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.

Monday, November 5, 2012


"Do not ask what the world needs. Instead, ask what makes you come alive. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive."--Thurmond Whitman

Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.  - Will Rogers

1.   Lies of No on F campaign exposed
2.   Biophilic Cities/Tiger Swallowtails on Market Street
3.   Gary Snyder:  stay together/learn the flowers/go light
4.   Audubon doings for November
5.   Acterra doings for November
6.   EBRPD botanic garden November newsletter
7.   Congressman Sam Farr works to SaveTheFrogs, among other causes
8.   Bay Area Ecosystems Climate Change Consortium Workshop Nov 29
9.   Green Connection concept design in Potrero Hill - Nov 17
10. Poetry and Indian food in intimate setting Nov 12

“For in the end, our society will be defined not only by what we create but by what we refuse to destroy.” – The late John Sawhill, former Nature Conservancy president


San Francisco—On Tuesday San Francisco voters will vote on Proposition F, the “Water Conservation & Yosemite Restoration Initiative.” It requires the City to develop a two-part plan to build San Francisco’s local water resources and reverse the damage done to the environment by the current water system over the last 100 years. The plan would need to be approved by voters in 2016 in order to be implemented.

Significant misinformation was disseminated by the ‘No on F’ campaign during the course of the campaign. Here are the facts:

•    13 local, state and national environmental organizations endorse Proposition F
-    National Wildlife Federation
-    San Francisco League of Conservation Voters
-    National Parks Conservation Association
-    Sierra Nevada Alliance
-    Foothill Conservancy
-    Forest Issues Group
-    Friends of the River
-    California Water Impact Network
-    Eco Equity
-    Endangered Species Coalition
-    The Planning and Conservation League
-    Earth Island Institute
-    Wild Equity

•    16,000 San Franciscans signed petitions to place Prop F on the ballot.

•    ‘Yes on F’ was outspent by 3 to 1 during the campaign.
-    ‘Yes on F’ raised $286,741 in cash contributions (including $80,000 to qualify the initiative) from 413 donors.
-    ‘No on F’ raised $614,000 in cash contributions from 137 donors.

•    54% of ‘No on F’ donations came from individuals, private companies and labor unions that have a business relationship with the City.

•    The ‘Yes on F’ campaign sued the department of Elections arguing that the ballot question written by the City Attorney was biased and misleading. 

•    The ‘Yes on F’ campaign appealed the voter digest written by the Ballot Simplification Committee arguing that it omitted key components of Prop F.

•    The ‘Yes on F’ campaign appealed the San Francisco controller’s statement arguing that it was inaccurate.

•    The ‘Yes on F’ campaign appealed to the Department of Elections to correct factually inaccurate statements submitted as paid ballot arguments for the ‘No
    on F’ campaign.

•    The SFPUC staff spent more than $50,000 in ratepayer funds on 9 junkets to the Hetch Hetchy Valley for political activists.

•    The SFPUC staff spent $200,000 in federal funds before and during the Prop F campaign promoting the Hetch Hetchy brand.

•    The ‘No on F’ campaign aired a 30 second television ad that was deliberately misleading. Here is a link to a “corrected”

Supporters of ‘Yes on F’ will gather to watch Election Results on Tuesday evening, November 6th in San Francisco, from 7:30 - 10:30 pm at SOMA Restaurant & Bar, 85 Fifth Street @ Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103. We will gladly arrange an interview with Yosemite Restoration Campaign Director Mike Marshall. Please contact Melanie Webber at (949) 307-1723.

ABOUT THE YOSEMITE RESTORATION CAMPAIGN: The mission of the Yosemite Restoration Campaign is to reform San Francisco’s 19th century water system to allow for the restoration of the Hetch Hetchy Valley and the Tuolumne River in Yosemite National Park. It is a non-profit, 501 (c)(4)

“What we call Man’s power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as the instrument.” 
    C.S. Lewis


(I hope you appreciate the irony of this Biophilic City item, following the previous item.  JS)

2.  Biophilic Cities

Professor Tim Beatley is the Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities, Department of Urban and Environmental Planning, School of Architecture, University of Virginia, and one of the pioneers of the urban sustainability field.

Last May, San Francisco became a partner city of Professor  Beatley’s International Biophilic Cities Research Project.  SF Planning and SF Environment are the two active Departments.

