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

Event

 
http://naturenewssf.blogspot.com
…Edward Arlington Robinson’s admonition in Tristram applies to the creative genius in every man:
…you are one
Of the time-sifted few that leave the world,
When they are gone, not the same place it was.
Mark what you leave.

1.   Need for transparency from Mt Sutro critics
2.   Nature’s Price Tag - Commonwealth Club Thurs 25/Green Schools Initiative
3.   South San Francisco Weed Warriors July 27
4.   Ted Kipping potluck Tues 23
5.   July sky highlights
6.   National Parks: night skies under threat from ever-brighter lights
7.   Movie review: The City Dark
8.   The Longing of the Feet, Wesley McNair
9.   SciAm: Is anything stopping truly massive build-out of desert solar power?
10. Ospreys at Heron’s Head Park
11.  Feedback
12. The Economist paid writer internship in D.C.
13.  Mt Sutro, complete text


1.  Mt Sutro management notes

The website sutroforest.com, whose webmaster is Rupa Bose, has an article from the Westside Observer (a neighborhood newspaper) containing statements made by Rupa Bose at a recent West of Twin Peaks Central Council meeting (WOTPCC) citing an opinion by an arborist about the health of the forest, and a Cal Fire diagram citing a low fire hazard."  

Following is an excerpt from nextdoor.com from an individual present at that WOTPCC meeting who decided to further research the topic:

The Cal-Fire fire threat model includes burn probability in addition to fire behavior. The purpose is to allocate resources to areas most apt to have wildfires. The probability of wildfire on Mt. Sutro is low compared to many other areas in the State. Our low history of wildfire is probably the result of our cool and moist climate and a fire department that can put out fires before they can become wildfires. Despite the low burn probability component, Cal-Fire still rates Mt. Sutro has a high fire threat. That is because Cal-Fire found Mt. Sutro to have a high potential for severe fire behavior. The primary factor for severe fire is the high fuel load.

The low fire frequency and effective fire suppression contributes to the potential for severe fire behavior because it allows for the unnatural high level of fuel and mechanisms that carries fire into the crowns. The potential for severe fire behavior has led the State and the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Interior to have fire plans designed to manage fuels as a way to protect people and natural resources from wildfires that result from high levels of fuels. They find that modifying fuels is the only practical means of altering potential wildfire behavior so most policies and programs emphasize fuel treatments. UCSF is following those plans.

(JS:  This is a significant piece of information that everyone in San Francisco needs to know, especially those who live near Mt Sutro.  SF Forest Alliance/sutroforest.com has been known for selective quotations that alter or reverse what writers intended.  We have all learned to question authority and to insist on transparency.  SFFA/sutroforest.com needs to become transparent in its messages.  Its withholding of the complete opinion of Cal-Fire deprives the public of the information it needs to protect itself. In keeping with that you will find the complete letter at the bottom of this newsletter, sans author ID.)

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2.  Join us for a conversation about ecosystem services and the economic value of the natural world. 

Nature's Price Tag
Thursday, July 25, 5:30 pm
The Commonwealth Club
595 Market Street
San Francisco [map]
Cost: $12 with promo code: "Acterra"  

An emerging area of economics aims to put a price on nature as a way of justifying its preservation in a society dominated by market economics. If nature were a corporation it would be a large cap stock. Many large companies are starting to realize the extent to which their profits rely on well operating ecosystems.  
 
For more information and to register, please visit the Commonwealth Club events website.
 
[Anyone wishing to purchase tickets may use the code "Acterra" to receive $8 off the $20 non-member ticket price. This code can be used for as many tickets as you would like.]
___________________

Learn More at Acterra's Find Answers Page:

Green Schools Initiative is a comprehensive resource for people who want to purchase sustainable school supplies, transform their school to a "green school," or teach curricula that engage students in environmental learning. For more information, please visit the Green Schools Initiative website.
 
Green Schools Initiative is just one of many websites from groups offering information about environmental topics. For additional links and resources, please check out Acterra's Find Answers webpage. Can't find the answers you need? Then "Ask an Expert!"


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3.
South San Francisco Weed Warriors
Saturday, July 27th, 9 am to noon. 

