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S E C T I O N 2 May 25, 2011 ■ Stories about people and events in A LSO INSIDE C A LE N DA R 23 |R E A L E S TAT E the community. 24 |C L AS S I F I E D S 38 Town honors its wildlife corridors and the residents who maintain them Trillium is a three-leafed low-growing lily native to Woodside and a favorite of Doug Ballinger, whose home on Winding Way was one of 29 households awarded the status of Backyard Habitat — a wildlife corridor meant to be welcoming to native plants and wild animals. By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer “K eep the woods in Woodside.” A prosaic mission statement, a poetic mission. A group of residents is working to improve and create wildlife corridors on behalf of those who use them but cannot speak for themselves: the town’s native plants and wild animals. The vehicle for this effort is the Backyard Habitat program. This 2010 initiative by the town of Woodside’s Open Space Committee celebrated its first awards ceremony on April 13 with the designation of wildlife corridors at 29 households. Thirty-two applied, committee Chair Virginia Dare said. Each winner received a letter of congratulations and a 3-foot-long, 4-inch-wide plaque of sturdy but rusty steel, engraved with the program’s name and topped by a silhouette of a California Quail, also rusty. When tacked to a fence post, it signals to passersby that they’re passing a place that lets nature be — with a little help from its friends. Wildlife corridors do need friends. Yes, they are undeveloped and natural, but with aggressive invasive species living within and around them, the corridors require nurturing to return to a native condition and stay there. The necessary ingredient: conscientious humans. On the afternoon of the awards ceremony, the Open Space Committee conducted an invitation-only tour of three households recognized for their wildlife corridors. The Almanac visited two of them. The Winding Way property of Doug and Leslie Ballinger includes a sun-drenched deep grass meadow bordered by large deciduous trees and intersected by a slow and meandering stream. The lush native grasses of the meadow are a result of a reseeding in 2010, Ms. Ballinger said. The non-native irises now populating the stream will be replaced with native irises in the coming year, she said. “It’s very important (that streams) are in an open and natural condition,” Ms. Dare of the Open Space Committee said. “We put a premium on that.” When the couple arrives home after dark, Ms. Ballinger said, and their headlights swing over the meadow, sets of brown ears pivot in their direction — deer lying in the long grass. Within sight of the meadow is a grove of trees through which Mr. Ballinger escorted this reporter and the Almanac photographer. Here and there were trillium, an unassuming native lily that sits low to the ground and blossoms with a maroon flower in the center of three broad leaves. “They punch out of the ground by January or February and they’re usually gone by now. I’m trying to encourage this one,” Mr. Ballinger said. “I don’t think a lot of people know what it is or care, but to me it’s a native California plant.” Mr. Ballinger is self-schooled. Queried as to how he can tell a native plant from a non-native one, he replied: “If you look See WILD IN WOODSIDE, page 23 Jeanne Sedgwick greeted visitors on April 13 to her 17-acre property on Old La Honda Road, where she and her husband Walter encourage wildlife and native plants in a redwood forest, also a temporary home for a highly invasive grass known as slender false brome. On the cover Chester, a Labrador retriever who lives with Leslie and Doug Ballinger, visited the Ballinger’s meadow recently — now an official wildlife corridor and used frequently by deer. “He’s pretty comfortable with the deer,” Ms. Ballinger said. “He couldn’t care less. Sometimes he gives them a half hearted bark.” Almanac photos by Michelle Le May 25, 2011 N The Almanac N21

The Almanac 05.25.2011 - Section 2

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