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1.   Stow Lake Boathouse concessionaire on super-fast track.  Why?
2.   Job opportunity:  Tuolumne River Trust wants education coordinator
3.   Request for Grant Proposals Heron’s Head Park/India Basin Environmental Education Program
4.   History and Prospects for Western Pond Turtle, Thursday 19 August
5.   Sol lucet omnibus.  Oh yeh?  Come to San Francisco
6.   Worried about coastal erosion, flooding and sea level rise?  Monday 16 August, Pacifica
7.   Bird & Beckett Books:  What will it take to save west end of GGP?  Sunday 15, 2pm/Where are Indians, what doing?  Sunday 22 Aug, 2.30pm
8.   San Bruno Mountain field trip Saturday 14 August
9.   Sea Turtle Restoration Project Arts and Craft Benefit Show and Auction 12 Noon to 6 PM Saturday 14 Aug
10. Take a Walk on the Waterfront--India Basin, 21 August 10-12.30 pm
11.  Relaxing sea watch at Ft Funston:  the wildest coastal views, some of more elusive sea creatures, 21 Aug
12.  California Soundscapes:  An Adventure in Listening, Muir Woods 21 Aug
13.  California Invasive Plant council Photo Contest
14.  Build a Trail With a View!  20-22 August, Corona Heights Park
15.  Creating Habitat in the Bay Area:  Green Roofs and Beyond, 25 August
16.  Would you like to harvest the rain?  You can be a host for the SFPUC
17.  San Francisco’s Sunday Streets returns to the Great Highway on August 22, 2010
18.  Learn how Native Californians used traditional plant knowledge and management; San Carlos Library Wed 18 August
19.  15 local species with unique stories and roles - check them out and submit an idea to help save your favorite
20.  Breaking the Growth Habit/Birthright Citizenship Controversy & Crisis
21.  Save the Date: Nov 16 for Habitat Conservation Planning From Tahoe to the Bay Workshop
22.  Feedback:  Outermost House/wolves, elk, coyotes, wild turkeys
23.  Advice from Arabs

1.  Choosing a concessionaire for the Stow Lake Boathouse on fast track

(For some reason the choosing of a concessionaire for the Stow Lake Boathouse has been put on a fast track.  That automatically makes me suspicious.  The following paragraphs are from Nancy DeStefanis, who many of you know for her great work in nature education, particularly for the Great Blue Heron project at Stow Lake.  She is understandably nervous about the lack of information and not taking the public into its confidence.  JS)

I think it's important for the public to know about the Meeting of the Recreation and Parks Commission on Thursday, August 19th to approve a bid from the 
Ortega Family Enterprises, based in New Mexico.  It is important for the public and stakeholders to know about the particulars before the Board votes.  This is 
one of the most significant issues to come before the Commission.  The public deserves to be informed and then comment before the Commission votes.

Therefore I urge you to contact the Commission about your concerns and attend the meeting and urge the Commission to postpone any decision until the public 
learns more at the Aug. 19th meeting and then has time to comment.  SF Nature Education remains neutral on the bids.  Our sole interest as a stakeholder 
(which has brought thousands of SF school children to Stow Lake in the past ten years) is to make sure the bid is transparent before the Commission votes so we can learn more.

We have concerns about the proposed number of folks to be served, capacity for parking, environmental impact on wildbirds and the nesting colony of great blue herons 
(of which SF Nature Education is the official monitor for the past 17 years-since I discovered the first nesting pair in SF in 1993) and these are just a few. I’m sure the 
general public has concerns as well.

Please write to the Recreation and Parks Commission: Recreation & Parks Commission 
Also Phone the Commission and request the time when the Commission plans to call the matter. 415-831-2700.

Nancy DeStefanis
Executive Director
San Francisco Nature Education


2.  Job opportunity
The Tuolumne River Trust is seeking an Education Coordinator to oversee “That’s the Tuolumne in my Tap,” our education program for 4th and 5th grade students in 
San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Alameda Counties.  

