In the beginning this blog was centered on San Francisco parks and open space issues with special emphasis on natural areas and natural history. Over time it began to range into other areas and topics. As you can see, it is eclectic, as I interlace it with topics of interest to me.

I welcome feedback: just click this link to reach me.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nature News 2011.06.07

1.   Children's Summer Solstice Bird Count in the Presidio
2.   Go To place for San Francisco butterflies
3.   17th Annual San Francisco Butterfly Count postponed because of weather - will be rescheduled
4.   Low-key group champions butterflies, as well as other spineless creatures
5.   Report on innovative birding - Green Big Day Competition, by bicycle
6.   Nature in the City potpourri:
        Bay Area Chapter for Children in Nature Collaborative
        Nature in the City needs web help
        Job opportunities
        Meetings re new Community Garden in Golden Gate Park
        Save Our State Parks Rally in Sacramento June 21
7.   Filmmaker trying to save state parks $1 at a time
8.   Bay Area Open Space Council Triple Threat June 18 - peak bagging w/o a 
 car/Fog Gathering July 21
9.   Grass identification workshops June 11 and June 25-26
10. What we need is here - Wendell Berry
11.  Comment on Presidio Habitat exhibit's actually attracting wildlife
12.  North Beach Library: Meritorious National Register Nomination
13.  Author-photographer Sharon Beals on Friday June 10
14.  Comment on quail and ravens in GGP
15.  EBRPD Botanic Garden: Pollinator Paradise June 11/identifying dragonflies June 18
16.  Obama Stealth Amnesty Challenged in FOIA Complaint
17.  PCL reports huge victories for the environment at legislative session's mid-mark
18.  SF Natural History Series June 16: Getting to Bottom of the Bay - Subtleties of the Subtidal/report on last month's program
19.  Presidio Coastal Trail/Lincoln Blvd Bike Lane improvements - walk on June 11
20.  High Country News - two big items by San Franciscans about San Francisco
21.  Marital advice from Ogden Nash


            "Be cheerful, even after considering all the facts."  Wendell Berry
_____________________________________________


1.  Children’s Summer Solstice Bird Count in the Presidio!
This free event is sponsored by the Presidio Trust and Golden Gate Audubon

Saturday, June 11th, 10 am to 2 pm.    Meet at Rob Hill Campground, 900 Washington Blvd., San Francisco, CA

Did you know that the Presidio is a birding hotspot in the Bay Area? After a short “binocular bootcamp and birding basics” youth ages 8 to 15 and their families will join experienced birders in teams on different routes throughout the Presidio. After an easy 2 hour walk counting observed bird life, groups will return to Rob Hill Campground to tally their numbers during lunch. The day will be topped off with presentations of the day’s numbers by…kids!

Lunch will not be provided, so we recommend bringing a paper-bag lunch and snacks as needed. Please remember to dress in layers and bring water. Binoculars are not required, but recommended if you have them (a supply of binoculars will be available to borrow for the day).  

Because space is limited for this event, please RSVP to Pete Bidigare at: pbidigare@presidiotrust.gov or  415-561-4449

###################################################

2.  Go To place for San Francisco butterflies:

Jake -- Would love for you to let folks know now that there is somewhere for novice lepidopterists to go to figure out the name of that thing landing in their San Francisco gardens: www.sfbutterfly.com

###################################################


3.  If people would like to participate in the re-scheduled 17th Annual San Francisco Butterfly Count (canceled due to heavy marine layer on the 6th), they can send their e-mails to liammail56@yahoo.com  Although no date has been selected, the window to hold the count runs through the end of July. Contingent on the sunshine, Liam will try to give folks some days notice before the count."


###########################################################

4.  Low-key Group Champions Butterfly
Xerces Society aids conservation of invertebrate species

Audubon Society speaks for the birds.  Defenders of Wildlife protects the wolves.  World Wildlife Fund champions the polar bears.

So who's left to fight for the butterflies, the bees, and the mussels?

It turns out, it's a little-known national group headquartered in Portland,  the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. 

Operating from an unmarked office building on bustling Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard, the Xerces Society is collaborating on projects in 36 states to protect the "neglected majority"--animals without backbones that constitute more than 95% of the world's critters.

"They're the basis of every food chain," says Scott Black, Xerces Society executive director.  "Without them, we wouldn't have most flowering plants."

Other wildlife conservation groups catch the public eye championing what Black calls "charismatic megafauna"--species like polar bears, pandas or salmon.

"The closest we get is the Monarch butterfly," he says.  "We've worked on springs where 20 mini-snails may fit on your pinkie finger.  Those just aren't charismatic".....

