When I was a kid I loved to play in the dirt. I spent many happy hours digging up the back yard looking for buried treasure (earthworms) only to find most of it under my fingernails and on my clothes. Now, after decades of avoiding dirt as a responsible adult, volunteering at the Mt. Sutro Native Plant Nursery has given me a chance to have fun getting dirty again, but this time to promote biodiversity.
While California is touted as one of the most biodiverse regions in the country, we still have much to do to maintain the natural ecosystem that supports us. As a nursery volunteer, we can do our part to promote biodiversity and maintain the natural ecosystem.
So, what are you waiting for? If you like the feel of dirt running through your fingers, or just being outdoors, Sutro Nursery is the place for you! No experience required.
What will you do as a volunteer at the nursery?
There are lots of tasks to do at the nursery and you can try out several. Our Nursery Manager will help guide you as well as other staff and regular volunteers. Here’s some:
Potting & labeling plants for transplanting on Mt. Sutro
Up-potting (transferring plants from little pots to bigger ones)
Watering and pot washing
Collecting and cleaning seeds
Weeding and planting areas surrounding the nursery including our rain garden, demonstration garden, and throughout the open space at restoration areas
We also prepare for and host native plant sales twice yearly year
How to Volunteer
The nursery is open every Wednesday from 9:30am-12:30pm so it’s perfect if you’re retired or have a flexible work schedule that allows a day off midweek. There’s parking above the nursery for volunteers on Wednesdays in marked red spaces saying “Aldea Center Parking Only.” You can sign up to volunteer online (required for groups of 4+) at sutrostewards.org/events, or just drop in during nursery hours to visit and get acquainted. Dress comfortably in layers, preferably long sleeves and pants, and expect to get dirty. Sturdy shoes (I use an old pair of hiking boots) are recommended and closed-toed shoes are required. We provide gloves, work tools, and instruction.
We’re located at:
476 Johnstone Dr, at the intersection of Behr & Johnstone at the edge of the Aldea Housing Complex. (The nursery is downhill from the road and can be a little difficult to find the first time, so sign up to get directions and a day-of contact number in case you get a little lost! Looking at the map first is helpful too.)
Be a Part of the future. Come Join Us!
One of the biggest benefits of volunteering is to walk along the trails of Mt. Sutro after planting what we’ve grown at the nursery and see firsthand the fruits of our labor. Just a glimpse of the pink flowers of Ribes sanguineum (blooming now!), the scent of fragrant yerba buena, or the bounce of little columbine is a fantastic feeling. Further, there’s the knowledge we’ve helped create habitat for the birds, bees, and plants that nurture a healthy ecosystem. Our future is depending on it.
1. O’Keefe, Liv. Biodiversity is Everyone’s Responsibility. A Conversation with Behavioral Ecologist Doug Tallamy. Flora. Vol 1. No .2 Winter 2018