All posts by quesadagardens

Injured Conure Parrot rescued

By Elizabeth Skow
We found one of the wild Quesada Conure parrots injured in our yard about two months ago. My cousin Hummingbird found him lying on his back with his head all twisted around. His left leg didn’t work and his left foot couldn’t seem to grip. He tried to fly away and fell to the ground directly in front of our curious feral cat friend, who immediately crouched down into attack position.
We snatched the bird up and brought him into the kitchen, prompting a chorus of squawks from his fellow parrots, perched in a tree nearby.
I didn’t really know what to do, but I figured leaving the bird alone in a safe, dark place was probably best. I expected it to die overnight, but I figured I’d take it to Wildcare in San Rafael if it were still alive in the morning. Its friends remained in my tree uttering muted squawks of concern until night fell.


A pair of Cherry-headed Conure parrots hang out on an electric wire over Quesada garden, where they come during the day, from about February to about September every year. 
These parrots are descendants of the Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, which has now grown to around 300 in San Francisco.
Photo: Shane King


The next morning I went into my garage to check on the little guy, and he was still breathing. His friends were right outside in the tree, still conducting their vigil, squawking at him through the wall.
I drove the parrot to San Rafael, checked out the Wildcare facility for a few minutes, dropped him off with a promise from them that they’d call if they had news, drove home and promptly forgot about him.
I called a couple of days later, and the certified wildlife rehabilitators there told me that he had suffered a head or spinal injury and that he was depressed. They planned to send him to a rehabilitation facility in Sebastopol if he lasted a couple of days. Then the North Bay fires happened, spreading almost to Sebastopol and displacing numerous other birds that needed his spot, so the lonely little Conure waited at Wildcare, slowly regaining his strength and healing.
I didn’t call for weeks after that. My life got busy, lots of crises to handle, our beloved Jeffrey Betcher passed away, Halloween passed, and winter came. It’s been a glum season for me. I am distraught about our political situation, sad about Jeffrey’s death, and stressed out for numerous other mundane reasons. The parrot’s recovery slipped to the back of my mind.
I thought about him once or twice, but didn’t call to inquire. Perhaps I was too afraid of another sad disappointment; I didn’t call.
Finally, the day after our Thanksgiving feast, I gathered my courage and called the aviary in Sebastopol where the little parrot was recovering. I was thrilled to hear that he is almost fully recovered, and that next week, another San Francisco Conure will be joining him in the aviary. He still has a bit of trouble landing, but his feet and legs work, and he can fly again.
It turns out we all saved his life, thanks to collective efforts of Wildcare and Hummingbird and myself, as well as the aviary in Sebastopol, he will be released back to his flock in late January, just in time for breeding season.

Senior travel tips

By Marie Villeza
Now that retirement is finally here, you can start planning those vacations you’ve always dreamed about. Maybe you’ve always wanted to visit Paris, spend a week in the Caribbean, or just see the sights in the US.
Seniors should travel and take vacations, but they need to be smart about it. There are steps you can take to make sure your trip is enjoyable. It starts by knowing how to stay safe.