Join the SSF Weed Warriors for fresh air and exercise - and a chance to meet CNPS's new director Dan Gluesenkamp and help to weed and improve the south slope of San Bruno Mountain.  The south slope has large areas of grasslands that are critical to our resident butterflies.

	•	gloves provided
	•	wear long pants and layers
	•	wear sturdy shoes
	•	bring water
Check out the San Bruno Mountain Watch website.
 
Just show up or contact leaders:  lorettaandchuck@sbcglobal.net or call SBMW office at: 415-467-6631
 
Meet behind the Mills Montessori School at 1400 Hillside Blvd in SSF

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4.  
Ted Kipping pot luck/slide shows
4th Tuesday of the month at 7 pm (slide show at 8 pm) at the San Francisco County Fair Bldg, 9th Av & Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park
Served by Muni bus lines #6, 43, 44, 66, 71, and the N-Judah Metro

*Please bring your own plates & flatware as well as a dish & beverage to serve 8 people

JULY 23  RUSSELL WAGNER - CANARY ISLANDS: LAND OF GIANTS

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5.  July sky highlights



Bright planets adorn both the early evening and predawn skies in July, while our solar system's fainter members appear best around midnight or after. Within a span of less than 12 hours July 21 and 22, Venus meets Leo's brightest star (Regulus) after sunset and Jupiter joins Mars in morning twilight. By the end of July, Mercury adds to the predawn drama.  Astronomy July 2013

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6. 
NATIONAL PARKS:  Night skies under threat from ever-brighter lights
Greenwire: Monday, June 11, 2012 (excerpts)

Stargazers from around the world come to Bryce Canyon National Park to experience one of the most spectacular night skies in the United States.
To meet demand, rangers offer astronomy programs three times a week during the peak summer season and every Saturday the rest of year -- even on winter nights when snow covers the ground and temperatures fall well below zero.  "It knocks people's socks off, seeing distant galaxies and star clusters with the naked eye that you usually need a small telescope to see," said Kevin Poe, the park's "Dark Ranger."

...In a high, dry and remote part of Utah, Bryce Canyon is one of the darkest spots measured in North America and boasts 305 cloudless nights a year, making it "perfectly poised to become a night sky mecca," Poe said.  But a fast-growing metro area less than 60 miles away and a proposed expansion of a nearby coal mine threaten to degrade the darkness -- and the local night sky tourism industry -- with light pollution.

Bryce Canyon is not alone. Artificial light is pouring into national parks across the country, not only diminishing the quality of the night sky for stargazers, but affecting flora and fauna that depend on dark nights for survival.  "It doesn't take very much light at all to obscure darkness," Poe said. Just one streetlight in the parking lot where he sets up his telescopes would cut the number of stars visitors could see from 7,500 to about 2,000.  With the expansion of energy development across the West, and population growth more broadly, National Park Service officials warn the problem is only going to get worse -- unless developers, cities, utilities and homeowners make a conscious effort to install dark-sky-friendly lighting.

...Big Bend National Park, which spans the border of Texas and Mexico, is a perfect example of the dramatic change that can occur when a park switches to night-sky-friendly lights.  Even though the park is in one of the darkest places in the continental United States, its exterior lights used to flood the Chisos Basin and shoot up into the sky so visitors could hardly see the stars.  Over the past few years, the park replaced many of the 60-, 100- and 200-watt incandescent and fluorescent lights in its developed area with 1- or 2-watt LEDs, reducing its energy consumption by 98 percent and light pollution by -- no joke -- 10,000 percent, said David Elkowitz, the park's spokesman.

Local ordinances
Springdale, a town of 530 permanent residents that hosts more than 3 million annual visitors on their way to Zion, takes its night sky very seriously. Not only is the star-filled night one of the main reasons people live there; it is a key part of the tourism economy that supports the town's tax base.
Concerned about light pollution from increasing development, the community adopted an ordinance in 2009 that limits outdoor lighting to only the places where it is needed for safety, such as pathways, building entrances and parking lots.  There was widespread community support for the ordinance, especially after Moore gave a presentation on the importance of the night sky, light pollution and dark-sky-friendly lighting, Dansie said.

