Seven billion - and counting
one guy sees an invisible man, he's a nut case; ten people see him,
it's a cult; ten million people see him, it's a respected religion.
1. Water reform planning measure qualifies for San Francisco November ballot
2. Knowland Park update
3. Mesopotamian wetlands survived Saddam Hussein; under threat from Turkish dam
4. Native garden care month-by-month - two talks in San Jose
5. Dan Gluesenkamp named ED of California Native Plant Society
6. Brilliant Sky by Jean Joubert
7. Without bees we face food shortages and collapse of green and flowered world/bumble bee conservation
8. Migratory Dragonfly Short Course Aug 11
9. What it means to live without plastic/businesses learn from children/free rain barrels for Oakland
10. Gourmet pancake breakfast & native plant sale July 29
11. SF's signature parks & hidden gems - public may submit photo entries
12. Feedback: tree pruning et al
13. History matters--pass it on
14. Singapore, a walking city
1. Water reform planning measure qualifies for San Francisco ballot
Voters to decide whether to create water recycling and restoration plan
ballot measure that calls for San Francisco to develop a long-term plan
to reform its water system will appear on the San Francisco ballot for
the November 6, 2012 election, according to the San Francisco Department
of Elections. The measure, known as the Water Conservation &
Yosemite Restoration Initiative (available for review at
require the city to develop a long-term plan to increase local water
supplies, recycle more water, and reverse environmental damages caused
by the system over the last 100 years.
The measure qualified for
the ballot after the campaign submitted 15,836 signatures of San
Francisco residents to the Department of Elections. 9,702 valid
signatures were required.
"We have successfully crossed the first
hurdle on the way to the creation of a 21st century water plan for San
Francisco," said Mike Marshall, leader of the campaign. "The next
hurdle will be to ensure that voters aren't fooled by the intense
misinformation campaign being waged by those who support the
environmentally-damaging status quo."
If passed, the measure will:
- require San Francisco to create a water conservation task force
- require the task force to present a plan to voters for greater water conservation and restoration of Yosemite National Park
- give voters approval power over any recommendations through a charter amendment that will appear on the November, 2016 ballot.
to recent reports by some local media outlets, passage of the ballot
measure this November will not change San Francisco's water system, will
not drain any of the nine reservoirs in the system, will not affect San
Francisco’s right to water from the Tuolumne River, which is the
primary source of San Francisco’s water supply, and will not cost
billions of dollars," Marshall said. "What it will do is create a plan
to move San Francisco from last place to first place in responsible
water management, and to end the environmental damage that our current,
outdated water system is causing every day to Yosemite National Park.
It’s just a plan -- nothing more, nothing less."
Conservation & Yosemite Restoration Initiative is endorsed by the
National Parks Conservation Association, Sierra Nevada Alliance,
Foothill Conservancy, Forest Issues Group, Friends of the River,
California Water Impact Network, EcoEquity, Endangered Species
Coalition, and the Planning and Conservation League. In addition, it is
supported by three former superintendents of Yosemite National Park, two
former Secretaries of Water Resources for the State of California, two
former executive directors of the Sierra Club and Rev. Sally Bingham,
Environmental Canon, Episcopal Archdiocese of California.
NOTE: High-resolution images, b-roll, and other resources are available upon request.
(Emphases mine, JS)
Excerpt from San Jose Mercury- News story:
also argue that residents who live outside San Francisco in San Mateo,
Santa Clara and Alameda counties should be able to vote on the future of
Hetch Hetchy. That argument could well end up as a bill in Sacramento
or Washington, D.C.
Art Jensen, CEO of the Bay Area Water Supply
and Conservation Agency, which represents the cities besides San
Francisco that receive Hetch Hetchy water, said: "This debate has been
around for 100 years. A decision of this significance should be put not
just to the voters of San Francisco, but to all of the customers of the
(Even better, what about the whole nation voting?
After all, it's theirs--it's a national park. We'd win that one, hands
2. Dear Knowland Park Supporters,
continue to introduce new people to Knowland Park and its wonders.
