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 26, 2012


1.   Glen Canyon Park Habitat & Wildlife meeting Thursday 28th
2.   The world is not a courtroom, there is no judge, no jury, no plaintiff...
3.   GGP soccer field appeal hearing 7/10/soccer moms and dads can express concerns privately
4.   Stars - the essential magic vanishing from our lives
5.   Feedback:  Barry Goldwater, Ron Paul, honest politicians
6.   Sunday Streets returning to Valencia July 1/fundraiser for Duboce/Valencia fire
7.   More gardeners & patrols for our parks?  Contact your Supervisor
8.   SPAWN Naturalist training course starts July 11
9.   Birdsong, Botany and other Bounty - watercolors in Palo Alto June 26-July 21
10. General Vallejo's Legacy June 28/Presidio Open Space Update July 12
11.  Habitat, Trail, & Nursery Stewardship on Mt Sutro July 1
12.  Butterfly Counts:  San Francisco July 14/San Bruno Mtn July 15
13.  SF Beautiful Updates: No New Billboards campaign/utility boxes/et al
14.  Wm Stafford asks: If you don't know the kind of person I am and you don't know....

Although the connections are not always obvious, personal change is inseparable from social and political change. -Harriet Lerner, psychologist (b. 1944)

1.  Glen Canyon Park Habitat & Wildlife Meeting - Thursday, June 28th – 7PM

The Glen Park Association and the Diamond Heights Community Association are sponsoring a public meeting on Glen Canyon Park Thursday, June 28 at 7:00 pm. The focus of the meeting is to provide information on various points of view regarding measures which may affect habitat and wildlife in Glen Canyon Park. Each presenter/group will describe their involvement in Glen Canyon Park planning and activities and how that involvement benefits the park and community.

The presenters will include:
Ruth Gravanis, Environmental Advocate
Eric Miller, President, Forest Alliance
San Francisco Recreation and Park Dept.
San Francisco Dept. of the Environment

Meeting Information:
Glen Canyon Park, Information on Habitat and Wildlife Policies and Activities
San Francisco Police Academy
350 Amber Drive (off Duncan, next to Christopher Park)
Parking: Large Parking Lot Available

Please bring friends and neighbors to attend the meeting and feel free to forward the meeting time and place. This is an opportunity to hear from groups who have committed much time and effort to habitat and wildlife concerns in Glen Canyon Park. For information contact Sally Ross, GPA Membership Secretary at


The world is not a courtroom,
there is no judge, no jury, no plaintiff.

This is a carvan,
filled with eccentric beings
telling wondrous stories about God.

~ Saadi ~

1.       RESERVE Tuesday, July 10th, 4:00 p.m. for our Appeal Hearing at the Board of Supervisors! 
2.      SOCCER MOMS and DADS - contact  soccer mom McCowin to express your concerns privately.
3.       HELP GET THE WORD OUT - Volunteer now!

1.  Come to our EIR Appeal Hearing at the Board of Supervisors

·       Tuesday, July 10, 2012.
·       Reserve this date to come to City Hall and let the BOS know that the EIR is deeply flawed and should be rejected.
·       Start time is 4:00, but it is likely that this will be another long hearing - come when you can.
·       Line up your friends and neighbors to come to this hearing!  Forward notice of it to everyone you know.
·       This is the last public hearing on this project.  Come to the hearing, and let your representatives know that Golden Gate Park must be saved!

2.   Opportunity for soccer parents to express their concerns confidentially

·       We are learning that many soccer parents want real grass for their kids.  One of our soccer moms, Kathleen McCowin, has offered to represent parents who prefer natural grass soccer fields in Golden Gate Park.  Her daughter will be leaving Viking soon, so she is comfortable being the named parent.  Please contact her to share your concerns or for more information, and pass this message on to other soccer parents.   This is your chance to make your voice heard!

3.   Volunteer NOW

·       Hand out fliers:  We are covering the City with our fliers!  Volunteer now - even doing 2 or 3 blocks will help to get the word out.
·       Join us at Mission Sunday Streets on July 1, 2012.  Contact our volunteer coordinator if you can help out at our table.  Even one hour makes a difference!

