December 24, 2009 (Cuyamaca) – A team of 62 sixth and seventh graders marched out to Cuayamaca State Park on December 16th armed with shovels, tubex tree shelters, weed mats and acorns. Their mission? Plant 100 sheltered trees (complete with gopher guards) in areas burned by wildfires. The effort was part of an oak woodland restoration project led by Maureen Anderson of the Cleveland National Forest Descanso Ranger District.
Students first gathered acorns from grounds and trees along a quarter-mile stretch of Merigan’s fire road in the state park, then waited until after the first rain, when the soil had enough moisture to sustain the tree planting efforts. Students sorted and separately bagged separately those from the trees and those from the ground to test a theory that the more viable acorns are direct from the tree: they and 'float tested’ the acorns when they returned to the school.
On January 8, 2010, third grade students from Pine Valley Elementary School will continue reforestation efforts by planting at Camp on U.S. Forest Service land.