Every time someone new visits the Park, they are astonished when they
hear about the zoo’s plan to build out this development. Of course, this
is because most of the people that come on walks with us are genuinely
interested in conservation. They can’t believe the zoo is so
shortsighted and determined to build on top of such important natural
resources and animal habitat. As more and more people discover Oakland’s
best-kept secret Park, the one the zoo and city apparently conspired to
hide from the public, they are horrified at the plans.
Unfortunately, the zoo has not yet signaled any willingness to modify its plans.
week on our website, Laura Baker discusses the California Department of
Fish and Game and its important role in issuing the essential permits
that would allow the zoo to “take” (kill) threatened Alameda Whipsnake
as part of constructing the development. She describes the multiple
roles this important environmental protection agency plays. See her post
important point Laura makes is that, unlike the politicians and
planning commissioners who made decisions in some cases without ever
having even walked in Knowland Park or seen it, the regulatory agencies
actually do site visits in which they examine the natural resources that
will be affected by a development. As a result of their investigations,
as Laura notes, “Agency staff can suggest changes to plans or projects
and recommend additional avoidance, minimization, and mitigation
measures.” So your state tax dollars are supporting a true environmental
oversight agency that is charged with protecting our natural resources
no matter what local politicians decide. Let’s hope they do their job
Please share the word about Knowland with your friends and
neighbors, explore the Park, and share our website which has lots of
information for those who never even knew the Park existed. Send us your
ideas! And please continue to contribute whatever you can to our
efforts by sending a check to our Treasurer, Lee Ann Smith, 111 Shadow
Mountain, Oakland, CA 94605. Make checks payable to CNPS (California
Native Plant Society) and put “Knowland Park” in the subject line. Or
donate on our website: www.saveknowland.org
post this item because several years ago the California Native Plant
Society hosted a talk by a researcher who worked at restoring the
Mesopotamian wetlands that Saddam Hussein had tried to destroy by
diverting the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The wetlands and its people
were both unique--plants and animals that occurred nowhere else in the
world, and they supported a human culture that had lived there for
millennia. They lived in houses that floated. Hussein was successful
in drying it up and driving the people out, but an enormous restoration
effort was well on its way when I lost contact with the subject. The
dam Turkey wants to build could put a strain on these efforts, possibly
even doom it. And the historic city of Hasankeyf in Turkey would be
under water. Scholars vouch for its World Heritage status. JS)
NATURE IRAQ CAMPAIGN
Nature Iraq is supporting the petition to UNESCO to protect Mesopotamian heritage
Marshlands of Mesopotamia are on the Tentative List submitted by Iraq
to the World Heritage Committee in 2003, but since then no further steps
have been taken.
In order to conserve the tremendous cultural
and natural heritage of Mesopotamia the UNESCO must make an effort by
putting pressure on the governments of Turkey not to build the Ilisu Dam
and on Turkey and Iraq to nominate Hasankeyf and the Mesopotamian
Marshlands for their list of World Heritage Sites.
We would like to ask you to sign the petition.
4. Talks coming up in San Jose libraries by local author Helen Popper.
Her book is the first of its kind to talk about native garden care
month by month, with content inspired by attending monthly meetings of
the California Native Plant Society Gardening With Natives group. The
book is beautifully illustrated and has an evocative, inspirational
style. Dr Popper is a knowledgeable, accessible speaker.
A lecture (and book signing) by Helen Popper
July 25, 6:30 PM: San Jose West Valley Branch Library, 1243 San Tomas Aquino Road, San Jose, CA 95117, (408) 244-4766.
August 7, 6:30 PM: San Jose Cambrian Library, 1780 Hillsdale Avenue, San Jose, (408) 808-3080.
late July and early August, we have lectures based on the latest book
about maintaining your native plant garden. The book begins with
October, when much of California leaves the dry season behind and
prepares for its own green “spring.” Helen Popper provides detailed,
calendar-based information for both beginning and experienced native
Hear about each month’s gardening tasks, including
ongoing tasks and those specific to each season. See different planting
and design ideas, and learn about core gardening techniques, such as
pruning, mulching, and propagating. An essential year-round companion,
this beautifully written and illustrated book nurtures the twin delights
of seeing wild plants in the garden and garden
plants in the wild.