...There had also been some concerns about crime. A common misconception is that decreased lighting leads to increased crime, even though there is no proven link between the two. In fact, brighter lights can actually aid criminals by creating darker shadows in which to hide, Moore said. 

...However, even places that do not have such laws recognize the benefits of dark-sky-friendly lighting.
"It's more expensive up front, but then energy costs decrease over time," said Marc Mortensen, assistant to the city manager of St. George. 

Biological impacts
The impact of light at night is not just about tourist dollars or the humbling experience of looking beyond the planet into space; scientists are very concerned about the impact lighting has on the animal kingdom.  For millennia, species have evolved with regular cycles of light and dark. Dark is an essential element for nocturnal species to hunt, mate and hide from predators.  The impacts of artificial light have been documented for a range of species, including migratory birds, bats, sea turtles and frogs. But it doesn't take a study for fishermen to know that fish bite differently when it's a new moon versus a full moon.  "When we start to see artificial light reaching crescent moon stage, quarter moon stage, we become concerned, because you would anticipate biological effects at those levels because the moon altered them," Moore said.

When moths and other insects are attracted to lights, it draws them away from their important jobs of pollinating plants and producing offspring that feed entire food chains, Poe said. While the loss of a species due to light pollution has not been scientifically documented, researchers say it is a basic ecological principle that when habitat niches disappear, so do the species that depend on them.  "If sky glow makes it so it never gets darker than the full moon, the species that forage under a new moon, they are probably going to drop out of your system," said Travis Longcore, a spatial science professor at the University of Southern California and a leading expert on ecological light pollution.

National park managers may get more insight into how light is affecting the species in their parks soon. With increased computing power, Moore and his team are able to increase the resolution of the night sky images from 5,000 megapixels to 36 million.  They are currently reprocessing the data they have collected over the past 10 years at this higher resolution, which will more accurately pinpoint sources of light as well as tell them how much light is falling on a specific patch of ground. Biologists will be able to use the data to determine if the amount of light is beyond a healthy threshold for the species living in that ecosystem, Moore said.  "We are at the point," he said, "where we have very good, hard data showing in many different terms what the impacts of artificial light at night are in a particular spot in a national park."

The dramatic difference dark-sky-friendly lighting can make is captured by images taken before and after Big Bend National Park replaced its outdoor lights in the Chisos Basin. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

http://www.eenews.net/public/Greenwire/2012/06/11/4


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7.
May 04, 2012
Movie Review: The City Dark

When filmmaker Ian Cheney moved to the Big Apple from rural Maine, he says he felt like he had "left something important behind." Cheney's new movie The City Dark is an attempt to answer this question: "What do we lose when we lose the night?"

The documentary tracks Cheney's quest, which takes him to the College of Staten Island, where Professor Irving Robbins shares what it has been like for his Astronomy Department to gradually lose the night sky. "Since 1966 while living in Brooklyn, I've only seen the milky way twice — both times from a blackout," says Robbins. "I could not believe the heavens."

Next Cheney visits the owner of a lightbulb store in Hackensack, New Jersey. His grandfather knew Thomas Edison and he shares a crash course on the incredible evolution of lightbulbs from Edison's original 50 lumen bulb in 1879 to mercury-vapor lights, high-pressure sodium lights and finally today's metal halides, which produce 15,000 to 16,000 lumens.

Some astronomers have fled to the deserts and islands to escape light pollution. Jack Newton, one of the greatest astro-photographers of our time, managed to obtain 450 acres in remote Arizona. A small community of night-seekers has gathered there in a place they call Sky Village. For Newton, the mystery of 50 billion galaxies lies waiting to be captured through his camera lens. His wife calls the connection to the stars "an emotional feeling of being a child, a childlike wonder that all of this is out there."

People aren't the only ones trapped in the planet's luminous fog of light — animals are also losing the night. Disoriented sea turtle hatchlings  head toward city lights, rather than the ocean reflecting starlight. An estimated 1 billion migrating birds are killed by collision across the U.S. every year. They mistake the city lights for stars, which they use for navigation. Even the fireflies can't find each other to mate.  "The night sky is part of the great mystery we were born into and seeing [the heavens] is more spiritual than practical. We realize we are not the center of the universe and how small we are. [We experience a] re-setting of our ego," says Cheney.

