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Nature News from Jake Sigg

1.   Learn how to attract birds to your garden - Sunnyvale, Thurs July 29
2.   Bay Friendly Landscape Conference in San Francisco September 17
3.   HANC Native Plant Nursery Appreciation Potluck Summer Celebration - Sunday 1 August
4.   Nerdy Tours for San Franciscans:  thinkwalk
5.   "Presidio Outdoors" Open House Saturday 31 July
6.   Uncomfortable thought from Tacitus
7.   Terwilliger Environmental Award to  Be there September 10
8.   His proudest achievement:  making it onto Nixon's Enemies List - Daniel Schorr dies at 93
9.   Possible implication for climate change in tropics
10. Nominations now being accepted for John Muir Conservation Award
11.  "Open Spaces" - paintings of the coast and Peninsula, Palo Alto 27 July-21 August
12.  Participate in Restore Hetch Hetchy March across Yosemite August 1-7
13.  Feedback:  Cynicism about Obama's nationwide listening sessions/0.4 seconds to replace you after you die
14.  President Obama's appointments of interest to Bay Area - not what we'd hoped
15.  Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld suitably memorialized
16.  H.L. Mencken glad he's not a Republican
17.  Sailing blind: read how far from shore, direction by the feel of the swell against the hull, detect shallower water by colour, see light of invisible lagoons
18.  Some laws Ireland made earlier
19.  And some laws still on the books in Washington

1.   Learn how to attract birds to your garden - Sunnyvale, Thurs July 29

Toby Goldberg from the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society and Arvind Kumar from the California Native Plant Society will discuss creating a bird-friendly backyard habitat, and introduce common backyard visitors and the plants most likely to attract them.

Toby Goldberg is the education and volunteer program coordinator for the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society. She has a B.S. in Biology from Stanford University and an M.A. in ecology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Goldberg’s work experience has spanned many continents and taxa in the general field of conservation biology and ecology.

Kumar is on the board of the California Native Plant Society. He serves on the steering committees of the Going Native Garden Tour and the Gardening with the Natives group. He writes the Gardening Green column for the Loma Prietan, the newsletter of the local Sierra Club chapter.

The Library is located at 665 W. Olive Ave., across from City Hall. Free parking is always available, and VTA line 54 serves the Library. More information on Library programs and activities is available on the Library’s Web site at, or by calling the Library at (408) 730-7300, TDD (408) 730-7501.
2.  Landscape Professionals Take Note! This year's Bay Friendly Landscape Conference is in San Francisco!

This year's conference theme: Transforming Urban Landscapes to Protect Our Water Resources
Who? For landscape professionals in the public and private sectors.

September 17, 2010
St. Mary’s Event Center, San Francisco
8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Featured Keynote Address by Brad Lancaster, Author of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond

Build your skills and knowledge of sustainable landscaping by attending the 2010 Bay-Friendly Conference and MarketPlace.
•       Learn how to cost effectively minimize environmental impacts while promoting ecological potential.
•       Get the most recent information from experienced professionals and practitioners.
•       Discover innovative landscaping products and services.
•       Improve your skills, knowledge & bottom line.
•       Gain continuing education credits.

Visit for topics, pre-conference tour, and registration. 
Those who register by September 1st will be entered into a raffle for a smart controller:


3.  Haight Ashbury Native Plant Nursery
APPRECIATION POTLUCK SUMMER CELEBRATION - To thank our native plant nursery supporters!

Sunday, Aug. 1, 2010, 12:00 noon - 4:00 pm
With a brief program at 2:00 pm

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, west of Carousel Hill at the picnic tables
RSVP Deidre / Linda 415-564-4107

Please join us for good food, fun and community. RSVP by July 30 and let us know what type of dish you would like to bring, i.e. hors d'oeuvres, salads, side dishes, main entrees, desserts or iced tea. Please bring your own utensils and if you'd like, a blanket to sit on. We look forward to seeing you there!