Published in the SustainableLife section of The Portland Tribune on 21 January 2011.  The complete article can be viewed at:  http://www.portlandtribune.com/sustainable/story.php?story_id=1295052740577356200

(JS:  Think hard about that sentence "They're the basis of every food chain; without them, we wouldn't have most flowering plants."  Or, he might have continued, polar bears, pandas, salmon, and all the creatures higher up the food chain, including us.  World Wildlife Fund has a relatively easy job raising money for the cute and cuddly, but the un-cute and un-cuddly are ultimately much more important.  Yet they need help even more than the endearing fuzzy ones.  One thing he didn't mention is the fascinating journal Wings, containing very interesting articles by good scientific writers, complemented by beautiful photographs.)

##################################################

5.  From Josiah Clark:

Hi there naturalists and media folks.
Wanted to send out this draft report of a noteworthy Green Big Day by bicycle, a birding competition we participated in earlier this month. At 145 species our team won the Green Big Day Competition with some 20+ teams competing in the US and even more abroad.  As some of you may know this is a growing sport and the next big chapter in birding. Bay Area birders are leading the pack with the three highest scores of the competition.

(JS:  Josiah's report on this formidable and inspiring marathon is posted as a discrete item on my http://naturenewssf.blogspot.com/)

###########################################################

6.  Potpourri from Nature in the City

Children in Nature Collaborative
Richard Louv's movement finally has a Bay Area Chapter! Check out what's going on with the Children in Nature Collaborative, reconnecting with the natural world.

Nature in the City Needs Web Help
We need someone to manage Nature in the City'swebsite, the online resource for natural San Francisco - we need someone to manage our current website, and someone to build our new one.
Email peter@natureinthecity.org.
Job Opportunities

Staff Scientist at http://www.tamariskcoalition.org/
Environmental Project Manager/Volunteer Coordinator (Channel Islands)
http://www.cirweb.org/jobs.htm
Outreach Coordinator at http://www.planetdrum.org

Meetings re new Community Garden in Golden Gate Park

Check out these new meetings, and make sure that the native plant nursery, run by Greg Gaar, with solid and professional ecological support,  plays a central role in the vision for the site.

"Everyone is invited to participate as a member of theAdvisory Council. The mission of the Advisory Council is to provide the Recreation and Park Department with input on the design, implementation and programming of the future community garden. The Advisory Council meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month in the Commission Room, McLaren Lodge, located at Fell/Stanyan Streets (unless noted otherwise). Meetings are held at 5:30-7:00 PM."
Save the Date: June 21 at the Capitol
Save Our State Parks Rally & Expo in Sacramento

"Please join us at the Capitol on Tuesday, June 21 for a Save Our State Parks Rally! Help us urge state policymakers to not make our state parks just a memory.  While you are in Sacramento you can also stop by our state park expo, where we will be showcasing the 70 state parks planned for closure. At the expo you will be able to speak with representatives from organizations throughout the state that have joined the Save Our State Parks campaign and learn more about work being done to stop park closures, increase volunteer efforts and raise awareness. For more information, please contact us at advocacy@calparks.org."


###########################################################

Sunday, June 5, 2011 (SF Chronicle)
7.  Filmmaker trying to save state parks $1 at a time

Filmmaker Alden Olmsted's effort to prevent California state parks from closing fits every known definition of a grassroots campaign.

The son of a renowned naturalist, Olmsted is visiting every one of the 70 state parks slated for closure and dropping off plastic donation buckets that were once used by a friend for storing marijuana. His goal is to collect a dollar from every Californian.

Story at:  http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2011/06/05/BAIM1JOH45.DTL

###########################################################

8.  Bay Area Open Space Council

Join us for the Triple Threat on June 18
Is it possible to live in the Bay Area without a car?  YES it is!  It is also possible to ride to the tops of 3 Bay Area peaks in one day without a car.  Really! 

On the longest Saturday in 2011 a group of riders will take their bikes to the tops of Mount Hamilton, Mount Tamalpais, and Mount Diablo and use trains and ferries to get between the three mountains.  It’s the 2nd annual Triple Threat bike challenge.

Fog Gathering on July 21
Join us for our third Gathering of the year!  The Fog Gathering will be held on July 21 at the Log Cabin in the Presidio.

Getting From Here to There: Transportation, Open Space, and Climate Change
http://openspacecouncil.org/community/events.php

###########################################################

9.  Grass identification workshops from the California Native Grasslands Assn

1.  June 11, 9 am - 3 pm: Introduction to California Grasslands and Grass ID. Location: Pepperwood Preserve, Santa Rosa.

Fees: $30 CNGA & Pepperwood members, $35 Non-members, $25 Students w ID
Instructor: Wade Belew, Restorationist & CNGA Board President

This new CNGA workshop features lecture, lab, and field components in a 6-hour format. It is designed for landowners, students, ranchers, professional resource managers, and anyone who wants an entry-level opportunity to learn more about grasses. Prior botanical experience not needed.

2. June 25-26: 2-day, Identifying and Appreciating the Native and Naturalized Grasses of California. Location: Point Reyes Dance Palace and Field Sites, Point Reyes Station

Fees: $220/CNGA members, $240 Non-members, $135 Students w ID
Instructor: David Amme, Wildland Vegetation Program Manager, East Bay Regional Park District, CNGA Founder and Past-President

Grasses are fun and easy to identify! Our goal is to learn the basic skills of identifying grasses.

