Tannery Arts Center residents gathered on a beautiful Sunday in March to care for their neighbor, the San Lorenzo River. Youth and adults planted a mix of native plants on the banks of the San Lorenzo River. Among them were gumweed, blackberry, primrose, buttercups, wild rose and self-heal. Plants were selected for enhancing the riverside ecosystem and providing nutrients and shelter for pollinators and beneficial insects. Residents learned about the role of riparian buffers – the vegetated area between the river and its surroundings that filters urban runoff, maintains water quality, and provides habitat. Residents took action to create a stronger, healthier riparian buffer for the San Lorenzo River.

As they carefully placed each plant and filled it’s surrounding with fresh soil and water, residents planned the possible uses of this new native plant restoration garden: a place to relax, observe the river, a blackberry patch to pick for fresh pie, an herbal garden. The restoration garden growing between the Tannery and the river will support a healthier San Lorenzo River while also acting as space for the community to observe, learn, create and relax.

Since March, volunteers have returned to care for the native plant garden to weed, water and care for it. This garden is made possible by a partnership between the Coastal Watershed Council, the Tannery community and the Arts Council of Santa Cruz County. Together the groups aim to build stronger connections and create spaces along the river that are inviting, fun and safe for everyone to enjoy.

Learn more about upcoming garden care and planting events by contacting Alev Bilginsoy at abilginsoy@coastal-watershed.org.


Thank you CWC for initiating this wonderful project! We are so lucky it has rained; the little plants are so happy! It was delightful to see even our littlest kids digging and planting. They so enjoyed it! I appreciate your efforts to mend our riverbank and literally cultivate community spirit, especially among our children. Can’t wait for those blackberries to grow.. we are all looking forward to blackberry pie and snacks.


Linda Cover

Tannery Resident

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