4.  Tours for thinking people

"Nerdy Tours for San Franciscans" have magically made their way onto the Thinkwalks calendar at

Some are walks and some are bike rides. One event is a panel Q&A (Sept 22--All about SF Sewer History!). Some are on weekdays, some on weekends. I especially want you to note the July 31 ride (THIS Saturday) to explore the history and stories of Social Justice Murals (11:45 to 2:30) in the north Mission and Castro. You KNOW you'll have a new perspective when this ride's over!

As usual, you set your price for taking a Thinkwalks tour!
2010 "Presidio Outdoors" Open House
Saturday 31 July, 10 am to noon
Presidio Nursery, 1244 Appleton St 
( for directions)

The Presidio features 1,000 acres of wildflower meadows, gardens, and forest groves.  Over the next year new trails and overlooks will be built, trees will be planted, Army landfills will be removed, and habitats will be restored.  At this open house, park staff will explain projects taking place through summer 2011, answer your questions, and welcome your comments.  Short waking tours will be offered at the end of the program.

After the open house, visit the nearby Presidio Habitats Exhibition Pavilion and enjoy outdoor installations inspired by Presidio wildlife.
RSVP: 561-5418 or


6.   It is indeed human nature to hate the man whom you have injured.  Tacitus


7.  Each fall, WildCare ( presents the Terwilliger Environmental Award to an individual who has made outstanding efforts to impact Bay Area children and adults through environmental education. Recipients are awarded for their determination and enthusiasm to unite the public with nature in innovative, compelling and exciting ways, while instilling a sense of commitment and responsibility for a more sustainable future. 

We invite all local fans and sponsors to attend the award ceremony and show support for SaveNature.Org, as well as share in honoring our esteemed director, Norm, with this meaningful award.

Terwilliger Environmental Award Ceremony
Friday, September 10th, 2010, 4:00-6:00 p.m.
WildCare Terwilliger Center, Dorothy and Martell Kaliski Courtyard, 
76 Alberta Park Lane, San Rafael, CA
Includes Wildlife Ambassador presentations, Beverages and Hors d'oeuvres!

Please RSVP by September 1st 


8.  Daniel Schorr dies at 93

(For the past 30 years, Daniel Schorr has been Senior News Analyst for NPR.  His analyses appeared on NPR's All Things Considered, which considers all things--which makes for a very long daily program:  2 hours.  I don't have 2 hours to spend every day, so I am in another room at the computer, with one ear tuned to the radio.  If Schorr came on I would drop everything and run to the living room to listen to his every word.  In 2006 NPR had an observance/interview for his 90th birthday.  Ever since, I was always mindful of the fact that he wouldn't be around a lot longer, and that increased the intensity of my appreciation.  I am keenly aware that today's system of news gathering and commentary doesn't allow the creation of a Daniel Schorr.  JS) 

Hodge-podge of items pasted together, mostly from NPR:

Schorr, a longtime NPR contributor, broke stories during the Cold War and Watergate that won him numerous awards -- as well as the enmity of presidents.  He once described himself as a "living history book".

Schorr was surprised to find himself on the so-called Enemies List that had been drawn up by Richard Nixon's White House when he read it on the air. The list — naming hundreds of political opponents, entertainers and publications considered hostile to the administration — became the basis for one of the charges of impeachment against Nixon.

Schorr, along with some other members of the list, counted his inclusion on it as his greatest achievement.

In 1976, Schorr reported on the findings of the Pike Committee, which had investigated illegal CIA and FBI activities. The committee had voted to keep its final report secret, but Schorr leaked a copy to the Village Voice, which published it.

Schorr was threatened with a $100,000 fine and jail time for contempt of Congress. But during congressional testimony, Schorr refused to identify his source, citing First Amendment protections. The House ethics committee voted 6 to 5 against a contempt citation.

But CBS had already taken Schorr off the air. He ultimately resigned from the network that year.

"CBS found that, like other big corporations, it did not like to offend the Congress," Mudd said. "He broke his ties to CBS and before they could fire him, he resigned."
"What passes for commentary today is almost all opinion," Ritchie said, "but Schorr was part of that breed of commentators who dug up information before they pontificated about it."