5. Dan Gluesenkamp named executive director of the California Native Plant Society
recently, Dan served as Executive Director of The Calflora Database
where he led the organization in developing exciting new tools for
conservation, research, and appreciation of wild California plants. Dan
first fell in love with California plants (and CNPS) at UC Santa Cruz,
and earned his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley studying the ecology of native and
invasive thistles. He has a long history with California plant
conservation and research, with on-the-ground experience restoring
native habitat as Director of Habitat Protection for Audubon Canyon
Ranch and with leadership roles in the California Invasive Plant Council
and Bay Area Early Detection Network. CNPS members may remember Dan’s
recent Fremontia article telling the story of discovery and conservation
of the last wild Franciscan manzanita, available here.
(So we'll lose Dan and Asha from San Francisco. They're going to miss our cool fog.)
Never between the branches has the sky
burned with such brilliance, as if
it were offering all of its light to me,
to say – what? what urgent mystery
strains at that transparent mouth?
No leaf, no rustle . . . It's in winter,
in cold emptiness and silence, that the air
suddenly arches itself like this into infinity,
This evening, far from here,
a friend is entering his death,
he knows it, he walks
under bare trees alone,
perhaps for the last time. So much love,
so much struggle, spent and worn thin.
But when he looks up, suddenly the sky
is arrayed in this same vertiginous clarity.
~ Jean Joubert ~
(Trans. by Denise Levertov, In
The Gift of Tongues, ed. by Sam Hamill)
7. To The Best Of Our Knowledge (NPR) 07.15.2012 (was 08.28.2011)
are responsible for forty percent of the food we put in our mouths. It
sounds astonishing, but without bees, we could find ourselves facing
food shortages and a collapse of the green and flowered world. In this
hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, a peek inside the world of bees,
from the once-in-a-lifetime mating flight of the queen bee to the
California almond agri-business, where most of the bees in North America
go to work. And, the poetry of bees.
From Xerces Society
visit the bumble bee conservation pages of our website for more
information on how to identify these species. If you think you've found
one of them, please snap a photo and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
MIGRATORY DRAGONFLY SHORT COURSE
August 11, 2012
10:00 AM to 4:30 PM
migration occurs on every continent except Antarctica. In North
America, huge numbers of dragonflies can be seen flying south in fall
along both coasts and through the Midwest, but these migrations are
still poorly understood. The Migratory Dragonfly Partnership (MDP),
Xerces Society, and U.S. Forest Service International Programs are
pleased to announce an upcoming Migratory Dragonfly Short Course in
Oregon. This full day training will provide an overview of dragonfly
life history, ecology, and migratory behavior, and train participants to
identify key migratory species and contribute data to ongoing MDP
citizen science research projects.
SHORT COURSE DETAILS
course is intended for anyone interested in dragonflies and in
contributing to our growing knowledge about dragonfly migration in North
America. Whether you are a novice or a pro when it comes to
dragonflies, please join us for this fun and informative event to become
a volunteer monitor and help us explore the amazing but understudied
phenomenon of dragonfly migration!
This course will
cover the topics of dragonfly life history, ecology, migratory behavior,
and citizen science monitoring and will include both a morning
classroom and afternoon field component. Click here for a detailed agenda and more information about this course.
9. The Watershed Project
Shampoo and All
Tips for a Plastic-Free Life
about shampoo? That's one question that comes to mind when
contemplating what it really means to live a plastic-free life.
Executive Director Linda Hunter recently spoke with writer and activist
Beth Terry about her bold decision to avoid all plastic products.
Chinatown Businesses Learn from Children
Riparian Lab Teams with Cycles of Change
Find out how pint-sized environmentalists are changing business practices in Oakland's Chinatown.
