The Wild Equity Institute is pleased to announce the publication of Problems for Pale Male: An Analysis of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Nest Destruction Policy in the Summer 2013 issue of the Pace Environmental Law Review. The article, authored by Wild Equity’s Executive Director Brent Plater, Staff Attorney Laura Horton, and previous Equity Intern Nicole Lopez-Hagan, provides a legal analysis of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s nest destruction policy. It discusses how a lack of proper permitting and government oversight has led to the destruction of countless bird nests, causing devastating impacts on birds across the country in violation of federal law. At the conclusion of the article, the authors urge the Service to comply with federal law by establishing a permitting framework whereby individuals must be issued a permit to destroy any bird nest before the destruction occurs.

The final published article is a product of collaborative research, writing, and editing over the last two years among the Wild Equity team. In addition, the Editorial Staff of the Pace Environmental Law Review provided excellent technical support, producing a high quality piece. We hope this article will help guide our society towards securing more protections for migratory birds in the future. You can read the article by clicking here.

Thursday, June 27, 10:30 am – 11:30 am: You are invited to join the Wild Equity Institute and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on a guided tour of the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge. This is an opportunity to visit a unique area normally closed to the public. The Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge is home to three highly endangered species: the Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly, the Contra Costa Wallflower, and the Antioch Dunes Evening Primrose.

Meet at the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge Entrance Gate, 501 Fulton Shipyard Road, Antioch, CA 94509. Wear sturdy shoes for this sandy 1.5 mile hike. Please see above to RSVP.

Wednesday, June 26, 6:00pm – 8:00pm: Please join us for a screening of San Francisco—Still Wild At Heart, the award winning documentary directed by Melissa Peabody. Still Wild at Heart is a virtual case study of the arrival of coyotes in our urban communities. This film has been described as “uplifting, lyrical, moving” and “an absolute treasure of a film.”

Unfolding first in San Francisco, the film follows the story of the coyote across the national canvas—to New York City’s Central Park; to Chicago, where more than 2,000 coyotes live today; and to rural California, where sheep ranchers find promise in innovative non-lethal predator control methods to protect their livestock.

A discussion with Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute will follow the film.

About the filmmaker: Melissa Peabody’s credits include Turner Broadcasting (Dolphins In Danger) and an Animal Planet 13-part series (Wyland’s Ocean World), as well as many other documentaries for international TV broadcast. She is the executive producer and owner of Living World Films LLC.

Please RSVP above to ensure we pop plenty of popcorn.

There is going to be a special session of the Budget and Finance Committee tomorrow, Friday, 21 June at 10:00 am, City Hall, Room 250. This your opportunity to give public comment on the Mayor’s proposed budget. We need you to let the Supervisors know that the money allocated for golf, specifically for the Sharp Park Golf Course, could be spent more efficiently.

Here are the facts:

  • The Mayor’s Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013-14 presumes that revenue from the City’s golf courses will decline by $1.4 million compared to last year.
  • This makes sense, because the Golf Fund will fall almost $1 million short of its projected revenue for FY2012-13.
  • The City’s own budget updates explain that the shortfall was caused by low demand for golf and the environmental problems at Sharp Park Golf Course.
  • Nonetheless the Mayor’s Proposed Budget for FY2013-14 authorizes the Golf Fund to spend approximately $2.5 million more than the Golf Fund earned during FY2012-13.
  • To make up this difference the Mayor is proposing to increase the general fund subsidy to the Golf Fund by approximately $2.5 million.
  • That’s $2.5 million that the City could spend on just about anything: HIV prevention, maintenance of neighborhood parks and community centers, reducing fees at the Arboretum, after school programs, legal services to the poor….or anything else that might reflect our priorities.
  • Instead, the Mayor is proposing to throw this money at a suburban golf course in San Mateo County that consistently has lower than projected demand, floods every winter, and kills two endangered species as it operates.
  • San Franciscan’s deserve better.

Please join Wild Equity at City Hall, Room 250 on Friday, 21 June at 10:00 am and ask the Board of Supervisors to stop the bailout for Sharp Park Golf Course, and redirect the money the City saves toward San Francisco’s true priorities.

Friday, June 21, 10:00am: Please join Wild Equity to stop the bailout of the Sharp Park Golf Course. The Budget Committee meeting will be at City Hall in Room 250.

Talking points are available at http://wildequity.org/entries/3300

Please note: You will need to go through security at City Hall.