Safety Concerns For Traveling Seniors
Smarter Travel has a few recommendations specifically for seniors who travel. Two important ones concern food and medication.
  • Even if they’re not on a restricted diet, seniors have to be careful about what they eat since their digestive systems tend to be more sensitive. Eating heavy or spicy local cuisines might sound tasty, but it could lead to stomach problems.
  • It’s easy to forget to take prescribed medications when traveling with all the changes and things to do. Seniors need to make sure they’re taking their medications as prescribed.
Physical safety for seniors is another concern. Seniors need to stay in regular contact with the family. They also need to schedule some downtime during the vacation. Scheduling too many tours, dinners, and so on can lead to feeling overtired and even sore.
The Trip Should Be Relaxing
In addition to staying safe on your trip, remember to take necessary steps to keep your home safe while you’re gone. Knowing your belongings are secured will provide peace of mind, which is what vacation is all about!
Before you leave home, invest in these 5 home security essentials suggested by HomeAdvisor:
  • Security systems: Choose between unmonitored, self-monitored and fully-monitored systems.
  • New locks: Replacing locks is important, especially if the locks are old or flimsy. Newer locks can be rekeyed, which keeps the original lock, but changes the keys needed to open it.
  • Motion-activated lights: An affordable way to increase home security, motion-activated lights are especially important around your garage, front porch and other dimly-lit locations.
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Protect the inside of your house from potential dangers by replacing any dated or missing detectors.
  • Light timers: Modern light timers allow you to set your lights to come on (and turn off) without you being there, which can help ward off potential burglars.
Destinations Perfect For Seniors
Even the best precautions in the world don’t matter much if you head to the wrong location. Spring Break in Daytona Beach would probably be more annoying than fun for seniors. Trips To Discover has a list of vacations that seniors will love.
  • Cruises are great choices for seniors. Some are designed specifically for older adults as well. Destinations like the Caribbean and Alaska are very popular.
  • A road trip along the California coast has plenty of sights at the senior’s own pace. Renting a convertible can make it even more memorable.
  • Sedona, AZ might not be a well-known destination, but it has plenty of spas, resorts, and shops great for seniors.
  • Many seniors are familiar with Florida, but few reach Key West. That’s a shame because there are enough beaches, small cruises, shopping, and restaurants that seniors will love.
One destination that many seniors don’t consider is Disney World. Chances are, seniors have been there with family when they were younger. This theme park is made for adults as well as kids, so going there without family can be a perfect vacation.
Start Planning That Vacation
Retirement is a reward for working so hard for many years. That’s why seniors deserve a fun, relaxing trip. By paying attention to safety concerns, keeping travel stress-free, and picking the right destination, that’s exactly what seniors can get.

Jeffrey Betcher RIP

By Elizabeth Skow
Jeffrey Betcher, founder and editor of Bayview Footprints, passed away on October 21st, 2017, after a long illness.
A framed magazine photo of jeffrey 
was among other photos hung in the 
entryway of his home during his 
life celebration, Saturday Nov. 17th.
Those of you who knew Jeffrey know what a huge loss his passing is for our community, where Jeffrey made his life lovingly building community and diligently documenting news and events, writing grants for gardening projects, gathering volunteers and supporting the arts in Bayview Hunters Point.
Jeffrey was a relentlessly positive force. He loved Bayview, and Quesada Garden, and he dedicated his life to community building here. He was a wonderful neighbor and a generous, selfless person. He was a great writer of poetry and an accomplished journalist as well, and I feel really lucky to have known him and worked with him on Footprints.
Friends and neighbors gathered Saturday, Nov. 17th to celebrate Jeffrey’s life and to mourn his passing. Friends had lovingly covered the garden in cut flowers. Loved ones read Jeffrey’s sublime poems and spoke of what he meant to them, sharing a meal together after the sharing of memories. It was moving, and terribly sad.
Friends, neighbors and loved ones gathered at Jeffrey’s home on Quesada Avenue on Sat. Nov. 17th, to celebrate Jeffrey’s life and share memories together.
I realized that I needed to write about Jeffrey’s passing, but I’ve been having a hard time with it. I had no idea where to start to eulogize someone who meant so much to all of us. After speaking to other friends and neighbors and attending his life celebration last weekend, I realized that the best thing to do would be to invite everyone to share their memories of Jeffrey here in Footprints.
Did Jeffrey touch your life in a small or large way? Please write and share that memory with us. Pictures and anecdotes are welcome. We will publish a special issue of Footprints in mid-December dedicated to our memories of Jeffrey Betcher. After that, I will always be happy to print any memories of Jeffrey in any issue of Footprints.
Please send your memories to: by December 20th, so I can put it all together. No story or memory is too insignificant. We would really like to hear from you, to help us all process this loss, and to pay tribute to this wonderful friend and neighbor.

