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.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


NOTE:  Tomorrow I will issue a special Earth Day edition.  There is too much going on at this time for posting in one newsletter.

1.   Fundraising Manager wanted for Restore Hetch Hetchy
2.   SF neighborhood Assn wants part-time executive assistant
3.   Design tips for garden photography Apr 28
4.   Pedro Pt Headland restoration & wildflower walk 21 April
5.   GGP Forestry Project open house April 26
6.   How you can help GGNRA if you witness violations
7.   Palo Alto fundraiser for State Senate candidate Apr 23
8.  We must unhumanize our views a little - Robinson Jeffers
9.   Patagonia founder on why there's no 'sustainability'
10. Bay-Friendly Garden Tour Apr 29/Acterra fundraiser Apr 24
11.  Now showing daily in Cole Valley:  raven antics
12.  John Kipping: Exploring SE Coastal Alaska Apr 24
13.  Congress continues admitting millions of immigrants in spite of impacts
14.  Portia Nelson is a slow learner; she's not alone
15.  SciAm recommended: What it's like to be a bird/et al
16.  Notes & Queries

1.  Position: Fundraising Manager - Restore Hetch Hetchy
Position: Fundraising Manager
Salary Range: $40,000 - $55,000 + benefits

The mission of Restore Hetch Hetchy (RHH) is to return the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park to its natural splendor while continuing to meet the water and power needs of all communities that depend on the Tuolumne River. In order for this to occur, the City of San Francisco must agree to drain the Hetch Hetchy reservoir and return the valley to the control of the National Park Service. RHH is a 501(c)3 organization but recently formed a 501(c)4 organization called the Yosemite Restoration Campaign (YRC). For more information about RHH visit or view a short film entitled "Discover Hetch Hetchy with Harrison Ford" at

Overview of the Position
The Fundraising Manager is responsible for working with the Executive Director (ED), fundraising consultants and the Board of Directors (BOD) to grow the organization's annual income and to diversify the organization's income sources.

This is a new position that requires an individual with a broad skill set and is ideal for an individual looking to advance their development career. Must be both a task oriented individual and a strategic thinker.

Specific areas of accountability include:
    •    donor research
    •    data base management
    •    donor stewardship
    •    donor acknowledgement & recognition
    •    implementation and oversight of all signature events and special projects
    •    coordinating mailings
    •    managing grant applications and grant reporting

    •    Passion for the mission of Restore Hetch Hetchy
    •    A lack of fear when asking people to contribute to RHH
    •    A 4-year degree in nonprofit management, business administration or the equivalent is preferred.
    •    1-2 years of demonstrated success in a fundraising role preferably in a political environment.
    •    Ability to multi-task and work in partnership with a small staff and with limited resources.
    •    Strong team orientation with an ability to manage, to provide and accept feedback and to work with diverse groups of people
    •    Outstanding communication, interpersonal and organizational skills
    •    Proficiency with Microsoft Office applications
    •    Familiarity with E-Tapestry preferred but not required
    •    A valid California driver's license
    •    A sense of humor
    •    A passion for Yosemite and an interest in hiking and/or backpacking preferred

Please send the following information to Position opened until filled.
    •    A resume detailing all past fundraising and political/community organizing experience
    •    A cover letter providing highlights of past fundraising accomplishments
    •    A short writing sample
    •    Three professional references familiar with key aspects of your employment history


2.  Golden Gate Heights Neighborhood Assn is looking for an executive assistant to work as an independent contractor.  Expected commitment is approx 15 hours per month on a flexible schedule.  Position pays $20 per hour.

Skills desired:  Good communication and writing skills; facile with office suite computer programs, web-savvy; some marketing background a plus; experience with City government, advocacy helpful.  Must have own computer and home or other office space--GGHNRA does not have an office.

