Raking in the clean

AGS tidies up nature preserve

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Jamie Perlee

LMC student and AGS member, Cesar Ramirez; using a garden how to pull up weeds. Taken Friday April 22,2016 at the LMC Nature Preserve May be used for newspaper for May 6th edition.

Alpha Gamma Sigma Honors Society helped clean up the Los Medanos College Nature Preserve Friday afternoon in honor of Earth Day. About 20 AGS members came to pull weeds, trim bushes, and rake up the residue.

AGS member Cesar Ramirez, contributing to the cleanup effort by using a gardening hoe to pull up pesky weeds, said what made him interested in volunteering was that he simply felt like serving the community.

“At the end of the day, it is just a good feeling knowing that you helped out the environment,” he said.

While pulling weeds, AGS Web Administrator Jerome Ner said it was a beautiful day to give back to nature.

“I think it is a great volunteering event because it is an opportunity to give back to earth itself. It is pretty sentimental especially being that it’s Earth Day,” he said. “It is a good way to get outside and away from civilization while enjoying nature.”

Student Lupe Mauricio is not a member of AGS, but helps clean up the preserve from time to time.

“The reason why I help is I want to give back to the environment, because Mother Nature is what makes the world go round, and I want to do my part to make sure it does,” said Mauricio.

The Nature Preserve is certified as a Schoolyard Habitat for wildlife by the National Wildlife Federation and has more than 65 different native plants including the Chilean Aster, Lemonade Berry andthe California Poppy. It is also home to wildlife like the Anna’s hummingbird, monarch butterfly and other various insects.

The one-acre preserve was started in 1999 by the now-retired Christine Hagelin and students from her Environmental and General Biology classes. They started the preserve to provide a habitat for the local wildlife as well as an opportunity to learn about the ecosystem.

The preserve is maintained by chemistry major Ricardo Black and garden supervisor Mickey Rovere, a former LMC student who now attends U.C. Berkeley.

“Not only does it serve the biology department, but it is also used by the art department. It’s also a perfect place to sneak away to get some fresh air,” said Black. “The Nature Preserve is a hidden jewel within the campus that not everyone is aware of. We are trying to change that.”

Black has been involved with the nature preserve for about two years, since he started volunteering through clubs creating trails, planting, propagating plants and getting acquainted with the plants in the garden.

After several months of volunteering, a preserve job opened up.

“I’ve always had a calling towards nature in general, and the Nature Preserve provides the ideal opportunity for me to intimately get to know plants more in depth,” he said. “In fact, plants and the benefits they provide for us is what motivated me to pursue my chemistry major. Plants are awesome.”

Clubs, including AGS, typically help out Black and Rovere since there is always plenty to do in the preserve.

Black said anyone is welcome to volunteer LMC’s Nature Preserve, which is located just off the pathway that leads from Parking Lot B to the College Complex.

“We are always looking for people to volunteer, as well as anyone that is a nature lover and is interested in learning more about California natives, or plants in general. We also have plant sales and have any plant from the garden available for anyone that requests them,” he said. “We would love to help people expand their garden and plant knowledge, and we just want people to know what’s available for them via the Nature Preserve!

If you would like to lend a hand at the preserve, you can do so by contacting Mickey Rovere at mickeyrovere@gmail.com or Ricardo Black at black.ricardo626@gmail.com.