Rachel Gulbraa

Rachel Gulbraa's picture

URI Internship Year:

2017

F&ES Degree:

MEM

Rachel is a recent graduate of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

Group

East Edge Gardeners

Rainbow Park

Wintergreen Brook at Common Ground

Quinnipiac River Park

Little Nash

Wolcott And Lloyd

Believe In Me

Fillmore Street

Greenspace Log

Date Category Photos Group Summary

07/29/2017

Planting
Planting

East Edge Gardeners

Rachel dropped off a ½ yard of mulch, and helped spread it. Cathy, Ray, and Sandy were as cheery and hardworking as ever, and we had a great last working day and wished each other well in the future. I also brought two variegated liriope to match a dying pair, which the group was really excited about.

07/29/2017

Maintenance
Maintenance

Rainbow Park

Mike and Pat and I had a really productive maintenance day. We raked, swept, pruned dead branches of the smaller trees, successfully removed a plastic bag hanging from a tall tree that had been bothering Pat for weeks, pruned up the overgrown holly which seems to lessen the storage of personal items, and picked up trash. I gave them a longer hose which can be connected to the existing one, which will be a great help. It was a really productive day, and we discussed having a BBQ to celebrate.

07/28/2017

Maintenance
Maintenance

Wolcott And Lloyd

The student crew from Common Ground was very helpful and efficient; so much so that we would have finished early, except that Gwen decided she wanted the mulch to extend the entire right side of the path, which I agree will look better. I will have to continue this with her on Tuesday. One of the kids found and disturbed a bee’s nest, which led to a little commotion. We also planted two yarrow, which Gwen was very excited about and looks great, and moved up two whiskey barrels for the plants, transplanted some day lilies, re-seeded the grass, did a garbage pick up, pruned the street trees, and edged up the grass along the street. We took a brief ice cream break in the heat of the day, and got many thanks from passersby. Overall, I’m really proud of the students’ work at this site.

07/27/2017

Planting
Planting

Quinnipiac River Park

On our last meeting of the season, we were able to plant the memorial tree that we had been building up to. It was a little over-cast so many of our typical group was not present, but Rita brought a contingent of friends and family to come and help plant the tree and perennials. It came out quite beautifully.

07/26/2017

Planting
Planting

Fillmore Street

We met up hopeful that some neighbors would join for the last day, but to no avail. I brought one extra cblack-eyed susan and an echinacea to add some symmetry to the two donuts, and we spread the special mulch that Ana had bought herself. Even though we didn’t get the community participation we were hoping for, I’m confidant that these trees will be well maintained, and that perhaps as Ana and her family integrate further into the community, interest in the trees might create more interest in the group next year.

07/24/2017

Planting
Planting

Wintergreen Brook at Common Ground

The last day at Common Ground had the Oasis group and two of the Westville Steward students. Two of the students were great in taking leadership roles as usual, and were willing to teach the other students when asked, and saw their work through to the end. The plantings ended up taking much longer than they should have, but still, we successfully planted two American Hollies and five ferns, and got them watered as well.

07/22/2017

Planting
Planting

Rainbow Park

This week Mike, Pat, and I mulched a ½ yard, and planted the Dragon Lady Holly in the corner, which looks lovely. We also raked up the path and discussed the app that Anna had mentioned, the bus tour, and a celebration for our last week.

07/21/2017

Maintenance
Maintenance

Wolcott And Lloyd

We had a highly productive workday today with the student crew from Common Ground. They dug up most of the grass on one side of the path, and put in mulch which will be easier to maintain. They also laid down a ½ of peastone to revitalize the path! It looks great and Gwen and I really appreciated their hard work, especially since it was such a hot day.

07/20/2017

Maintenance
Maintenance

Quinnipiac River Park

This week we had a jam-packed schedule spreading the stone dust I dropped off last week, planting 2 St John’s wart, 2 yellow yarrow, and 3 lamb’s ear, as well as removing the pear stump/stems/bush from near the butterfly garden. The group seems like it is becoming much more chatty, especially around the donuts that Rita has been bringing, but everyone is still really great about picking a task and seeing it through.

07/19/2017

Planting
Planting

Fillmore Street

Since we haven’t had any more interest in tree planting outside Ana’s house, I stopped by with perennials to plant around the honey locust today (cone flowers, black-eyed susans, and some dwarf bee balm, which adds variety from the cat mint and day lilies around the other tree we planted). It’s unfortunate that we have not been able to recruit more members or projects in the neighborhood.

