What’s Up Doc…Mock Park!

Posted on August 31, 2015 by Allegra Mount in Dr. Mock Park, Events
Want to learn more? Be sure to come to the presentation and listening session at the Patagonia Council Chambers at 7pm on Tuesday, September 8.
Progress in Effort to Restore Dr. Mock Park
See original project page here.

In early 2015, the Patagonia Tree & Park Committee and Town of Patagonia received a grant from Arizona State Forestry to develop a master plan for Doc Mock Park, the grassy expanse of degraded soil located between the Wagon Wheel Saloon and Richardson Park. It follows the former railroad bed that ran through town and is currently used as a parking lot during special town events. The grant writers hired Borderlands Restoration as the primary consultant “to develop a one year and five-year master plan for this area to become a suitable habitat for trees; involve the youth from Patagonia High School and the Patagonia Youth Center; purchase needed equipment for the town crew, and extend a waterline in Mock Park.” There is great potential to turn this public space into a dynamic habitat covered with trees, and a place where the town’s youth are engaged in landscape restoration.

Representatives from Borderlands Restoration have been working over the last several months, with help from the town’s citizens and its youth, to gather and share information about the park’s current condition as well as to explore its possible futures. Caleb Weaver, resident restorationist and youth program lead with Borderlands Restoration, led the effort to record the location, size and species of each tree and feature currently within Dr. Mock Park with an accuracy of 0.5 feet. This information was digitized to create a detailed tree map for the park, a hard copy of which was presented to the town manager.

The primary objectives for our park-improvement effort are three-fold:
1. Increase tree canopy through wise planning.

2. Create a management plan for tree pruning, removal, and replacement, and to provide guidance on the effective use of mulch.
3. Advocate for the future of town trees by involving local citizens, especially youth, in the creation of an ecosystem that supports trees.

Dr. Mock Park
Above: Patagonia Youth Enrichment Center provided the jumping off point for field testing in Dr. Mock Park, led by Bryan Jungers (far right). Here the group stands together after an afternoon of sampling in drizzly monsoon conditions.
Bryan Jungers, resident engineer and tech nerd, led groups of students in running tests and making observations to inform future planning and planting. Anna Coleman, director of the Patagonia Youth Enrichment Center, worked with Bryan to guide the kids in designing and implementing mini experiments, seeking to gain meaningful insights. They explored concepts related to water infiltration and talked about why it is important to tree health. Students tested percolation rates at several sample locations throughout the park and drew conclusions about the observed differences, like the observation that bare ground tended to demonstrate slower infiltration relative to sites where plants served as ground cover. The culmination of the student experiments, which coincided with the end of the summer when students return to school, involved student plantings of both native and garden-variety plant species, observing over time how plant growth is impacted by each individual microclimate, soil conditions, and water availability – an approved component of the grant.
The Patagonia Tree & Park Committee and Borderlands Restoration are excited to invite the public to a brief presentation of the site analysis of the park followed by a listening session at the Council Chambers at 7pm on Tuesday, September 8. Please bring your ideas and desires for the future use of this park to the presentation and listening session.

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    The mission of Borderlands Restoration is to reconnect wildlife, land, and people in the Arizona/Sonora Borderland region by involving people in restoring the ecosystem on which we depend.

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    Patagonia, AZ 85624

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