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


I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker. -Helen Adams Keller

1.   Another job opportunity with CNPS
2.   Mt Sutro forest tour Saturday June 29
3.   Helen Keller, born 27 June 1880
4.   Sojourns in the Parallel World, Denise Levertov
5.   Threat to natural resources by live animal food markets
6.   July field trips with GG Audubon
7.   Wildlife/vegetable gardening July 10 - Aug 3 in Oakland
8.   Artist Andie Thrams workshops this summer
9.   LTEs on wind energy and nuclear fusion energy
10. Feedback I
11.  Feedback II - language cop taken on
12.  Notes & Queries

1.  Another job opportunity with the California Native Plant Society

Data Entry Clerk/Administrative Assistant


2.  Mt Sutro forest tour

Sutro Stewards founder Craig Dawson and I are leading another tour of Mt Sutro this Saturday morning, 29 June.  The purpose of the tour is to illuminate the problems facing the University of California and the City & County of San Francisco in their management responsibilities on, respectively, Mt Sutro and Mt Davidson.  The problems of the two places are identical.

We have found the public to be hungry for information about the two areas.  The diet it has been fed consists of emotionality, misunderstanding of the problems, or misinformation, leaving it hungry and confused.  There is no substitute for being on the site, asking questions, and dealing with specific problems.  One thing we guarantee will be clear:  Leaving it alone is not an option.

The tour will be moderately strenuous, and trail surfaces are not always even.  Because single-track trails obviate large groups, we need to keep the group to a reasonable number, therefore we require an RSVP.  Use this email address or call Jake at 731-3028.


3.  Born 27 June 1880 - Helen Keller

Short video (with obnoxious advertising interruptions):



Sojourns in the Parallel World
We live our lives of human passions,
cruelties, dreams, concepts,
crimes and the exercise of virtue
in and beside a world devoid
of our preoccupations, free
from apprehension -- though affected,
certainly, by our actions. A world
parallel to our own though overlapping.
We call it "Nature"; only reluctantly
admitting ourselves to be "Nature" too.
Whenever we lose track of our own obsessions,
our self-concerns, because we drift for a minute,
an hour even, of pure (almost pure)
response to that insouciant life:
cloud, bird, fox, the flow of light, the dancing
pilgrimage of water, vast stillness
of spellbound ephemerae on a lit windowpane,
animal voices, mineral hum, wind
conversing with rain, ocean with rock, stuttering
of fire to coal--then something tethered
in us, hobbled like a donkey on its patch
of gnawed grass and thistles, breaks free.
No one discovers
just where we've been, when we're caught up again
into our own sphere (where we must
return, indeed, to evolve our destinies)
-- but we have changed, a little.
~ Denise Levertov ~
(Sands of the Well)