Biophilia fits into the larger framework of a sustainable city. It focuses on the key concepts and tools needed to understand the new value and difference a biophilic approach can make beyond traditional greening (see also, What Are Biophilic Cities).

Tiger Swallowtails on Market Street

Liam O'Brien and Amber Hasselbring want the world to know that the street trees on Market Street present a fascinating case of native species adaptation in the urban core of San Francisco.

Yes, that's right, the biggest butterfly species in the city breeds on Market Street!

Read the article about this story and how you can help save their unique habitat.



The rising hills,
the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us,
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light

Gary Snyder, from Turtle Island


4.  Golden Gate Audubon November 2012

Speaker Series:  The Feathery Tribe
Today's birders owe a lot to the naturalists of the 19th century who pioneered how birds were understood. For example, the ways that both scientific and common names were standardized caused a great deal of passionate argument.
Join us in San Francisco to hear Daniel Lewis, author of The Feathery Tribe (Yale University Press), as he illuminates the roots of ornithology in the 19th century. Hear the stories behind his much-praised book about Robert Ridgway, the Smithsonian's first curator of birds! Dan is senior curator of the history of science and technology at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California.

Date:    Thursday November 15
Time:    7 pm for refreshments, 7:30 for program
Place:   First Unitarian Universalist Church & Center
             1187 Franklin St. (at Geary)
             San Francisco
Cost: Free for GGAS members, $5 for non-members.

For more info, see the GGAS web site.

Keep those lights out!
November is still part of the fall migration. Please turn off unnecessary lights or pull window coverings to participate in the Lights Out for Birds program. Ask your employer to do the same. Click here for more info.


Nest boxes for your yard
Wouldn't it be nice to have Western Bluebirds, Chickadees and Titmice nesting in your yard?

GGAS volunteers have built nest boxes that we will be selling at the Kensington Farmer's Market on Sunday Nov. 4, from 10 am to 2 pm. Come see us there! Or call the GGAS office at (510) 843-2222 if you 'd like to buy a nest box but can't come to the Farmer's Market.

Have you seen....

Thousands of Vaux's Swifts preparing to roost in a chimney at McNear Brickyard in San Rafael. Photo by Kerry Wilcox, from our Golden Gate Birder blog.
(Photo failed to post.  JS)

“There is a trend toward uniformity in environment, people, and ways of life all over the earth.  This trend is inimical to life, including human life....Diversity has always characterized the biosphere to which man belonged.  In living systems, complexity brings stability and ability to withstand change.  The future survival of man may well depend on the continuing complexity of the biosphere...”   
    Raymond Dasmann, A Different Kind of Country


5.  Acterra

Acterra's Native Plant Nursery Surplus Sale
November 10
10:00 am - 2:00 pm
By appointment only

If you missed the recent Native Plant Sale but still want to purchase some locally-native plants for your garden, then contact Acterra's Native Plant Nursery and make an appointment for our surplus sale.

Surplus plants will be priced at 20% off. Although we are unable to publish a definitive list of plants available because of the ever-changing nature of our inventory, you can contact us in advance if you have specific plant needs.

For more information and to make an appointment, please contact Deanna Giuliano, Acterra Native Plant Nursery Manager, at or 650-949-3158.

Do the Math: An Event with Bill McKibben
(Co-sponsored by Acterra)
November 10, 6:00 pm
Spangenberg Theatre
780 Arastradero Road
Palo Alto [map]
Cost: $10

The destructive storms this week highlight the fact that we need to do something NOW about fossil fuel pollution. Join Bill McKibben, founder of and noted author, and a rotating cast of inspirational musicians, actors and activists for a unique and interactive experience filled with music, video, and thought-provoking ideas.

For more information and to register, please visit the Do the Math event website.

Acterra's Green@Home HouseCall Volunteer Training
November 14 AND 28
5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Palo Alto (exact location TBA)

Want to help hundreds of local residents reduce their energy use by providing free home energy assessments and installing basic energy saving devices? Then become an Acterra Green@Home HouseCall Volunteer! The next two-part volunteer training session will be held in Palo Alto.

For more information and to register for the training, please visit the Green@Home EventBrite website.

Bag It: The Movie
(Co-sponsored by Acterra)
November 15, 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Peninsula Conservation Center
3921 East Bayshore Road
Palo Alto [map]
Cost: Free (Advanced registration is not necessary.)

