Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Nature in Balance

“Fill the earth with your songs of gratitude.” Charles Spurgeon
This past autumn, a group of volunteers came together to plant a teaching garden for the girls and boys at the Oso Lake Camp. This garden is filled with drought resistant plants which are native to California.  The plants provide good habitat for California quail, butterflies and other native birds and wildlife. All of these plants were used by the indigenous native California tribes for medicinal purposes. One of the plants, for example, is Eriogonum fasciculatum var. foliolosum, California Buckwheat.  It has flowers, leaves and seeds that are all used by butterflies and small birds. The buckwheats are very important butterfly plants and are one of the pillars of their communities. Another plant, Baccharis pilularis consanguinea, Coyote Brush, provides a place for Jays to plant acorns under the bushes.  Baccharis species are the nectary sources for most of the predatory wasps, native skippers (small butterflies) and native flies.  The Mexican elderberry or Tapiro,(Sambucus mexicana) is a deciduous shrub to tree with butter yellow flowers in April-August followed by purple berries in September-October.  If you look carefully as you pass an Elderberry you may see a hummingbird, butterfly, chipmunk, Jay, Thrasher, or other bird as it is an excellent wildlife plant.
Indigenous people everywhere hold the view that we are all part of the earth in which we are related to all things and each thing has its place and purpose in this living world. There is a natural order that creates life and balance to this ecosystem. When we support this natural system we live in harmony with all of our relations. Our purpose in planting this garden was to teach the younger generation the importance of habitat restoration to maintain the natural order of their local environment. Rather than just taking from the earth, we can make a choice to replenish, to revere, and to support growth of all living things. To choose otherwise contributes to imbalance and a future of greater uncertainty. 

While we planted we remembered that the soil cares for us as we care for the soil. As we felt the joy of cooperation and achievement through working together we realized that we are a natural part of the ecosystem that sustains life.
We would like to thank all those who participated in the project.
Gene and Joyce Stone

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