Plant Trees SF Events 2008 Archive: 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024


1.   Job opportunity:  Business Manager for Acterra
2.   Caltrans proposes ruinous highway-widening in Niles Canyon
3.   Workshop on the vital CEQA process - in San Francisco October 16
4.   Make Room for the Wild in Your Garden--Habitat for Other than Humans - San Francisco October 9
5.   Sustainable California:  The Unmentionable Problem of Population Growth - enlighten your political representatives
6.   Genetically inserted insecticide contaminates U.S. waterways
7.   North American Bee Calendar on sale
8.   Feedback:  On the Contrary, et al
9.   David Brower on Population and Immigration
10. Moraga Tiled Steps story in Washington Post
11. Field trip to see Shields Grove of oak trees at UC Davis Arboretum
12.  Introducing The Build a Frog Pond Contest
13.  Tips for saving water--and much more--from SFPUC
14.  Who signed the Declaration of Independence, and with what?
15.  Why some people have power over companies and others don't - the will to power

Acterra is Hiring! Join Us!

1.  We are seeking a Business Manager who has a solid knowledge of general bookkeeping and accounting procedures. This is a full-time, paid, benefited position.

To read the full job announcement, please click here.


2.  Meeting regarding Battery Caulfield Road Proposals 
Tuesday, October 5, 2010 - 6:30 PM
Golden Gate Club, 135 Fisher Loop

Please speak out in support of  Alternative 2  which supports the Trust's own position.  You will probably have a 2 minute time limit so be sure to prepare so you don't get cut off.  If you speak  less than 2 minutes that's not a problem but PLEASE SPEAK.

Alternative 2 would limit all through vehicular  traffic from the 14th/15th Avenue Gates to Washington Blvd.  The only ones allowed to go through would be Public Health Service Hospital District residents,  PresidiGo Shuttle,  emergency vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians.  No other cut through vehicular traffic would be allowed.  The reasons follow:   

On November  13, 2007, the Trust passed Resolution 08-5 "to limit vehicular use of Battery Caulfield Road as necessary to maintain public health and safety, to protect environmental values, to protect natural resources and to avoid conflict among visitor uses". 
Please ask the Trust to keep their own promise. 

1.   the  Presidio is a National Park and national parks are about preservation of the natural and cultural resources not traffic corridors 
2.  Battery Caulfield Road cuts right through the long promised Wildlife Corridor.  The  Corridor will connect SFBay to Crissy Marsh, go through the Tennessee         Hollow watershed, across the golf course, across the remnant dune system behind the old PHSH, and down the dune slope to the Coastal Bluffs and the Pacific             Ocean. 
3. The Army built Battery Caulfield Road in 1984 to enable internal circulation only.  This narrow road is not historic and was never intended to service through             traffic.
4. Battery Caulfield road cuts through  a remnant of the 4th largest sand dune system in the State of California; an area the Trust has agreed to protect and             restore.
5. The areas on either side of Battery Caulfield Road are part of this remnant dune system and  home to rare and endangered species
6. The area  supports the last stand of native Coast Live  Oaks in the City, rare dune slacks,  and  provides rich habitat for abundant bird and  other wildlife. -  
7. Traffic poses significant environmental and health risks to wildlife, natural resources, recreational and park users.   
8. The Trust projects almost as many car trips from new Residents as they do from current cut through traffic. 
9. Since the Trust stance already compromises the health and environmental integrity of the wildlife corridor by allowing District residents to drive through, cut through traffic must be stopped so that negative environmental impacts from vehicles is not allowed to increase geometrically. 

All written comments must be received by October 15 and sent to John Fa, Presidio Trust, 34 Graham Street, PO Box 29052, SF 94129-0052 or email  (YOUR NAME MUST BE INCLUDED IN ALL CORRESPONDENCE AS ANONYMOUS COMMENTS ARE NOT CONSIDERED).