SF Ocean Edge press conference on the steps of City Hall, announcing the Appeal.  Soccer parents weigh in on keeping natural grass in Golden Gate Park.


4.  Stars – the essential magic vanishing from our lives

Light pollution is increasingly obscuring our view of the night sky, and so destroying one of our last truly wild experiences

The Perseid meteor shower streaks past Stonehenge in Salisbury Plain. Photograph: Kieran Doherty / Reuters

We are losing our view of the heavens. Half the UK's population can see only a fraction of the stars in the night sky, so saturated is it with light pollution. The findings of the annual star count survey published this week are a giant leap backwards for mankind. Many children growing up today will never see the swirling Milky Way except on a celestial chocolate wrapper.

Just over half the thousand people who took part in the survey failed to see more than 10 points of light in the star-studded constellation of Orion. Fewer than one in 10 could see between 21 and 30 stars, and just 2% experienced truly dark skies, seeing 31 or more stars. In brightly lit London, Orion is one of the more visible constellations, but it's rare to see much more than his feet and shoulders, and the occasional glittering fragment of his belt.

For city dwellers, the sky is our only wilderness. Our unenhanced, naked-eye view of the moon and stars is one of our few regular wild experiences, and one of the few things that unites us with people near and far. The stars are intrinsically egalitarian, as beautiful from a council estate window as a glossy skyscraper. They not only make us feel humbly small, but are also a critical part of our collective, planet-sharing identity, something felt acutely in the developing world. In rural Africa, swaths of the Milky Way form a dizzying overhead canopy. Many African cultures believe stars are the distant fires of other peoples. The Victorian poet Gerard Manley Hopkins also saw "fire folk" in the pinpricks of light.

The origins of the human body's elements are in stardust. As Moby sang, and scientists have opined, We Are All Made of Stars. Standing in the ancient observatory of Machu Picchu – the "hitching post of the sun", which predicts the equinoxes – you get the same feeling of cosmic deja vu as at Stonehenge at the dawn of the summer solstice, waiting for the sun to strike the heel stone.

The stars are magnificent in Britain's less populated corners. In August every year, the Perseid meteor shower dazzles our British skies with the tiny particles of hurtling comet debris we call shooting stars – sometimes up to 100 an hour – a dazzling display free of charge to which neon cannot hold a candle.

I once interviewed Sir Patrick Moore in his garden observatory in Selsey, West Sussex – a long, whisky-clouded night watching the stars rise and set, and studying the Sea of Tranquility on the moon. I can't say I understood any more about stellar nucleosynthesis afterwards, but it was impossible not to see the stars' essential poetry. Their names alone – Centaurus and Lupus, Scorpius and Corona, Perseus and Andromeda – contain an ancient story-telling magic.

Children are fascinated by stars partly because they hint at stuff adults don't really understand, giving literal space to the imagination. If light pollution continues unchecked it is city children who will lose the most. For kids in cities, nature is already almost drowned out by the built environment. There is little natural wonder in their lives. And it's not just the stars themselves, it's the space between them – the dark.

Our sleep patterns are being affected; our circadian rhythms bent out of shape; our stressed city lives made more anxious by the bright-burning street lights. The link between nocturnal light and decreased levels of the hormone melatonin, which in turn affects oestrogen, has been seen as a possible risk factor in developing breast cancer. The Danish government now pays compensation to some night-shift workers who have developed breast cancer

The government is encouraging local planning authorities to reduce light pollution, but plans to dim lights at certain times of the night are unpopular with residents. Our fear of the dark is more visceral than our love of stars or our need for pitch blackness. In our risk-adverse, crime-ridden world, the wilderness of the sky is becoming a lost frontier. Meanwhile, with every visible light we leave on down here, starlight vanishes and a little piece of magic is gone from our grey world.

(I lost the attribution on this article.  JS)


5.  Feedback

Louise Lacey:
Barry Goldwater was an honest politician. Ron Paul probably is, too.

