Cambrian: Opinion

Planting seeds of community pride and beauty

Cambria has never been known for its citizenry sitting around all day doing nothing, or for not caring or for not sharing. No sirree, Bob! And if gardening on a very small scale, beautifying Cambria or organizing this type of project has your name on it, check this out.

I was just talking with an old friend of mine, Blair McCormick, the local certified arborist, about the Main Street planters. You see, Blair is a proud Cambrian, an environmentalist and appreciator of natural beauty. Jump to the Cambria Land Conservancy.

The conservancy, started in 1997, is a non-profit, and began with Cambria’s Tree Replacement Program back then. You may recall seeing Blair and others with small pine and oak trees, digging holes and watering seedlings along the highway south of town as well as around town. Blair has for years, painstakingly nurtured seeds and worked with countless school kids and lot owners to re-green our town as well as learn about and appreciate our environment.

Around 2004, with the creation of traffic medians on Main Street, as well as “green” areas along the sidewalks, Blair and company recognized the need for “greening.” With guidance from his wife, Shana McCormick of Great Gardens (as well as the gardening and light goddess of the Cambria Pines Lodge), plans were made to do just that.

With some funds through the conservancy and other donations, native and other drought tolerant plants began to appear along our Main Street. Volunteers from age 8 to 80 (probably younger AND older!) volunteered to get dirty and take pride in our town. You may have seen Blair on any given day with his pickup truck and water tank on the back, watering plantings. I wonder if you ever even notice the difference it’s made? Just curious.

Forward in time, Blair would like to thank all the countless volunteers who’ve made this all happen. Ben Boer, just before retiring from the CCSD, made arrangements with Coast Unified School District to use our wonderful water truck (always filled with water from the CCSD San Simeon Creek property — used at one time to suppress a fire near the Middle School, if you’ll recall!), to water the medians.

Thanks to Doug Davis and Ron Ruggles of CUSD, who are up and at it by 4:30 in the morning (every day during the driest parts of the year!) to run that life-giving substance to all the plants in all those concrete boxes. While most of us are snug in bed, these guys are rumbling slowly down the street from Rabo Bank to the Old Grammar School.

Thanks also to the volunteers who have adopted sections and kept them so happy. That, my friend, is where you come in. Blair is the sum total of the Land Conservancy now. Organizing volunteers, etc. is an awful lot for one man. This is what he needs:

There are still some small sections of Main Street that need adopting — weeding, trimming, replanting if necessary. This can be by an individual or by a group. Donations (this is a non-profit so your donation is tax deductible) for new plants as needed. Help is also needed in organizing and keeping track of the plantings.

Cambria is a beautiful place. We can follow Blair’s lead, join with all the Cambrians who have so far contributed. Take pride in our community by participating in this easy (when we all work together!) project. Right now is planting time Give Blair a call today at 927-7011!

Dianne Brooke’s column is special to The Cambrian. Email her at or visit her web site at