                                                                                                 By Amara Killen


This Is My Reality. This Is My Idealism. This Is My Truth.
During “get to know you” exercises with my GirlFly peers we were asked to discuss, broadly, who we are and where we come from. As is common in our racially centered society we substituted, “who are you,”  with “what is your race,” and began sharing what we believed defined us:
“I am African American,” one girl pronounced.
“I am half Mexican, Irish and Japanese,” another proudly chimed in.
I was quiet and attentive, not feeling all too eager to hastily proclaim my very mixed Polish-Scottish descendance, until I heard my name:
“What are you, Amara?” they asked, curiously.
“Well,” I scrambled for the words. “My ancestors were from Western Europe.”
We all laughed at the obvious, and even I was oblivious at the time to the subtle socially-instilled separation we had just bought into.


This Is What I Know:
As a white, middle class person raised in Marin County, I belong to just about the most privileged demographic there is. I try to be as cognizant as I can about my inherited advantage in today’s society. I know it is important to educate myself about the historical and contemporary factors that exist in our 21st century reality: I understand I do not know what it feels like to live in an area where I am being poisoned by toxic waste every day and have little to no opportunity for advancement/progress; I understand I do not know what it feels like to walk in my neighborhood at night and fear for my life; I understand I will neverknow what it feels like to tell my children that even if they have done nothing wrong they must be deferential to police officers so they are not thrown in jail, or killed. This is what I know.


This Is What I Know:
This is a time of great shifting. This is a time of redefining the eurocentric labels we have complied with through past generations. The language of the colored woman is emerging; one of gentleness and anger, compassion and strength, individuality and togetherness. I see everyday a new language being written by my young adult peers. This is the “LGBTQIAP+” American. This is the “filipinoafricankoreanchinesethaiscottish” American. This is the mixed race and the fluid gender American. This is political correctness and terms of acceptance, and openness. I believe this is a wonderful time to be growing up.


This Is What I Don’t Know:
I struggle as I try to discover my place in this new world of acknowledgement and empowerment surrounding identities; this remembering,yet redefining the past. All of the new words get stuck in my throat as I stumble to be both understanding andtrue to myself. To be real and to not offend. I dissect the dictionary but still am ignorant, uneducated, wrong. Is it “Native American,” or “American Indian?” Is it “he,” or “her,” or “they?” I have the best intentions, so why do I still get those cringe-worthy looks?  I feel like crying out: I AM TRYING! I WANT TO UNDERSTAND! Please, call me out. Educate me. Help me understand what I am doing wrong.


This Is What I Want:
I want to look you in the eye when I am speaking to you.
I want you to smile when I pass you in the street.
I want to hug and embrace you when you cry.
I want you to forgive me when I call you the wrong name.
I want to forgive you when you don’t understand me.
I want you to teach me when I am ignorant and confused.
I want to be compassionate when I am filled with hate.
I want you to breathe when you are frustrated with me.
I want to listen when I hear something new.
I want you to speak when you feel silenced.
I want to see you.
I want you to see me.
I want you to be compassionate,
I want you to cry out.
I will listen.

Photo: Brechin Flournoy
The People of Bayview


Although I struggle with these issues, as I meet people everyday who are open and willing to talk I am reminded that the most important way to come to a personal understanding is on the individual level.  These interactions are what give me purpose and touch my heart. I wanted to share about a few of the people I met while working in Quesada Gardens:


Chubby fingers touch my arm and take hold, and I look up, trying to catch the culprit. Huge eyes smile back at me, and I laugh, realizing it is an adorable baby girl who reached towards me on the MUNI. Connecting. Rejoicing. I tickle her arm and say hello to her and her mother, who rocks the girl on her big, warm lap. For the remainder of the ride I poke, squeeze and tickle as Marila’s bubbly laughter rolls onto the MUNI floor and infects all around her. What a beautiful thing it is to hear the giggles of a baby, and to laugh along.
Another day, but the same light-rail; the T-Train rattles along 3rd street, and I read, keeping to myself. At the next stop a man walks on and addresses me.
“Excuse me, but could I sit in one of these seats?”
I realize I have taken up three seats with my belongings, and I move them onto my lap to let the man sit. I peek over at him and notice his huge and watchful eyes. He is sipping from a bottle of champagne and singing to himself, rhyming something about the weather too quietly for me to hear. He sees me observing and I smile politely.
“How are you doing today?” he asks.
“I’m doing well, how about you?”
“I’m good, I’m good.


