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Stewardship Pathways First Weekend at Wild Willow a Success!

Last month, the Climate Science Alliance's Stewardship Pathways program supported attendance at Wild Willow Farms for a technical training providing participants with knowledge on efficient irrigation systems, integrated pest management, and gardening for pollinators.

A person kneels in a row of plants gesturing to one, teaching a group of people who stand near by. They are outside on farmland on a slightly cloudy, sunny day.

On July 15, 2023, the Climate Science Alliance team held the first of a series of Stewardship Pathways trainings at Wild Willow Farm and Education Center. Participants were welcomed to Wild Willow Farms with bowls of fresh apricots and warm greetings as our 16 participants settled in for a day of technical training. Priscilla Ortiz, Kumeyaay Community College, welcomed us to the space by providing context about Kumeyaay culture, connection, and impacts of colonization.

A person stands at a chalkboard drawing a diagram of a plant. They stand under a large tent roof with dried gourds hanging from it.

The technical training was held in Wild Willow’s beautiful outdoor classroom adorned with dried gourds. Paul Maschk, lead farm school instructor, shared information on water storage and use in irrigated landscapes including options for using irrigation canals, solar powered irrigation timers, water saving sprinkler heads, and drip tape. Participants left with a list of options for efficiently using outdoor irrigate systems. The lecture highlighted understanding the importance of rainwater as a means to conserve one of our most important resources: water. Paul also highlighted that rainwater is a more sustainable, beneficial, and “healthy” source than faucet water for plants.

The Wild Willow Team, having worked all morning, cooked an amazing lunch with a “build your own” woodfired pizza using ingredients from the farm and jugs of agua de pepino to cool down and hydrate. With full bellies we moved back into the classroom to learn about integrated pest management.

A person kneels in the dirt pointing to a spot on the ground.

Paul continued to share his knowledge and experience on pest management with a focus on maintaining balance in the surrounding ecosystem. This included a number of techniques that allow beneficial insects access and resources near garden/farm plants so that they can help play a role in controlling populations of invasive or harmful pests.

Wild Willow farms sent us off with boxes of their delicious plums and techniques for using water respectfully and striving to live in balance with all living beings (pests included) so that we can grow and feed ourselves and our communities.


Thank you to Paul, Sierra, Mae and the rest of the Wild Willow team for hosting our Stewardship Pathways training!

Special thank you to all of our Stewardship Pathways sponsors.

Read about the second Stewardship Pathways training held at Wild Willow on building soil fertility and propagating plants here.


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