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Posted 2/28/2014

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By Randy Gon
South Pacific Division Public Affairs

Christine McWhorter, San Francisco District contractor at Hamilton Native Plant Nursery, explains to Brig. Gen. Dave Turner, South Pacific Division commander and Lt. Col. John Baker, San Francisco District commander, the benefits gained by volunteer groups from the local community that assist with planting vegetation on the Hamilton Wetlands Restoration Project, Feb. 27, 2014, Novato, Calif.

 McWhorter helped to design and transform the building from a water treatment facility to the native plant facility that it is today.

Lt. Col. John Baker explained the important role that McWhorter plays with partnering with local stakeholders. “This is one of our valued STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) opportunities within the District as seen here by the photos from events held at the nursery,” said Baker.

Building off the STEM concept, the team at the nursery incorporates a new acronym – Students and Teachers Restoring the Watershed (STRAW) which brings together many, diverse volunteer groups that assist at the facility in growing the plant material and overseeing some of the field operations; including producing some highly biological and genetically diverse experimental plants.

STRAW, just one of the many collaborators on the project, is comprised of hundreds of  local school groups, with students ranging from kindergarten through 12th graders to community college students from the College of Marin.

“We are the nexus for our connection to the local community,” said McWhorter. “Boy scouts, local professional groups, retirees, plus 35 to 40 individuals in addition to the schools who come in weekly.”

Formerly a U.S. Army airfield, Hamilton is a 988-acre site and one of the largest wetland restoration projects on the West Coast.