07/18/2017

Maintenance
Maintenance

Wintergreen Brook at Common Ground

With the intense heat, some of Sharon’s group had begun to feel ill earlier in the day and so headed home early. The URI Oasis high school group readjusted and brought down two American Holly trees from the truck and covered and watered them to be planted next week. We also weeded a little near the entryway, and mulched.

07/15/2017

Maintenance
Maintenance

East Edge Gardeners

Marion, Ray, Sandy, and Rachel mulched Brownell St. west. Then we moved on to Boulevard where we met up with Kendall to learn if there were any tasks other than picking up trash and pulling the very few weeds that we could help with in the raingardens.

07/13/2017

Maintenance
Maintenance

Quinnipiac River Park

Today another intern, Rob, and I went to the park a little early to drop off a truckload of stone dust. It’s lucky we did so, because just at our normal meeting time, the sky opened up with thunder, lightning, and rain. Although Tom met us with his son and nephew, we decided to cancel this week due to the weather.

07/12/2017

Planting
Planting

Fillmore Street

We planted a honey locust this week, and the planting went really well. Our group is getting to a good workflow, and have a great time as we work. The yellow of the honey locust in the fall will contrast nicely with the crimson of the red maple, in just a few short months!

07/11/2017

Maintenance
Maintenance

Wintergreen Brook at Common Ground

We had a good first workday with the high school group. Sharon’s group has been working at the site since last Wednesday, and knew most of the high school group that has been helping out at different Oasis sites. We had an icebreaker, and then toured the grounds to introduce the new group to the site. Together, we managed to spread the entirety of the truckload of woodchips I had brought along the trail, which really spruced up the site.

07/07/2017

Planting
Planting

Rainbow Park

Pat, Mike, and I seem to be getting into a groove, and were able to plant three liriope and four multi-color yarrow, and to mulch around the back beds. The colorful flowers really brighten up the area. We are hoping the spots we found around the garden are sunny enough for the yarrow to thrive.

07/01/2017

Planting
Planting

Rainbow Park

We had a great working day, again with Pat, Mike, and I. We planted a spirea in the sunny mound we had been eyeing towards the back of the park, and then three variegated fedderbushes and five liriope along the back fence. The dappled rust color of the fedderbush really complemented the colors of the fence and the Japanese Maple above, and we were all surprised by how much of a difference just a few plants could make in pulling the park together. I also cut a chain that had grown into a tree, and we discussed plans for next week.

06/30/2017

Maintenance
Maintenance

Wintergreen Brook at Common Ground

Met with Sharon, Joel and several students from the Spring Crew and the upcoming Summer crew. Sharon explained the project to the students, and the students talked about what they were interested in. I explained about the Oasis and potential for plantings, and we also brought down the plaque from the Peabody Museum to mount. This looks like it will be a great group and a productive season.

06/28/2017

Planting
Planting

Fillmore Street

Today Katie from URI came out to help us remove concrete at the site of the second tree to be planted outside Ana’s house. It was challenging and took a lot of physical effort, but we were left with a good sized pit for the tree. We also planted 3 daylilies and 3 catmint in the donut from last week. I stopped by the next day to add some top soil to the hole so it wasn’t left uncovered over the holiday break.

06/28/2017

Maintenance
Maintenance

East Edge Gardeners

Because we cancelled last week’s meeting due to the thunderstorm, we rescheduled for Wednesday morning. I dropped off a yard of mulch which we spread between the mayor’s bed and one of the bed’s at Pendleton East. Ray removed a dead tree with seeming ease, while Marion and Sandy weeded the mayor’s bed and Cathy prepped the Pendleton bed. Overall, both the Pendleton beds and the Mayor’s bed are looking great, and we decided to move further down the strip on Saturday. We also discussed the potential for a new group, which will create a memorial to victims of gun violence, to begin working in the area. Hopefully we’ll be able to meet those leaders on Saturday as well.

06/27/2017

Maintenance
Maintenance

Wolcott And Lloyd

Gwen and I had a low-key day in which we weeded the back garden, tied up some roses, weeded the path, discussed working with the high school students, and pondered over some volunteer flowers we could not identify.

06/26/2017

Maintenance
Maintenance

Quinnipiac River Park

Early in the week I spoke to a new group member on the phone about the memorial tree, and invited her to our weekly meeting. We were all really pleased that she came out, along with her children, and we had one of our best working sessions yet. We laid 1 yard of stone dust on the trail, and got to know each other with an ice breaker and introductions, and then got back to laying stone dust and planting low bush blueberries. After an hour or so, Tom’s mother kept an eye on the tools while the rest of us took a walk along the park to look at another memorial tree, and then pick out two potential sites. We put stakes at those sites, and the kids tied on flagging tape. It was great to see our little community rally around this new cause.