Send inquiries and resume to:
Sally Stephens, president
PO Box 27608
San Francisco 94127-0608


3.  Lecture by Garden Photographer Saxon Holt at East Bay Regional Parks Botanical Garden


In this morning presentation, professional garden photographer Saxon Holt will show examples of mature native plants in garden settings that are both attractive and functional. A native plant gardener himself, long-time member of CNPS, and advocate for authentic images in garden media, Saxon will suggest plant-driven design ideas that look good in the garden-and in the camera.

Saturday, April 28, 10 am-12 pm
Instructor: Saxon Holt
Location: Visitor Center, Regional Parks Botanic Garden
$30 members / $35 nonmembers


4.  Pedro Point Headland Restoration and Wildflower hike Saturday 21 April - meet at the Pedro Point Firehouse at 8.45 for up to the minute details!

Things are set and ready for Earth Day this coming Saturday and now we just need you, your groups, your friends, and their friends!       And I did hear the weather is supposed to be BEAUTIFUL???

Most of the details are posted on PBC's  web site thanks to Sherry. So please check it out and also find out more about the Sea Turtles too, ...

Click here for fun facts about sea turtles!

... when the bands play, who is speaking and when, and print your own families waiver. Most of the groups are confirming that their project is on the map and the info is correct. Please check back again to confirm there have been no additions or changes to the site you want to work at. Read up on Wallace J. Nichols and our other amazing speakers and bands... it is all there on the website.

To help us be more sustainable, please plan to bring your light weight gloves.  Do more .... bring a cup and plate to the celebration - cut down on waste and save a tree! THIS IS A NO-WASTE EVENT BY THE WAY!!!
Activities for kids of all ages!

Knock Down Litter Bowling
Sea Turtle Art Project
Chair Massage $1 per minute
Personalize Your Own Shopping Tote
Sea Creature Rope
Spring Veggie Plant Sale
Life Size Leatherback Sea Turtle
Marine Mammal display
Fish Feed (Bean Bag Toss Activity)
Hosted by Pacifica Co-Op Nursery
Segway Demonstrations
Sponsored by Silicon Segway Rockaway Beach


5.  Golden Gate Park Forestry Project

The Recreation and Park Dept is hosting a community open house to review forestry work for GGP as part of the 2008 Parks Bond.  The program has prioritized tree hazards on park properties throughout the City.  This project will address tree removals and pruning to abate these potential hazards, and re-plant trees to sustain our urban forest.  For more information:

April 26, 6pm - 7.30pm
SF County Fair Bldg, Rec Room
9th Avenue & Lincoln Way in GGP


6.  Golden Gate National Recreation Area (Presidio, Ocean Beach, Marin Headlands, and other areas) users occasionally witness violations to natural resources such as wildlife harassment, trampling of sensitive habitat, unauthorized plant collection, etc.

Citizens are advised to use the US Park Police’s non-emergency telephone number to report violations that occur within park lands under the jurisdiction of USPP.  USPP will respond to each report in as timely a manner as possible, and depending on what type of other significant calls are being responded to in other areas.

Non-emergency violations should be reported to (415) 561-5505.


7.  Peter Drekmeier:

Please join me at a cocktail party for Sally Lieber for State Senate on Monday, April 23 (the day after Earth Day) from 6:30-8:30pm at Palo Alto's greenest home (Sven Thesen and Kate Kramer, 314 Stanford Avenue, Palo Alto).

Throughout her career, Sally has remained committed to improving the health of California’s environment and fostering sustainability. She authored clean air legislation that is responsible for removing tons of cancer-causing particulate matter from California’s air, secured funding for energy efficient, green schools throughout the state, and led efforts to invest in clean technology.  Her work has been recognized by the Sierra Club and the California League of Conservation Voters, and has earned her their endorsements for her current senate run. (See attached for some of her environmental legislative accomplishments.)
If you are able to join us, please RSVP to Sven at