This Week’s Big Year Trips

We’ve got two exciting trips this weekend to help you see and save the GGNP’s endangered species. Hope to see you outside!

  • Mission Blue Butterfly Habitat Restoration. Saturday, January 16, 2010, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.: Enjoy stunning vistas and work-off those holiday calories while removing invasive French Broom from Mission Blue Butterfly habitat in the Marin Headlands. Join Price Sheppy of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy at Alta Avenue, set atop a ridgeline above Sausalito and Marin City. Dress in warm layers, wear sturdy shoes and bring lots of friends! We provide snacks, tools and gloves. Meeting spot is Alta Avenue entrance gate. Group limit is 30 people. RSVP: babethsemail@yahoo.com. A carpool is available from Fort Mason, Building 34 – the third duplex on your left (leaving at 9:15 a.m.). Carpool RSVP required, call Price Sheppy 415-729-8076. Limited supply of T-shirts will be given to paricipants (while supplies last).


Help Restore Habitat for this Beautiful Little Butterfly this Weekend.

Photo © Margo Bors

  • Coho Salmon & Steelhead Trout Walk at Muir Woods. Saturday, January 16, 2010, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Join naturalist and historian David Schmidt on a moderate 3-mile journey and learn about the lives of Coho Salmon and Steelhead Trout as the fish return from the Ocean to spawn in the waters of Redwood Creek. Dress for cold, wet weather and wear boots as trails may be muddy. RSVP required: email info@CaliforniaNatureTours.com. Meet at Muir Woods National Monument south parking lot near the Dipsea Trail Kiosk. Park entrance fees apply, but the hike is free.


Find out what you can do to help Coho Salmon
through the Endangered Species Big Year
.

The Wild Equity Institute has engaged dozens of allies in our campaign to build a better public park at Sharp Park, and our list of allies keeps growing. This weekend we had a fantastic tour of Mori Point and Sharp Park to give people the facts about restoration opportunities at Sharp Park, and to search for Twain’s Frog and the Beautiful Serpent.

Wild Equity Institute Outreach at Mori Point

If your organization would like to partner with us, drop us a line at 415-349-5787 or email us at info@wildequity.org.

If you would like to provide individual support, check out our Restore Sharp Park website to find out who to write, how to volunteer, and where to donate to the campaign.

The 2010 Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year competition is heating up! The leader board is populated, but even nascent competitors could take the lead with a little effort. To help you out, we are instituting a Coach’s Corner to help you win the Big Year! We’ll have Big Year experts answer your questions and give tips on winning the competition. And you can always send your questions to us and we’ll help you on your way.

In our short existence we’ve already made a splash with Bay Area media outlets. You can read news coverage about our work on our media page, including interviews with Wild Equity Institute’s Executive Director Brent Plater, our successful debate against golf privatization advocates on KQED’s Forum, coverage of our efforts to protect the last wild Franciscan manzanita in the international press, and much more. Check it out and let us know what you think!

To contact the Wild Equity Institute, you can:

  1. Send an email to info[at]wildequity.org; or
  2. Call us at (415) 349-5787; or
  3. Write to us at Wild Equity Institute, 474 Valencia St, Suite 295, San Francisco, CA 94103.

Saturday, June 15: San Francisco Naturalist Society/Wild Equity Campout! We’re partnering with our friends at the Naturalist Society for an overnight nature trip at the Alice Eastwood Group Campground in Mount Tamalpais State Park. Space is limited to 25 people.

Contact Patrick at (415) 225-3830 to reserve your spot. Bring your own tent and supplies.
Cost: $5
(NOTE: this trip is with the San Francisco Naturalist Society: they are not a naturist society! You can Google the difference or just make sure you bring all the clothes you need for a variety of environmental conditions!)

Sunday, June 30, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm: Join Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute to search for two of the most imperiled vertebrate species on the San Francisco peninsula: the California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake. This will be a leisurely walk to enjoy the restoration work being conducted at Mori Point and to learn about the bold steps being taken to save the frogs and the snakes from the brink of extinction. This event is rain or shine.

Meet at the Mori Point Entrance Gate, at the intersection of Bradford Way and Mori Point Road, Pacifica, CA, 94044.


Please see above to RSVP.

In a new book on animals in America, Wild Ones, Jon Mooallem dedicates nearly 100 pages to the Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly. He describes the storied history and destruction of their habitat in the Antioch Dunes, no longer actual sand dunes due to extensive sand removal and industry. He also describes some of the famous lepidopterists, or butterfly scientists, who have loved the land and the Lange’s over the decades since it was first discovered by William Harry Lange in 1933.


