Pierpont Elementary School’s motto is “Imagine… then make a difference”. And that is exactly what Principal Lee Warner did in 1999. He took an area of the campus that had previously been an unutilized eyesore and with help of students, staff, local organizations, and volunteers from the community created the Pierpont Nature Trail.
Nestled between the coastal dunes and Pierpont Boulevard in Ventura, this trail takes you on imaginary hike through Ventura County from the Channel Islands to the top of the Topatopa Mountains. One encounters eight different plant communities along the way which include: a representation of the Channel Island’s, coastal strand, freshwater marsh, coastal sage scrub, chaparral, southern oak woodland, riparian woodland, and cliffside communities. Volunteers from Ventura High School painted a beautiful 80-foot mural on the wall adjacent to the trail. The mural reflects the beauty of the eight different habitats represented in the landscaped area of the Nature Trail and is truly an incredible work of art.
The Nature trail is a work in progress. For example, we need to reposition some of the creative planting combinations of the original planting volunteers, like the Ironwood in the oak woodland and the Juncus next to the Yucca in the cliffside community. We want to plant different species in each of the various plant communities that were not available during the initial installation process. Additional changes to the Trail include a dry creek bed, more rock and topography in the landscape, especially in the cliffside community, as well as creating informational plaques that describe each community.
We are very excited about our new curriculum guides developed by local CNPS member and volunteer (as well as new mother) Heather King. The curriculum guides focus on fun interactive activities associated with the Nature Trail to enrich the learning experience for the both the students and staff.
The Pierpont Nature Trail has been a collaboration of many groups of volunteers devoting hours of time and effort to create a science learning area and an esthetic location for the children and the community. We invite you down to enjoy and participate in this unique educational experience. Chris Bysshe
The Chapter is interested in obtaining seeds of native plants from the Santa Barbara and Ventura County areas for our Pierpont School Propagation Area and the Pierpont Beach-to-Topatopa Nature Talk, our school gardens wildflowers propagation project, and our plant sale propagation project. We are specifically looking for seeds with a known local natural origin for horticultural and restoration purposes. We are also interested in plants for vegetative propagation. Please collect seeds when you are out and about and send them in. Just drop a piece of paper with notes about what and where you collected, and the date, so that we can keep track of where the plants originated from when we grow them out. Contact Patt McDaniel at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, or to let her know you have some seeds collected. - Patt McDaniel
Gardening With Natives Articles
An excellent set of articles on landscaping with natives appeared in the Special Garden Issue: Going Native insert of the Los Angeles Times on 18 May 2003. Be sure to read Going Native and The Quiet Californian both by Susan Heeger.
Please contact Patt McDaniel if you wish to become involved with Chapter’s efforts to propagate locally native plant species. Thanks to Chris Bysshe and Scott Brown for seeds they have collected already.
Seeing how others have used native plants in the landscape situation provides an excellent way to see how you can use a species, or suite of species in your own yard. Below is a short list of some places you can go to see what others have done with local native plants:
· Cluff Vista Park, Ojai, California (link to David Magney’s webpages for this park (http://www.magney.org/photofiles/Ojai-CluffVistaParkPhotos1.htm)
· Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, 1212 Mission Canyon Road, Santa Barbara, California (http://www.sbbg.org/)
· Carpinteria Salt Marsh.
Page last updated: 27 November 2006