Carmel Point

The extraordinary patience of things!
This beautiful place defaced with a crop of suburban houses-
How beautiful when we first beheld it,
Unbroken field of poppy and lupin walled with clean cliffs;
No intrusion but two or three horses pasturing,
Or a few milch cows rubbing their flanks on the outcrop rockheads-
Now the spoiler has come: does it care?
Not faintly. It has all time. It knows the people are a tide
That swells and in time will ebb, and all
Their works dissolve. Meanwhile the image of the pristine
beauty Lives in the very grain of the granite,
Safe as the endless ocean that climbs our cliff. -As for us:
We must uncenter our minds from ourselves;
We must unhumanize our views a little, and become confident
As the rock and ocean that we were made from.
    Robinson Jeffers


9.  Patagonia founder on why there's no 'sustainability'

Patagonia clothing founder Yvon Chouinard has written a new book he hopes will be a blueprint for companies to do better... by doing good.

Interview by Kai Ryssdal
Marketplace for Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Kai Ryssdal: You might call Yvon Chouinard an accidental environmentalist. Sounds unkind, but I'm not saying anything the founder of Patagonia, the outdoor clothing company, doesn't say about himself. As a younger man, Chouinard was a pioneering mountaineer. He started making climbing equipment in his parents' backyard in the 1950s. And he's since built a brand that anyone who's ever gone on a hike knows about. He's driven his company to profitability, and also activism. From the importance of paying a living wage to a defense of the environment, Patagonia reflects Chouinard's vision of how companies ought to be run.

It's a vision he details in his new book, "The Responsible Company." In today's Conversation from the Corner Office, Yvon Chouinard and the lessons he learned when his climbing gear pitons --that you hammer into the rock when you're on the mountain -- did more harm than good.

Yvon Chouinard: Yeah, well that was an unintended consequence of thinking we were doing the right thing. We made our pitons out of a harder steel so that they could be taken out and put in, taken out and put in, and last a long time. But it turned out when there got to be so many climbers around, putting 'em in and  taking 'em out, it started destroying the rock. That was kind of our first lesson. The fact that we were causing the damage, so therefore we should do something about it.

Ryssdal: 'Course there is that responsibility tax, right? Because I can come to Patagonia and spend $200 on a really useful coat, but I can go to the Gap and get one for $44.99.

Chouinard: Somebody said poor people can't afford to buy cheap goods.

Ryssdal: Hmm, that's a great line.

Chouinard: You can go to Costco and buy a blender, first time you put ice in it, it will blow out. Save up, wait until you can afford a really good one that will last the rest of your life.

Ryssdal: This book is an evangelical book in the very secular sense. You want people to read this and change the way they do business. Do you care, though, why they change? Is it OK if they're doing it for the good PR and for the benefits that they might get from good publicity or is it important that they do it for the right reasons?

Chouinard: No, it doesn't matter why they do it as long as they do it. I think if you start out on that process of trying to be more responsible, after a while you realize how good it feels. It becomes a habit. This millenium generation, these young people, are going to demand that from you. Everybody's making the same stuff and the consumer has the final say.

Ryssdal: Do you ever sit back and think how interesting it is that you, a 70-what 73-, 74-year-old guy is trying to give the millennials what they want?

Chouinard: Yeah, I never thought I'd come to this at all. I do this because I'm very pessimistic about the fate of the planet. I think there's another way of doing business that is less harmful.

Ryssdal: I found it interesting that -- and you make a point of this actually -- you don't talk about sustainability a lot. You say that's kind of overused and it's become a little bit cheapened.

Chouinard: Yeah, it's like gourmet. You get gourmet hamburgers now. It's a watered-down word. There is no sustainability as far as any human, economic endeavor. We're polluters here and we recognize that. All you can do is work towards minimizing the damage that you do. You'll never be sustainable.

Ryssdal: You, Patagonia, is in a number of associations and organizations with Wal-Mart, which I just find fascniating. You'd think you guys would be uneasy bedfellows, at best.

Chouinard: Yeah, we've been advising them and working with them on creating a sustainability index for clothing. Within a few years, a customer will be able to go into a department store and they can zap the barcode with their little electronic gizmo, whatever it is in a few years. And it'll give a grade on how the labor practices were in making that pair of jeans, and all the environmental impacts, and there will be a grade. So the customer will be able to say, 'Oh this is a two, this is a 10. I'm going to buy the 10.'