5.  Eric Mills:

BACKGROUND - CDFW records indicate that California annually imports TWO MILLION American Bullfrogs for human consumption (most commercially-raised in Taiwan), plus an estimated 300,000-to-400,000 freshwater turtles, all taken from the wild in states east of the Rockies, depleting local populations.  None are native to California, and they cause major environmental problems when released into local waters, a common though illegal practice.  Worse, they are all diseased and/or parasitized.  The majority of the market frogs test positive for the chytrid fungus (Bd), believed to be responsible for the extinctions of some 200 amphibian species worldwide in recent years.  Both CDFW & CA Health Dept. codes state that It is ILLEGAL to sell such products for human consumption, yet the commerce continues unabated, despite the fact that the Fish & Game Commission in 2010 unanimously instructed the Department of Fish & Wildlife to stop the import permits.   Nevertheless, the Department continued (and continues) to issue the permits.  The Department's 2010 response?  "THE DIRECTOR ACTS AT THE PLEASURE OF THE GOVERNOR."  So much for the democratic process.
* * * * *
A FEW SELECTED STATEMENTS FROM STATE FISH & GAME COMMISSION MEETINGS, 2005-2012  (transcribed from Commission archived video by Eric Mills, ACTION FOR ANIMALS, P.O. Box 20184, Oakland, CA  94620) - a revealing collection of inconsistencies.  It's painfully clear that politics, money and culture trump any real concern about resource protection.
May 3, 2005 (Sacramento) - "This whole issue, invasive species, is huge.  This is one of our priority ones.  It's getting the attention it has needed for a long time."
February 1, 2007 (Monterey) - "One of the issues on the live animal markets is the threat of some of the critters that are sold in these markets to the resources.  That is our jurisdiction."
October 1, 2009 (Woodland) - "A lot of the shipments are slipping through, over half are probably unpermitted."
February 3, 2010 (Sacramento) - "Under 236 there is a section that says if it's found to be that the importation of these animals is a threat to the state's natural resources, we have the option of not issuing an importation permit for those animals."
September 15, 2010 (McClellan) - Despite the Commission's unanimous 5:0 vote to stop the import permits, DFG Director John McCamman announces that he will continue to issue the permits on a month-to-month basis.  Challenged by an irate Commissioner Dan Richards, DFG Deputy Director Sonke Mastrup responds, "THE DIRECTOR ACTS AT THE PLEASURE OF THE GOVERNOR."  Notwithstanding the fact that the Commission has received more than 3,000 letters in support of the permit ban, from sportsmen, environmental organizations, legislators and many hundreds of individuals.   
Backing off his May 3, 2005 statement above, Sonke Mastrup now claims that the live market issue is not on his top 100 list of concerns.  And at the June 2013 meeting of the new "Wildlife Resources Committee" in Oakland (Commissioners Jim Kellogg and Jack Baylis), Mastrup stated that this issue would NOT be on the WRC agenda in the future.  Mastrup also said the issue would not be re-agendized by the DFG Commission, despite Commission President Sutton's assurances to the contrary last October.  Mr. Baylis told me that the HEALTH DEPT. should deal with the issue.    Most would disagree with that view.  This issue falls well within the authority and mandate of the Commission & Department.
February 1, 2007 (Monterey) - "We're going to do something about this one way or the other.  All politics are local and a lot of the live animal markets are ethnic, and there is a significant political component relating to that."
March 5, 2009 (Woodland) - "The issue here is biology, it's always the issue, biology.  The bottom line here is the biology, and if there is a substantial risk to California native species from anything, it is our responsibility no matter who the hell is inconvenienced to do something about it."
May 13, 2009 (Sacramento) - "I'm mindful of the difficulties and challenges, Sonke.  Don't hate me for saying this, but I don't see how that removes the overriding responsibility to protect California's native wildlife.  I'm of the opinion that the importation of these animals is a detriment to the existing native wildlife in the State of California."
February 3, 2010 (Sacramento) - "One of the basic things this Commission is supposed to do, as well as the Department,  is to protect the wildlife of the State of California from invasion of invasive species."
May 20, 2010 (Sacramento - teleconference call) - "I stand squarely with Dan Richards and Mike Sutton with respect to the ultimate need for this Commission to seek a perpetual endeavor of reducing any negative impact on California animals and plants."
October 3, 2012 (Sacramento) - "I think it's incredibly important for us to do what we can to stop the importation of these species.  I believe strongly we need to do this."  Commission President Mike Sutton recommends that this issue be re-agendized in 2013. 
December 12, 2012 (San Diego) - In a remarkable about-face, Commissioner Rogers states that he believes the legislature is the proper venue to handle the live market issue, and makes a motion to that end.  Commissioner Kellogg seconds the motion, over the vehement opposition of Commissioner Sutton.  Motion passes 2:1 (Commissioner Baylis absent).  THE MOTION:  "THE COMMISSION RECOGNIZES THE LEGISLATURE IS THE APPROPRIATE AUTHORITY TO COMPREHENSIVELY ADDRESS CONCERNS WITH NON-NATIVE FROGS AND TURTLES."  Notwithstanding the fact that this issue absolutely IS a DFG Commission and DFW issue (the Dept. issues the import permits, after all), or the fact that the state legislature is NOT interested in pursuing this issue (I've tried that unproductive route for 18  years).
October 3, 2012 (Sacramento) - "We share common grounds with Mr. Mills regarding the concern with the chytrid fungus." [Which reportedly has caused the extinctions of some 200 amphibian species worldwide in recent years.  The majority of the two million market frogs imported annually into California for food test positive for the fungus.]  Bonham: "As I understand it, in 2010 the Commission instructed the then-Director [John McCamman] to take action, but subsequently rescinded that instruction because of your procedural flaws."
WRITE:  Sonke Mastrup, Exec. Director, California Fish & Game Commission; 	 		    	  email -
             	Chuck Bonham, Director, California Dept. of Fish & Wildlife; 	 			 	email -
	John Laird, Secretary of Resources; email -
	SNAIL MAIL ADDRESS FOR ALL:  1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento, CA  95814
Please also urge the Commission to reinstate its former policy of having Public Forum on BOTH days of two-day meetings--many people are unable to attend both days, and their concerns are not heard.  And placing Public Forum first thing on the agenda (as in the past) would not lengthen the meetings, and would be far more "public friendly."