Comment on Battery Caulfield Road Proposals

The public comment period for Battery Caulfield Road has been extended to October 15, and a public meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 5 at 6:30 pm at the Golden Gate Club, 135 Fisher Loop. The Presidio Trust is considering two approaches to limit vehicular use of a portion of the roadway in the Public Health Service District: 1) limitation of vehicular use during weekday peak AM and PM hours, 7 to 9 am and 5 to 7 pm, as well as on weekends (Alternative 1); or 2) limitation of vehicular use at all times (Alternative 2). Complete details are located on the website. Please send comments to

For all of you who are completely baffled by the convoluted and labyrinthine organization of the Presidio Trust's web site, opportunity has finally knocked. 
Log on to and note the following request in the upper 1/3 of the home page.  :  Website Survey:  Share Your Ideas for Improving This Site.   It is a short survey and your feedback could make a real difference. 


2.  Conservation Groups, Local Residents Blast Proposed Highway-Widening in Niles Canyon
Project Would Cut Native Trees, Harm Alameda Creek and Mar Scenic Beauty of the Canyon

The California Department of Transportation will close the public comment period next Thursday on the draft Environmental Impact Report for a controversial proposal to widen Highway 84 through Niles Canyon, an unnecessary and damaging project that would cut 439 native trees and build nearly two miles of cement retaining walls adjacent to Alameda Creek.

More information:


3.  Saturday, October 16, 2010 the Planning and Conservation League Foundation will be in San Francisco to present a workshop on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).   The Workshop includes information on the following:
• How global warming fits into CEQA
• Projects subject to CEQA
• The responsibilities of agencies
• How to comment on an EIR and much more!
Register today to ensure you get a seat in this workshop!  You can register here.  We've had great assistance at the local level from the event co-sponsor: The Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club.
To help local communities effectively participate in the environmental review process PCLF developed the Community Guide to CEQA.  CEQA requires that the environmental impacts of proposed development projects be rigorously evaluated, and that feasible mitigation measures or alternatives be adopted prior to project approval.  CEQA allows people to protect what they value.  It gives ordinary citizens a voice and levels the playing field with well-monied interests.  It ensures that political and financial clout don't rule.  It is what our communities, democracy, and self-governance are all about.  CEQA is the heart of California's legacy of environmental protections.
The day-long workshop begins at 10:00 AM promptly at the Sierra Club Offices in downtown San Francisco. Seats are filling up and pre-registration is required so that we bring enough materials for everyone.
Please call us at 714-779-7561, or email Melanie Schlotterbeck if you have any questions about the event. You'll also find more information on our website. 


4.  Make Room for the Wild in Your Garden--Habitat for Other than Humans?

Join us for a fun-filled autumn day of discovery of how to bring nature back  into your urban garden. We'll be talking about the wild birds, butterflies and bees that live all around us in the Bay Area and what specifically is needed to provide safe havens and footholds to help them survive. Learn how to build beautiful sculptures with resources right around you  to serve as habitat for our native neighbors. Get the scoop on which plants will feed hummingbirds, butterflies, and beneficial insects, and how to design your landscape to welcome them. Now is the best time seasonally to plan and plant for the natural community -- our community!

Sunday October 9  2010  11:00am
Flora Grubb Gardens
1634 Jerrold Ave San Francisco, CA


The Unmentionable Problem of Population Growth

You know that California suffers from overpopulation, but politicians choose to ignore this major problem. Our latest CAPS Issues release, “Sustainable California: the Unmentionable Problem of Population,” makes it a little harder for them to disregard the issue.
Among the points highlighted in this report:
• California is more densely populated than Europe, and by mid-century will be more densely populated than China.
• Population growth is a leading cause of environmental problems such as loss of farmland and water shortages.
• Because of immigration, California is the least-educated state in the nation as measured by the share of its workers who have completed high school.
• While the state engages in an annual struggle to close a budget gap of several billion dollars, it spends an estimated $21.8 billion annually on services to illegal aliens.

The study mentions a number of legislative bills that would help alleviate these problems. You can send the report to your Congressional and state legislative candidates by clicking at the bottom of the message.

[CLICK HERE] to enlighten to your Congressional and legislative candidates about California's critical needs and issues.


