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Report on Burned Oak Project

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The Oak Tree Team! From left to right: Mary Ann Hannon, Conni Naylor, and Michael White.


On Aug. 16, 2020, lightning started a wildfire in Upper Sycamore Grove Park.  The fire burned down slope into Lower Sycamore Park. About 180 acres were burned.  While surveying the burn area soon after, Ranger/Naturalist, Amy Wolitzer, noticed that valley oaks in the Valley View drainage were turning green and even putting out catkins (oak tree flowers).  She shared her observations with Mary Ann Hannon, Open Space volunteer, who shared Amy’s interest in native plants. Both were curious about the trees greening up so soon after being burned. After consulting with Hugh Safford, Regional Ecologist, US Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region and reading several papers on fire and oaks, Amy and Mary Ann decided to organize a volunteer project to observe the recovery of valley oaks burned in the fire.  The “burned oak” volunteer observers were Conni Naylor, Michael White (also photographer), Shawna Soren, (also Google Docs creator), Mary Ann Hannon, (also recorder).   

Download the entire Board Report here:

Burned Oak Project Report.pdf