Day 1:  Learn about California’s grassland ecology, the qualities of specific native grasses for restoration, and become skilled at recognizing the basic groups and common species through working with plant samples in the classroom.
Day 2: Explore a local grassland, rich with a diverse assemblage of both native and naturalized grasses

###########################################################

10.

Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.
    Wendell Berry

###########################################################

11.  Ben Pease (responding to "Help the Park and Presidio identify ways in which visitors can make a deeper connection to the amazing diversity of natural resources in the Presidio", posted on May 10):
I do wonder if the Presidio Habitat exhibit actually attracted any wildlife.  The "Fox house" is useless (just a narrow tunnel through the center, no place for a den); the geodesic owl nest at Immigrant Point may stand a chance of attracting some sort of bird, but I wonder about the thermal mass (plywood vs. tree) and visibility to passing ravens.  All the birds I've seen gathering nesting material are after fine string, grass strands, etc.; nothing as thick as sterile straw.  We humans are not quite as smart as birds.
(I apologize for the long delay in responding to this feedback.  It was posted on my blog site, and I didn't know how to handle it on that strange medium, so I just let it sit there.)

###########################################################

12.  NORTH BEACH LIBRARY:  MERITORIOUS NATIONAL REGISTER NOMINATION

Applying national standards used by every state, independent commissions can help inform the public dialogue and public processes. On May 19, 2011, the State Historical Resources Commission (SHRC) recommended that the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) forward the North Beach Library to the Keeper of the National Register for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The recommendation and potential listing adds formal recognition of the Library’s historical and architectural significance, highlighting preservation designs that the environmental review process already gives preferential status.

The Library Department’s technical reports, Planning Department's reports and historical studies were the academic basis for the evaluation of the North Beach Library---under Federal Government Criteria and State of California Criteria.  The Historic Resources Technical Report, Continuation Sheets, Case Reports, independent historians, Library, Historic Preservation Commission and Planning Department concur that the North Beach Library has high cultural, historical and architectural significance.  The North Beach Library is also eligible for a thematically-related Multiple Property Listing, as a remarkable set of libraries completed by the City of San Francisco in the 1950s and 1960s, all designed by a single firm (Appleton & Wolfard).

The North Beach Library illustrates the social democratization of the American library movement.  Representative of 1959’s national culture, its modernist aesthetics incorporated the popular fascination with technology and democratic education in the face of the Cold War and the “space race”.  Serving as a neighborhood center that mixed a burgeoning diverse population, the residential-scaled building mimicked the domesticity of suburban homes with public “living rooms” and fireplaces, in which the idealized postwar family could gather and socialize.  Red brick textures, exposed wood beams, outdoor terraces, diffused natural lighting, acoustical balance and an open spatial quality reinforced the suburban theme---reflective of the aspirations of the post-WWII middle-class family.

The North Beach Library has the highest architectural integrity of the remaining Appleton-Wolfard Libraries.  Its rehabilitation and expansion would be San Francisco’s showcase mid-century modernist library.  The Marina Library has already been designated a City Landmark, and the Library Department has scheduled others for landmark status.  These mid-century modernist structures are San Francisco’s first recognized historic resources of their genre and generation, honoring the variety, maturation and historicism of San Francisco’s legacy from every period of time---whether it be in art, culture, music, literature, philosophy, design or architecture.

Mid-century modernism embodies its own unique meaning and cultural significance.  Unless protected, this living history will be destroyed or unrecognized. The National Register Listing would keep history alive by recognizing the values and encouraging preservation of irreplaceable historic resources.

Rehabilitation and expansion of the North Beach Library would be the most cost effective and sustainable design, adding several thousand square feet more than new construction, creating more space for the next generation of technology and maximizing the square footage of Joe DiMaggio Playground.

For additional information:
Howard Wong, AIA
Friends of Appleton-Wolfard Libraries
Ph:  (415)-982-5055

###########################################################

13.  Sharon Beals, photographer and author of Nests: Fifty Nests and the Birds that Built Them, is being hosted for one night pop-up show and talk at Zannah Noe's Dogpatch Studio.

Friday, June 10th - 5 to 9 p.m.
900 Tennessee Street

Weekend viewings available by appointment.
Arstist prints available as well as a collector edition of the book.

https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=170233979703035

sbeals@sharonbeals
415-377-4214
sharonbeals.blogspot.com
 

###########################################################

14.  Feedback

Ron Wellman:
jake, I saw one (1) quail in ggp on saturday, up in the old rhododendron area, and two (2) ravens hopping around in the dahlia garden, being harassed by 5 or 6 blackbirds. not a crow in sight.


##################################################


15.  East Bay Regional Parks Botanic Garden Newsletter June 2011

Last Chance!