For more information:


3.  Request for Grant Proposals Heron’s Head Park/India Basin Environmental Education Program:

From the Port & RPD

4.  San Francisco Natural History Series at the Randall Museum

The History and Prospects for the Western Pond Turtle
Guest Speaker: Matthew Bettelheim
7:30pm, THURSDAY, AUGUST 19th, 2010

The Western Pond Turtle is San Francisco’s only native freshwater turtle. Wildlife biologist and natural historian Matthew Bettelheim takes us on a trip through time as seen from our struggling terrapin and the future of turtle conservation.

Info:  415.554.9600 or


5.  Sol lucet omnibus:  the Sun shines for everyone

(Everyone, that is, who doesn't live in western San Francisco.  If this sounds like a cry of anguish, believe.)


6.  Worried about coastal erosion, flooding and sea level rise? 
Come hear local coastal engineer, Bob Battalio, present an assessment of our challenges and opportunities in an age of climate change.  Learn how Pacificans can adapt while maintaining our coastal community, save our natural shores and enjoy the ride! 
Monday, August 16th 6:30pm to 8:00pm @ Sharp Park Library Community Room, 104 Hilton Way, Pacifica


7.  Sunday, August 15th, at 2:00 pm
Ocean's Edge
A presentation/roundtable discussion on what it will take to keep the wild Pacific Ocean end of Golden Gate Park the way it is-- and why that strikes many of us as important --
(in the face of a planned astroturfing of the soccer fields there, and the installation of 60 foot light stanchions, to blaze late into the night)
~~read about the controversy here~~ along with a discussion of a proposal for the Clyde Warhaftig Open Space (Diamond Street at ) participation in the discussion by all in attendance strongly encouraged!

Sunday, August 22nd at 2:30 pm
"Where are the Indians?  And what in the world are they doing??" 
A presentation by Dolan Eargle on the living heritage of the many West Coast cultures that predate the European era (with a digression on indigenous Argentina).
Read up on Dolan's book, Native California, here

Bird & Beckett Books
653 Chenery, San Francisco
(415) 586-3733 -


8.  Field trip

California Native Plant Society
Owl and Buckeye Canyons, San Bruno Mountain
Saturday, August 14, 10 am - 1 pm
Leaders:  Jake Sigg and Doug Allshouse

The fire that raged through San Bruno Mountain's Owl Canyon and spilled over into Buckeye Canyon in June 2008 was very hot deep in the deep canyon draws, giving rise to fears that many of the older plants, including bunchgrasses, might be root-killed.  Fortunately that did not happen, at least to any great extent.  Most native plants have been strongly resurgent on the two previous fire-follower field trips we've had, but so have the invasive plants, so monitoring the changes through time will be interesting.  Some of the less-than-common plants we should see:  angelica (Angelica hendersonii), aster, (Aster radulinus), hazelnut (Corylus cornuta), tinker's penny (Hypericum anagalloides), thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus), yellow-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium californicum), and blue witch (Solanum umbelliferum).

From Bayshore Blvd. in Brisbane turn onto Valley Drive.  Turn left at the traffic light onto South Hill Drive.  Turn left at Aircraft Technical Publishers sign at 101 South Hill.  Drive to the rear of the parking lot.  If you need further directions call Doug at 415-584-5114 or email

Why spend time preaching to the choir?
Because that is how we help them to sing.