Probably why both didn't succeed in their running for president.
I agree they were both honest; however, how do you separate honesty from what they were honest about--ie, did people vote for them because they were honest or because of their stands?  I warmed to Ron Paul, and liked some of his platform, but couldn't get past most of the things he would do.  He scared too many, even in his own party.  Was he defeated just because he was honest? 

Regarding Goldwater, a fact never mentioned--to my knowledge--is that he was the first candidate in our history to come from a party's extreme wing.  (First, alas, but not the last.)  Both parties had plenty of candidates from the right or left, but the party grandees would always choose a party centrist to nominate.  The 1960s was when the nomination process began to open a little and become more democratic, which gave people more of a say.  I have often mused wryly that we had better-qualified, less-extreme nominees when they were chosen by the inner circle in their smoke-filled rooms.  The party pols knew what it took to win and were less ideological than many of the rank-and-file; they chose reasonable candidates who didn't frighten half the nation.  I expect that the present system, where the right wing-nuts choose the candidate, will destroy the Republican Party.  It certainly has in California.

My personal favorite candidate--and an honest one--was Adlai Stevenson, who was well liked and may have won if he hadn't had to run against the popular war hero, Dwight Eisenhower--twice, in 1952 and 1956.  When the campaign was looking discouraging, one of his campaign volunteers remarked "Don't worry, Mr Stevenson, all thinking people will vote for you."  "I know", he replied, "but I want to win."


6.  Sunday Streets is returning to Valencia and 24th Streets from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 1st, and there is so much in store!

REI, a season sponsor, will be taking up the entire block, between Duboce and 14th, to bring you all kinds of REI fun! Enter to win a campsite with cool gear; test out your skills on their climbing wall with their Outdoor School instructors; disc golf games; a bike obstacle course; and FREE minor bike tune-ups. And, don’t miss the REI Adventures Photo Booth; they’ll take your photo in front of a scenic backdrop of one of the world’s iconic travel destinations, and you can post it to your Facebook page!

There will also be a slew of kid's activities, between 14th and 15th, such as soccer workshops by Project Vega, Wheel Kids is setting up a Bike Course, YBike'sBike Rodeo, and Radio Valencia will be broadcasting live, outside of Stage Werx!

For a full list of activities, please visit our website.

Parking Information: As with all Sunday Streets events, the route will be towed of all cars starting at 7 a.m. All day (6:00 am to 6:00 pm) flat rate parking is available to vehicles entering between 6:00 am and 12:00 noon on event days at these garages:
• $10 Mission Bartlett garage (90 Bartlett St between 21st & 22nd)
• $7 San Francisco General Hospital Parking Garage (2500 24th St)
Vehicles entering after 12:00 noon pay the hourly rate.

Fundraiser for the Duboce/Valencia Fire during Sunday Streets July 1st!

On Sunday, May 6th, there was a 4-alarm fire in the apartment building on the corner of Valencia St. and Duboce Ave. The residents lost their homes and all of their belongings. Nearby neighbors and other community members worked with the Community Living Campaign to set up a collection fund for fire survivors.Volunteers will be at Casanova Lounge (527 Valencia, at 16th) from 3 to 6 p.m. to collect donations. All drinks are $1 off, and any funds collected will go directly to the displaced residents. If you cannot stop by Casanova Lounge, please follow this link to make a donation to assist those who lost their homes in the fire.Thanks in advance for anything you can give!

To get current updates on organizing efforts for the displaced residents, please see the facebook page.


7.  From San Francisco Parks Alliance

More Gardeners & Patrols for our Parks
Contact Your Supervisor Now! 

Supervisor Scott Wiener is spearheading an effort to augment the Recreation & Parks Department budget for the coming fiscal year with funding to pay for five more gardeners, as well as four more park patrol officers to help thwart graffiti and other vandalism in our parks city-wide. Vandalism is the #1 problem being reported in our parks, and these new patrol officers and gardeners are the best way to address it. The new funding would total about $750,000.