6.  Golden Gate Audubon July field trips:

Gardening from the Ground Up   Easy Wildlife & Vegetable Growing With Nature In Mind
July 10  - August 3  Piedmont Adult School   510-594-2655,  510-594-2716
Want to grow vegetables, see more hummingbirds, and enjoy your garden more with less work? Attract butterflies, bumble bees, song birds, hummingbirds, and other beneficial critters to your garden. Learn healthy garden management, grow edible plants, enjoy the wonder and beauty of California native plants, learn how they can help sustain an environmentally friendly, water saving and easy care garden. Beginners, black thumbs, seasoned gardeners all welcome. Get thrilled to spend time in your garden. Have fun with beautiful slides shows and a hands on Field Trip. 4 Wednesday evenings 7pm - 8:30pm, 
1 Saturday Field Trip
more info:


8.  Artist Andie Thrams:
Here's what is happening this summer in my world:

Discussion & Demonstration: In Wild Forests, Oregon College of Art & Craft, 7 PM, June 24. Please see below for more details...

Workshop & Exhibition: The Illuminated Field Journal, Focus on Book Arts Conference, Pacific University, June 26-28 (FULL) 

Workshop: Making Books & Telling Stories: Book Arts for Kids & Adults, Sitka Center for Art & Ecology: July 1-2

Workshop: Forest Secrets: Design, Draw, Paint, Reveal, Sitka Center for Art & Ecology, July 6-9

Workshop: Summer-Inspired Accordion Books, Oregon College of Art & Craft, July 12-14

Oregon Gallery Representation:
Rowboat Gallery, Pacific City
23Sandy, Portland

Other summer events:

Workshop: Watercolors in the Wild: Sierra Flora, San Francisco State University Sierra Nevada Field Campus, Sattley, CA July 21-26

July 31: Last day for early bird pricing for my Autumn Art Retreat in Yosemite. For details, just send me a message...


9.  LTEs, High Country News

Big eyesore on the prairie

The plain fact regarding wind farms is that they are terrible in and for the environment. One day, on a beautiful plateau or prairie, there are small and large game, wild birds of all types and little human interference. The next day, there are large white windmills, roads, fences, people, pickup trucks, neatly groomed pasture, and all the game is gone. A complete disaster.

Then I see that one oil well, with one road and one human that checks it daily -- comparatively speaking, far less human impact, in my opinion. And the really sad thing is that one oil well over its lifetime will produce more energy than that huge wind farm. I wish you city folk would come see the total destruction that your political correctness has caused out here in the country. Stand out in the middle of a wind farm and tell us country folk that it's an acceptable alternative to what we have now. The title of this article was more correct than I think the author intended.

Lynn Miller
Franktown, Colorado

Unlimited energy from nuclear fusion is the holy grail that has been taxing some of the best scientific minds and has cost world governments billions of dollars. The prognosis after several decades of research is disheartening, and serious scientists now doubt that it will be possible. So your report of "the first person in the state to build a fusion reactor" and "one of only 15 high school students in the world to successfully achieve fusion" should be immediately reported to the U.S. Department of Energy. 