6.  Scientific American

OBSERVATIONS: Genetically inserted insecticide contaminates U.S. waterways
Add another compound to the long list of agricultural pollutants in the nation's streams, rivers and waterways: Bt toxin


Are you busy as a bee and in need of a way to keep track of your schedule? The Xerces Society offers its 2011 North American Bee Calendar.  
This 9" x 12" calendar highlights twelve commonly encountered pollinators. Each month introduces you to a different bee genus, with a gorgeous full-page pin-up photo accompanied by notes on preferred plants, nesting needs, and guidance on how to identify the genus - and of course, a complete day-by-day calendar for each month.

To purchase your calendar visit
U.S. Price: $15.00 (includes shipping)
Sales of this calendar will directly benefit the conservation work of the Xerces Society.


"Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion."          Democritus, 4th century BCE Greek

8.  Feedback

Chris Darling:
> Dear Jake, My feedback is about your recent item about a PBS documentary about the impact of immigration on loss of farmland and on drinking water supply on the East Coast.  I do not doubt that illegal immigration is a cause of the problems as described in the PBS show.
> It also cannot be argued that immigration is causing the population of the United States to increase much faster than it would otherwise.  The bulk of illegal immigration comes from Mexico.  Economic issues drive that immigration.  Short of spending tens of billions for an impregnable border such as East Germany had to prevent people leaving to the west, that desperate economic need will drive people to leave Mexico and come to the United States as long as there is greater economic opportunity here.  Indeed, since the beginning of the Great Recession, multiple reports have said that illegal immigration from Mexico is significantly less than it was prior to 2008.  And that drop is due to the fact that economic opportunity does not exist here at the present time.  Should our economy rebound, the flood of illegal immigrants will also begin flowing again.
> Immigration from Mexico increased in a major way after the passage and implementation of NAFTA.  Cheap agricultural products from the United States led many subsistence farms in Mexico to fail as they could not compete with much larger, better capitalized operations that also received large subsidies from the US government.
> In Europe, when relatively poor countries (e.g. Ireland or Portugal) joined the European Union, economic development aid accompanied the opening of borders to freer trade.  That way, workers displaced by the disruption of lower tariffs could find in-country jobs so that affluent countries like Germany and France were not flooded with immigrants.  The aid also increased demand in those poor countries, which led to greater economic opportunities for the entire EU.  In sum, it was a policy that created a win-win situation.
> In our present economic and political climate, I cannot imagine the United States ever seriously considering such a policy of giving economic aid to Mexico.  But remember that billions in aid from the Marshall Plan to the ruined economies of Western Europe more than paid for itself by generating economic opportunity for greater sales by American business.  A similar program could actually be in the enlightened self interest of our country.
> In short, the only real way to deal with illegal immigration from Mexico is to solve the problem at the source by creating economic opportunity in Mexico.  Another possiblity would be to repeal NAFTA so that subsistence farming in Mexico would go back to being a paying proposition.  In terms of today's political realities, I cannot imagine that happening either.
Chris:  Thanks for your thoughtful reflections on this vexatious subject.  I love the ambivalence of your last three paragraphs--it lays out "practical" solutions to this vexing problem.  They're both wistful and wishful, as you acknowledge.

Along with other correspondents on this item, you have many good thoughts on the genesis of this problem--the why's and wherefore's.  But the same correspondents don't tell us how to effect their ideas.  As an observer of the political system for a very long time, I cast a wry smile on some of the wishful thinking, much of it ideology--for example, your final paragraph:  "...the only real way to deal with illegal immigration from Mexico is to solve the problem at the source by creating economic opportunity in Mexico.  Another possiblity would be to repeal NAFTA so that subsistence farming in Mexico would go back to being a paying proposition.  In terms of today's political realities, I cannot imagine that happening either."  But those not wanting to confront the problem will continue to muse on such "solutions" as if that might happen.
> Dear Jake,  By practical, I mean that trying to keep out people with enforcement at the border will not work unless we spent as much and patrolled the border as much as East Germany did at its border.  That is both prohibitively expensive and would go even further toward creating a police state where things like the Bill of Rights become even more meaningless. 
> The other thing I want to say is that meaningful measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases are just as politically impossible today as real solutions to illegal immigration.  I do not think it merely wistful and wishful to lay a program of how to get to significantly lower emissions of greenhouse gases even though the political will does not at present exist.  I would say the same about solutions to illegal immigration as well.  