The Board of Supervisors is expected to take this up as early as Wednesday. You can help support this excellent move by contacting your Supervisor immediately with a message in support of the additional funding for Recreation and Parks. A contact list of the Board of Supervisors follows for your convenience. Please CC to help us track this advocacy.

John Avalos
District 11 (415) 554-6975 - Voice (415) 554-6979 - Fax

David Campos
District 9 (415) 554-5144 - voice (415) 554-6255 - fax

David Chiu
District 3 (415) 554-7450 - Voice (415) 554-7454 - Fax

Carmen Chu
District 4 (415) 554-7460 - Voice (415) 554-7432 - Fax

Malia Cohen
District 10 (415) 554-7670 - Voice (415) 554-7674 - Fax

Sean Elsbernd
District 7 (415) 554-6516 - Voice (415) 554-6546 - Fax

Mark Farrell
District 2 (415) 554-7752 - Voice (415) 554-7843 - Fax

Jane Kim
District 6 (415) 554-7970 - Voice (415) 554-7974 - Fax

Eric Mar
District 1 (415) 554-7410 - Voice (415) 554-7415 - Fax

Christina Olague
District 5 (415) 554-7630 - Voice (415) 554-7634 - Fax

Scott Wiener
District 8 (415) 554-6968 - Voice (415) 554-6909 - Fax


8.  The Salmon Protection And Watershed Network (SPAWN) announces a new addition to our family of watershed conservation, restoration and education projects!

The SPAWN California Naturalist Training Course

California Naturalist is a new program developed by the University of California Cooperative Extension to foster a committed corps of volunteer naturalists and citizen scientists trained and ready to take an active role in natural resource conservation, education, and restoration. Sustaining natural resources requires an understanding of science, adaptive management, and cooperation among diverse interest groups.

We can protect and restore California’s unique ecology with an environmentally literate, engaged public!

Meeting days/times:
Ten weekly classroom lessons (Wednesdays 6:30pm – 9:00pm, July 11 – September 12)
Three immersive field seminars (Saturdays, 9:00am – 3:00pm, August 4, 25 and September 8)
Course Fee: $495

Classroom Location: Marin Country Day School, 5221 Paradise Drive, Corte Madera, CA 94925

•    Expert Naturalist Instructors from Marin County - Jules Evens, John Del’Osso, David Wimpfheimer, Dr. Emily Burns, Dr. Chris Pincetich, David McGuire,
    Megan Isadore and more!
•    Classroom and Field Instruction in unique West Marin habitats.
•    Earn the new UC California Naturalist Certificate and unlock new opportunities.
•    Access to direct action environmental service projects and citizen science collaborations!

Course Description:
The SPAWN California Naturalist Training Course will introduce you to the interwoven wonders of the unique ecology and natural history of the Lagunitas Creek Watershed and engage you in direct stewardship actions. The 40-hour course will utilize a combination of science curriculum, guest lecturers, field trips and project based learning to immerse you in the natural world of California. Expert instructors will uncover strategies to continue conservation of biodiversity in the Lagunitas Creek, and all California watersheds. An additional 40 hours of volunteer service work is required of all participants to retain the University of California’s California Naturalist certificate earned during the course.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available to participants for an additional fee and accredited through Dominican University.

Contact: Chris Pincetich, Ph.D.
(415) 663-8590 x102,



9.  Art show opening this week is entitled Birdsong, Botany and other Bounty. My watercolors largely depict California landscape, flora and fauna. Also featuring portraits of some local environmental heroes. See the work at

Gallery House, 320 S California Ave, Palo Alto (inside Printers Inc. Cafe). tel 650 3261668

Reception with artists Friday June 29th, 6-8pm. Show runs June 26- July 21.
Gallery Hours: Tues & Wed 11-4; Thurs, Fri, Sat 11-8; Sun 11-3; Mon closed.


