Category Archives: Environment

June and July garden and volunteer photos

In June and July Quesada Gardens organized and hosted several volunteer groups, including Habitat for Humanity, Good Eggs, Youth Conservation Corps, Bloomburg and ARC of San Francisco.

These groups, organized by our tireless-but-probably-exhausted Co-Chairperson Shane King, help to keep our garden tended and weeded. Carlos John Davila and Co-Chairperson Craig Cannon led groups, helping direct the workers and organize the game plan.

Joel and Mary McClure, as they have for years, directed volunteers at the Bridgeview Teaching and Learning Garden, a project they maintain.

Neighbors Carlos Davila and his daughter Meah, Wei Ming Dariotis and Hussain AbdulhaqqTai Tran and Mark Philpot, Jeffrey BetcherMaxine Kraemer, and Rithy Chan are just some of the neighbors who have been working very hard to make the garden beautiful and welcoming. Thank you everyone. And I’m sorry if I missed anyone, I’m not ALWAYS watching!!

Please enjoy some photos from the volunteer groups and from some neighbors working in the garden.

Elizabeth Skow

Jeffrey Betcher neatens plantings on sidewalk in front of the Pettus’ home. 
Images: Craig Cannon
The models posing with their traffic cut-outs. One has been installed on Quesada Ave.
Hussain Abdulhaqq in his skirt of Nastertium.
Wei Ming working in a terraced section of the gardens.
Images: Maxine Kraemer

GIRLFY in the gardens again!

This year’s GIRLFLY poses on the Quesada Gardens’ Tiled Steps located at the Newhall end of Quesada Avenue

Photo by Megan Lowe

Have you seen young women dancing in the Quesada or Bridgeview gardens? It’s that time again! GIRLFLY is creating a site specific dance and studying writing as activism here in our neighborhood during July. You may see them practicing in the gardens, Tuesdays through Fridays.GIRLFLY and Quesada Gardens have been collaborating since 2013.

GIRLFLY brings neighborhood and neighboring teen girls to the gardens to make site specific dances, to learn from the community building that has gone on here, and to deepen the neighbor to neighbor activism that has blossomed here along with the gardens.  Our long time ally and partner Jeffrey Betcher has been front and center in making this partnership a success.

This year we are making dances that explore both diversity and support in and around the Bridgeview Garden, on the long tile steps at the Newhall end of Quesada, and in locations on the Quesada Gardens’ median.  We are also enacting a writing-as-activism project led by SF State ethnic studies professor and QG neighbor Wei Ming Dariotis.

We have 19 girls ready to dance and make a difference. Come see their performances in the gardens on July 29th at noon and two PM. www.flyawayproductions.com

Literacy for Environmental Justice seeks board members

By Elizabeth Skow

Literacy for Environmental Justice was founded in 1998 by community members to build a greener, more equitable future for itself. LEJ has been educating youth about their environment and leading volunteer groups to restore green parts of Southeast San Francisco for almost twenty years. They also run a native plant nursery that provides plants for many greening and conservation projects in San Francisco.

Currently, LEJ is restoring an area of Candlestick Point and building six campsites that will accommodate walk-in, boat-in and bike-in campers. It will be one of only two places in San Francisco that allows camping. The campsites will be available to the public, and will prioritize youth camping in an urban setting.

This project is in conjunction with expanding their garden and native plant nursery for eco-restoration on Carroll Ave. The nursery will provide plants for the Candlestick Point project and others in Southeast San Francisco. LEJ will have coordinated 1,000 youth and other volunteers who will have donated 3,000 to 5,000 volunteer hours by the time the work is finished. The project will also involve Parks and Rec in an effort to promote better use of San Francisco’s parks.

LEJ’s Executive Director Patrick Marley Rump has been working with LEJ since 1999. He got involved after he did some restoration work at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and heard about LEJ projects at Heron’s Head Park. He had noticed a disconnect between ecology and preservation work and the communities most in need of that work. As he was living in Bayview, he saw an opportunity to serve the community in which he lived.

Today, Literacy for Environmental Justice is looking for Board of Director candidates.

Patrick says the ideal LEJ board member would be rooted in Bayview, and would want to be involved in governance, planning and community building. That board member would have a connection or desire to connect with environmental justice work in Bayview, would want to impact the lives of young people here, and would bring to the board role some funds development skill.

If you are interested in becoming involved, please contact LEJ.

A walk above the Shipyard

Shipyard tile map
Detail from tile art by local artist.

Construction is fast and furious at Hunters Point Shipyard (which marketing folks wish we’d call the “San Francisco Shipyard“). But a nice walk and quiet moments are possible in Constructionville.

The sidewalk rising from behind The Storehouse located just inside the gates forces a decision. To the right is a climb into asphalt and cement where sections of the massive building project emerge in various stages of completion. To the left is public art and a football field-sized patch of green grass at the crest of the hill.

Either way you proceed, you can get to the visitors’ center, a pleasing Southern California-esque structure where salespeople await. Never far away is what may be the development’s major sales point, a grand view of a long-neglected swath of the SF Bay’s waterfront.

Text and images: Jeffrey Betcher

Marketing meets construction.
Marketing meets construction.
Art frames nature.
Art frames nature.
An industrial gazebo with circular metal bench swing.
An industrial gazebo with circular metal bench swing.

More about Bayview’s changing natural and built environment

Bayview Hill trail, the perfect walk

Bayview Hill Trail is the perfect walk.
Bayview Hill Trail is the perfect walk.

The trail, from the end of Key Avenue, up and around Bayview Hill, is steep enough you feel like you’ve gotten some exercise, but not so long you’re down for the count by the time you make it to the top.

According to a 2013 report, the park’s distinctive characteristics include that it offers the highest publicly-accessible view in the southeast part of the City, and it retains some of the most diverse natural habitat in the City.

In many ways, walking the hill is the perfect way to get a break from city life without forgetting where you are. The trail circles between sweeping urban views and jagged reminders of Bayview’s natural environment.

Here and there are vantage points that bring to life the neighborhood’s densely populated future, as predicted in urban planning studies.  Yet the park has a peaceful aura about it, and the critters still outnumber the people by a wide margin.

Along one side of the hill, new housing has sprouted like gazillion dollar weeds. On the other side, Candlestick Point is missing a stadium and largely remains a blank canvas for the mixed-use development under construction.

On Bayview Hill, the natural beauty of the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood is as unmistakable as it is comforting in the midst of the rapid change raising dust in all directions.

Text and images: Jeffrey Betcher

Rows of new housing press the northern slope of Bayview Hill.
Rows of new housing press the northern slope of Bayview Hill.
Nature still asserts herself on Bayview Hill.
Nature still asserts herself on Bayview Hill.

Building sustainable community, one solar installation at a time

GRID, an Oakland-based nonprofit that installs solar while training those who need jobs in how to do it is back in Bayview. GRID has already installed 12 systems on Quesada Avenue, three of them at Quesada Gardens.

According to GRID outreacher, Ronnie Mataquin, the district with the closest number of GRID installs is in Vis Valley.

Contact Ronnie to learn more about how GRID can help you and your home contribute to building a sustainable community.