Sea Turtle Restoration Project Arts and Craft Benefit Show and Auction 12 Noon to 6 PM Saturday, August 14th, 2010

Come view, purchase and bid on the works of over 20 recognized fine artists and craftspeople who are coming together to benefit sea turtle protection.  Enjoy a free wine and cheese reception from 4 pm to 6 pm and help protect sea turtles and the oceans from oil spills and pollution and other threats.  Located in a beautiful private courtyard at 10 Arkansas Street in the Portrero Hill district across from the California College of Arts.  For more information, please visit www.SeaTurtles.Org/Artshow or email ArtShow@SeaTurtles.Org

"Working for the earth is not a way to get rich, it is a way to be rich. "  -  Paul Hawken

Take a Walk on the Waterfront:
Saturday August 21, 10 am - 12.30 pm
India Basin Shoreline
Meet at Heron's Head Park, Cargo & Jennings

FREE. Join the India Basin Neighborhood Association on a 3-mile flat walk along our beautiful shoreline & hear about the community vision for the future. The San Francisco Redevelopment Agency has created a DRAFT Plan for the 76-acre India Basin Shoreline — from the PG&E Power Plant to the Hunters Point Shipyard — that changes: Zoning, Building Heights, and Transportation. Their plan calls for 1200 housing units. The community has creative ideas that take advantage of this unique location and include active recreation and entertainment areas, jobs and business opportunities, boating center, community farm, dog park, skate park, and family homes. Sound interesting? Wear sturdy shoes. Walk begins & ends at the Heron’s Head Park parking lot. 19 Polk stops nearby. Find details on
All invited.
In case you missed it, Carl Nolte wrote an article about India Basin in the SF Chronicle. Here’s the link:


11.  Saturday, August 21, 2010, 3:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m.: Join local naturalist Matt Zlatunich for a relaxing sea watch at Fort Funston, which has some of the wildest coastal views in San Francisco. We’ll be searching for some of the more elusive sea creatures that call the GGNRA home: Humpback Whale, Steller Sea Lion, and Southern Sea Otters! You never know: might throw in a Marbled Murrelet while we are there. RSVP required: please RSVP within the trip info at Bring spotting scopes and binoculars if you have them; also bring water and snacks to munch on. Meet at the Fort Funston Observation Deck. Fort Funston, Skyline Blvd., CA, 94101.
Part of the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year, a race against time to see and save the Park’s endangered species. For more info: and see the calendar for upcoming Big Year trips and activities.


Saturday, August 21, 2010 6-8 pm
Location: Marin County, Muir Woods National Monument
Ever notice how noisy the world is these days? Learn how our parks are struggling with soundscape preservation, and how natural sounds are documented by nature sound recordists in two styles, species hunting and soundscape recording. Join Dan Dugan and Sharon Perry of the Nature Sounds Society for this lecture-demonstration. They will give an introduction to the theory of soundscape analysis, demonstrate the difference between mono, stereo, and surround sound, and briefly survey the available equipment. Participants will have an opportunity to handle both economical and professional gear. Listeners will experience a tour of sixteen California soundscapes in surround sound, ending with recent recordings at Muir Woods.
Reservations required; phone Muir Woods (415) 388-2596.


13.  California Invasive Plant Council Photo Contest

California Invasive Plant Council's outreach and education efforts rely heavily on photography to show people the devastating impacts weeds have on our natural communities.  Without the great pictures our members share with us, our message would be much harder to convey.
By participating in the annual photo contest, you help us spread the word by sharing your photos of weeds and their impacts.  Plus, you could WIN Symposium Favorite! 

Entries will be displayed at the 2010 Cal-IPC Symposium in Ventura, October 13-16.   Symposium attendees will vote for "Best in Show." 

Complete 2010 Photo Contest Details:

Build a Trail with a View!
August 20-22
Corona Heights Park
SF Rec & Park

It isn't every day you get a chance to help build a brand new trail in the heart of San Francisco. Nestled in next to the Randall Museum, Corona Heights offers great views, unusual rock formations, and a hillside that needs you to help turn it into a beautiful natural path to the top of the hill.

Corona Heights Park is one of 11 parks that are part of the SF Urban Trails project, and V-O-Cal will help kick off this great trail improvement program by building approximately 900 feet of new trail on a wooded hillside. Learn more here!

