Sep 7, 2007

Stepping Stones

Perhaps you can tell that I've found lots to do w/ the time that I don't spend shopping. One project that I'm working on right now is an effort to engage new people in habitat restoration. I am particularly interested in reaching folks in my own age group. Twenty-somethings rise up! Let's get dirty and help wildlife!

San Francisco is a biodiversity hotspot, largely because of its isolation. Surrounded by water on three sides and bounded to the south by San Bruno Mountain, the species of plants and critters in SF evolved in very specialized circumstances.

Thanks in part to topography, we have many islands of natural habitat left in San Francisco. You can see those islands in our undeveloped hilltops, Glen Canyon, and the shores along the Pacific and parts of the Bay.

We need to connect these islands in order to maintain diversity. Isolated species inbreed and implode leading to their extirpation (local extinction). We've learned that losing one species can trigger an extinction/extirpation cascade in which we also lose up to 30 other species that were somehow connected to the first. Our open space in SF is amazingly diverse, but that biological diversity is not necessarily going to persist. We can connect these islands of habitat with stepping stones that will link larger open spaces. We can create corridors to aid butterflies, bees, and birds along our sidewalks and in our backyards.

Several of my friends are working on just these sort of projects. Amber Hasselbring has proposed a Mission Greenbelt to connect Franklin Square Park to Dolores Park. If you are in SF, the Hidden Histories show is a must see. Amber and I are lucky to work with the rest of the Nature in the City education and stewardship committee on the recently conceived "Green Hairstreak Project". Liam O'Brien is our butterfly guru (no, I cannot spell the fancy title) and he has brought an amazing proposal forward to connect two populations of the Green Hairstreak to encourage their inter-breeding, and therefore, their survival.

I'll be holding a few workshops this fall on Radical Restoration. More to come on that.


david1111 said...

Hi, I've already been looking into the ecohistory of eastern San Francisco for 13 years for my forthcoming (2008) book, Secrets of the San Francisco Bay Area's Environmental History. Have also been volunteering on native plant restoration projects around the city including my own backyard. I have lots of stories to tell. Let me know how I can contribute.

rachel said...

How exciting, David. I can't wait to read your book! You'll certainly love the Hidden Histories exhibit at Cellspace.
Can you send me an email? I'm going to do a few radical restoration workshops this fall. It might be cool to have you come give some perspective.
ketterkat [at] yahoo

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