Jake Sigg 
San Francisco


10.  Feedback I

Becky Evans (re BCDC non-support of Warriors arena):
Mayor Lee will surely be at the Senate Natural Resources Committee hearing on AB1273 tomorrow.  It remains to be seen what effect the BCDC vote will have on this legislative committee.  

On Jun 25, 2013, at 6:08 AM, Roberts, Warren wrote:
Dear Jake,
You may remember that the late San Francisco plant expert, Victor Reiter, Jr., expressed that pohutakawa was one of the best trees for City streets.  He was disappointed when sycamores were chosen for Market Street.
Regarding the origin of New Zealand plants at the Strybing, check the Pacific Horticulture article on the subject several years ago by Scot Medbury.  His research includes a picture of the N.Z. Pavilion at the Fair.
Thank you, Jake, for your remarkable, indeed heroic work for the welfare of our beloved City! 
I know that Victor had a pohutukawa street tree; I’ll have to walk over there to see if it’s still there.

During my time at Strybing I frequently speculated on the origin of its pohutukawas, and told all the docents of my belief that the 1915 exposition was the probable source.  Scott must have picked this up and checked it out.  I haven’t seen his article and whether he was able to determine that the Strybing trees came from there.

On Jun 24, 2013, at 6:09 PM, charles smith wrote:
I got a call today from a paid, Communities For A Better Environment (CBE), worker asking me to contact CA politicians and ask them to support testing water before and after fracking takes place. I suggested that the people don't want fracking and he said there wasn't enough support to stop fracking. So I suggested that asking a politician to support testing after the fact essentially says go ahead and do it, just test it. That was how BP in the Gulf was treated and we know what happened there. This is a perfect example of a liberal organization working hand in hand with the Democratic Party to harm the residents of CA and elsewhere. I have supported CBE for years but like the Sierra Club supporting the Point Molate casino, I severed my ties with them and will now sever my ties with CBE. When organizations fail to maintain their integrity they no longer deserve our support.
Charles:  I don’t fully understand your differences, but neither do I understand your position.
Just based just on what you say, if there isn’t enough political support to stop fracking--and evidently there isn’t, otherwise we would be able to stop it--then the next best thing to do is to demand testing before and after.  Your paragraph seems to indicate that if we are unable to stop it, then we are also against testing water afterwards.  I don’t think you want that, but isn’t that the logical outcome of your stance?
On Jun 26, 2013, at 1:35 PM, charles smith wrote:
The point is the CBE is a non-profit that was established to fight for the rights of the CA residents. As a famous patriot once said "We have yet begun to fight" and that appears to be CBE's position without the follow up battle. It is apparent, to me, that this was a back room deal with the Democratic Party to introduce fracking to CA whiling looking like the activist they claim to be. My email went out to over a hundred and fifty people including a staff member of CBE and many members of the organization. You were the only one to respond as if CBE'sposition was in the residents. interest. For the most part the responders were shocked and disappointed at CBE's action. To my knowledge, none of the recipients were confused about the meaning  of my email. Thanks for your interest and your informative emails. Keep up the good work.
Class consciousness is the fertilizer of revolution


11.  Feedback II

(JS:  The language cop provokes a response.  Will it cause him to reconsider continuing his crusade regarding affect/effect?)