Cover of Mooallem’s new book featuring Wild Equity.

On one of his jaunts to Antioch, Mooallem found himself counting butterflies alongside our own Brent Plater. The author describes Wild Equity’s case against the proposed new power plants near the wildlife refuge, which are poised to harm the butterfly through habitat destruction due to increased nitrogen deposited on the land. He muses over a conversation he had with Brent out at the dunes, and paraphrasing Brent’s words, he states, “the balance is so out of whack that every battle is now a battle of principle that can’t be forfeited.” Mooallem portrays the goal of a settlement, which could provide a comprehensive habitat restoration for the Langes Metalmark, as “yet another freak turning point” in the “chaos” the little butterfly has had to endure but to re-establish habitat rather than continue the destruction (191).


Tatzoo fellow Matt Switzer’s Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly tattoo.

Mooallem’s work extends far beyond the Langes Metalmark Butterfly. One self-taught San Franciscan butterfly enthusiast, Liam O’Brien, provides the guiding words of the book: “I just want to be part of the generation that tries” (118). Wild Equity strives to be part of that generation by using the court system to its fullest to benefit people and endangered species. We are honored to be included in Mooallem’s new work about the species we cherish most. Find out more about the book here.

San Francisco’s endangered species-killing Sharp Park Golf Course cost San Francisco taxpayers $177,000 more than it earned during the 2011-12 fiscal year, according to a new analysis by the Wild Equity Institute.

The analysis also demonstrates that the Recreation and Park Department will save money if it closes the course even if RPD is incapable of reducing its overhead costs. If only 20% of current Sharp Park golfers, 70% of which are San Francisco residents, reinvest their golf rounds into one of the City’s five other municipal courses, any legacy overhead costs would be completely offset by the increase in revenue at San Francisco’s other courses.

Golf industry developers—seeking a government bailout for Sharp Park Golf Course—and the Pacifica Chamber of Commerce—seeking “a new hotel and restaurant right on the ocean, right next door to Sharp Park Golf Course”—have denied that Sharp Park Golf Course loses money, hoping to convince public officials to pour more taxpayer dollars into their development proposals.

But their analyses counts taxpayer monies from San Francisco’s General Fund as part of the golf course’s revenue stream. This money is, of course, not income from the golf course’s operation: it is a taxpayer bailout. Wild Equity’s calculations remove this taxpayer bailout from the revenue stream for Sharp Park Golf Course to get a more accurate picture of how the course’s finances impact San Francisco’s limited recreation funding.


Find SF Weekly’s Bleeding Green Article here.

Yet Wild Equity’s analysis is very conservative: it presumes that costs applicable to the Department’s entire golf program were disproportionately born by the Department’s five other golf courses. If these costs were distributed evenly, Sharp Park Golf Course’s losses climb to over $245,000 for the 2011-12 fiscal year.

Unfortunately the losses are not likely to end anytime soon. The City Controller and the Recreation and Park Department have cited environmental issues at Sharp Park as a cause of an expected revenue shortfall for the upcoming 2012-13 fiscal year.

Sharp Park continues to be a burden on the city’s taxpayers and the land’s endangered species: the San Francisco Garter Snake and the Red-legged Frog. Contact the Wild Equity Institute today and find out how you can help us build a better public park at Sharp Park.

In front of a packed audience last month, Wild Equity Institute Executive Director Brent Plater discussed communicating science to the public with Azibuike Akaba, an Environmental Policy Analyst at Public Health Institute, and Rose Aguilar, a journalist and radio host of Your Call on San Francisco’s KALW.


Listen to the audio archive of the entire presentation.

Azibuike discussed the framing and language of scientists and engineers. He defined resilience as a community that takes care of each other, and suggested focussing on the experience in nature. He claimed it’s not true that scientists define our experience of nature, although we often allow them to. He reminded the group that science is funded by someone who is class-interest based, and suggested scrutinizing scientific claims to ensure that science isn’t wielded simply to perpetuate existing biases.

