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January 20, 2017 – Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a “day on, not a day off.” To celebrate MLK Jr. Day, fifteen volunteers joined Sierra Streams Institute’s (SSI) staff and AmeriCorps members to clear about 1.5 acres of dense scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) at Hirschman’s Pond. Volunteers included Sierra Nevada Alliance AmeriCorps members, neighboring landowners, and Nevada City locals. The above before and after photos, demonstrate what a big difference these volunteers made.

This invasive species removal effort is part of a larger restoration project currently in the works at Hirschman’s Pond. Hirschman’s hosts a great trail system not far from downtown Nevada City, but it was once one of the first major sites of hydraulic mining in the state. It’s now home to a variety of important and sensitive species like the Western Pond Turtle, Pacific Chorus Frog and a variety of migrating waterfowl. SSI has recently begun a project to restore Hirschman’s Pond in order to protect these species and create a healthier forest, while also reducing the risk of fire. As part of this initiative, SSI is helping organize the Scotch Broom Challenge to remove invasive species and engage the community with our restoration efforts at Hirschman’s.

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Sierra Streams is looking for volunteers for a Scotch broom pull on Saturday, January 28th from 9am-12pm. Volunteers should gather at the Hirschman’s Cement Hill Trailhead at 115 Cement Hill Rd. To get there, take Highway 49 towards Downieville, turn right on Cement Hill and meet in the small parking lot on the left. Car-pooling is encouraged. Tools, work gloves, and snacks will be provided, but volunteers should bring water, and sun/rain protection. This event will happen rain or shine. To sign up or learn more, please e-mail Karin Emanuelson at karin@sierrastreamsinstitute.org.

Can’t make it on January 28th? Sierra Streams will be hosting more events in March as a part of the Fire Safe Council’s Scotch Broom Challenge. Stay tuned for these dates to be announced! These events will provide a great opportunity to contribute to the restoration and protection of an important, local ecological site and to learn ways to get involved with the work being done at Sierra Streams!