Cyndy Patrick is a life-long animal-lover who opened her own pet salon and commenced to giving doggie hairdos (and bathing some pretty unhappy cats). She hung up her clippers to pursue a career as an environmental journalist and photographer. She is a student at San Jose State, loves to swim in the ocean and sleep under the stars. --photo courtesy of Bullfrog Films

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8.
The Longing of the Feet
by Wesley McNair

At first the crawling
child makes his whole body
a foot.

One day, dazed
as if by memory,
he pulls himself up,

discovering, suddenly,
that the feet
are for carrying

hands. He is so
happy he cannot stop
taking the hands

from room to room,
learning the names
of everything he wants.

This lasts for many years
until the feet,
no longer fast enough,

lie forgotten, say,
in the office
under a desk. Above them

the rest of the body,
where the child
has come to live,

is sending its voice
hundreds of miles
through a machine.

Left to themselves
over and over,
the feet sleep,

awakening
one day
beyond the dead

conversation of the mind
and the hands.
Mute in their shoes,

your shoes
and mine,
they wait,

longing only to stand
the body
and take it

into its low,
mysterious flight
along the earth.
"The Longing of the Feet" by Wesley McNair, from Lovers of the Lost: New & Selected Poems. © David R. Godine, 2010

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9.  Scientific American

NEWS: Is Anything Stopping a Truly Massive Build-Out of Desert Solar Power? 
Engineers and industry agree that although challenges abound in utility-scale solar in the sunniest places on Earth, we have the technology to go big in the desert
http://links.email.scientificamerican.com/ctt?kn=58&ms=NDIwMDMwMTkS1&r=NTM5NzIzNTA1NgS2&b=2&j=MTk0MTE2NzE0S0&mt=1&rt=0 

Followed by LTE:  The Desert is not “Nowhere”  By Alex Wild | July 1, 2013 

Scientific American’s frontpage carries the following story about bringing solar power to the deserts:
The vast and glittering Ivanpah solar facility in California will soon start sending electrons to the grid, likely by the end of the summer. When all three of its units are operating by the end of the year, its 392-megawatt output will make it the largest concentrating solar power plant in the world, providing enough energy to power 140,000 homes. And it is pretty much smack in the middle of nowhere.
The article starts from the assumption that existing deserts are empty, useless, wasted spaces. Deserts are dust, they are nowhere. If only we could make use of this void with energy arrays, it implies, we could solve our problems.

My home institution should know better. Deserts may be inhospitable to our own species’ delicate range of environmental tolerances. But they aren’t empty. Thousands of other species live in deserts, many already endangered by human encroachment. Deserts are some of the last wild places we have left. If we’re going to bulldoze them in the name of saving our imperiled planet, the least we could do is acknowledge the richness of their existence.

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10.  Ospreys at Heron's Head Park

Tony Brake:
I visited Heron's Head Park today to check on the Hunter's Point Osprey nest, which is built in a light structure. I was able to confirm that one of the two young has fledged. I observed it leave the nest, fly around for a while, then perch on one of the nearby buildings. The other chick could be as much as week behind. It was initially standing on the edge of the nest with its sibling and parent, but then went down into the nest where it was often not visible. As I understand this would be the first productive Osprey nesting in San Francisco.

Harv Wilson and I are wrapping up our census of Osprey nests around San Francisco Bay. It has been a very successful year. We have observed 17 nests which have produced 44 chicks, 38 of which have fledged. The remaining 6 chicks are close to fledging. Nine more nest sites were either occupied or reached the incubation stage. Unfortunately, several of these nests failed after human disturbances of various kinds. Hopefully the structure chosen by the Osprey pair at Hunter's Point will be safe in the future. With the increasing population of this iconic species, the cooperation of businesses, landowners and governmental agencies to help accommodate this iconic species (sic). Fortunately, they usually take to artificial nest platforms which can divert them away from active equipment. One such platform has been erected in Pt. Richmond, where the original nest posed a serious fire hazard. Yesterday I observed one of the pair standing on this nest.  

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11.  Feedback

Jack Laws:
Andie Thrams classes are excellent. I do not know anyone who can convey the sense of deep woods the way she does. She is a terrific teacher she really deconstructs what she does in those drawings for her students.