Eric Brooks:
> Give me a break... Bonnie Erbe's 'To the Contrary' is a weekly talking heads program that is nothing more than an all female version of 'The McLaughlin Group' and it is made up of Neo-Con and Neo-Liberal commentators, which under the guise of heated partisan 'debate', consistently promote the elite global corporate power structure. That show and its producers have absolutely no credibility whatsoever from which to address immigration.
> And the contention that Atlanta's water crisis was a result of immigration is absolutely ridiculous. Atlanta's water crisis occurred after it allowed a private corporation to take over its water supply. A Public Citizen press release about the crisis is at: and its more detailed release about various privatization triggered water crises can be found at:
> Finally, environmental organizations are not cowed in any way by the movement to free the world from border oppression (freedom which would improve, not harm, the environment). I have been an environmental activist for 25 years and I have never once experienced anything remotely akin to your bogus imaginary claim of intimidation. Environmentalists are, however, all too frequently faced with the irritating task of dealing with the aftermath of statements from fools like yourself falsely portraying immigrants as the cause of environmental problems.
> It is by joining together and working in solidarity, that environmentalists, and undocumented citizens, will solve the Earth's environmental crisis.
> Question: Will you censor -this- comment from Nature News Jake?
Eric:  See David Brower item - next item after Feedback.  The Sierra Club has had major battles over the immigration issue, and it is a lose-lose proposition for it.  Do nothing and the environment suffers further damage from the increased population; take a stand and the Club is excoriated from inside and outside, called elitists, and it loses big hunks of funding, some of which is tied to this question.  Although I am critical of the Club for its treatment of the issue, I have to allow that it is an extremely difficult issue for it, as it is for nearly all of the larger environmental organizations, which have been cowed into silence, as have most individuals.

That leads me to a big part of my motivation for carrying items on this subject:  I would like to make it a bit more comfortable to talk about it.  It is, after, all, a vital subject that affects people's lives and one that is largely being ignored, with consequences attendant on all important issues that are allowed to just drift.  If we don't talk about it, the problem worsens, and suffering increases unnecessarily.  The current open anger (the Arizona law is only one example) was predictable; when economic times become difficult--as they are bound to do in this crazy system we have--who is the anger directed toward?  I have been expecting this, which is a reason why I have been promoting dialogue, trying to head it off before it reaches the explosive point.  By intimidation of free expression, pressure builds up.

Which bring us to the point of talking about racism.  Tut-tut.  I have come to view racism as a natural reaction when people feel threatened.  Education has helped us a lot in this regard, but it is a thin veneer over deeper instincts, which are still tribal and primitive.  Those instincts instantaneously resurface when fear enters.  Eric, in a previous exchange about a year ago, you accused me of being a racist, without giving a reason why you thought so.  That is undemocratic and discourages dialogue, and dialogue is healthy if conducted in an adult manner.

Peter Warner:
> Hi Jake, About item #2 on immigration - the problems "caused" by immigration are really symptoms, as one could just as factually cite capitalism-driven exploitation of "farmland," water, and other basic human needs as the root causes of "shortages."  Truly, over-population of the planet by humans is a serious issue that is all but ignored, and the reason it's ignored is that like all else, capitalism can only thrive with increasing numbers and continued pillage of the "resources" all life needs.  
> Immigration is merely a symptom of dire economic conditions.  It irks me no end that very few people try to understand that migration is not a whimsical decision, and that extreme desperation is generally the catalyst to move people great distances to new lands and cultures.  Generally, life-threatening circumstances provide the impetus to move, and not much short of meeting basic needs will provide sufficient impetus to risk survival, for survival itself.  
> Capitalism is the engine that drives people from their indigenous land bases, that engine fueled by the lies and deceptions that are exploitation, consumption, and the "American dream" of limitless materialism (brought to you by our sponsors).  When people don't have sufficient food, water, shelter - the basics of sustenance - they have always migrated to places that offer more hope for meeting their basic needs.  Shut down the vast injustice that is capitalism (especially the corporate version), and people will soon understand the value of staying in place, reducing their numbers, and treating the earth, once again, as the very essence of life.  Of course, when your land base has been purchased and abused as the means for corporate profit, your very means of survival has been rather diminished and moving becomes not so much choice as necessity.
> I consider any production that fails to provide the complete historical, social, and economic contexts for immigration merely another example of capitalist propaganda.  Replace the "Immigration" in the program's title with "Capitalism," and the production immediately becomes more credible and accurate.

