F5C President Susan Schwartz honored for invasive-plant work

Friends of Five Creeks President Susan Schwartz received the California Invasive Plant Council’s Ryan Jones Catalyst Award “for exceptional initiative in invasive plant management and the protection of California ecosystems,” at Cal-IPC’s annual meeting Thursday, Oct. 11. A large part of all-volunteer Friends of Five Creeks’ work in natural and restored “green threads in the urban fabrid” goes toward controlling invasive weeds that threaten plant and animal diversity and increase risk of fire or flood.

Oct. 18 walk for 50+: Charming small gardens

Walkers age 50+: Join Friends of Five Creeks Vice President Shirley Jowell in an Indian Summer exploration of North Berkeley and Albany gardens that are water-saving and Bay-friendly as well as beautiful. Meet at the garden next to Berkeley Bagels, 1281 Gilman near Santa Fe, Berkeley. This is an easy, level, unhurried walk. Information: sjowell@att.net, 510 525 7012.

The walk is free, but please RSVP to co-sponsor Albany Senior Center, 846 Masonic, 510 524 9122.

John Steere, BPFP president, interviewed on bioregionalism

BPFP’s president, environmental “alchemist” John Steere, was interviewed by Willi Paul, publisher of online Planetshifter magazine. John founded or helped found local groups and efforts including East Bay Citizens for Creek Restoration, Berkeley Partners for Parks, Halcyon Commons, Livable Berkeley, Green Music Network, and Samavesha — all ways of building local environmentalism, arts, and community.
Read about John’s thoughts on bioregionalism and localization here.

Aquatic Park walk

Saturday, Sept. 22, meet at 10 AM at Waterside Cafe, 84 Bolivar Drive (between Addison and Bancroft)Monkeyflower blooming at south end of Aquatic Park, for a clockwise loop walk around the beautiful manmade lagoons. Leaders Mark Liolios and Aquatic Park EGRET and Toni Mester of Citizens for Eastshore Parks will talks about upcoming public processes that could affect the park: Landmarking some of the WPA-era structures as historic, changes to hydrology under the Aquatic Park Improvement Program, and zoning of adjacent land along Bolivar Drive.

This is a 2-mile, level loop suitable for wheelchairs and strollers, except for a few off-road stops. Fall migrant birds are returning to the park — though it’s not a bird walk, bring binocs if you have them! Information at 510 848 8234.

Help Path Wanderers and BPFP win $10,000; honor Charlie Bowen

Charlie Bowen directing volunteer path builders
Charlie Bowen (lower right) directs path-building volunteers
Berkeley Path Wanderers’ Association path-building head Charlie Bowen is one of three finalists in the 2012 Bay Area Cox Conserves Heroes contest, sponsored by the Trust for Public Land and KTVI Channel 2.

The one that gets the most on-line votes by Sept. 24 will get $10,000 for their chosen nonprofit. Please click here to see short videos on the finalists and vote!

For 10 years, Charlie has worked tirelessly to restore and expand Berkeley’s historic network of public pathways. More than 20 Berkeley paths, formerly overgrown or fenced off, are now open — and with Charlie’s guidance volunteers in four other cities are pursuing similar efforts. Re-opening these beautiful paths and steps, many wooded and with beautiful views, also helps create a heathy, environmentally friendly, walkable city.

Besides enlisting literally thousands of volunteers for what is often heavy pick-and-shovel work, Charlie has planned carefully, recruited surveyors and contractors, and worked positively and respectfully with the city and with neighbors. Many initial skeptics have become enthusiastic supporters.

The runner up will receive $2500 for their nonprofit of choice. The online vote decides which group gets an additional $7,500. Berkeley Path Wanderers, a partner group of Berkeley Partners for Parks, needs funds to pay for handrails that make steeper paths safer, especially for senior citizens.