Yesterday I walked at lunch. After a bit I started to come along mud circles with a stick protruding up in each one. Hmmm. Someone planting something, very unexpected in this neglected bit of land.
I came upon a park employee, with a shovel. I asked him what he was doing/planting. He answered 'buckeyes' (or, as I like to call them in spring, 'penis trees'). I told him how cool that was, and how surprised I was there was money for that. In his still strong Mexican accent, he answered that there was no money for this, that he was planting native species himself, that he grew the little trees at home and transplants them as part of his normal trail maintenance. He was clearly passionate about the work (obviously, right?!). He lamented the weeds a bit (I mentioned the low thistle that chokes that area), and the long trail to plant trees on... and his determination to bring the natives back to the land and the pleasure of their shade to humans shone.
He also told me about another little area, that I come across when I bike the other direction, where he had planted local oak trees, now 15 feet high. He had watered them by hand for three years, just now stopping the watering, hoping they will survive from now on on their own.
I thanked him profusely. Probably isn't possible to thank him enough.
This is clearly the right man doing the right job. What a joy!