Ryssdal: When you started, however many years ago it was, did you ever think you'd be sitting here running a company that's trying to change the world?

Chouinard: No, absolutely not. I'm not very good at thinking into the future. I kind of live for the day.

Ryssdal: Oh, come on. I don't actually believe that.

Chouinard: No, I'm not that good at it.

Ryssdal: What's next then? There's more, right?

Chouinard: Well, as soon as you leave I'm going surfing.

Ryssdal: Oh man. Yvon Chouinard, thanks very much for your time.


10.  From Acterra

Bay-Friendly Garden Tour
Sunday, April 29, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Cost: $10

The Bay Friendly Garden Tour is full of beautiful gardens that use organic methods, salvaged and local materials, and encourage birds and beneficial insects.  To register, please visit the Bay-Friendly website.

(Volunteers are also needed to help greet the participants. Volunteers help out for half the day and in return get a free guidebook for the tour and a t-shirt. For more information and to sign up as a volunteer, please visit the Bay-Friendly website.)

Fundraiser for Acterra at Patxi's Pizza (Palo Alto location only.)
Tuesday, April 24, 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
441 Emerson Street, Palo Alto [map]

View the fundraiser flyer.

Acterra Seeks Donated Laptop 

By securing donated items, Acterra is able to direct more financial resources directly to our mission. We are currently seeking a PC laptop. If you (or someone you know) can donate the following, please contact Pat Martin at

This is what we're looking for:
- PC Laptop running Windows 7, 64-bit
- Intel (either Core i3 or 2nd Gen i5)
- 4 GB RAM (or, if possible, 6 GB)
- 50 GB Hard Drive (or more, if possible)
- CD/DVD R (or RW)

(If you're interested in donating other computer and/or related equipment to Acterra, please contact Pat Martin at


Arlene Gemmil:

Jake - Knowing of your interest in ravens thought you might enjoy hearing that there have been whole bunch of them ("an Exultation of Ravens") playing around the top of Clayton Street.  Just amazing.

I emailed Alan that I too had seen the ravens Sunday and then Monday a.m. (but not since)

Also, have you heard that S.F. seems to have its first nesting Osprey?
From: Allan Ridley
Subject: [SFBirds] Raven Aerial Circus
Date: Apr 16, 2012 1:09 PM

If you are interested in observing ravens in flight, choose a windy afternoon and go to intersection of Belvedere & Rivoli Sts. and look up to the east. Sunday afternoon from 1pm to about 6pm, the ravens were engaging in the most delightful aerial displays. Some 40 birds at the peak were flying against a strong west wind above the towering eucalyptus on Clayton St. emitting a great variety of croaks, caws, toots and bass trills whilst diving, wings in delta position, rolling with fully open wings, tumbling with wings open or closed, chasing in pairs, triples, then sweeping low then up and back to altitude on the winds to repeat. Amazing dexterity and commitment...what about a lunch break? A red tailed hawk hovered above the jostling mob for much of the time, occasionally getting drawn in or playfully chased by some of the ravens, a small hawk likely a male. I'm wondering if this might be a courtship / pair bonding activity or just flying for the sheer joy of it....40 plus birds!...Some seem to have returned this morning as well.
Best wishes, Allan

18 April 2012
Ravens are flying again this afternoon over the Clayton St. eucalyptus.
fewer in numbers today but"exalting" with equally acrobatic flying.

I was able to count over 50 ravens that appeared to emerge from the
Sutro Forest edge to the west of Stanyan St. south of 17th St.
Are they roosting in there as a group, I wonder?
This seems to be new raven group behavior - at least in groups this large - for this neighborhood (Cole Valley).
Any other observers on this?  Allan

(JS:  Only a few years ago ravens were common in my area, Inner Sunset/Mt Sutro.  Then for a couple years there was a mix of ravens and crows, with crows slowly increasing their numbers.  Then ravens disappeared completely for about last 3-4 years--ie, I did not see a single one.  Three days ago I was sitting reading and out of the corner of my eye I saw a raven swoop down onto my neighbor's fence; somehow I could tell it was a raven and not a crow without even looking directly at it.  Then he jumped down onto the neighbor's lawn and started eating dog barf; having eaten its fill it flew away.

