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From Weeds to Carbon Storage

High Tech Middle 8th Graders digging holes and preparing soil for planting.

With San Diego County Parks and Recreation and the U.S. Navy, The Escondido Creek Conservancy recently acquired the 693-acre Mountain Meadow Preserve as part of the Save 1000 Acres campaign—of which 225 acres were once an avocado grove. Most of what’s left in the grove are dead avocado trees and the dried invasive grasses that quickly filled in the disturbed area. Luckily, 8th graders from High Tech Middle North County have been helping replant the site with native plants. Last week they began by digging and preparing the holes. This week, they helped plant native milkweed, white sage, black sage, laurel sumac, monkeyflower, and coast live oaks!

The students are learning about fire regimes and carbon sequestration in their classes—which makes this project a perfect fit! The restoration of this site shows how the transformation from non-native grasses to coastal sage scrub creates an ecosystem much less prone to wildfires, while storing significantly more carbon. Plus, coastal sage scrub provides a much more suitable habitat for all of our native creatures! Thank you to High Tech Middle for helping out and thank you to the Soil Ecology Restoration Group of SDSU for donating the plants!


Photos by Nathan Serrato

Escondido Creek Conservancy Staff holding native plants with Soil Ecology Restoration Group of San Diego.