Friends of Five Creeks volunteers continued to remove harmful invasives and plant natives at three sites on Codornices Creek: at Live Oak Park, where the creek crosses the Ohlone Greenway, and between 10th and 9th Streets. F5C worked especially with school groups at the mouth of Strawberry Creek, and partnered with Save the Bay in maintaining the mouth of Schoolhouse Creek, both in the Eastshore State Park. The group also continued its outreach work, especially at fairs, festivals, and the How Berkeley Can You Be Parade, where they dressed as frogs, fish, and “litter man” and handed out thousands of bookmarks listing “Ten Things You Can Do for Creeks.” Call Susan Schwartz at 510-848-9358 if you’d like to get involved.
This year, representatives of the four projects formed a new umbrella organization, the Friends of the Westbrae Commons. The group hosted an exciting party and raffle in August and is working to raise funds to benefit the gardens and greenway. At the end of 2004, the Ohlone Natural and Cultural History Interpretive Exhibit dedicated it’s latest addition, the Ohlone People’s Exhibit. The installation features an artful bench and “Hairpin” sculpture collaboratively designed and built by local and Native American artists. A memorial bench in honor of Karl Linn has been added to the Peralta Garden, and planning is progressing on the future plaza at the corner of Gilman Street and the greenway. For more information call Nicole Becker at 510-798-8148.
BPWA has been busy his year building trails and getting maps out about them….July saw the arrival of a revised 3rd edition of BPWA’s map of Berkeley Pathways, after 12,000 copies of the previous edition had been sold. Due to BPWA efforts, the City of Berkeley won a grant from FEMA for fire-prevention work that went in part to build a stairway over a steep drop-off section of Glendale Path, which, like many of the paths, could be crucial for emergency access during a disaster. The Pathwanders continued to make progress on building several of the unimproved paths with the help of community and student volunteers. Call Charlie Bowen of BPWA at 540-7223 to find out how you can plug in.
With the recent dedication of the Santa Fe Right of Way (SF ROW) trail north of University, the time is ripe to complete the last 8-block segment of it to the south. BPFP has been a major advocate for this key open space for years. Now the Berkeley Community Gardening Collaborative (BCGC) is working with BPFP to plan for the transformation of SF ROW south to Sacramento and Oregon Streets for a pedestrian/bicycle pathway along with other community-serving activities (such as community gardening and playgrounds). We are conducting a survey in the surrounding blocks to get a picture of what residents would like to see. In early 2006 we’ll be submitting our recommendation to the Parks Commission to initiate the masterplan for this final segment of a multi purpose corridor that will link south Berkeley to the Ohlone Greenway – enabling people to connect all the way to Richmond! Call Beebo Turman of BCGC at 527-3773 for more information, or John Steere at 849-1969 to get involved.
Native vegetation is now thriving at Aquatic Park thanks to volunteers with the Environmental Greening, Restoration, and Education Team (EGRET) who have cleared invasive weeds and spread mulch to improve Berkeley’s bay shore for visitors and wildlife. In addition, newly installed benches provide opportunities to enjoy the scenery, as do the recently excavated historic seating terraces. The circle at the park’s southern entrance is now an elegant introduction to EGRET’s habitat stewardship work, with wildflowers in bloom year round. For more information, or to get involved, call Mark Liolios at 549-0818.