FREE Rain Barrels for Oakland Residents
Save Water, Protect Our Creeks
can play a key role in preventing creek erosion and flooding while
conserving water & harvesting rain to keep your yard and garden
green! The City of Oakland is offering FREE rain barrels and tanks for
residents. Take advantage of this exclusive offer while supplies last!
Gourmet Pancake Breakfast & Native Plant Sale
Popular annual fundraiser for San Bruno Mountain Watch
Sunday 29 July, 8.30 am to 11.30 am
Mission Blue Native Plant Nursery
Not all thistles are created equal... Our very special Brownie Thistle, Cirsium quercetorum,
is a California endemic (found only in California) and is visible on
San Bruno Mountain and other sites in San Mateo County. Our non-native,
and very invasive, Italian Thistle, Carduus pycnocephalus, is
unfortunately present too. So be on the lookout for the low-growing
Brownie Thistle on your next hike - and you'll agree that even a thorny
thistle can be beautiful!
Harvey Milk Photo Center is currently looking for entries to their new
Off the Beaten Path exhibit that is scheduled to open at McLaren Lodge
and Park Aid Station (office of NAP) in the fall. We are looking to see
if you or other natural area enthusiasts might be interested in
submitting some of their photos to be displayed. The deadline for the
call of entry is August 8th.
Off the Beaten Path: Celebrating San Francisco’s Signature Parks & Hidden Gems
Exhibition Dates: October 13th–November 30th, 2012
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 13th, 1–4 p.m.
Location: McLaren Lodge, 501 Stanyan Street (at Fell), sfrecpark.org; Hours: Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Francisco Recreation and Parks and Harvey Milk Photo Center present Off
the Beaten Path, a photography exhibition showcasing San Francisco’s
signature parks and hidden gems, which will take place at the beautiful
and historic McLaren Lodge in Golden Gate Park.
We’ve opened up
our call for entry to members of the general public for a $25 fee.
Submission is free for all Photo Center members, San Francisco
Recreation and Parks, San Francisco Parks Alliance, and San Francisco
Arts Commission employees.
Call for Entry Guidelines:
to 10 of your best images that meet the below specifications —
low-resolution JPEGs or links are fine — by August 8th at 8 p.m.
email@example.com. Up to two images per person will be
chosen by a panel of judges. The submission deadline for final, framed
work will be announced shortly.
We are looking for work
showcasing the large variety of green spaces our city has to offer, from
popular destinations such as Golden Gate Park, Dolores Park, and Alamo
Square Park, to vast, lesser known parks, including Glen Canyon Park and
John McLaren Park, as well as mini-parks and hidden stairways nestled
throughout town. People, pets, sunrises, sunsets, rain, sun, fog,
wildlife, vistas, cityscapes, trees, meadows, and macros — we’d like to
see it all. Color, black and white, digital and film photography will be
More information can be found at http://harveymilkphotocenter.org/events/parks-exhibit/
On Jul 18, 2012, at 10:24 AM, Bert Johnson wrote:
Jake, I loved the recent discussion on mistletoe. As I recall, I think
that morning doves and perhaps band-tailed pigeons love to eat the
berries. Perhaps a bird expert will respond and confirm this, as well
as include any other kinds of birds which eat the berries as well. The
berries are extremely ornamental, looking like white pearls in pendant
clusters in winter, growing on cottonwoods, willows, oaks, walnuts and
other hardwoods. I am becoming increasingly annoyed by the growing
number of tree pruners who completely "sanitize" urban trees by removing
all their dead wood,etc. and often thin them so excessively
birds are afforded little privacy (roosting) and nesting sites. These
incessant pruners also likely remove the mistletoes in the process. In
my observation, birds prefer denser tree canopies, not
thinner...especially birds such as night herons. Your newsletter is a
treasure chest of knowledge and inspiration. I learn more from it than I
do any other scientific newsletter, so congratulations Jake! The world
is lucky to have you
Hello, Bert: I don't know what birds
eat the mistletoe berries, but I know that's the way it gets around.