After Azibuike spoke, Brent invoked the meme of the Anthropocene, a term that suggests humans are now as impactful on the earth as a glacial period or asteroid strike—catastrophic events that have been used to define biologic and geologic time. He critiqued Peter Kareiva, the Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy, who suggests our massive impacts on Earth means the environmental movement is a failure, and should be transformed into a industry-friendly movement. Brent criticized Kareiva not for his suggestion that the environmental movement needs work, but because Kareiva suggests we should cede our demands to the movement’s opponents. Instead, Brent argued we should tell the public about our beliefs, which are widely shared, and not just what we know.


Brent sharing his views about science and ecology.

Brent analogized to the Lord of the Rings series to demonstrate this difference. He argued that the fable teaches us two ways to change the world. The first is with the “magic ring” of scientific expertise. This specialized knowledge has been the main strategy of change used by the modern environmental movement. The second way to change the world is raise an army of orcs: Brent declared that it’s time to catalyze the public by using language that demonstrates our heartfelt values, not only language that describes science. He hearkened back to the mass movements of the 1970s. Brent ended by asking, “What is it you believe? Was it some moral foundation that lead you to this work?” He claimed we need to figure out ways to give expression to these reasons in a time of scientific dependence.

Rose Aguilar then took the microphone to discuss the media’s relationship to science. Independent outlets are overwhelmed by corporate conglomerates, and entertainment and crime dominate over environmental issues. She noted many of the major news outlets are dismantling their environmental desks and reassigning environmental reporters. She noted that we now have to work harder and go the extra mile to find information about our world. Rose questioned why we place the burden of responsibility on individuals rather than corporations and called for broad social change.

The audience brought important questions and issues to the panel, and the evening incited conversation throughout the crowd. Azibuike, Brent, and Rose brought diverse viewpoints and opinions to this extensive topic.

March 5, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:

Brent Plater, Wild Equity Institute, (415) 572-6989
Jeff Miller, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 669-7357
Arthur Feinstein, Sierra Club, (415) 680-0643

Sharp Park Golf Course Caught Killing Endangered Frogs, Tampering With Evidence
Coalition Seeks Quick Legal Action
Over Violations of Law and Permits

San Francisco— Conservation groups asked for a court order on Friday that will hold the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department accountable for illegal activities at Sharp Park Golf Course, just weeks after the Department was caught killing threatened California red-legged frogs there for a second year in a row. The recent killings were extensively documented by San Francisco State University biology students over several weeks of observation during this year’s short, exceptionally dry winter frog-breeding season.

“Interfering with an endangered species’ breeding activities is not only illegal, it is unethical,” said Brent Plater, executive director of the Wild Equity Institute. “We intend to see that this conduct is fully prosecuted, and have asked wildlife agencies to ensure the entities responsible never play god with endangered wildlife again.”


Pumping
Pumping removes massive amounts of water from Sharp Park in January, 2012.

Horse Stable Pond Egg Mass
Dead California red-legged frog egg mass at Sharp Park.

Laguna Saldada Egg Mass 1
Exposed California red-legged frog egg mass at Sharp Park.

Laguna Salada Egg Mass 2
Exposed California red-legged frog egg mass at Sharp Park.

To make matters worse, the golf course’s employees or contractors appear to have tampered with evidence of Endangered Species Act violations by moving stranded frog eggs to another pond, even though federal wildlife officials had expressly warned them not to do so.


Missing Egg Mass
Egg mass, depictied above, removed from Laguna Salada.


This is the sixth winter over the past decade the Department has killed protected frogs by draining Sharp Park’s wetlands in a failed attempt to prevent frogs from breeding in their historic ponds. Friday’s filing asks for an immediate court order holding all responsible parties liable for this illegal activity.

“The golf course’s so-called “compliance plan” for endangered species has failed yet again—and more imperiled frogs are dead because of it,” said Jeff Miller of the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s clear the Department has no intention of complying with the law or permits unless it’s punished. Friday’s motion should ensure this happens.”

“These actions of the San Francisco Parks Department at Sharp Park are really outrageous. They are already being sued in court for violations of the Endangered Species Act, and were told by the Fish and Wildlife Service that they may not move frog eggs and yet that’s just what they’ve done. We’d expect more compliance with the law from our City agencies,” said Arthur Feinstein, Chair of the Local Sierra Club.

Background

After conservation groups provided evidence of the Department’s unlawful activity, the Fish and Wildlife Service last year notified the golf course that it was specifically prohibited from handling or moving frog egg masses at Sharp Park. The Service also denied the Department’s request to drain wetlands and dredge lagoons at Sharp Park, which the Department euphemistically referred to as “habitat management and scientific studies.” Water pumping, dredging and other activities harmful to frogs can only occur if the Department obtains an Endangered Species Act “incidental take” permit, which it has failed to obtain to date.

