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A “day on, not a day off” at Hirschman’s Pond

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, held each year on the third Monday in January, is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a “day on, not a day off.” This year, fifteen volunteers joined Sierra Streams Institute’s staff to clear about 1.5 acres of dense Scotch broom at Hirschman’s Pond. Volunteers included Sierra Nevada Alliance AmeriCorp members as well as neighboring landowners and Nevada City locals. The photo below of the trail before the clean up demonstrates what a big difference these volunteers made.

The trail before clean up.

This invasive species removal is part of a larger restoration project. Hirschman’s Pond now hosts a series of trails not far from downtown Nevada City but it was once one of the first major sites of hydraulic mining in the state. It’s now home to a variety of important and sensitive species like the western pond turtle, Pacific chorus frog, and a variety of migrating waterfowl. SSI has recently begun a project to restore Hirschman’s Pond in order to protect these species and create a healthier forest, while also reducing the risk of fire. As part of this initiative, SSI is helping organize the Scotch Broom Challenge to remove invasive species and engage the community with our restoration efforts at Hirschman’s.

Sierra Streams is looking for volunteers for Scotch broom pulls on Saturday, March 4th and Saturday, March 25th from 9am-12pm. Volunteers should gather at the Hirschman’s Cement Hill Trailhead at 115 Cement Hill Rd. To get there, take Highway 49 towards Downieville, turn right on Cement Hill and meet in the small parking lot on the left. Carpooling is encouraged. These events are part of the Fire Safe Council’s Scotch Broom Challenge. Tools, work gloves, and snacks will be provided, but volunteers should bring water and sun/rain protection. This event will happen rain or shine.

These events will provide a great opportunity to not only contribute to the restoration and protection of an important local ecological site, but also to learn about the work of Sierra Streams and other ways to get involved! To sign up or learn more, please e-mail Karin Emanuelson at