Register Now!  
San Francisco Recreation and Park Department
Natural Areas Program / Neighborhood Service Area 10

Creating Habitat in the Bay Area: Green Roofs and Beyond
Hosted by Green Roof Alliance
Wednesday, August 25: 7-8 PM
Bay Localize, 436 14th Street, 2nd Floor Conference Room, Oakland

The Green Roof Alliance invites you to learn about enhancing biodiversity in our Bay Area cities with Lisa Lee Benjamin, Principal of Evo Design and founder of Alpine Initiatives, and Amber Hasselbring of Nature in the City.

Lisa Lee Benjamin designs and creates sustainable environments that integrate people and structures with their surroundings. She consults on and leads international projects focusing on what is possible in relation to our ideas of sustainability, collaboration, and community. A certified permaculturalist a plant and soil biologist, and recent insect enthusiast, Lisa will enlighten us with the possibilities for habitat creation in our area through living roofs, walls, and other architectural features.

Amber Hasselbring is a San Francisco artist focused on exploring ecological relationships. Her Mission Greenbelt Project(2007-present) explores themes of gentrification, education, and urban ecology through performances and garden building efforts in San Francisco. By harnessing community creativity to construct a contiguous wildlife corridor, the Mission Greenbelt Project fosters urban environmental stewardship.

The Green Roof Alliance works in collaboration with industry professionals, government representatives, and communities to promote healthy and sustainable green roofs in the Bay Area.


16.  Would you like to harvest the rain?

Greywater Action is looking for a few qualifying home sites on which to hold their popular “Rainwater Harvesting for Urban Gardeners” hands-on workshop. If your home qualifies, you can host a workshop and have a rainwater harvesting system built in your home or garden!

Home site requirements:

Site must be located in San Francisco.
Yard or garden must contain a roof downspout that has never been connected to the sewer system. (This means that water flowing through the downspout flows onto the ground.)
Yard or garden surface is level with or slopes down from the rainwater harvesting storage area.

Hosts will need to:
Provide lunch for workshop participants.
Sign a liability waiver.
Participate in a survey.
Strap completed rainwater harvesting system to a wall or fence for seismic safety (the Department of Building Inspection requires using two 3/4-inch perforated 24-gauge steel straps). Straps will be installed during the workshop.

Hosts will be given free 45-gallon food drums (provided by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission) which will be converted into rain barrels during the workshop. Hosts will need to purchase all additional hardware required to build the system.  Note: Workshop participant fees cover teacher’s fees for the workshop. However, if participant fees fall short of covering teacher’s fees, hosts will be required to pay the difference (this occurs very rarely).

For more information or to apply to host a Greywater Action “Rainwater Harvesting for Urban Gardeners” workshop, please write to: or


 17.  Sunday Streets on the Great Highway
‘Penguins to Penguins’ ride from the Calif. Academy of Sciences to the SF Zoo

San Francisco’s Sunday Streets returns to the Great Highway on August 22, 2010. The ‘Penguins to Penguins’ route connects the CA Academy of Sciences and SF Zoo, who each have their own collection of penguins. The route goes along JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park to the Great Highway, traveling from Lincoln to Sloat Blvd.  This event features popular bike programs such as Freedom from Training Wheels, free bike rentals and repairs, a roller skating rink with free skates, Dance lessons, Bootcamp workouts, games and crafts for the kids and more. The event runs from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. For more information, go to: 


18.  Wed, August 18, 7pm:
The Plants and People of Native California. Learn how Native Californians used traditional plant knowledge and management techniques to provide food, medicine, shelter, clothing, tools, and trade goods. Marianne Schonfisch is the coordinator of the Native Plants/Native Ways school program at the Filoli estate in Woodside. San Carlos Library, 610 Elm St, San Carlos.