This hour-long film about plastic bags starts with a good dose of laughter, and goes on to offer an in-depth investigation on the effect of plastic on our waterways -- and even our own bodies. Then Julie Weiss, from the City of Palo Alto, will join us for a discussion about local "ban the bag" ordinances and how we can help rid the world of plastic litter.

For more information about the movie, please visit the Bag It: The Movie website.


6.  The ever-wonderful and informative newsletter of the East Bay Regional Parks Botanic Garden - for Nov 2012


7.  Kerry Kriger:  SAVE THE FROGS! receives congressional support
I had the pleasure of meeting my US Congressman Sam Farr last week at the Watsonville Wetlands Watch 20th anniversary celebration. Congressman Farr has sponsored animal rights bills and works to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge -- and he looks great in a SAVE THE FROGS! organic cotton t-shirt! I look forward to meeting with Congressman Farr in the near future to discuss ways that Congress can help promote amphibian conservation. Last month Congressman Keith Ellison from Minnesota sent this letter to the US EPA on behalf of our campaign to ban Atrazine. Do you know any politicians? If so, please educate them about frog extinctions!


8.  Bay Area Ecosystems Climate Change Consortium<>
11/2/2012 1:37 PM >>>
REGISTRATION OPEN! November 29 Climate Smart Actions for Natural Resource Managers Workshop

** Registration Open!
Climate Smart Actions for Natural Resource Managers
Presented by the Bay Area Ecosystems Climate Change Consortium,
( with support from:
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation ( , California State Coastal Conservancy (http://Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation) ,
The Nature Conservancy ( , and California Landscape Conservation Cooperative (

Are you managing natural resources in the San Francisco Bay Area and interested in learning how to plan for climate change? This FREE workshop will present predicted climate change impacts for the Bay Area, climate smart adaptation principles, case studies, data and decision support tools AND provide an opportunity to request research and tools needed to make informed climate smart decisions. Please join us, and forward this email to others!

DATE:    Thursday, November 29, 2012
TIME:     9:00 AM to 4:00 PM (PST)
PLACE:  Elihu M. Harris Building, Room 1, 1515 Clay Street, Oakland

Click here ( to register.

A preliminary agenda and more workshop information will be posted soon on the Bay Area Ecosystems Climate Change Consortium website
( .


9.  Green Connection Concept Design in Potrero Hill: 22nd Street
Date: November 17, 2012
Time: 10:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m.
Location: UCSF, 654 Minnesota Street (between 18th Street and 19th Street) 

The Green Connections project needs your input to design a Green Connection on 22nd Street to improve Potrero Hill’s connection to the waterfront!

Green Connections has developed a draft Citywide network of green connections, as well as a toolkit to guide their design. The next phase of the project includes a community based planning process to develop a streetscape design for six focus neighborhoods, including Potrero Hill.

This meeting will provide an overview of the Green Connections project, including the DRAFT network and design toolkit, discuss what a future Green Connection could look like in Potrero Hill, and ask community members to provide input on 22nd Street.

Green Connections will increase pedestrian and bicycle access to parks, open space and the waterfront, by re-envisioning City streets and paths as ‘green connectors’that can be built over time.In the first year of the project, the focus will be to map a citywide network. The second year will build on this framework to design green connections in the following six neighborhoods: Bayview-Hunters Point, Chinatown, Potrero Hill, Tenderloin, Visitacion Valley and Western Addition.

Get involved! The project team will host many public events to engage communities in developing Green Connections. Visit the project web site below for project information, events and meetings. Also, sign up for the Green Connections mailing list to keep receiving future e-mail announcements.

For more information, contact:
Paul Chasan,, 415.575.9065


10.  Poetry and Indian food in an intimate setting. I'll read for about 25 minutes. —Kirk

Kirk Lumpkin, featured poet
(admission: free; feature followed by an open mic)
Monday, November 12th
7-9 PM

Priya Indian Cuisine
2072 San Pablo Avenue
(near University Ave.)
Berkeley, CA

Most Bountiful Indian Buffet Award 2005, East Bay Express.
Reader's Choice Biggest Buffet Award 2006, East Bay Express.
Priya offers 10% discount on dinner meals if you come for the reading.

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