Watering baby seedlings through the hot summer months is enormously beneficial for their survival. We are seeing up to 50% greater survival on watered sites, which is terrific! We are SUPER grateful to all of our fantastic volunteers that have joined our watering events this summer on North and South Shores.
Rather than attending our events, some of our most dedicated Water Warriors have been quietly organizing their own watering parties and caring for trees that they planted. When we heard their delightful reports, we knew that we had to share their stories to recognize and thank them – and to (hopefully!) inspire others to follow their lead!
One of our last plantings of the 2022 spring planting season took place in the Caldor Fire burn scar on the Thunder Mountain trail off Highway 88 west of Kirkwood. Among other volunteers, members of the Central Sierra Hikers club helped us plant western white pine seedlings in June at this rugged site. Although we planted up a rather steep trail, members of the hiking club were up to the challenge of revisiting this site to water. The group devised an ingenious method of using fellow Central Sierra Hiker Nick Stone’s llamas to help out!
As Bruce Odelberg explained, “At 8 pounds per gallon, water gets real heavy carrying it uphill (and the Thunder Mountain Trail is very much uphill). Our procedure was to get water from the pond at the top of the Carson Spur, fill the containers for the llama packs, transport the water via llama uphill, then transfer the water to 1 and 2 gallon water bottles, followed by the actual watering of our ‘babies.’ The llamas did three treks uphill. Without the llamas, this would have been much much more work, and many less seedlings would have gotten watered before we pooped out.”
Mugsy, Skeeter and Bart aided the Central Sierra Hikers on two outings to water the western whites at Thunder Mountain in July.
So far, survival appears to be excellent. Odelberg said, “I was pleasantly surprised to only find two seedlings that didn’t make it.” He added, “The real draw for the Central Sierra Hiking group is taking care of the babies we planted; it is very rewarding.”
We are so grateful for this group’s resourcefulness and dedication to their well-loved and cared for babies! Mugsy, Skeeter and Bart are heroes, too – we might just have to hire these adorable and enormously helpful beasts of burden!
Adorable and helpful are also very good words to describe the Hannemann family of Meyers/South Lake Tahoe. Fabian, Kristianne, their young daughters Leila and Sofia, and Fabian’s mother (who was visiting from Germany!) helped us plant seedlings in the Caldor Fire bulldozer line behind Mule Deer Circle this past April. With the help of 80 volunteers, we actually planted 750 trees in a few short hours – on Earth Day, no less!
The Hannemanns have been revisiting the sprawling site and watering different sections throughout the summer. Fabian said, “It’s great to see how the trees in the Mule Deer bulldozer line are doing well and growing fast! Many are already twice the size of those we planted in our yard last fall actually, but those don’t get full sun. We’ve been getting out every couple of weeks to water, the kids love it and it’s nice to see vegetation come back.”
We are so very glad that this once denuded area will be home to some new sugar and Jeffrey pines thanks to our efforts and the Hannemann’s extra tender loving care. Thank you Fabian, Kristianne and girls for all your great work!
Last but not least, another troop of neighbors has been steadfastly watering a little grove of sugar pines planted in the spring of 2020. During the COVID pandemic, we held seedling giveaways in lieu of plantings. Another Meyers resident, Lauri Kemper, picked up a few bags and planted 20 sugar pines in the woods near her house. A team of about seven friends and neighbors has been watering the trees ever since!
Ten trees are still alive, which is a superb survival rate – especially after two extra hot, dry summers in 2020 and 2021. As Kemper says of the trees, “They are well-loved!” The numbers certainly agree, and so do we!
We absolutely love the community effort that is going into keeping our seedlings alive! Thanks to all of these great water warriors for sharing their success stories with us – and we hope that you might be inspired to follow in their footsteps and go give some seedlings a much-needed drink, too!