In Fall 2006, Watsonville Wetlands Watch opened a new greenhouse at the Fitz WERC. The greenhouse was built to grow native plants for our restoration projects. Here at the greenhouse, students and community groups also experience hands-on the joy of plant propagation.
In September 2006, we dedicated the new Ruth Hofmeister Memorial Greenhouse with a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring donor Laura Hofmeister. Thank you to Laura for making our greenhouse possible!
Thanks to contributions made by Patrick J. Fitz and the Friends of Pajaro Dunes in 2013, the greenhouse, shadehouse, and outdoor growing areas where upgraded to increase the production capacity and continue to develop the facility as a state-of-the-art horticultural training center for youth and the community. On an average year, this facility grows approximately 120 different plant species and over 15,000 native plants for habitat restoration in local wetlands, all grown from parent material collected within the watershed.
Once per year in the fall, the public is invited to purchase plants to support the programs of the Watsonville Wetlands Watch and the FitzWERC, while restoring the watersheds of the Monterey Bay one backyard at a time.
The greenhouse supports job training programs for youth, such as the Green Careers Institute and is supported by a dedicated group of volunteers that meet each Friday from 11 – 1. These dedicated volunteers contribute over 1000 hours of volunteer support annually and always have a great time.
The nursery is also surrounded by native plant gardens that serve to support propagation needs and demonstrate drought tolerant native habitat landscapes that are beneficial for wildlife include birds, bees, bats, and butterflies. These gardens are tended to by a group of volunteers from 10 – 11 on Fridays, the Garden Gurus.