While the Service did authorize the Department to conduct surveys for frogs and egg masses, the permit for the Department’s biological consultant expired before the work began.  Even when valid, the permit expressly prohibited “harassing” or moving frog eggs.

The San Francisco-owned golf course at 400-acre Sharp Park in Pacifica is plagued by crumbling infrastructure, annual flooding problems and ongoing environmental violations. More than three dozen San Francisco community, recreation, environmental and social-justice groups have called for closing the golf course and creating a more sustainable public park at Sharp Park. A 2011 peer-reviewed scientific study by independent scientists and coastal experts concluded that the most cost-effective option for Sharp Park is to remove the golf course and restore the functions of the original natural ecosystem, which will also provide the most benefit to endangered species.

The Department has refused to consider this option, and is instead pursuing a plan that would evict endangered species from the site, bail out the golf course’s financial problems with tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, and continue San Francisco’s liability for fines for Endangered Species Act violations. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed legislation in December of 2011 to prevent this from happening, but Mayor Ed Lee, an avid golfer, vetoed the legislation. Further action by the Board of Supervisors is expected this year.

 The Wild Equity Institute is building a healthy and sustainable global community for people
and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth.

http://wildequity.org/

###

Need proof that golf courses can be closed and restored to wildlife habitat? The Trust for Public Land just did it at the Ocean Meadows Golf Course in Goleta, CA.

40 years after wetlands were destroyed to create Ocean Meadows Golf Course, the wetlands are being restored. Under the leadership of the Trust for Public Land and many supporters, the golf course in Santa Barbara County will soon return to its unique natural habitat.

The restored wetland will provide habitat for wildlife; recreational opportunities for adults and children; and educational programs for students in the surrounding area.


The soon-to-be-restored Ocean Meadows Golf Course.

Are we going to let Southern California reap all the benefits of wetland restoration? Write to Mayor Ed Lee today and urge him to invest in San Francisco city parks and protect endangered species by closing Sharp Park Golf Course and turning it into a national park for all to enjoy!

At Wild Equity, we love our dogs. We dote on them and give them the best doggie-life possible.

But we also take our role as dog guardians to heart. And that includes making sure our dogs are safe and ensuring they don’t disturb the people, wildlife, and plants around us.

So stand with us and contact the Board of Supervisors and tell them to support safe dog parks and leash law enforcement today.

Unfortunately, the City of San Francisco doesn’t take this obligation seriously, and its failure is causing numerous preventable problems. For example, in 2012, the City ranked fifth among U.S. Cities in total letter carrier attacks with 38: per square mile of land, the City ranked first.

Postal workers aren’t the only ones at risk. In April, an off-leash dog killed two Canadian goslings at Crissy Field. Last year, a dog was ferociously mauled to death in Nob Hill Park, and a police horse was attacked at Crissy Field, injuring both the horse and rider.

These statistics are surprising to some because the city of St. Francis has always welcomed animals. But there are two clear reasons why the City’s dog bite statistics are extraordinary: fortunately, there are also two clear ways to reduce the number of incidents.

First, most of San Francisco’s off-leash dog parks do not include the most basic element of good dog park design: they lack physical barriers that are necessary to keep our dogs safe.. Second, leash laws are not adequately enforced outside these areas, allowing dogs to roam freely most everywhere in San Francisco.

Dog guardians, often unwittingly, put their dogs and other park users at risk when they let their dogs roam off-leash in illegal areas or in poorly designed dog parks. Dogs run the risk of getting lost, running into oncoming traffic, disturbing wildlife and other park users, and in places like Fort Funston, falling off steep cliffs.

All these incidents could be greatly reduced or prevented altogether if the City fully enclosed our dog parks with physical barriers, and then enforced leash laws outside of these areas so we all become accustomed to letting our dogs enjoy off-leash activity in areas where it is safe to do so.

Municipalities are starting to recognize the importance of these basic safety concepts. Indeed, earlier this year Tiverton, Rhode Island adopted a leash law for the first time, with most dog owners supporting the law.

As dog owners, we have an obligation to our fellow San Franciscans to keep our dogs under control. Let’s tell San Francisco we want safe parks for everyone, including our canine pals. Contact the Board of Supervisors and tell them to support safe dog parks and leash law enforcement today.

