Before settlers came to
the San Francisco Bay, the East Bay Hills were composed of forest and
woodlands. The northern part
included the majestic redwoods while the southern part was dominated by
oaks, buckeyes, sycamores, and big leaf maples.
The colors were spectacular especially when the poppies were in
This innovative project is reforesting
a now barren area with California Coast Live Oak plant
series at Masonic Home in Union City. The
Masonic Home is a retirement facility that produces about
2 tons of food waste per week. A nearby horse ranch
provides horse manue (2 tons per week) and tree company provides wood chips
(2 tons per week and added 2-4 tons per month for
Food from the kitchens is brought to the reforestation
site where a thermophilic composter was built from the
Green Mountain Technology Company.
The Masonic Home is providing 200 acres of land
that they own for reforestation. The land has steep
hills from uplift on the Hayward Fault and incised with
deep valleys by rainwater. Dry Creek, a seasonal
creek defines the boundary between Masonic Home property
with Garin Park, owned by East Bay Regional Park system.
Wood chips are used to help create pockets for aeration,
the manue helps increase the nitrogen ratio, and
together with the food waste produces compost. The
compost is then cured for a few months and then spread
along the hills, then covered with more wood chips.
The compost helps to enrich depleted soil to establish a 200 acre
forest. This long term
conservation activity will restore habitat and soil while educating the
community through volunteer opportunities.
Masonic Homes of
California is located in the southern part of the East Bay and is part
of a very important environmental experiment.
The Masonic Homes, Tri-Ced Community Recycling , Alameda County
Board of Supervisors District 2, and Math Science Nucleus
are working together to turn food waste (1-2 tons per week) into
compost, using an in-vessel composter.
As we are transforming 200 acres, we are training youth for
career skills in restoration and agriculture through several work
programs. Our first experiments
will look at ratios of compost; how the trees, shrubs, and flowers react
to compost; and how to protect
vegetation from native grazers.