Parks dynamo Patty Donald retires June 2017

If you’ve helped out at a shoreline cleanup, seen the Berkeley Marina’s colorful Kite Festival, or if someone in your family became fascinated with science and nature at Berkeley’s Marina Experience programs, it’s because of Patty Donald, naturalist and recreation coordinator at the Berkeley Marina’s Shorebird Park and Adventure Playground. A citizen arm, Friends of Shorebird Nature Center, is a valued BPFP partner.

Beach at Shorebird ParkOne of Berkeley’s most creative and influential environmentalists, Patty retires this month after more than 30 years “growing” Berkeley Parks programs.

Daughter of a Gold Rush family, Patty grew up in Berkeley. She earned a degree in parks and natural-resource management and interpretation just as California’s Proposition 13 was slashing property-tax funds for such programs. After part- and full-time stints including teaching science at Cragmont School (her “alma mater”) and working for Berkeley Parks and at the East Bay Regional Parks’ Crab Cove Nature Center, she approached Berkeley with an idea:

“I said I’d set up a nature program here. They said OK. So I did.” Continue reading “Parks dynamo Patty Donald retires June 2017”

Waterside Cafe open at Aquatic Park!

Aquatic Park’s new waterfront coffee shop is offering 25 cents off any beverage if you arrive by bike! Waterside Cafe is open Tuesday – Sunday 10-6 in the courtyard of the historic sailboat house at 84 Bolivar Drive, south of the foot of Addison St. The cafe is part of nonprofit Waterside Workshops (, which also offers wooden-boat building and do-it-yourself bike repair (plus sale of used bikes), all including job training for local teens. It’s yet another in Aquatic Park’s impressive list of community-generated projects, which include Dreamland for Kids playground (built by BPFP volunteers), the Berkeley Garden Club’s beautiful drought garden, Berkeley Paddling and Rowing Club, and Aquatic Park EGRET at the south end of the park.