What's the significance of this?  Probably nothing.  However, it feeds into my question of raven/crow competition and what is going on.  I have asked the question before, but no one has given a convincing answer as to what competitive advantage one has or what niche each is filling.  Is it the same niche, and one is more competitive than the other?

During this 3-4 years of dominance, every time I looked out the window--often, to rest my eyes and enjoy the view--I always saw crows:  singly, in twos, threes, fours, or flocks of dozens.

Ted Kipping pot luck/slide shows
4th Tuesday of the month at 7 pm (slide show at 8 pm) at the San Francisco County Fair Bldg, 9th Av & Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park
Served by Muni bus lines #6, 43, 44, 66, 71, and the N-Judah Metro

April 24    John Kipping, Exploring SE Coastal Alaska

*Please bring a dish and beverage to serve 8 people



Congress Continues Admitting Millions of Immigrants, Despite Impact On U.S. Carbon Footprint and Population Explosion

San Diego, CA – April 17, 2012 – Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) has launched a national TV campaign calling attention to the fact that mass immigration to the U.S. is expanding the country’s already massive carbon footprint and driving population growth that will add 100 million people to America in the next 40 years. The campaign is currently running on national cable TV as well as local TV stations in San Diego, California.

“Because of American’s proclivity for conspicuous consumption, most environmentalists understand that population growth in the United States affects the environment here and also worldwide,” commented Missy DeYoung, Chairman of the Board of Californians for Population Stabilization. “However, many environmentalists won’t talk about the fact that immigration is the number one factor driving U.S. population growth. It’s intellectually dishonest to think we can address population growth without addressing mass immigration.”

America is the world’s global leader in greenhouse gas emissions. As America grows, so too do the world’s carbon emissions. Currently, the Census projects the U.S. will add 100 million more people before 2050. That’s about a 33% increase in population in just 40 years. Pew Research Center attributes 82% of that projected growth to immigrants and births to immigrants. And when immigrants settle in America, they quickly begin creating more carbon emissions than in their previous countries. A 2008 study, lead by environmental scientist Leon Kolankiewicz for the Center for Immigration Studies, revealed that immigrants’ carbon footprint expands by 400% when they settle in America.

Immigration policy in the U.S. has been on auto pilot for decades, year after year allowing millions to settle in the country, with few calls from Congress to reduce population growth. DeYoung puts part of the blame on Wall Street cheap labor interests, espousing growth at any cost economic theories. “Wall Street promotes the myth that our country’s future economic prosperity is inextricably linked to population growth. And many in Congress buy into it. The fact is, growth for growth’s sake is not necessarily good economics, especially at a time when Americans can’t find jobs. And it is indeed eviscerating our environment.” Congress will allow more than 1 million to immigrate to America again this year.

For more about CAPS or to view the TV ad, visit

An Italian physics student invented a condom that plays music if it splits during intercourse.  When the condom breaks, the ability of its outer coating to conduct electricity changes and a minute microchip in the condom’s base emits a sound.  Those hard of hearing might program it with the Emergency Broadcast Signal.


To have great poets, there must be great audiences. -Walt Whitman

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

Chapter 1

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5

I walk down another street.