19.  Lives at Stake

Our generation is on the verge of living through the greatest mass extinction in over 65 million years, ripping holes in the fabric of life. Our survival depends on the services provided by biodiversity, including clean air and water, food, medicine, and a stable climate. Our response to this crisis will be one of the lasting legacies of our time.
California is one of the top 25 biodiversity hotspots on Earth, with very diverse ecosystems. However, almost 300 threatened and endangered species are now fighting for their lives statewide due to threats such as habitat loss, pollution and climate change.

Thankfully, conservation can work and species can recover. Worldwide, people are working to restore habitat, clean up our environment, and live sustainably. Focusing our efforts close to home is a vital part of the global strategy to reach zero extinction. That’s why we’ve chosen 15 local species with unique stories and roles in the web of life.
Check them out and submit an idea to help save your favorite.


20.  LTE, Scientific American August 2010

I did not think I would live long enough to read an article dealing with the subject matter in "Breaking the Growth Habit," by Bill McKibben.  During my 72 years as a citizen of the U.S., I've lived out West, back East, up North and down South.  There was always a local chamber of commerce stating that if a town was not in a perpetual state of growth, it was not healthy.  Isn't growth for the sake of growth the philosophy of cancer?
John Langerak, Chester, Maine

(What a welcome sight strolling down the street a few days ago--headlines on both USA Today and the Wall Street Journal:  "One in 12 U.S. births are to illegal immigrants".  Many of us have long known about this scam (I don't mean that all the births are scams, however), so it is good to see it coming to the surface.  But don't hold your breath until something is done about it--too many people are happy with the status quo.  However, the states may show the way for the national government.  Vide Arizona.  JS)

“Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States.”  Porfirio Diaz, longest-serving president of Mexico in the 19th century

Birthright Citizenship Controversy & Crisis
Santa Barbara, CA – August 5, 2010 - America is one of the few first-world democracies that grants automatic birthright citizenship to babies born by women illegally in the United States. A Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) Issues piece, "American Jackpot: The Remaking of America by Birthright Citizenship," explains how and why the 14th amendment is incorrectly interpreted and exploited, thus working against American interests. This report suggests ways to end birthright citizenship that lures illegal entrants as well as legal immigrants who come to exploit and devalue American citizenship.

Also available on video: Birthright Citizenship & Allegiance to America in which Chapman University School of Law Dean Dr. John Eastman explains in detail why the 14th Amendment does not give the children of illegal immigrants--or legal tourists for that matter--automatic citizenship at birth. Dr. Eastman outlines three potential methods to correct the crisis and encourages you to study up on the issue and then call your congressional representatives.

Quote of the Day
“The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.”  — George Bernard Shaw


Northern California Conservation Planning Partners                
Eighth Annual Habitat Conservation Planning From Tahoe to the Bay Workshop
Tuesday November 16th., 2010      9 am to 4:00 pm
Ulatis Community Center, 1000 Ulatis Dr, Vacaville

Program Includes
* The Santa Clara Valley HCP / NCCP.
*   Roles of mitigation and conservation banks.
* Coordination with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.
* Links with regional programs for sustainable communities, flood control and water management.


22.  Feedback

Sue Rosenthal:
> Hi Jake, You've probably read The Outermost House by Henry Beston (I'm ashamed to say I haven't--yet), but just in case, here's the full quote about animals and their gifts.  I first saw it at the veterinary hospital where I took my cats years ago.  It filled a big part of one wall in the waiting room.  It is one of my very favorite quotes.  (My absolute favorite is "Nature bats last.")
> "We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals.  Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion.  We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves.  And therein we err, and greatly err.  For the animal shall not be measured by man.  In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.  They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth."

