Putting Foothill College’s “Native Hill” on the map

I walked to Foothill College earlier today seeking the “Native Hill” described on this California Native Plant Society page (Archive). (I actually first heard about there being a native plant garden at Foothill College via a reference in this presentation from a Girl Scout describing her planned work at the Los Altos Woodland Library garden.)

Somehow, I thought it would be easy to find, but it wasn’t on the campus map (or Google Maps) and looking back at the CNPS article, I couldn’t figure it out either. I stopped by the Foothill College library and asked a librarian if she happened to know where the “Native Hill” garden is. She didn’t and only turned up the same sources online that I had seen. She said that the STEM department might know the answer though and directed me there after first unsuccessfully trying to catch them on the phone.

One fun thing at the library was this “Tournament of Books”:

Stopping by the front desk for STEM, I asked about “Native Hill” again. The first kind person there hadn’t heard of it either, but when someone else walked in, she asked him, and he did know of a garden, but not by that name. I showed him the photos from the CNPS site to confirm, and he pointed me towards Lot 5, but warning with a smile that it looks a little different now.

I really appreciated how incredibly friendly and helpful everyone was. Thank you!

I was on the lookout for a brochure stand that showed up in one of the CNPS photos:

But I didn’t find that. I was pretty sure I had found the right spot though when I came across a high concentration of native plants, including golden currants and ceanothus in bloom:

I knew for sure that I had the right place after coming across this sign saying “CALIFORNIA NATIVE HABITAT GARDEN”:

The person who guided me to Lot 5 is right; a lot seems to have changed. Along with some dead shrubs — deceased manzanitas? — there are some weeds waiting to be plucked; I’m pretty sure the plants in the foreground here are black mustard (Brassica nigra) and then the plant lower to the ground covering everything behind it is petty spurge (Euphorbia peplus):

I’m looking forward to finding the right people to ask about helping out.

To try to make things easier for future people seeking Foothill College’s Native Hill, I added it to Google Maps: Native Hill (California Native Habitat Garden). (My first time adding a place to Google Maps, I think? One annoying thing: when I switched to a different app on my phone to get some info to paste in, Google Maps lost my in-progress work so that I had to start from scratch.)

I also added it to Open Street Maps, definitely my first time doing that: https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/1266281178.

I’m impressed with OSM’s tools for editing the map.


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