Restoration and expansion within SLO Botanical Garden

From the odd and somewhat taboo sensations of A.S.M.R. to the exclusive human dissection labs underneath science buildings at Cal Poly, out group has covered a spectrum of topics we were relatively unfamiliar with. The story pitch about the restoration of a seasonal creek within the San Luis Obispo (SLO) Botanical Garden gave us all the opportunity to visit a local landmark that we may not have visited on our own. The SLO Botanical Garden has it’s roots at Cal Poly, created by a student for their senior project, and it seemed fitting to do a story on it’s expansion as a part of ours.

“This story opened my eyes to a cool project that some of my own Cal Poly peers are working on.” — Olivia Vort

This story cycle was unique from the rest because we had the opportunity to work as a group for a lot of the foot work. We all took a trip to the garden together, worked collaboratively throughout, and communicated well. Although it was raining when we visited the   botanical garden and we had some difficulty finding the actual restoration spot, we still had a great time working together to get good photos and b-roll. Katie and I returned another day to meet with the project manager and had a great time walking through the entire botanical garden and listening to the broader plans that the restoration fits into.

“I got to explore beautiful places with talented people I consider friends, and tell a story that matters.” — Katie Biddle

Our initial expectations for this story was a simple creek clean-up, but it turned out to be apart of a broader effort to increase biodiversity and sustainability, as well as reincorporating native plant species to the area. Specifically, native grasses that indigenous peoples would use for basketweaving will be planted and basketweaving will be taught in the garden. Events similar to this such as Pine Needle Weaving, already take place within the garden, and more will be created as the garden continues to grow.

“Learning about the restoration and expansion efforts and what  they do to educate San Luis Obispo on the indigenous tribes that lived here before was very inspiring.” — James Hayes

The amount of manual labor that students volunteers are putting in is inspiring to all of us, especially after seeing the site and the Italian thistle that covers it. A lot of weeding has been done, but there is still a significant amount of brush to be cleared. One hope with our story is that maybe it will inspire future volunteers to help out.

“The goal is to create a space which reflects more so the native plants which were present to the area before the invasion of non-native species.”  — Amanda Adelman

SLO has an extensive natural history that not many people are aware of.  Mustang News has reported on the garden in the past, but with new students coming and old students leaving each year fewer people know about this local gem. The SLO Botanical Garden’s efforts to combat invasive species and reintroduce native species opened our groups eyes to the kind of natural beauty that SLO has sported in the past.

“This story reintroduced me to the beauty that is San Luis Obispo, showing me a place I might have never thought to visit.” — Sabrina Thompson