CNPS Announces Re-Oak California
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Liv O’Keeffe
916-447-2677, ext. 202
November 20, 2018, Sacramento – Oak trees are the powerhouses of California’s native ecosystems, and now the non-profit California Native Plant Society has launched a statewide effort to help restore and grow native oak populations up and down California.
“Oaks are an easy and powerful way to help the environment,” CNPS Executive Director Dan Gluesenkamp said. “A single, mature oak will support hundreds of other species and can sequester thousands of pounds in carbon.”
But oak species throughout California face unprecedented decline due to habitat loss, disease, and development.
Just over a year ago, CNPS announced Re-Oak Wine Country, a crowdsourcing volunteer effort to collect acorns from the burned landscapes of Sonoma, Mendocino, and Napa counties. Thousands of Californians participated by gathering acorns, completing scientific data sheets, and sending their acorns to CNPS headquarters. CNPS staff and volunteers then sorted, cleaned, and processed viable acorns for the next phase of the project: propagation.
After months of careful tending, the 2017 acorns are now healthy saplings ready for transplant. CNPS is partnering with community groups in Wine Country and surrounding regions to plant tens of thousands of oak saplings back in the areas from which they originated.
“In restoration efforts, we need to follow careful guidelines to ensure we’re reintroducing the right plants to the right spot,” adds Gluesenkamp. “This way, we make sure both the plants and the local creatures that depend on them have their best chance of survival.”
As the project moves into its second year, CNPS and local groups will facilitate oak planting days, ongoing acorn processing, and support for private landowners interested in restoring oak habitat.
“Last year’s response blew us away,” said Liv O’Keeffe, senior director of communications and engagement for CNPS. “The movement was so strong that it’s inspired our local chapters and other organizations to undertake re-oaking projects all over the state this year.”
The acorn harvest is nearly complete, but volunteers and supporters are needed for planting events and ongoing acorn processing. CNPS is directing people to www.cnps.org/acorns to sign up, receive instructions, and get ongoing updates.
Oaks are valued among ecologists and environmentalists for their benefits:
• Oaks are the supermarket of the natural world. Oak woodlands support hundreds of animal, pollinator, and bird species.
• Oaks fight global warming. The heavy wood of oaks stores more carbon than most other trees, meaning that they capture carbon dioxide and help fight global warming.
• Oaks bring economic benefit. Studies show that oak trees add significant value to homeowner property. A University of California study found that a neighborhood located 10 percent closer to an oak stand showed a $4 million dollar increase in the overall value of the 544 houses in that community.
“Oaks are the ‘gateway drug’ for restoration,” jokes Gluesenkamp. “If you’re gonna start with something, start with oaks to get maximum bang for your buck.”
Get involved at cnps.org/reoak
About the California Native Plant Society:
The California Native Plant Society is a statewide organization working to save and celebrate California’s native plants and places via plant science, advocacy, education, and horticulture. CNPS has more than 10,000 members in 35 chapters throughout California and Baja to promote its mission at the local level. www.cnps.org