By Simone DUPUY
On the third Saturday of every month during the spring and summer seasons, the Glendale Parks and Open Space Foundation along with members of the community and the City of Glendale Community Services and Parks Dept. come together to rebuild Deukmejian Park’s natural ecology after it was devastated by the 2009 Station Fire.
For roughly nine months after the Station Fire, Deukmejian remained closed, during which time weeds were removed and native trees, including big cone spruce, oaks, and sycamores, were planted along the Dunsmore Canyon trail. However, because native trees are difficult to find, planting stopped a few years ago at around 100 trees. The Parks Dept. is now trying to re-establish the vegetation.
Saturday marked the most recent Third Saturday Weekend Workday, which was themed “One Small Step…” in honor of the 44th anniversary of man’s walking on the moon. This was a very fitting theme according to Marc Stirdivant, Community Services and Parks Dept. senior administrative analyst.
“This place was burnt to a crisp – every twig, everything. It looked like the surface of the moon,” Stirdivant said of the park after the Station Fire swept through.
The workdays usually pull in anywhere from 10 to 30 volunteers. Saturday’s helpers came mainly from Boy Scout troop 288 of Montrose, who worked so efficiently that the work was done in less that three hours, rather that the usual four from 8:00 am to noon.
After 176 sizable water bottles were emptied onto the trees, the boys were able to play some environmentally educational games to learn about local habitats, resources and predator-prey relationships.
“They worked so quickly, so we want them to appreciate the environment and learn a little,” said Jeff Weinstein of the Glendale Parks and Open Space Foundation.
While rebuilding the park is of utmost importance to the city of Glendale, this kind of education is equally important.
“We want to create a sense of stewardship in the community,” Stirdivant said.
To help with this project or to get involved in other park programs, visit www.ci.glendale.ca.us/parks.