Perhaps cedar waxwing is one? Seems I saw a painting of one with a
mistletoe seed stuck on outside of its bill.
I was told that
birds try to wipe the sticky seeds off their bills and the seed sticks
to the limb, thus in effect 'planting' it. Nice strategy of the
mistletoe, otherwise the seed would get excreted onto the ground, which
is inhospitable to mistletoe.
Pruning: That is one of the
several ways the gods have of tormenting me. I love trees, and their
architecture is one of the contemplative pleasures of
in San Francisco. Here a well-pruned tree is almost an oxymoron. I
walk a lot and, being of a compulsive nature, I am mentally pruning all
the trees I see, often spending time looking up into them to decide
which limbs need removal of modification. Why do I--who has more on his
platter than I can cope with--spend so much time on a totally feckless
impulse that will lead nowhere? Compulsives are helpless victims. The
tree is calling for help and this is the closest I can come to its aid.
San Francisco could use some of those "sanitizing" tree pruners you
have over there, because we have no mistletoe in the city. More doings
of those gods, who mischievously mismatch problems and solutions.
for the fan mail. Every time I get downhearted and depressed at the
state of the world and our seeming inability to help ourselves--and
wonder why in hell I put this newsletter together, with its accompanying
eyestrain and back strain--in floats a piece of fan mail that cheers me
up and keeps me going. It's almost as though readers can sense when I
need a fix; they always come through.
Jake, I got a kick out of your response. It's okay, I prune trees to
shape too. I guess I wasn't specific enough though. Over here, and
the pruned trees I am talking about, the work is not be done or
performed by experienced or trained arborists. The trees are instead
thinned and headed into ridiculous proportions, often making them appear
naked and butchered. These trees are not being sensitively and
aesthetically pruned...like Ted Kipping does. He is a pro. But these
pruning guys are amateurs and unfamiliar with growth habits and the tree
species's needs. Most of these people are the guys who get a business
license from the city, start a "landscape" business, and then proceed to
improperly and incessantly prune trees to death, the same people that
mow lawns excessively, and trim shrubs excessively, even though the
trees, shrubs and lawns do not require "weekly" grooming, if you know
what I mean. Anyways, I love your newsletter and you are a pro, one of
the best I know in the business. Keep it up please, as I will be lost
without your words of wisdom and knowledge. In addition, I am also a
compulsive like you, always looking at people's backyards and city
landscapes and also making landscape corrections in my mind. It's just
the way we are, and okay I think!
Oh. Darn. I thought for
awhile that there may be more than a handful of professional tree
pruners in the Bay Area--wildlife considerations set aside for the
moment. Now you have dashed my illusions. You perfectly describe the
pruning of 95+% of San Francisco trees. I wish I could stop looking at
them in my peregrinations around the city.
trees, especially those badly pruned in the past, are a challenge to
good pruning, most pruning is simple and easy to perform: Trees almost
tell you how they want to be pruned (if they need pruning at all). Just
look at its natural shape; even young ones already have the basic
structure it intends to follow. You know "phone trees"? People know
how to draw those, but they have trouble seeing the pattern in the
On Jul 20, 2012, at 9:07 AM, Bert Johnson wrote:
far as gardening ventures go, people are using noisy leafy blowers
instead of rakes or brooms (which is what I used throughout my entire
working career at Botanic Garden). Blowers are noisy, polluting and
should be outlawed, so far as I am concerned. Couple the blower with
incessant noise from chainsaws, power trimmers, weedeaters, etc. and the
assault on our eardrums and lungs becomes even worse. So, this is why I
am so distraught. Where is the "green" message in the gardening world,
encouraging us away from the use of noisy and gas-polluting power
equipment. Do Gardeners know how to use a rake, broom, hand pruners,
loppers, etc. anymore? What is happening? And, is anyone trained by
experienced Gardeners anymore? It seems that the world of gardening and
landscaping, which used to be an art taught by experienced and
knowledgeable people has now become a free for all for "wrong" gardening
practices and sensitivity. Loud power equipment noise is not only
annoying to humans, but also the the wildlife living in our gardens.