Peter Brastow:
> I'm certain that thinking people do recognize the problem of global overpopulation; they are just afraid to talk about it, as you indicate.
> As for the two environmental issues, while more people in a particular area means more water consumption for sure, immigrants don't develop land, greedy developers do.
That is true, but irrelevant.  Because you can't stop developers from ruining the land, you're not prepared to do anything about population increase?  (And remember, developers can only build structures that people use or live in.  Fewer people, fewer structures.  The fact that the ones they're building are for the more well-to-do is irrelevant; ultimately there has to be a match between people and structures.  You get the idea.)

The bedrock reality, Peter, is that California's population (to confine ourselves, for the moment, to California--same is true on larger scale) is increasing, has been for many decades, and that the birth/death ratio of citizens for the last decade-plus would stabilize our population.  Our increase in numbers is strictly a result of immigration, the great bulk of it illegal.

It's a hard reality to face, Peter.  It's doubly hard when it doesn't fit in with your chosen view of the world.  That's one of the (few) benefits of aging; one by one you give up ideas that don't fit with your experience.
> Jake, I'm all for fewer people, but I'm not sure how to "close [or] secure our borders" without being militaristic, which just doesn't seem like the way to treat people, illegal or not.
> I'd be in favor of a coordinated North American strategy that focuses on sane economic justice and development policies for the benefit of have-nots in all countries. I'd be for limiting families to having only 2 children apiece. I'd be for turning Roman Catholicism and rightwing evangelism on their  heads so we can get rid of stupid reproductive politics. But as long as we have this very evil version of capitalism, where the rich-poor divide keeps getting worse and worse, then people aren't going to comply with our ideal scenario of where they should be. They are going to go where they think they are better off. 
> So, seriously, Jake, what do you propose? Spending more and more money "securing the border," which as I'm sure you are aware, has been an environmental disaster as well as a social one.

Linda Shaffer:
> What was the source of your item about the To the Contrary piece about immigration and environmental issues?  
> I ask because in attempting to check a bit online, I have so far discovered that "To the Contrary" is the name of a long running PBS show which is owned and produced by women, and focuses on women's issues (I'm embarrassed to say that I'd never heard of it until now).  Bonnie Erbe' is the host of that show.  
> I saw nothing on that show's website about a documentary such as is described here.  I did find mention on the CAPS website of a three part documentary about the effects of immigration of various segments of the US economy.  The title of this documentary is given as To The Contrary: Immigration's Impact.   Clicking on the video screen accompanying this description took me straight to the first part itself, which appears to have aired on the PBS show "To the Contrary" two years ago.  Perhaps they are about to re-run it?
> Well, enough.  Let's just say I'm confused by this entry in your Nature News.   It seems at the very least that you owe PBS an apology, and probably KQED as well.  KQED shows "To the Contrary" on Saturdays at 10:30 AM and again on Sundays at 2 PM.    I assume the station would have shown the episode(s) when the Immigration Impact segments ran.
Because of your email, I now know more about this program than I intended or wanted.  I misunderstood:  Bonnie Erbe was not the producer; it was the subject matter on a program she did.  (Next item is some information from Pat Skain that I hope at least partially clarifies it, and which I will include in next newsletter.)

I may have been unfair to PBS, but I balk at apologizing to KQED.  I find it to be very one-sided on this subject.  It deserves a few lumps--more than a few.  It is using public airways, but some subjects never get exposed on KQED--mostly having to do with corporate sponsors, but some having to do with political correctness.   