06/24/2017

Planting
Planting

Rainbow Park

Today we braved the potential rain and were rewarded with a beautiful day with dappled sunshine, a light breeze, and light showers that made us laugh. Mike was a huge help in clearing the ivy that had begun to take over the path and some of the other plants, and we all worked on designing and planting the garden are on the right side of the lot. We planted three hostas along the fence line, a beautiful inkberry to complement the red berries of the holly and add some winter interest, and three cheerful coral bells which contrast nicely with the surrounding vegetation. We had a bit of a mystery with a fourth hosta that seemed to appear out of nowhere, but were pleasantly surprised when Jonathon stopped by to mention he had left it for the group! It’s now enjoying its new home in a spot of sun by the benches. 3 hostas, 3 coral bells, 1 inkberry

06/22/2017

Planting
Planting

Quinnipiac River Park

We had a very successful workday with a good size group: Like last week everyone got started on their own tasks right away. When we were at a good stopping point, everyone gathered together to do some ice-breakers, introductions, and to discuss a proposal from a neighbor about a memorial tree. We talked about goals, visions, and difficulties at the park. Most people mentioned an interest in more trees, and everyone was extremely receptive about the memorial tree project and we are all looking forward to going forward together. Having refreshments seems to bring good spirits, so Tom included an invitation for people to bring food on his weekly email.

06/21/2017

Planting
Planting

Fillmore Street

We had our first planting session which was very successful, putting in a freeman maple. Ana, her two sons Michael and Rey, the neighbor Carmin and her daughter, along with a couple other women all came out to watch or help. The tree came out looking great, and everyone gathered around for a group photo. We discussed plans for next week, as well as for outreach, since we didn’t successfully pull in anyone from our canvassing efforts.

06/20/2017

Maintenance
Maintenance

Wolcott And Lloyd

Today we did more maintenance and weeding, focusing especially on the bittersweet which has begun to kill off ivy in the back corner of the lot. We also discussed a plan to make the area slightly less maintenance, and went over diagrams and designs of the lot that I had brought. Gwen brought up the issue of having peastones spread onto the sidewalk, which we will have to address in the future.

06/17/2017

Maintenance
Maintenance

Rainbow Park

We had a small but wonderful kick-off meeting this morning. Mike, a long term volunteer, and Jonathon, a local undergrad joined Pat, who has been organizing for years. Pat brought a delicious assortment of fresh baked muffins, watermelon, and fresh lemonade to start us off as we talked about why we were there and found intersections and commonalities between us. Mike helpfully pruned back some of the wintergreen that was beginning to overgrow onto the sidewalk, and we all spent a long time fighting off the tendrils of the invading five-leaf akebia which had intertwined itself with the holly bushes. We weeded extensively, concentrating on the right side where we intend to plant next week, and use a half yard of mulch. Jonathon and I were able to offload all the mulch together—it was quite an ambitious day! We ended up running out of time, so saved the perennials to plant next week. We were very happy to meet Jonathon and Mike, and their contributions were vital to keeping Rainbow Park alive. Thanks for a great kick off!

06/17/2017

Planting
Planting

East Edge Gardeners

We mulched Pendleton West and weeded Pendleton East, and planted a new female holly bush to add some winter interest to the Mayor’s bed.

06/15/2017

Planting
Planting

Quinnipiac River Park

We had our first community meeting which was very successful in that we had a good turn out and everyone had enough to do. People tended to gravitate to the tasks they were interested in, and everyone felt useful. Most of the participants have been coming to help with the park for years, although often for just a couple days at a time. We did see the local alderman stop by, who was very encouraging. There were also two young kids who were great workers and very engaged and eager to help. Overall it was a good session, we got a lot done, engaged several passersby who seemed interested and joined our mailing list. We did a lot of weeding, mulch spreading (about 1/2 yard), and planted 3 St. John’s Wort.

06/14/2017

Planning
Planning

Fillmore Street

Today I met Ana and her son Michael, a former URI intern himself, to do the initial walk through of the street site. This is a new site with a lot of potential. We walked for several streets down Fillmore Street and talked to a few residents who said they might be interested in a tree, although few people thought they’d have time to volunteer. We marked the street for CBYD and will start looking into good tree species for the sites in front of Ana’s house.

06/13/2017

Maintenance
Maintenance

Wolcott And Lloyd

We accomplished a lot today by pruning one of the trees in the curbstrip which had multiple branches damaged from parked cars and passersby. We trimmed up the branches to a better height, and fixed the jagged edges torn branches. Since there was an excess of pine mulch on the truck, we decided to mulch the two multi-stem service berries in the lot. We weeded and mounded quite high, and were really pleased with the result.