10.  Presidio

Fort Ross Series: General Vallejo's Legacy 
Thursday, June 28, 7 pm
Meet Martha Vallejo-McGettigan, California historian and great-great-grandaughter of Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, the Mexican Commander of the Presidio.
Get Details »

Open Space Update 2012
Thursday, July 12, 5:30 pm
Learn about the forestry, native plant restoration, trails, and environmental clean up projects that will get underway in the next year.

Get Details »


July 1, 2012 from 8:45am to 12:30pm
UCSF Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve

Event Description:
Please join us for a morning of Stewardship on Mount Sutro. We'll have crews focused on trail, habitat and nursery work during this event. Activities will take place along the Mystery Trail, Rotary Meadow and at the Sutro Nursery.
Prior trail or habitat experience is not required.  Wear boots, long sleeve shirts, and long pants to protect against poison oak.  Dress in layers so you can be warm in the morning, and can peel off outer layers as conditions change.
Bring water, sunscreen, and a morning snacks.  The Sutro Stewards provides gloves, tools, training, and lunch after the workday.Meet at 8:45 am for registration and crew assignments. We work until 12:30 pm followed by lunch.

See more details and RSVP on Sutro Stewards:
About Sutro Stewards
Creating urban recreational opportunities while practicing sustainable habitat conservation within Open Space areas.



It's time for folks to mark their calendars for the 18th Annual San Francisco Butterfly Count -- Saturday, July 14th --9am -5pm. An intense, one-day inventory of all the butterfly species / individuals flying in our county.  We will begin at the Randall Museum (199 Museum Way) before heading out with assigned groups. Each group will have a copy of Nature in the City's Butterflies of San Francisco  Field Guide ( author yours truly) to make it easier on the novice. BRING YOUR LUNCH. It's really a magnificent day, folks to help with field work. A $3.00 participation fee is collected, which goes to butterfly conservation. We broke our record last year with 26 species and over 967 individuals and recorded the All Time National High of Papilio zelicaon -- 110 Anise Swallowtails seen here in one day! (Over 300 counts throughout the nation, our count is starting to get noticed!)  All groups descend on Pasquale's Pizza in the Inner Sunset at the end of the day to total the data and hear what else was seen.
Any questions? Liam O'Brien -- liammail56 (I'm at) . The count is sponsored by The North American Butterfly Association."

The 2012 San Bruno Mountain North American Butterfly Association (NABA) count will be held on Sunday, July 15.   We will meet at the park entrance just
off Guadalupe Canyon Parkway at 9:00AM.

All levels of experience are welcome.  Past years counts have been highlighted by abundant observations of the federally endangered callippe silverspot butterfly and mission blue butterfly; and annis swallowtails, pipevine swallowtails, great coppers, and several others.  There is a $3.00 fee that pays for data collection and analysis.  This is a national volunteer based count that has been conducted annually throughout N. America for 35 years.

Please contact me if you are planning to come for the count, and be prepared for hiking up steep hills.  We will be hiking on established trails.  Bring sturdy hiking shoes, water, sunscreen, snacks, sunhat, etc.  Previous knowledge of the butterfly species is not necessary, as each group will have a leader who is knowledgeable in the local butterfly species.

Contact Patrick Kobernus for more information:
CRecology (I'm at)


13.  San Francisco Beautiful UPDATES:
Protect Prop G "No New Billboards" Campaign. We are currently in litigation with the City and Metro Fuel to Protect the 2002 Voters' Mandate of No New Billboards. We've raised nearly half of the funds that we'll need to carry out this action, but we still need your help. Learn More.

Utility Boxes. The hearing to decide whether AT&T's utility box installation will require an EIR was held on May 31st. We are currently awaiting the decision from Judge Jackson.

Streamlining Street Events. Neighborhood events build community, but sometimes just getting the permits can be daunting, but does it need to be? We put everything you need to get started in one place. Permit Walkthrough.

Pavement to Parks. Over the spring, we worked with the Planning Dept., DPW, SFSU, Supervisor Wiener, and others to host a series of forums on the future of this popular program. Read about our findings here.


A Ritual To Read To Each Other
If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider--
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give--yes or no, or maybe--
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

~ William Stafford ~

(The Way It Is)

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