Join a challenging conversation some have dubbed “environmental communications in the Anthropocene” to discuss the problems with presenting complex ecological information publicly. Rose Aguilar from KALW’s Your Call radio, Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute, and environmental scientist and climate change activist Azibuike Akaba discuss and debate issues of scientific literacy, critical thinking, basic education, attention spans, buzzwords, guest selection, framing and definition of scientific issues, overcoming and simplistic jargon, and much more!

Saturday, May 18, 9:00am – 1:30pm: The Wild Equity Institute is joining our friends from the California Native Plant Society to search for San Francisco’s rare plant populations. Search groups will be meeting at Fort Funston, Bayview Park, and Heron’s Head Park.

Groups will meet at the three separate parks to look for and document rare plants, then convene for an optional lunch at Pasquale’s Pizzeria in the Inner Sunset to share photos, our new rare plant knowledge, and of course, pizza.

To RSVP or for more information, please contact dslakey@cnps.org by May 16th.

Friday, May 17, 11:00am – 2:00pm: The Wild Equity Institute is going to be at the California Academy of Sciences to celebrate Endangered Species Day. Stop by the Wild Equity table to make a frog mask and learn more about how the Endangered Species Act helps protect the amazing biological diversity of the San Francisco Bay Area.

5 Ways to Celebrate Endangered Species Day

1. Take Action: Tell Mayor Lee to support the restoration of Sharp Park. Mayor Lee has the power to help save two endangered species, the California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake.

2. Tweet & Update Your Facebook Status: Show your support for local endangered species by adding a photo of your favorite Bay Area endangered species to your timeline (or tweet your support). Include @WildEquity in your status update (or tweet) to let us know which species is your favorite.

3. Attend an Endangered Species Event: In honor of Endangered Species Day, we have three endangered species events on the Wild Equity Institute calendar for the week of May 12. In fact, Wild Equity has endangered species events scheduled through December! Come join us on one of our adventures to see and save endangered species!

4. Give 1% to the Planet: The Wild Equity Institute is an approved 1% for the Planet partner. Companies who participate in this program can give 1% of sales or more to the Wild Equity Institute. 1% for the Planet exists to build and support an alliance of businesses financially committed to creating a healthy planet.

5. Become a Member: The challenges facing endangered species have never been more pressing. With your support, the Wild Equity Institute can build a stronger environmental movement to protect the people and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth.

Join a challenging conversation some have dubbed “environmental communications in the Anthropocene” to discuss the problems with presenting complex ecological information publicly. Rose Aguilar from KALW’s Your Call radio, Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute, and environmental scientist and climate change activist Azibuike Akaba discuss and debate issues of scientific literacy, critical thinking, basic education, attention spans, buzzwords, guest selection, framing and definition of scientific issues, overcoming simplistic jargon, and much more!

Hosted by Shaping San Francisco, the show starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics, 518 Valencia St. (near 16th St.) in San Francisco.

Sunday, May 12, 10:00am to 2:00pm: You are invited to join Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute on a 5-mile hike along the edge of the North American continent. We will explore San Francisco’s beautiful habitats and learn about the endangered species that call the area home. During the hike, we will search for Marbled Murrelet, Western Snowy Plover, San Francisco Lessingia, Humpback Whale, and Southern Sea Otter.

Meet at the Baker Beach North Parking Lot. Bring snacks and water. Please see above to RSVP.


Sunday, May 12, 10:00am to 2:00pm: You are invited to join Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute on a 5-mile hike along the edge of the North American continent. We will explore San Francisco’s beautiful habitats and learn about the endangered species that call the area home.

Meet at the Baker Beach North Parking Lot. Don’t forget to pack water, snacks, and sunscreen. Please RSVP on our event page.

Remember, you must have a free wildequity.org account and be logged-in to our site to RSVP.

In July of 2012, the Wild Equity Institute filed a formal administrative petition with the Obama Administration requesting that it repeal a Bush Administration interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (“MBTA”), and provide full protection to migratory bird nests under law.


Pale Male in Central Park, New York, NY, awaiting protection for his nest. Photo courtesy of Lincoln Karim.

To date the Administration has not responded to our petition. But recent news stories suggest we can’t wait much longer for the Administration to take action.

For example, In Petaluma CalTrans recently erected exclusion netting on a construction site to prevent Cliff Swallows from nesting under a highway the agency wishes to expand. But the Cliff Swallows continue to attempt nesting there, and more than 60 swallows have been reported killed as they attempt to nest and get caught in the nets.