Journalism Legend Daniel Schorr Dies At 93

Robert Siegel Remembers Daniel Schorr
NPR's 'Voice Of Experience,' Daniel Schorr, Dies

Daniel Schorr On...
President Nixon
The Fall Of The Berlin Wall
Edward R. Murrow
Sept. 11
The Creation Of CNN
Lessons Learned And Shared

Schorr won Emmys in each of the Watergate years of 1972, 1973 and 1974. Over the course of his long career, he was honored with numerous other decorations and awards, including a Peabody for "a lifetime of uncompromising reporting of the highest integrity." Schorr was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Society of Professional Journalists.
"He was sophisticated about the government and how it works," Mudd said. "He was a damned vacuum cleaner, is what he was."

'Killer Schorr'
In 1975, Schorr reported on assassinations that had been carried out by the CIA. "The anger of the administration can be gauged from Richard Helms' denunciation of Schorr," historian Garry Wills recounts in his 2010 book, Bomb Power.
Helms, then the CIA director, confronted Schorr in the presence of other reporters at the White House, calling him names such as "son of a bitch" and "killer."
"Killer Schorr:  That's what they ought to call you," Helms said.

FROM NIXON STORY:  In his first speech as president, Ford said that the national nightmare had ended. A resilient nation had survived, but the episode had left its scars on the body politic. Since Nixon, no president has been fully trusted.

(Oh, how I'm going to miss this guy.  JS)


The tropics owe their stunning biodiversity to consistent year-round temperatures, not higher temperatures or more sunlight, according to a novel survey of insect diversity at different latitudes and at different points in the planet's history.


10.  The John Muir Association, a nonprofit organization supporting the National Park Service’s John Muir National Historic Site, is requesting nominations for the John Muir Conservation Award.  Awards are given in four different categories (shown below) and are open to individuals, nonprofit organizations, public agencies and businesses.  The categories are: 
1.         Conservationist of the Year:  For an individual(s) who has excelled in environmental protection or made significant contributions to the advancement of conservation.

2.         Environmental Education Conservation Award:  For outstanding contribution by an individual(s) (professional or volunteer), business, organization or public agency to environmental education, whether in a classroom or otherwise.

3.         Nonprofit or Public Agency Conservation Award:  For outstanding achievement by a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental protection or demonstrated significant achievement or leadership in the advancement of conservation.

4.         Business Conservation Award:  For outstanding achievement by a business (other than a nonprofit organization) that promotes environmental protection or demonstrated significant achievement or leadership in the advancement of conservation.

More information and a nomination form are available at   Deadline for submission is October 1, 2010.   The winners will receive their awards at the Conservation Award dinner to be held on Saturday, November 13, 2010 at the Campbell Theatre, 636 Ward Street, Martinez, California.

Please consider making a nomination, posting the announcement on your website and/or forwarding to others.

Gallery House, Palo Alto, CA
EXHIBITION: July 27 - August 21, 2010
RECEPTION: Friday, July 30, 6-8 pm, with food and live music 
Trevlyn Williams will be having a show of new watercolor work entitled "Open Spaces". This work features paintings of the coast and Peninsula. Some favorite old places such as Edgewood Natural Preserve as well and some new locations such as Mid Peninsula Open Spaces and coast state parks, Ano Nuevo and Moss Landing. 10% of sales proceeds will be donated to either Friends of Edgewood or a fund supporting the open space featured in the painting.
320 California Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94306


From August 1-7 twenty activists and their guides will march across Yosemite National Park in an effort to draw attention to and raise funds for the campaign to restore the Hetch Hetchy Valley.  11 of them need your support. 

In order to participate in Muir's March each participant must raise a minimum of $1913 (commemorating the year Congress voted to flood the valley and destroy this extraordinary ecosystem) prior to this Sunday.  Eleven of these intrepid supporters are still shy of the $1913 goal. Will you help one or more of the Marchers reach their goal?

This phenomenal group of folks ranges in age from 15 to 61.  They hail from as far away as Philadelphia and as close as downtown San Francisco.  Like John Muir, each recognizes that provoking environmental change not only requires talking the talk but also, quite literally, walking the walk.  You can be a part of this extraordinary commitment by sponsoring their effort. 

