Volunteers install 70 plants in ongoing project to restore Brand Park trail


As part of an ongoing effort to restore a once neglected park trail behind the Brand Library and Art Center, a community of volunteers and officials with the city’s parks department planted 70 native plants on the site late last month.

The Glendale Parks & Open Space Foundation, a local nonprofit, led more than 40 volunteers to plant native, drought-tolerant plants along portions of the Miss American Green Cross Trail during a four-hour project.

Deveron Shudic, who supervises the trails and open space program with the parks department, helped supervise the project along with foundation board member Marc Stirdivant.

In early 2017, the city hired contractors to realign the trail’s path into a single route with the installation of some fencing that is expected to reduce trail-cutting as well as improve the overall look of the area for park users.

Stirdivant, who spent more than a decade working for the parks department before joining the foundation, sought to replant the barren slopes along the trail.

According to Stirdivant, the Open Space Foundation was awarded a small grant by the California Trails & Greenways Foundation. He then partnered with native plant experts at the Theodore Payne Foundation for selection of the right plants for the trail as well as where to plant them.

“[The plants are] making quite a change in an area previously distinguished by weeds, abandoned water pipes and dead trees and other foliage,” he said.

The Open Space Foundation is now working to recruit more volunteers to water the plants throughout the year along the steep trail, which currently consists of carrying a gallon jug of water for each plant.

Stirdivant said he hopes to alleviate the problem with a 200-foot hose tapped into the park’s water supply for the lower 40 plants and is crowdsourcing ideas for watering the other plants, which are more difficult to reach.

“Even though these are drought-tolerant natives, in these times, they need to be watered until they are fully established,” Stirdivant wrote in an email to volunteers. “That means we need to give them a good drink once a week, probably through the summer and into the next ‘rainy’ season.”

Stephen Webber, Brand Park’s ambassador since July 2016, holds no formal power in the volunteer position but prides himself in bringing attention to problems at the 31-acre park when he sees them.

“I think this [restoration] is very significant because people are starting to appreciate the park a lot more. They are starting to see that someone cares,” Webber said. “With the established trail, people can see that others are working to make the park more enjoyable.”

Twitter: @JeffLanda