06/10/2017

Maintenance
Maintenance

East Edge Gardeners

Rachel was out of town for a conference this week, but the group met at Pendleton West and dug up and replanted the ornamental grass which had begun to die off in the middle. We replanted some of it in the spot where we had removed a dead PJM the week before, and experimented with transplanting in a few other spots around the mall.

06/08/2017

Planning
Planning

Quinnipiac River Park

While their intern was away for a conference, Tom and Noy hit the pavement to hang up some flyers and talk to more potential volunteers to build the capacity of the group. We hope their hard work will pay off at the kick-off celebration next week!

06/06/2017

Maintenance
Maintenance

Wolcott And Lloyd

Gwen and I had a very successful day of weeding around the peastone path and the back garden. It really brightened up the area. We raked up grass clippings and the area under one of the trees, trying to uncover and encourage the ground cover to grow. We discussed pruning next week.

06/06/2017

Maintenance
Maintenance

Wolcott And Lloyd

At our initial planning meeting, Gwen and I took our pruners to the wisteria vine that has overgrown its trellis and was beginning to strangle a neighboring tree. She filled me in on the work over the last few years, and we discussed how to make the park at Wolcott and Lloyd sustainable into the future.

06/05/2017

Planning
Planning

Wintergreen Brook at Common Ground

Students from the Spring term of West River Stewards had a meeting to pass the baton to students who will be working at the site during the summer, beginning the week of July 5th. Sharon, the environmental science teacher at the school, shared her ideas and how the site has been incorporated into lesson plans in the past, while soliciting ideas from the team. Current students shared the progress that has been made over the years, and I spoke about the potential for planting at the oasis.

06/03/2017

Planning
Planning

Rainbow Park

At our second meeting, Chris came by the site to look at the potential placement of a rainbarrel, which turned out not to be a good fit for the area. However, we did find a water line by the entrance to the park, and hope that we can get the parks department on board with using it to get a source of water into the park, which will help with maintenance, which is done exclusively by volunteers.

06/03/2017

Planting
Planting

East Edge Gardeners

I dropped off 1/2 yard of pine mulch at the Hobart bed at 9am today, which we offloaded before planting 3 purple salvias, a black-eyed susan, and a wintercreeper behind the bench. I had to leave for another group at 10am, but Cathy and Sandy were still hard at work!

06/01/2017

Planning
Planning

Quinnipiac River Park

06/01/2017

Planning
Planning

Quinnipiac River Park

Today Tom and I were joined by Noy, another community member who has been involved at Quinnipiac River Park for many years, as we canvassed the area in order to reach new neighbors. We went down Front and Grand streets, and had some great conversations with folks at the New Haven Landtrust Greenhouse, along with several neighbors.

05/27/2017

Planning
Planning

East Edge Gardeners

Today, Cathy, Marion, Sandy, and I toured the beds along Edgewood. Most of them are doing pretty well, although we noticed that someone had deliberately dug up some shrubs and purple salvia, and that some of the PJMs had been damaged by a lawn mower. We discussed the work to be done this year, and imagine continued maintenance with the possibility of replacing a small tree in one of the beds.

05/26/2017

Planning
Planning

Rainbow Park

At our initial meeting, Pat and I toured the park, picked up trash and pulled some weeds, and discussed the park's long term sustainability. One of the biggest obstacles facing the park is that it is in an area with many people who rent for a short period of time and so do not always have the time to become committed to a local park. One of our main focuses moving forward will be to figure out how to get more volunteers, particularly those that are interested in becoming involved in the long term.

05/26/2017

Planning
Planning

Wintergreen Brook at Common Ground

During our initial meeting, I met with Joel and Sharon to look over the site, check on how last year's plantings fared, and discuss this year's plans. We found that the plantings up by the edge of the main road were not doing very well-- many had been crushed by piles of ice from snow plow during the winter. Within the Oasis site itself, we found that deer had chewed heavily on the Witch Hazel that was planted, so we will need to come up with a solution (most likely deer netting). Potential plans for this summer include extending the trail to a community garden to the east, putting down more woodchips, and planting native species, but we are excited to incorporate the ideas of the high school students moving forward.

05/25/2017

Planning
Planning

Quinnipiac River Park

Today, Tom and I met for the first time to talk about the vision for the coming summer, and to discuss how to approach recruiting new volunteers to make sure the project is sustainable. Tree planting at Quinnipiac River Park has been intensive for the last several years, so this year the focus will likely be more heavily concentrated on maintenance and community building.