recognized city limits.