~ Portia Nelson ~

(There's a Hole in My Sidewalk)


15.  Scientific American recommended list

Bird Sense: What It’s Like to Be a Bird
by Tim Birkhead. Walker & Company, 2012

Birds are more like humans than many realize: they are bipedal, they rely primarily on sight and hearing, and most are monogamous. Birkhead, a professor at the University of Sheffield in England, has spent his career studying bird behavior and fills his book with evocative stories and observations about numerous species, including flamingos, parrots and his beloved long-tailed sylph hum mingbird. Each chapter is devoted to a particular sense or trait—“Touch,” “Hearing,” “Seeing”—with “Emotions” being one of the most nuanced. Birds perform increasingly elaborate greeting rituals the longer they have been away from their partner, he writes. Does that mean they ex per i ence feelings the same way humans do? Birkhead is reluctant to draw a con clu sion, letting the observations speak for themselves.

The Green Paradox: A Supply-Side Approach to Global Warming

by Hans-Werner Sinn. MIT Press, 2012

This English translation of a European best seller lays out German economist Sinn’s controversial ideas about how to reduce carbon emissions. European and American politicians, he argues, are too focused on reducing fossil-fuel demand and not focused enough on curbing supply. As a solution, he proposes a “Super- Kyoto” scheme in which consumer countries would form a cap-and-trade system that would limit each government’s fossil-fuel purchases—similar to the way ration cards worked during World War II. In addition, the cartel would levy source taxes on producers’ capital income, encouraging them to leave more of their resources underground.

Floating Gold: A Natural (and Unnatural) History of Ambergris
by Christopher Kemp. University of Chicago Press, 2012

Kemp has hit on a fascinating yet almost entirely unknown subject: ambergris, a rare by-product of sperm whale digestion that is worth nearly as much as gold. Its value comes primarily from its scarcity: an estimated 1 percent of sperm whales produce it, and circumstances have to be just right for it to wash up on shore. Whereas ambergris is usually fatal to the whales that produce it (it can rupture their intestines, as described in one grim passage), it has been prized by perfume houses for its stabilizing effect and “ani malic” scent and by collectors who use it as an aphro disiac. Kemp’s perseverance in unraveling this story is admirable, although the book’s pacing is uneven.


16.  Notes & Queries, Guardian Weekly

Is this really the best we can do?

Clapping hands is so past it; it's all in the genes; unbelievable beliefs 

The crowd clap their hands during the Live 8 concert in Hyde Park, London.

Isn't there a better way of showing appreciation of a musical performance other than making an ugly noise slapping our hands together?

• Clapping in terms of applauding is as democracy is to government. By no means the best form but nobody can think of a better one, as throwing money at musicians would encourage violence, for they would fight each other for it.
Dick Hedges, Nairobi, Kenya

• These days, refraining from instantly downloading a pirated copy of it.
Barrie Sargeant, Otaki Beach, New Zealand

It's all in the jeans
Why kneecaps but not elbowcaps?

You don't kneel on your elbows. You need them to be sharp.
Margaret Wyeth, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

• That would be a handicap.
Roger Morrell, Perth, Western Australia

• Because we do not walk on all fours.
Philip Stigger, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada

• Because kneecaps are in the genes; something went funny with the elbows.
Gerry Fanning, Adelaide, South Australia

• This question should be referred to a joint committee; the answer could then be articulated by the chair.
Jim Dewar, Gosford, NSW, Australia

The need to heed the creed

Why do people believe what they believe?

Because reality doesn't suffer fools gladly.
Darwin Linthicum, Te Maire Beach, New Zealand

• They've a need to heed their creed!
Alan Williams-Key, Madrid, Spain

• Because they are led to believe.
Peter Vaughan, St Senoch, France

• Cogito ergo sum – so, if I don't believe, then I am not.
Gavin Mooney, Mountain River, Tasmania, Australia

A few weeks was all it took
Is Facebook a more effective opiate of the masses than religion?

Pop music and the related junk culture, the cult of celebrity and mass consumerism have long served as society's opiates. Facebook is merely a subset of these impulses. In the cultural wasteland of late capitalism, any genuinely spiritual person would be invariably dismissed as a total loser.
Carl V Belle, Millicent, South Australia

• No. I had to get to 18 years old before I dared to dump religion, but it took me less than three weeks to unsubscribe from Facebook.
Anton Tschopp, Lyon, France

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