In early April the . Osprey first nested at Pier 80 one year ago, and at the time the birds were celebrated as the first Ospreys ever known to nest within San Francisco’s city limits. But this year Larry Elison’s America’s Cup yacht was being assembled at the Pier, and the Port wasted little time destroying the nest.

And in the rest of the City reports are coming in that the Department of Public Works and the Recreation and Parks Department are cutting down numerous trees right now without first conducting nesting bird surveys. A simple survey could help the Departments know which trees they can remove immediately, and which they should leave standing through the conclusion of the breeding bird season.

The Wild Equity Institute believes that all of these actions are illegal absent Migratory Bird Treaty Act permits. The MBTA makes it illegal to kill migratory birds or destroy their nests—whether the nests seem active at the time or not—unless a permit is obtained from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service first. The Osprey and Cliff Swallows have clearly been harmed by one or both of these illegal activities, and the Fish and Wildlife Service should initiate enforcement activities because of it.

But instead the Service is hamstrung, because the Bush Administration interpretation of the MBTA requires the agency to determine if the nests were active or not at the moment of destruction—a completely irrelevant consideration under the original interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. If the Obama Administration were to repeal the Bush Administration interpretation and revert back to the original interpretation of the statute—which protected all nests regardless of whether there was a bird sitting in the nest at the time of destruction—more birds would obtain the protection they deserve and the Service saves resources by simplifying and streamlining its enforcement activities.

The Wild Equity Institute will be following up with these matters, and with the Obama Administration, in the coming months. To add your voice to our work, contact us today and we’ll help you help our Nation’s birds.

Sunday, May 5, 9:30 am – 11:00 am: What matters more: our human communities or the natural world? This question, or a variant of it, drives environmental debates, and also drives a wedge between progressive movements. Brent Plater, founder and director of the Wild Equity Institute, will describe what his organization is doing to get past this dilemma and build a healthy and sustainable community for people, plants, and animals. You will learn about the numerous endangered species found in the Bay Area and find out how you can help them recover. You will also learn how you can help build a stronger environmental and social justice movement.

Where:
Martin Luther King Room
First Unitarian Universalist Church
1187 Franklin Street (at Geary)
San Francisco, CA 94109

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION TO FIRST UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CHURCH

All of the following Muni bus lines have stops within a short walking distance of the church:
2 Clement, 3 Jackson, 4 Sutter, 19 Polk, 38 Geary, 47 Van Ness, 49 Van Ness. Please visit 511.org to plan your route.

On April 18, San Francisco resident Mikiye Nakanishi—a bird lover and dog owner—was watching a goose family waddle into San Francisco Bay from Crissy Field lagoon. But before the goslings could make it over the waves, an off-leash dog attacked the goose family.

“Then another dog came running and grabbed one,” Nakanishi recounted. “A second dog grabbed another one. A third dog came and pushed them all out. The geese had no place to go. People were surrounding them. The dog owners were saying, ‘Oh, they’re not going to hurt them.’”


A gosling killed by off-leash dogs at Crissy Field, April, 18, 2013.

Two goslings were killed before the parent geese could lead their flock to safety. And while the stunned bird-lover was trying to understand what happened, the irresponsible dog owners fled the scene of the crime.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident: off-leash dogs consistently harm people, our pets, wildlife and park resources at the GGNRA because it simply isn’t safe to run off-leash dogs in the Park. According to the GGNRA, there have been at least nine incidents in which park visitors or employees were bitten by dogs so far in 2013. Last year was filled with one heartbreaking off-leash dog attack after the next.

And yet the GGNRA still has not enforced leash laws in the park.

At the Wild Equity Institute, we love our dogs. But we also love all other forms of life. We believe that to protect all of us, leash laws must be enforced at the GGNRA, and off-leash dog play areas must be fully enclosed with a physical barrier and located far away from sensitive resources and people.

If you agree, make your voice heard by contacting Howard Levitt, Director of Communications and Partnerships for the GGNRA, and tell him we need leash laws enforced today, and modern off-leash dog play areas that are fully enclosed and keep everyone safe. You can reach him at howard_levitt@nps.gov or 415 561-4730.

In late October of 2012, Wild Equity Institute Executive Director Brent Plater was invited to a weekend workshop to discuss the future of the conservation movement with luminaries in several environmental fields. The following essay is one of several products we’ve produced based on that workshop.