Working together we can accomplish John Muir's dream of restoring the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park to its original natural splendor.  Please take a moment to support Muir's March.

P.S.  Join us on August 7th on O'Shaughnessy Dam in Yosemite National Park at noon as we welcome the Muir's Marchers at the 2nd annual Restoration Rally. 


13.  Feedback

Ian Wilson:
> Dear Jake,  Re item 3:  All the great tragedies experienced by humanity since its beginning:  horrendous wars such as World War II that killed tens of millions, earthquakes, floods, fires, starvation, plagues have had almost no impact on the inexorable burgeoning of the human species.  
> The January 22 San Francisco Chronicle carried an LTE that made the point that, in terms of numbers, all the people who died in the Haiti earthquake were replaced the very next day elsewhere on the earth.
> I now know what my epitaph will be. Since the world population is still growing at a rate of about 150 people per minute, or one person each 0.4 seconds, please have them write on my tombstone "He was replaced in less than half a second."

Chris Darling:
> Dear Jake, I am afraid that my response to the nationwide listening sessions about how to protect the outdoors (item #6 in the last newsletter) is total cynicism.  At this point, I do not believe that the Administration is willing to put any political capital into anything that is not also a goal of the very rich and/or large corporations.  I believe that the listening sessions will happen and I also believe it is necessary for people to attend and talk about threats to clean air, clean water, need for habitat protection, stopping global warming, finding a way to stop plastic going into the oceans, etc. etc. etc.  But one objection from Senators Lincoln, Snowe, Nelson, or Lieberman will have more impact than 10,000 or even 100,000 comments at the listening sessions.  


14.  President Obama appointed the following individual to a key administration post:

Daphne Kwok, Appointee for Chair, President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
Daphne Kwok is currently the Executive Director of Asians and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities of California.  She was also the Executive Director of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation from 2005 to 2007, the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies from 2001 to 2005, and at the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) from 1990 to 2001.  During her term at OCA, Ms. Kwok was elected the first Chair of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans.  Ms. Kwok's work with federal agencies has included being appointed to the Secretary of Energy's Advisory Board (2000-2005); testifying before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; and being a grant reviewer for the Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration.  She also currently serves on the board of trustees at Wesleyan University, where she earned her B.A.

President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key administration posts:

David Grubb, Appointee for Member, Board of Directors of the Presidio Trust 
David Grubb is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Swinerton Incorporated, a San Francisco-based general contractor. At Swinerton for four decades, he worked successively as project manager, branch manager, vice president, executive vice president, and president and chairman. Mr. Grubb currently serves on the board of directors for Immaculate Conception Academy and the San Francisco Zoological Society.  In addition to having served as chair of the Presidio Trust, Mr. Grubb has served on the board of trustees for the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. While at the Conservancy, he chaired the projects committee which oversaw the restoration of Crissy Field, a national historical landmark that was once part of the Presidio Army Base.

William R. Hambrecht, Appointee for Member, Board of Directors of the Presidio Trust
William R. Hambrecht is the Founder and Chairman of WR Hambrecht + Co, an investment bank that uses the internet and auctions for raising capital.  Prior to WR Hambrecht + Co, he co-founded Hambrecht & Quist, a firm that specialized in investing in and taking Silicon Valley companies public.  Mr. Hambrecht currently serves on the Board of Directors for Motorola, Inc., AOL Inc., and Decision Economics, Inc., and he is on the Board of Trustees for The American University in Beirut and serves on the Advisory Council to The J. David Gladstone Institute.  In October 2006, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Charlene Harvey, Appointee for Member, Board of Directors of the Presidio Trust
Charlene Harvey, a longtime resident of San Francisco, worked for 16 years with the Management Center of San Francisco as a staff consultant to nonprofit organizations. She currently serves a board member of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the San Francisco Foundation, and is involved in the environmental field with Conservation International. She is a past chair of KQED, past chair of the Advisory Committee to Grants for the Arts, and past president of the Junior League of San Francisco. She has served on the boards of the Rosenberg Foundation, the Mental Health Association of San Francisco, and the California Pacific Medical Center, among others. She was awarded the SPUR Award in 1997 and the Outstanding Volunteer Fund Raiser Award in 1996 by the National Society of Fund Raising Executives.