Her soft smile and gentle eyes welcomed me to Quesada Gardens. We sat on the steps and basked under the sun. A Quesada Ave resident since 1970 she has strolled down every crack and cranny on the street. She finished high school on this block, lived in two houses on this block, raised her son on this block, and cared for her mother on this block. She saw flourishing gardens and domino-playing husbands on this block. She ran and panted and sang and hugged on this block.


Linda Pettus has grown alongside this block, and this neighborhood. She has seen the loss of businesses after the Race Riot of 1966. She has tasted the food desert that followed. She has felt the affects of cancer, a disease rampant in her community because of the Superfund toxic waste sites next door in Hunter’s Point.  She has known the drug dealers — the neighbors — who hung out for decades on her street and played with her kids.


As she has lived through this, however, she has come to deeply respect, and appreciate, the people surrounding her. Even as we discussed the drug dealers who sold continuously in front of her house, she spoke about them with compassion and understanding: “When I would come out with [my son] they would stop…They did their dirt but they also respected him as a child…They still watched out for us.” Linda has seen the value of community and believes that with that comes progress: “It’s changing. There’s been some change, and for the better. I remember years ago my boyfriend was telling me Bayview was gonna change…It’s gonna be a long time coming but it’s gonna come…it’s slow…but it’s coming…once one thing changes something follows behind.”


Linda’s positivity was infectious, and I felt radiant after finishing our discussion and hugging her goodbye. She reminded me that despite any stigma, hardships and setbacks that will inevitably arise, connecting through community is the secret to thrive. “I love it here. I have relatives…they tell me ‘you need to come home.’ I am home. I’m always glad to come home. I love San Francisco and I love this community. This is it for me.”


Author Bio: Amara Killen is a 19 year old young woman from the SF Bay Area. She will be starting college in Washington State in the Fall 2017.

Asia Pires

How This Community Changed Me
 By Asia Pires
I never really understood the word “community” before I came here.
“A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.”
Yes, my community lives in the same area.
But how am I supposed to know if we have similar interests?
I’ll say “hello” once in awhile, but never “how are you?” or “how was your day?”
People on BART have straight faces or stare.
They wouldn’t say anything to me unless I was someone they knew or to ask to sit next to me.
Since I take BART a lot I sometimes see familiar faces, but, of course, never say anything.
I get off BART and transfer to the MUNI.
It’s quiet and everyone is on their phones.
Passing AT&T Park, someone gets up and offers their seat to a lady struggling to stand.
I look at the lady who could not stop smiling as she thanks the man for the seat.
I get off at Oakdale Ave./Palou Ave. & 3rd St and walk up Quesada Ave.
‘Welcome to Quesada Gardens,’
I’m thinking, “Wow, look at this beautiful garden!”
As I walk up the street a woman and a few dogs look towards me and smile.
So I smile back.
I pass a man watering his plants who greets me with “Hello! Have a nice day!”
That’s how I know this was a real community.
Photo: Brechin Flournoy
Over these past weeks I’ve realized that it’s not a community without consideration.
A community is more social and trustful.
Yes, it may have a few issues, but a real community comes together to fix what needs fixing.
I want that kind of community.
A community where I can tell my neighbor to have a good day, to work on making the community stronger, to help one another out.
That is why I walked back to the MUNI, got on BART, offered my seat to someone who needed it, walked back home smiling at the people who passed me, and finally asked my neighbor…
“Hello! How was your day?”
A poem for the garden:
This is the garden that has brought community together.
This is the garden that we plant in.
This is the garden that we have learned about.
This is the garden that we dance and sing in.
This is the garden that we have learned each other’s names in.
This is the garden that has had open arms to Girlfly coming here.
This is the garden where we met new animal friends.
This is the garden where we met new people.
This is the garden where we made friends into family.
Author Bio:
Asia Pires is a 16 year old girl from the East Bay. She is a rising Junior at El Cerrito High School. She is truly honored to have had spent her time in Quesada Gardens. She feels that this community is full of love and kindness. She loves to sing and dance so it was really great experiencing this outdoors in a well grown community.