David Wiesner:
Doug Engelbart was a typical computer nerd, in love with the workbench but not able to explain himself very well.  I once went to his lecture and I found him to be the most rambling, incoherent, boring speaker I had heard in a long time.  That is too bad because he could not always set up demonstrations.  If he communicated as poorly to others as he did that night, most people would not come away from listening to him with the same vision of the future that he had.  This may be part of the reason why he had such a difficult time bringing others around to his ideas.

On the other hand, maybe his ideas needed greater technological development to occupy more than a niche.  By the time that people began using mice and hypertext across the Internet, computing and telecommunications had become as affordable as televisions and cable service.

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13.
The Economist
Internship:  Our Washington DC office is looking for a paid intern to help with reporting.  Applicants should write a 600-word article suitable for publication in the US section of The Economist, and send it with a resume to dcintern@economist.com by July 31st.

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14.  Mt Sutro (continued)- complete nextdoor.com message:

I have been digging deeper into the fire hazard issue. I also contacted Cal-Fire. The City is the authority to determine fire risk. Cal-Fire determined that Sutro Forest is a very high fire threat. The proposed treatments (thinning etc.) are recommended by Federal agencies. UCSF is merely following the direction of independent government agencies to identify the risk and the methods to mitigate the risk. If we have a problem with the DEIR in that regard, our criticism should be directed to Local, State, and Federal Government guidance.

The DEIR correctly identified the City as the responsible government authority to determine fire risk. The City, not the State, is responsible for wildland fire protection and for preventing and suppressing fires in the City. Furthermore both FEMA and Cal-EMA have approved the City’s hazard mitigation plan which contains the high fire ratings. Cal-Fire is highly supportive of locally derived hazard assessments for the particular need and issues presented by local concerns. The City has different reason for developing its own plans as Cal-Fire says: “Once you consider fire effects, you are in the realm of risk assessment. Hazard/threat thus is only part of risk assessment.”

Regarding the Cal-Fire Maps here is what Cal-Fire says: “Current hazard is probably best assessed using our fire threat data, which looks at two main components: expected fire behavior and burn probability.” The Cal-Fire fire threat map shows very high fire threats for Sutro Forest and other forested areas west of Twin Peaks. Cal-Fire cautions that their remotely mapping of vegetation islands within urbanized areas is a little tricky and not very precise and they defer to local mapping. According to the DEIR the City’s measures are more precise.

Both the City and Cal-Fire rate Sutro Forest to have a very high fire threat/hazard. The City model looks only at fire behavior considering fuel, terrain, and weather. Fire behavior is the mechanisms of fire that cause damage to assets and resources including the impact of fire brands that may be blown some distance igniting fires well away from the main fire. The City’s primary concern is effects of a wildfire. And Eucalyptus presents a particularly difficult problem. As Cal-Fire says “Mature Blue Gum Eucalyptus is a very hazardous fuel system.” It also carries fire into the crowns via multiple mechanisms.

The Cal-Fire fire threat model includes burn probability in addition to fire behavior. The purpose is to allocate resources to areas most apt to have wildfires. The probability of wildfire on Mt. Sutro is low compared to many other areas in the State. Our low history of wildfire is probably the result of our cool and moist climate and a fire department that can put out fires before they can become wildfires. Despite the low burn probability component, Cal-Fire still rates Mt. Sutro has a high fire threat. That is because Cal-Fire found Mt. Sutro to have a high potential for severe fire behavior. The primary factor for severe fire is the high fuel load.

The low fire frequency and effective fire suppression contributes to the potential for severe fire behavior because it allows for the unnatural high level of fuel and mechanisms that carries fire into the crowns. The potential for severe fire behavior has led the State and the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Interior to have fire plans designed to manage fuels as a way to protect people and natural resources from wildfires that result from high levels of fuels. They find that modifying fuels is the only practical means of altering potential wildfire behavior so most policies and programs emphasize fuel treatments. UCSF is following those plans.

http://frap.fire.ca.gov/data/frapgismaps/fire_threat_download.html

http://frap.cdf.ca.gov/assessment/assessment2003/Chapter3_Quality/wildfiretrends_2.pdf
  
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