15.  Three slime-mold beetles have been named, respectively:
Agathidium bushi
Agathidium cheneyi
Agathidium rumsfeldi
Slime-mold beetles are right up there with dung beetles in the public esteem, so this should be a suitable memorialization.  Apologies to slime-molds (fascinating organisms) and their consumers; they are necessary for world functioning, unlike the three memorialized.

16.  “In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican.” H.L. Mencken
(You should have stuck around, H.L., to see what the Republicans are up to now):
Our Mission

Earth and it's inhabitants need more, not less, CO2. 
More CO2 means:

    * More Plant Growth
    * Plants need less water
    * More food per acre
    * More robust habitats and ecosystems

CO2 is Earth's greatest airborne fertilizer.  Without it - No Life On Earth!      
Our mission is to educate the public on the positive effects of additional atmospheric CO2 and help prevent the inadvertent negative impact to human, plant and animal life if we reduce CO2. 

17.  Pius Mau Piailug, master navigator, died on July 12th, aged 78 

IN THE spring of 1976 Mau Piailug offered to sail a boat from Hawaii to Tahiti. The expedition, covering 2,500 miles, was organised by the Polynesian Voyaging Society to see if ancient seafarers could have gone that way, through open ocean. The boat was beautiful, a double-hulled canoe named Hokule’a, or “Star of Gladness” (Arcturus to Western science). But there was no one to captain her. At that time, Mau was the only man who knew the ancient Polynesian art of sailing by the stars, the feel of the wind and the look of the sea. So he stepped forward.

As a Micronesian he did not know the waters or the winds round Tahiti, far south-east. But he had an image of Tahiti in his head. He knew that if he aimed for that image, he would not get lost. And he never did. More than 2,000 miles out, a flock of small white terns skimmed past the Hokule’a heading for the still invisible Mataiva Atoll, next to Tahiti. Mau knew then that the voyage was almost over.

On that month-long trip he carried no compass, sextant or charts. He was not against modern instruments on principle. A compass could occasionally be useful in daylight; and, at least in old age, he wore a chunky watch. But Mau did not operate on latitude, longitude, angles, or mathematical calculations of any kind. He walked, and sailed, under an arching web of stars moving slowly east to west from their rising to their setting points, and knew them so well—more than 100 of them by name, and their associated stars by colour, light and habit—that he seemed to hold a whole cosmos in his head, with himself, determined, stocky and unassuming, at the nub of the celestial action.

Sharing breadfruit

Setting out on an ocean voyage, with water in gourds and pounded tubers tied up in leaves, he would point his canoe into the right slant of wind, and then along a path between a rising star and an opposite, setting one. With his departure star astern and his destination star ahead, he could keep to his course. By day he was guided by the rising and setting sun but also by the ocean herself, the mother of life. He could read how far he was from shore, and its direction, by the feel of the swell against the hull. He could detect shallower water by colour, and see the light of invisible lagoons reflected in the undersides of clouds. Sweeter-tasting fish meant rivers in the offing; groups of birds, homing in the evening, showed him where land lay.

He began to learn all this as a baby, when his grandfather, himself a master navigator, held his tiny body in tidal pools to teach him how waves and wind blew differently from place to place. Later came intensive memorising of the star-compass, a circle of coral pebbles, each pebble a star, laid out in the sand round a palm-frond boat. This was not dilettantism, but essential study; on tiny Satawal Atoll, where he spent his life, deep-sea fishing out in the Pacific was necessary to survive.