Diana Avila

On The Verge of …
                                                                                                By Diana Avila


I am a young 16 year old woman who has seen some pretty nasty things just because I was born with a vagina. Just because I walk down my streets alone. Just because I look like an “easy catch.” Yes, I am a woman. No, I’m not a dog you can holler at. I’m not a bird you can whistle at. I am a human, like you. But like many women, we still have to prove that we are real. Not an object; but an actual person.
A person that never asked to be touched there.
A person who never asked to feel bare.
Photo: Brechin Flournoy
I know that in my community, there are those who take catcalling as a joke. “It’s harmless”; “just a compliment.” And there are those who have no mercy. Violent towards the queens who walk down the street or who sit on the bus. The other majority are, in my opinion, the worst: the silent ones who look away, walk away in despite of their human nature, refusing to help one another.
Author Bio: Diana is a scholar at Leadership High School who has plans of moving forward with her studies at a university. With family ties at the Woman’s Building, Diana looks up to her mother and grandmother who have proven to themselves that they could kick ass without a man. In Diana’s free time, she likes to read and write poetry, dance and perform with her dance group called Bolivia Corazón de América, and enjoys spending time with friends and family.

Grace Ng

 Meet Your Neighbor: Charlie Casteneda
 By Grace Ng
Her name is Charlie. When I first met her I felt that she was a very confident woman. She knows who she is and is proud of who she is. She is not ashamed of herself at all. She is basically the first gay adult that I have ever met since coming out. She is an inspirational person to me for many different reasons. She owns her own dog walking business that is very successful: A Girl and Her Dog. She is inspirational because she is also a professional artist with an MFA and is an art teacher. She goes against the norm and treats her employees like family. She is truly amazing.
As a gay person myself I look up to her. I want to be as successful as her one day. She is a very important member of the Bayview community and inspires many people. She achieved so much in her life and she still has so much more to accomplish. She has struggled with some issues throughout her life, but she made it. She persevered through all of her struggles. She never gave up. She is a person worthy of being called strong.
  Photo: Brechin Flournoy                                                                                                     
                                                                                                By Grace Ng
There are crucial steps that must be taken into account when caring for trees or else they can turn out dead.
Each plant has an understory. There are dying trees. Save them before they go extinct.
Humans show resilience. Do not give up on the trees. They have history and rich stories hidden deep within them.
Author Bio: Grace Ng is an upcoming senior and is sixteen years old. Her dream school is USC. Her passion is writing.

Kiarah Nunley

                                                                             The Great Garden
                                                                                 By  Kiarah Nunley


The garden–
The plants,
The flowers,
The people–
Show different emotions
In this neighborhood.
The plants
Need energy;
The animals
Need nectar from the the flowers.
The bees
Eat honey.
The birds
The parrots:
They sing to us–
They dance for us.
Sometimes they give us inspiration.
They see me dance;
They like me dancing.
The people
In this neighborhood:
But not.
They are creative when they come together.
When I walk down these streets,
I see these beautiful flowers.
These gardens I see in my neighborhood
Make me want to think about me starting my own.
There is nothing like home;
Other than this.
Photo: Brechin Flournoy
Author Bio:
Kiarah Nunley is a 10th grader at Kipp SF College Prep.  She is currently writing a novel.