Dear Jake,
Your Nazi-esque obsession with the English language is literally killing me. Whoops, I did it again. Firstly, it’s an extreme exaggeration to call you a Nazi or obsessed, and not at all culturally sensitive; and secondly, I used ‘literally’ incorrectly, just like we hear news anchors and other television drones spout erroneously.
“My girlfriend was so mad at me when I got home late last night that she literally tore my head off!”
Sometimes, that’s even too painful for me to laugh at. Thanks for “correcting” my intentionally provocative English, and I understand why you deserve an explanation. 
So why use Insect Affect?
When I took Shakespeare 90 at UCLA, they forced us to read two plays a week over a 10-week quarter. This daunting class turned me off to Ye Ole Bard even more than having previously acted in The Tempest and Much Ado About Nothing. By then, I was more like The French Situationists of the late 60s, and related much more to Surrealism and Dadaism than any form of Realism or Naturalism, let alone The Classics. “No more masterpieces!” To make it even more pedantic, the professor spent quite a bit of time on effect vs. affect, during one of the classes. At the same time, I was looking for a great name for my new, avant-garde theatrical performance band. At one point, we discussed the idea of Insect Effect, or The Insect Effect, but found it too direct, and not anywhere near as provocative as InsectAffect (written as one word, and said quickly for rhythmic pleasure). You can view one of our ancient videos on YouTube if you wish entitled: InsectAffect $1.98. It’s a little on the deep side lyrically; written by one of the philosophical guitarists, not me. Firstly, we liked the idea of having an action verb, and everyone in the band loved nature and insects, and the exertion of influence ants and other critters have universally. A synonym for ‘affect’ is to “blow one’s mind”, and that was certainly a main objective of InsectAffect, when we shocked the stunned crowds at Madame Wongs and The Anti Club. Secondly, Homo sapiens (at least those with a developed consciousness, or conscience if you prefer) think that name is ridiculous and funny. How could an insect, with no super-ego or even an ego, put on an affectation, or an affect? Do locusts ‘effect’ cornfields, or do they have an affect upon them? That got us thinking about the idea that though we can trace our ancestry back through the earlier Homos, and back through tiny squirrel like tree-dwelling furry things, and back to lizards, and to fish, and more and more primitive organisms, many people still see the creatures that geniuses like E. O. Wilson revere, as nuisances and pests. Isn’t that the same way our elitist “leaders” see US, the huddled masses? To Mitt Romney and George W., I’m nothing more than a bug to be squashed. Of course if I had a lot of money, it would be totally different, even though my being would be the same (if not even more inferior for lack of character-building struggle).
Back in the 80s, the work of Konrad Lorenz had permeated the zeitgeist, with his study of ciclids and fish brains, but not without controversy. Even after the accolades and awards, many still made arguments that “fish can’t feel, so it’s okay to butcher them alive”. The Med. Fruit Fly needed to be vanquished at any cost. Cockroaches slimed their way through my rent-controlled apartment in seedy Venice Beach like a single-minded organism. Our Homocentrism (my word again) was getting in the way of the other 2 million species on The Planet (my capitalization).
Jump to today. Now this incredible video on cicadas has become viral (another loosely used term that may irk you as much as it does my fellow biologists and virologists. Aren’t humans just a massive virus spreading to every part of the globe?), and I ask again, “Are we that superior? US = Ultimate Species?” Are you telling me that these bugs aren’t putting on an affect, like humans do, to attract a mate? Did the video affect you, meaning did it impress, strike, or impact you? I’d call that insect affect, not effect, whether it’s considered correct or not. Will that video change, modify, alter, or affect invertebrate haters? Cicadas function out of sheer instinct, unlike big-brained humans who are not driven by instinct at all, but by our highly developed moral egos. Hmmm. Are these insects devoid of emotion, as they burst out after 17 years or solitude underground, with exuberant screams and raging libido. Impossible! I’m anthropomorphizing their banal functions. Human reproduction and greed is completely out of control. There’s too many of US. 8 billion, 9 billion. How do we cut back to 2 billion for the benefit of the 8.7 million? Vegans blast carnivores for their thoughtless malice (my contradiction again), and yet, no one on Earth (my capitalization again) knows what a plant feels. Have you seen PBS Nature, What Plants Talk About? How dare they assume plant communication? Would plants’ egos be insulted by this controversy if they understood English? Plants appear to be making decisions to survive, and apparently make smarter decisions than many humans do. What about me? Am I a wallflower, a Venus Flytrap, a stately oak, Poison Ivy, or a fungus? Do plants lack self-awareness, or do we lack an understanding of plants’ self-awareness?
If you don’t like irritaining and irritentional edutainment and contradictions, then you would probably be pretty annoyed with the pranksterish aspects of Humans Need Three Hands, but the last audience we need to reach with such a work is the sophisticated converted like yourself and your cadre. You already know we are just Neanderthals with a bunch or tricky little toys and gadgets. The nature action adventure novel, like me, is supposed to be crazy; driven mad by this World and the human forces within it, and makes the ultimate point that instead of focusing on saving the other 8.7 million species on The Planet, we care about the minutia of whether or not someone used a part of speech correctly. We are wiping-out other creatures at an exponential rate, and have more carbon in the air than at any other time in Homo history; and yet, we bicker over ‘who should be allowed’ to marry and how inappropriate it is to wear white after Labor Day. Someday, anyone will be able to marry whomever they choose and wear white whenever they want, but will humanity be alive to see it and what quality of LIFE will be left? The novel has a 5-star rating so far, so somebody out there is getting it. Will Human Nature destroy Nature and Humans? If you want to remain literalist, I’ll modify the subtitle to “Will some human behavior continue to destroy some nature and some humans?” but obviously, that’s not as catchy.
The less you know, the smarter you feel. --- Drats
Thanks for continuing to be the guardian of English, and for your altruistic nature. We need gatekeepers at the disillusionment of any and every part of human culture. I, for one though, will continue to focus on subverting all dominant paradigms to throw the focus back onto imperiled plants and wildlife. Keep your eyes on the prize, and thanks for finally mentioning Humans Need Three Hands on Nature News.
If you’re still not satisfied with my provocative use of Insect Affect, I’m okay with that, and I appreciate you caring enough for it to matter. It seems to be serving its purpose.