Nonetheless, the old ways were changing fast. After Mau, at 18, was made a palu or initiated navigator, hung with garlands and showered with yellow turmeric to show the knowledge he had gained, no other Pacific islander was initiated for 39 years. Alone, he went out in his boat with the proper incantations to the spirits of the ocean, with proper “magical protection” against the evil octopus that lurked in the waters between Pafang and Chuuk, and with the wisdom never to get lost—or only once, when he was wrecked by a typhoon and spent seven months, with his crew, waiting to be rescued from an uninhabited island.

As a palu, however, he could not allow his skills to die with him. He was duty-bound to pass them on. Hence his agreement to captain the Hokule’a. That voyage, which proved that the migration of peoples from the south and west to Hawaii was not accident, but probably a deliberate act of superlative sea- and starcraft, transformed the self-image of Hawaiians; and it changed Mau’s life. Suddenly, he was in demand as a teacher. Patiently, pointer in hand, one leg tucked under him, he would explain the star compass to new would-be navigators; but he allowed them to write it down. He knew they could never keep it all in their heads, as he had.

Much of what he knew, of course, was secret. The secrecy was serious: when he spoke of spirits, his smiling face became deadly sober and even scared. To a very few students, he passed on “The Talk of the Sea” and “The Talk of the Light”. By doing so, he broke a rule that Micronesian knowledge should remain in those islands only. It seemed to him, though, that Polynesians and Micronesians were one people, united by the vast ocean which he, and they, had crisscrossed for millennia in their tiny boats.

In 2007 the people of Hawaii gave him a present of a double-hulled canoe, the Alingano Maisu. Maisu means “ripe breadfruit blown from a tree in a storm”, which anyone may eat. The breadfruit was Mau’s favourite tree anyway: tall and light, with a twisty grain excellent for boat-building, sticky latex for caulking, and big starchy fruit which, fermented, made the ideal food for an ocean voyage. But maisu also referred to easy, communal sharing of something good: like the knowledge of how to sail for weeks out on the Pacific, without maps, going by the stars.

The Economist 24 July 2010


18.  Legal brief
Some laws we made earlier 

A mammoth legislative endeavour is about to come to an end in Ireland. Under the Pre-Independence Project, every single law introduced before the country gained independence in 1922 has been reviewed, with the relevant staying on the statute book and the irrelevant being dispatched to the dustbin. Below we reprint some of the laws set to fall away, so be warned before you run up a bar tab you can't pay for . . . 
1070-1087 Allegations by a Frenchman concerning an Englishman can be defended either by ordeal by hot iron or by waging battle.   (En garde, Monsieur Sarkozy!)
1181 No Jew to keep in his possession a hauberk [a long coat of chainmail] or an aubergel [similar armour]. 
1181 Arms to pass to their heir in the event of death. 
1291 The freedom of movement of the French in the realm is guaranteed.  (See item 1, above)
1326 Citizens and commonalty to use only cloth made in England, Ireland or Wales. 
1360 Writ served against people associating with the Irish, using their language, or sending children to be nursed among them. 
1428 All servants leaving Ireland to be arrested. 
1462 Sir Thomas Plunkett to have 12 trees out of Trim Park. 
1476 If any Irishman commits an offence against the King's subjects, any of his nation may be arrested and his goods detained till amends be made. 
1718 Coffee Adulteration Act: forbids the mixing of lard, grease and/or sheep dung into coffee sacks to make it go further.  
(Does Starbucks know about this?)
1735 Tippling Act: prohibits landlords from vigorously chasing money owed to them for ales. 
Research by Lisa O'Carroll and Jennifer Rigby 
(I lost the source of this item.  JS)


19.  In Washington, it's illegal....

(City?)  for a child to pretend its parents are richer than they are
(City?)  to lick a lollipop in a public place*
(Wilbur, WA)  to have a horse that is ugly
(City?)  to sleep in a bathroom without obtaining owner's permission
(City?)  to fake wrestling**

Heard on Says You (spoken too fast to write down details)
*  But it's OK to bring a gun into a restaurant
** You mean, there's no wrestling at all?

What are two straight days of rain in Seattle called?    A weekend
Says You will broadcast from San Francisco next Apr 14-16, and you can order tickets now:
For updates and info, contact scott at planttrees dot org.