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.

Rose Garden 75th Anniversary Celebration Sept. 23

Berkeley Rose GardenThe City of Berkeley and Berkeley Partners for Parks invite everyone to a glorious day celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Berkeley Rose Garden, Sunday, September 23, 2012 from 11:30 am – 2:30 pm. Tours, advice on roses, garden expo, music including the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble, dance, great food, Navarro Vineyards wine garden (21 and over). For kids of all ages, juggling, games, face-painting, and balloon animals.

Before the festival, at 10 AM, Berkeley Path Wanderers lead a walk exploring the garden and its area; meet at the Rose Garden entrance, Euclid between Eunice and Bay View Place (information: walks@berkeleypaths.org).

What’s historical in Berkeley? Plaque project wants your ideas!

The small group of dedicated volunteers who make up the Berkeley Historical Plaque Project has passed two big milestones: They have placed 100 of their handsome green-and-cream plaques around the city, enriching experience in city with the added dimension of time. And they have launched a web site that invites your ideas on people, places, and events that deserve a “virtual” online plaque. Ideas so far range from Don Donohue, who launched the underground comics movement with publication of R. Crumb’s Zap #1 from the Dakin Warehouse on Adeline St., to the now-closed Buttercup Bakery on College, where finance guru Suze Ormann started her career — as a waitress. Take a look at send in your ideas!

May 12: Rock-rolling, weed-corralling party, Schoolhouse Creek Common

Schoolhouse Creek Common during native-garden tourSchoolhouse Creek Common, the beautiful community-build park at Curtis and Virginia, urgently needs help weeding and spreading new gravel on the paths! Join them 9 AM – noon, Saturday, May 12.

Work for all, all ages welcome! Snacks and drinks provided. Bring your own work gloves if you have them.

For information contact Jamie Day, day7715@gmail.com.

Survey for Sudden Oak Death April 28-29

Coast Live OaksSudden Oak Death is a fungus-like water mold that threatens our beautiful Coast Live Oaks. Besides their beauty, oaks are critical to the survival of many plants and animals, and the functioning of our watersheds. Dead or dying oaks greatly increase fire danger, and trees or limbs can fall suddenly, endangering people or property.

According to Dr. Matteo Garbelotto, head of the Forest Pathology Lab at UC Berkeley, writes: “2011 was a bad year for our oaks. Prolonged spring rains have resulted in a significant spread of Sudden Oak Death throughout the state,” including the East Bay.

Please mark your calendars for Saturday and Sunday, April 28-9. After an hour-long training by Dr. Garbelotto at 1 PM Saturday on the UC Berkeley campus, you’ll collect suspect bay leaves (the main carriers to oaks) on your own time, and where you choose, for lab testing. You return suspect samples to a drop-box on the UC Berkeley campus by Sunday evening.

We will gladly help you plan a route — just ask on the signup form. This year’s blitz will follow a new protocol that makes it possible to estimate the actual local SOD infection rate!

Sign up for the training at http://sodblitz2012.eventzilla.net.