Planting Day #1 – Saturday, February 4, 2012

Planting Day at the Matilija Schoolyard Habitat (SYH) native plant demo garden.

About the Project:  The Matilija SYH  promotes by example the use of native plants for landscaping while also providing habitat for local and migratory wildlife including songbirds, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects. Matilija students are working together with parents, volunteers and staff to create the outdoor classroom using CA native plants. U. S Fish and Wildlife has provided grant funds along with technical expertise and guidelines to help students get actively involved in the project.  Local businesses and volunteers have donated time, mulch, tools, equipment and excavating services to help prepare the site.

Now it is time to plant our chaparral and pollinator gardens! Come learn more about the Matilija Schoolyard Habitat and our unique chaparral native plant community, and how to save water by growing CA natives in the landscape.  Learn how the Schoolyard Habitat  builds problem-solving skills while promoting an understanding of the urban-wildland interface.  Come learn how to potect our water resources by planting natives which conserve water and support wildlife! Come learn how to plant CA natives, and about the habitat they create for wildlife. Help us! No experience necessary, snacks and drinks will be provided. Bring a shovel and wear heavy shoes, sunscreen and gloves. Volunteers to help coordinate and donations of food/drinks are also welcome. Call Renee Roth for more info at 798-3897.

Date: Saturday, February 4, 2012

Time: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Where: Matilija Junior High, 703 El Paseo Road, Ojai

“Nature is good for people: Let’s recognize the right of every child to live and grow up in a wildlife-rich world.”<via The New Nature Movement.

Flyer for Planting Day #1


Ojai Trees to plant Sycamore and Redbud on Matilija SYH

Please Join us on Thursday, December 15 at the Matilija JH Schoolyard Habitat native plant garden site for a tree planting ceremony. Ojai Trees will be at Matilija planting a 15 gallon Sycamore and Redbud tree. Come learn how to plant trees and be part of the first planting event on the Matilija Schoolyard Habitat site.

When: 2:30, December 15, 2011
Where: Matilija SYH, 703 El Paseo Road, Ojai

Also, you can donate a tree for Matilija Junior High -Schoolyard Habitat-Outdoor Classroom of Native Plants

This holiday season, you can support the 2/3 acre native plant garden at Matilija by purchasing a native tree and donating it thru Ojai Trees. Their tree donation program provides training for neighborhood volunteers to plant trees in the Ojai community. Why not place the trees at schools around Ojai? The volunteers will pick up, deliver and plant the native trees ( along with the school community) and provide a dedication ceremony.

The following native trees are needed at Matilija Junior High:

Freemont Cottonwood

Western Sycamore

Western Redbud

To purchase a 15 gallon size tree, the donation is $75.

Please mention your tree purchase is for Matilija Junior High, to make sure the trees are placed and dedicated on our site. For more information, follow the link for Ojai Trees Donation program at:

Renee Roth


We did it!  Site Preparation Workday #1 at Matilija SYH

We did it! Site Preparation Workday #1 at Matilija SYH

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We had about 25 volunteers, with students, parents, grandparents and community volunteers, including Charles Duncan with the Ojai Master Gardeners and Peter Bowen and Randy Roth representing the Ojai Rotary and Matilija Principal Emily Mostovoy. . .

. . .along with 13 volunteers from the California Conservation Corps who did most of  the “heavy lifting” moving rocks, preparing pathways and the 20′ circular planter in the middle of the Schoolyard Habitat.

The CCC crew working on central planter, with a student cleaning up the cardboard ( in the shade) in preparation for sheet mulching.

Below, students, parents and a grandparent are busy spreading mulch and cleaning the cardboard to prepare for “sheet mulching” where:

1-the ground is first cleared of rocks and weeds;
2-the ground is sprayed with compost tea:
3-then a layer of cardboard is spread on top of the ground;
4- 8″- 12″ of mulch spread on top of the cardboard and watered in.

Sheet mulching provides a barrier to suppress existing weed seeds  and help retain moisture in the soil.  This allows rain water to be percolate into the soil following the “slows it, spread it and sink it” concept to keep rainwater on site and prevent runoff.

Father & son work together spreading mulch

Below students clean cardboard and move mulch onto cardboard. In the back ground, wheel barrows of mulch are being dropped onto cardboard.

The workday is finished, with pathway created down to central planter, and Phase 1 planting areas covered in cardboard and mulch wait to be watered in.

The Matilija SYH site after Site Preparation #1 Workday

Just in time for the rain.. on Wednesday, October 5 we received our first rain of the season, where 1.3″ fell onto the SYH site.  The rainwater sinks into the SYH mulched site, compared to the puddling of water under the oak tree, where the soil is compacted and takes a while to sink in.

The SYH site captures the "first flush" of rain on October 5, 2011

rain water under oak tree puddles next to the Schoolyard Habitat area