P.S.  One subject [this is PBS, not KQED] not covered is agribusiness--and agribusiness's role in obesity and other health issues.  Considering that Archer Daniels Midland is a sponsor of the News Hour with Jim Lehrer, don't hold your breath for PBS to do a program on it.  Fortunately, Michael Pollan in Food, Inc tackled the subject, but I don't recall that ADM was mentioned.  (Possibly PBS wouldn't allow the mention?)

Patrick Skain:
> Dear Jake: I'd like clarify the information on the Population & Natural Resources special produced in conjunction with the PBS program To the Contrary which is hosted by Bonnie Erbe. This topic aired on July 30, 2010 and is listed as program Number: 1921. The URL to the past programs list is Individuals can request a free DVD of the program by sending an e-mail to and referencing the date and program number. They also request that you include a note as to why you want the dvd and who else will view it with you. The first 3500 requests will be fulfilled. 

Becky Evans:
> Jake - for many years, before the computer age, I worked on an Executive electric typewriter.  Different letters had different values - vertical letters in lower case were 1 or 2; caps of such letters as "M" had more.  4+ maybe; it's been a while.
> My roommate who was the Sierra Club Board secretary bought two; one for the office and one at home where she did much of her work.  This was in the early 1970s.

Michael Crabtree:
> Jake – Regarding the comment that the different typefaces and fonts in your newsletter make it “very irritating and unpleasant to read”, I think the different styles make it very clear when a new item is coming (sometimes I scroll by things I don’t have time to read right away) which makes it easier to use, and the variety actually adds to the character and charm of the newsletter.
Thank you, Michael--for the feedback, and for telling me what I want to hear anyway.
P.S.  I think the writer of that "very irritating" comment may possibly have had a legitimate complaint, although it wasn't clear from what she wrote.

Jean Lee:
> Hi Jake:  Just read the comments about mycorrhizal fungi and their nutritional dependence on other plants.  Orchids could not exist in the wild without their essential assistance.  Orchid seeds, the smallest, do not contain food for embryo development so the seed must be invaded by a specific mycorrhizal fungus which will provide the nutrients for development of roots and leaves.  Terrestrial orchids, such as our native ones and those that survive in climates which freeze, could not survive without their intervention.  Cultivated orchids are those that are either epiphytic or lithophytic because their association is not as dependent on their mycorrhizal fungus.


9.  David Brower on Population and Immigration

As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, on April 22, 2010, it is worth noting, that most of the early leaders knew that “every environmental problem is a population problem.” We are proud that David Brower, the pre-eminent environmentalist of his time, was a member of the Advisory Board of CAPS. From 1952 to 1969, Brower served as the first executive director of the Sierra Club, and later founded Friends of Earth, the Earth Island Institute and co-founded the League of Conservation Voters.

Unlike most of today’s environmental leaders, Brower was honest and outspoken about the environmental degradation caused by population growth. He resigned from the Sierra Club’s Board of Directors, in large part over its failure to tackle this issue:

“The population problem is the worst problem we've got. If we don't solve that, we'll solve nothing. Immigration and over-immigration is an important part of that.

“One of the places that suffers a great deal from the immigration problem is California. I was born here when there were 2 million people; now there's something like 34 million and counting. [JS:  now over 38 million]

“The question of population is two-faced, our own population increase and that of immigration. We can ignore neither of those two aspects.We have to address them both.”

10.  Our wonderful Moraga Tiled Steps - 16th & Moraga, San Francisco

Thought you might be interested in this feature and photo in the Washington Post that mentions our neighborhood and the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps, passed on to me by co-founder Alice Yee Xavier.


11.  California Native Plant Society - Santa Clara Valley Chapter Field Trip
Sun Oct 3  11am  Shields Grove, University of California Davis
Fall is the prime season for experiencing oak trees.  In early October many will be laden with acorns, some on the verge of changing colors before dropping their leaves for the season.  Join certified Master Arborist Dave Muffly on a special tour of the UC Davis Shields Oak Grove.
Established in 1964, this grove contains the largest collection of mature oaks in the southwestern U.S.  There are over 346 trees representing 89 types of oak species, varieties and hybrids, some of which are rare and endangered.