The last message I want to leave you with is this, and it is magical.
I used a spring leaf rake in the Botanic Garden to rake leaves or
debris off our paths, the jays would respond to the noise of the rake
dragging by mimicking its sound, which I found to be very comical.
Obviously, they were not annoyed by the sound of a scratchy rake on the
ground. I wonder how they respond to the sound of a high-piched leaf
blower? I think you know where I am going here. I am just of the
old-fashioned type of thinking, that power and noisy equipment is not
only dangerous to our ears and lungs, but also allows pruning and
shearing fanatics to destroy and "over-prune" a landscape too quickly,
I see happening everyday and all around me. These things tend to
destroy bird and insect habitats in the garden, when performed by
inexperienced and amateur gardeners and so-called landscapers. There, I
feel better now to get this off my chest, and I thought you might
appreciate it, being that you are a wise and long-experienced Gardener.
But, I am also open to suggestions from you, as to help me deal with
these frustrations better. Thanks for the ear Jake.
Our reactions and ideas on this subject are identical.
can't match your jay story, but my next-door neighbors mow their lawn
with an electric mower--which is an improvement, but still an obnoxious
sound. Their two dogs, which follow them around like shadows, love it,
especially when the guys come out in the garden. Except when they're
mowing--they go indoors until the mowing stops. I call that good taste.
But you almost need to be an animal to have good taste nowadays.
13. Make sport history
destruction of the past…is one of the most eerie phenomena of the late
20th-century. Most young men and women at the century’s end grow up in a
sort of permanent present lacking any organic relation to the public
past of the times they live in.”
So said Eric Hobshawm in his
history of the 20th century, Age of Extremes. For despite the
evidence—millions visiting heritage sites, reading history, even
watching history, vast numbers in Britain inhabit a world that lacks any
deep connection with the past. In an attempt to close up this cultural
lacuna, a consortium of heritage groups has launched “History
Matters—Pass it On” (www.historymatters.org).
It couldn’t come
too soon. For the inherited ties that once bound people to their
pasts—sense of social class; an active religious faith; a tight-knit
labour market; a culture of storytelling; strong political
movements—have now widely broken down. And, somehow, they need to be
For some, this lightening of the past has been a source
of liberation. Mind-forged manacles have been cast asunder and
communities inhibited by tradition freed by the forces of modernity.
But for others, this disconnection from the past has given rise to a
profound sense of dislocation. As a result, we live in an age consumed
by questions of identity with much of the debate the product of an
absence of history.
Those hoping for a way out from their
disembodied existence are the individuals who turn to the internet to
research their genealogy, join civic trusts, and watch television
history to place themselves within a sweep of time. The British
government seems keen to have (yet another) debate on this topic. But
it’s time for it to walk the walk. Between 2001 and 2006 the government
increased funding for sport by 91%, compared with just 26% for museums,
libraries, and archives. Well this summer, from Gelsenkirchen to
Wimbledon, we have witnessed what a sound investment that was. And the
Olympics promises to consume even more.
Maybe it’s time to focus on what we excel at and what more people are interested in: history, not just sport. Tristram Hunt
Guardian Weekly 14-20 July 2006
(The 'I' is not me, JS)
Singapore is a
fine city! I’ve traveled to well over 100 countries, and my all-time
favorite walking city is Singapore (aka Garden City): clean, safe with
lots of places to seek shelter from rain/sun elements (trees, plus
awnings are required on ground level of buildings abutting sidewalks),
open green spaces and many yummy places to eat along the way! CNN
reports that Singaporeans are the world’s fastest walkers, thanks to
“wide pavement that was flat, free from obstacles and sufficiently
uncrowded to allow people to walk at their maximum speed”
When walking is such a pleasure, it's easy to be physically fit.