ps – Next time, if you are wondering, I can go into what the acronym Drats really stands for, and why. Hee hee hee.
Sorry for the rambling, but I’m in a bit of a rush today and don’t have time to edit. 

On Jun 26, 2013, at 2:43 PM, J A wrote:
Dear Jake, 
Jeez, I send you an awesome Cicada video and you criticize my English, then I write you a thoughtful response, and nothing. 

Don’t forget what Henry Ward Beecher said, “A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It's jolted by every pebble on the road.” I may be more of a boulder than a pebble, but we gotta laugh and strive to reach out to audiences beyond our incestuous little circles, or we are gonna cry. Humans really doNeed Three Hands.
Because of volume of email, I frequently respond through the newsletter. 


12.  Notes & Queries, Guardian Weekly

Why do humans disfigure themselves with piercings and tattoos? Do other species do this?

• Tattoos have been used for centuries in many cultures. Humans who opt to have tattoos see them as a thing of beauty or an expression of love and a statement of identity.

Fortunately, tattoos can be removed, as "Kaylene" may be replaced and "Saffron" is unlikely to appreciate an ex-girlfriend's name being displayed.

As for other species, the livestock, domestic pets and show animals who may be tattooed for identification purposes don't have much say in the matter.
Ursula Nixon, Bodalla, NSW, Australia

• People who have tattoos and piercings confuse disfigurement with beauty, both being in the eye of the beholder. It's a peculiarly human condition.
Lawrie Bradly, Surrey Hills, Victoria, Australia

• Do members of other species show prejudice against other members of the same species? Yes, but not in words.
Bob Coates, Hong Kong

• In the west, youths like to differentiate themselves from their parents through grooming. The trouble is that for many years their parents have been appropriating youth style.

This has caused young people to have to be more inventive in sporting outfits parents wouldn't and, starting with punk, they have shown they are up to the challenge. Piercings and ostentatious tattoos are examples of grooming in a way their parents would be unlikely to.
Nicholas Houghton, Folkestone, UK

• Some cultures have a need to demonstrate stages in life, and tooth extraction, earrings, nose rings, as well as dress, ornaments and hairdo are manifestations of age or status.

Other species? Probably not.

Anders Grum, Lalandusse, France

• Hey, semantics. Disfigure/ decorate.
Lin George Wolff, Nice, France

• No, only humans puncture themselves to inflate their egos.
David Tucker, Halle, Germany

Any answers?

Apart from the potential for multiple crashes, why do US movie chase scenes need so many cop cars?
John Benseman, Auckland, New Zealand

What will be the end of civilisation?
E Slack, L'Isle Jourdain, France


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