The Shields Grove is part of the U.C. Davis Arboretum.  Meet at the Gazebo in the Arboretum at 11am.  Bring a snack or lunch.  The hike is expected to last until 3pm.  For more information contact Dave Muffly,, (650) 283-6911.  Also see his website:

Directions: Heading east on I-80 from the San Francisco Bay Area, take the UC Davis exit onto Old Davis Road to the campus.  Follow signs for the Arboretum (within ˝ mile of exit).  Driving time from San Jose is 2 hours.  Leave extra time for traffic and parking.  Early arrivals can enjoy the arboretum grounds.


12.  Introducing The Build A Frog Pond Contest!

Habitat destruction is the number one cause of amphibian extinctions worldwide. Fortunately, homeowners and schools can help create new habitat for frogs! Building a backyard frog pond is a great way to give your local frog populations a boost. 

The SAVE THE FROGS! Build A Frog Pond Contest invites schools and homeowners to build frog ponds on their property and document the project and its successes through video, photos and stories, which will be posted online to educate and inspire others to do the same. With your help we can cover the globe with frog habitat and fill the night air with the soothing sounds of frog calls. And of course there are great prizes for the winning school and the winning homeowner!!! The contest closes May 15, 2011, so start digging! Good luck!


13.  SFPUC September/October edition of digital Currents. In this issue: 
• A family can save 9,000 gallons of water each year by upgrading to a high-efficiency toilet! Even better, you can get a rebate of up to $200. Go to the "Did you know?" section to find out how. 
• GoSolarSF: reducing your costs to install solar panels. Find the "Spotlight" section to read more.
• Get an update on the installation of 24,000 solar panels on Sunset Reservoir.
• The SFPUC has the skinny on how to recycle your used cooking oil.


Quick: Name someone who signed the American Declaration of Independence. John Hancock? Thomas Jefferson? John Adams? Very good. And what did they use to sign it? In 1776, there were no Uniball gel pens, no Bic ballpoints or thin-tipped Sharpies. Instead, feather pens were dipped into ink made from the fermented juice of American pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) berries, appropriately nicknamed inkweed. In California, American pokeweed is an invasive species and has been identified both in the Presidio and at Lands End—look for the clusters of deep purple berries on pink stems in disturbed areas.

From Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy e-newsletter


15.  The will to power
Why some people have power over companies and others don't

HENRY KISSINGER was guilty of understatement when he said that power is the ultimate aphrodisiac. In fact, power is the ultimate life-improver tout court. Powerful people not only have more friends than the rest of us. They also enjoy better health. Numerous studies demonstrate that low status is more strongly associated with heart disease than physical hazards like obesity and high blood pressure.

...Jeffrey Pfeffer of Stanford Business School starts by rubbishing the notion that the world is just—that the best way to win power is to be good at your job. The relationship between rewards and competence is loose at best. Bob Nardelli was a disastrous CEO of Home Depot. But he was paid nearly a quarter of a billion dollars to leave and quickly moved to the top slot at Chrysler, which then went bankrupt. Mr Pfeffer points out that CEOs who presided over three years of poor earnings and led their firms into bankruptcy only faced a 50% chance of losing their jobs (and perfectly successful senior managers are routinely cleaned out when new CEOs take over). There are plenty of things that matter more than competence, such as the ability to project drive and self-confidence.

...And what happens if all this loyalty and networking pays off? How do you keep power once you win it? The old saw about power corrupting has been laboriously confirmed by academic studies of everything from risk-taking to cookie-eating (powerful people are more likely to eat with their mouths open and to scatter crumbs over their faces). The key to keeping power is to understand its corrupting effects. Powerful people need to cultivate a combination of paranoia and humility—paranoia about how much other people want them out and humility about their own replaceability. They also need to know when to quit. People who do not know when to leave an organisation frequently crash and burn. People who jump before they are pushed have a good chance of leaping to yet another aphrodisiacal throne.

Disconnected excerpts from Schumpeter in The Economist 11 Sept 2010
For updates and info, contact scott at planttrees dot org.