Jim LeCuyer:
> Here's an interesting statistic Jake.  It is, of course, directly pertinent to our efforts to make environmental change.
> As of 2001, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 33.4% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 51%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 84%, leaving only 16% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers)
> Joe Marman

Brendan Oates:
> Hey Jake, I'm in Idaho for the summer doing research on wolves for the University of Montana (Missoula).  There is a great misinformation in this state (and Montana & Wyoming) that wolves are "decimating" elk herds, which is just bullshit.  Idaho Fish & Game just released a scientific report of the effects predators have on elk populations in the state.  I included the newsletter in the attachment, but here is the bottom line: 
>       Elk numbers are above or within objective levels in 23 of the 29 zones in Idaho.  That leaves six zones below objective levels due to various conditions: habitat fragmentation, weather (harsh winters), combined with: wolves (in only 2 zones), mountain lions (1 zone) and believe it or not, HUNTERS (3 zones).  
>       A major misconception of predator-prey dynamics within the general human population is that predators control prey....Not correct.  Prey control predators, in fact: if elk numbers are doing well one year, the wolf numbers will follow, not lead.  It's not in the wolf's interest to "decimate" its prey to unsustainable levels for obvious reasons.  Below I give an explanation as to why hunters don't see as many elk before the wolf arrived:
>       There is a huge number of "sportsmen" in Idaho who hunt big game (namely elk), and they have somehow conjured up the notion that the reason they aren't seeing as many elk before wolves got here, is because wolves are killing them to no end.  As a field biologist, I can tell you that elk are behaving the way they would naturally, because their keystone predator has returned.  Elk are not just loafing around in pastures like cattle anymore, mowing down grasses and shoots, giving them no chance to regrow...they can't afford to.  Wolves are on their tail, moving them around, keeping them alert and wary.  There are too many hunters in this state that expect to see elk everywhere they go "hunt" (ie. riding on an ATV with a beer in hand for a couple hours a day).  They're complaining that they're not seeing any elk, but the truth is they don't know how to hunt like a true "sportsman": spending hours on end tracking and stalking your game in mountainous terrain.
>    This news from Idaho Fish and Game would be a great follow-up to the recent wolf news (being re-listed in the northern rockies) - The agency's deputy director answers to the Governor (Butch Otter, who hates wolves, purely for political purposes...absolutely pathetic, but that's a whole other story), and the governor is supported by many anti-wolf, elk hunters, so Governor Otter has been putting the pressure on Idaho Fish & Game to get a wolf hunt's his dumb solution to "keep elk numbers up" and the "sportsmen" of Idaho happy.  Anywho, I could ramble for days, but I know you're busy.  I don't know how you select your news for the newsletters, but thanks for considering my email.
> Cheers, Brendan Oates  

Louise Lacey:
> Re game refuges
> I live in Kensington, on the hill between Berkeley and El Cerrito. I have lived in this general vicinity (10 miles or so) for more than 30 years. It is my experience that the game refuge law has produced many more deer than other animals. I believe it is because they are purely prey. That is, they are vegan.
> Finding predators and prey follow the rules from before the law existed. For example, just over the hill (1-2 miles) there are quite a few coyotes, easily seen casually loaping along the paths in the middle of the day. They take a large quantity of domestic cats. On a street where I lived in Wildcat Canyon for 14 years, one winter 13 cats were eaten by coyotes -- you can always identify the dead cats because their heads are left in a ditch by the road. 
> Two other predators there are mountain lion and bobcat. I have seen cougar eating deer. The fact that cougars are still here in significant numbers may be that they routinely eat deer. However, as cougars don't live in high-number-human areas (Wildcat Canyon is sparely populated, while this western side of the hill has a house on every lot) tells me something. In my current neighborhood each street -- even mine that is only one block long -- supports one or two deer mothers and their children. No cougars on this side. On my street, that usually means mommy, two of this year's children and one teenager, totally four. A male wanders by in his rutting season, distributing his largess for all the girls. They all eat our gardens, vigorously.
> We also are encouraging a large new band of wild turkeys. There are large numbers of those in Sonoma County and now in Marin. Don't know how they got here over the water. I don't know what predators eat them.
> It seems to me that the law should deal with prey, not predators. When their numbers are reduced

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