Tag Archives: Liz Skow

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.

Quesada Gardens celebrates, gives thanks

Photo: Charlie Sheldon

Spring has officially sprung on Quesada as new and older neighbors joined with youth volunteers and other friends at the gardens to share recent accomplishments with one another.

Quesada Gardens Co-Founding Gardener and Board Chair Annette Smith was on hand to share her famous hug with service learning students from University of San Francisco.

The students had been working with QGI this past semester on projects ranging from gardening to research and asset mapping of social history to a fundraising campaign.  The students were also the event volunteer squad.  Whew!

Brandon Oldham, entering his third year as a student liaison between USF and QGI (pictured far right) received the 2012 Annette Smith and Karl Paige Community Hero Award for his extraordinary contributions to the community.  Brandon is entering his third year of service and learning in Bayview. Sonia-Lynn Abenojar (pictured far left) will join him in the fall as a liaison with the Bayview YMCA.

Uber youth volunteers, Victor Ruiz and Hean He, also received awards at the event for their regular volunteer contributions.  Ava and Dylan Antunovich, 6 and 5 year old siblings who help out most every Saturday, received our first-ever “Little Sprouts Award.”

In addition to Annette, many other neighbors deserve huge thanks, including Joel and Mary McClure (site organizing and food coordination), Tom Galante (T shirt sales and raffle), Tony Tarket (site cleaning), Craig Cannon and Liz Skow (photography), Vidal Perez (music/DJ), Jon Chester and Sharon Bliss (electricity), Jacob Watta (gardening) and David Antunovich (amazing homemade soup).

Performances were featured at the event, and included a moving dance performance by Catie Beard who, along with Jo Kreiter, represented Flyaway Productions.  An artful container for water, that was part of their “Grimm Arithmetic of Water” dance, was donated to the gardens for use as a planter!

Amy Crumpacker, of Not Your Grammy’s Theater,” performed spoken word based on expressions of fears and hopes about Bayview Hunters Point that event participants contributed.  Amy will return to do more with Quesada Gardens.  This was Amy’s second time performing at Quesada Gardens, and she promised to come back soon in her new role with the Bayview YMCA storytelling project.

Event supporters and donors included:

SF Public Utilities Commission for a generous gift underwriting the event,
Fresh and Easy Neighborhood Markets for greens and more,
Lowes for water,
SF Wholesale Produce Market for the best fruit ever! and
Smokin’ Warehouse Barbecue for smokin’ hot gift certificates

We are so grateful to everyone who worked so hard to make this event a success.  Thank you!

Picture by Charlie Sheldon.  Thank you, Charlie!

Quesada Gardens Initiative builds community in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood. www.quesadagardens.org