Back row, L-R: Michael Kellett, Brooke Williams, Michael Matz, George Wuerthner, Holmes Rolston, III, Phil Cafaro, Noah Greenwald, Dominick DellaSala. Front row, L-R: John Terborgh, David Johns, Michael Soule, Terry Tempest Williams, Ronni Egan, Brent Plater, Kieran Suckling, Brock Evans. Not pictured: Don Weeden, Helen Robertson, Charmayne Palomba, Eileen Crist, Andy Kerr, Tom Butler, Dan Doak, Jordan Fisher Smith, Gary Tabor.

In a recent issue of Around the Campfire, Dave Foreman—a co-founder of Earth First! & the Wildlands Project and author of Confessions of an Eco-Warrior—wrote a provocative essay titled The Myth of the Environmental Movement. In it he suggests that the conservation movement and the environmental movement are two distinct—and very different—movements.

The Wild Equity Institute believes Dave’s article is on to something—it’s true that our use of the words ‘conservation’ and ‘environment’ has become sloppy, and they can often mean conflicting things to different people.

But what creates fissures within the broader conservation/environmental movement isn’t found in the movements’ focuses—which Dave suggests are wildlife on the one hand, people on the other—but in their reason and rationale for existing: their ethical foundation.

The Wild Equity Institute illustrates this point concretely. We believe that stopping extinction is a moral imperative-–not because it is good for people, but because it is wrong to cause species to go extinct when extinction rates are exceptional. And today extinction rates are exceptional—orders of magnitude larger than the background rate of extinction. However, for others preventing extinction may be a utilitarian exercise: they may believe it is wrong to let species go extinct because this or that species may have some human use.

A utilitarian conservationist is likely to conflict with an ethical conservationist in many cases. For example, if a particular species has no demonstrable value to people or the ecosystem services upon which we depend, a utilitarian point of view might suggest we should allow the species to go extinct, even as the ethical conservationist argues the opposite point. Yet because the object of concern—other forms of life—is one and the same for both the ethical and utilitarian person, it seems logical, at first blush, to consider both to be part of the same movement. Indeed, the Endangered Species Act’s legislative history reflects both moral and utilitarian reasons for conserving wildlife and plants.

The same division exists within the environmentalists/conservationists that focus on human well-being. Some people advocate for improved quality of life because they believe it is wrong to cause harm to other people by polluting for profit. The environmental justice movement is the most obvious example of this ethical concern, but nearly any other segment of the environmental movement can be described as trying to protect those without political power (consumers, kids, etc.) from those with it (agribusiness, petrochemical companies, etc.). But there are also people who are involved in human health movements simply because they want to breathe clean air, or drink safe water, or ensure that they have a safe place to recreate. This is a very different—largely utilitarian—rationale for the same environmental concern.

What ultimately creates a fissure in the environmental/conservation movements is not the object of our concerns, but the reason for our concerns in the first place. If you are a conservationist by moral imperative, you will probably have more in common with those who are environmentalists by moral imperative than you would with a utilitarian conservationist. Similarly, the utilitarian conservationist and the utilitarian environmentalist are likely to have a lot in common with each other, and little in common with ethical environmentalists/conservationists.

We believe our own mission helps demonstrate how this is so. The Wild Equity Institute believes that the shared moral foundation in our movements is equity: the creation of a more just and fair world. Our equity-based concerns are easily seen in the environmental justice movement’s focus on the inequitable distribution of environmental hazards—and increasingly, its focus on the inequitable access provided to environmental goods like open space and parks. But the grassroots conservation movement also works to remedy an inequitable relationship: between our human communities and the non-human world. As we consume a greater share of the world’s finite resources, less remains for the plants and animals around us, driving thousands of species to the brink of extinction. While the moral consideration we owe to each other may be different in kind and scope to what we owe to other forms of life, in both cases the gap between what our moral foundation suggests we should do and how we actually act leaves us with a culturally isolated and biologically impoverished world.

The Wild Equity Institute’s purpose is to unite these movements into a powerful force that creates a healthy and sustainable global community for all. We accomplish this by working on projects that highlight and redress the inequitable relationships across our human communities while improving our relationship to the lands in which we live. In that sense, those who focus on equity-–inter-species equity on the one hand, and intra-species equity on the other-–are really part of single movement, regardless of whether their day-to-day work is focused on NOx emissions or invasive plants (and even those are interlinked, science now tells us).

In that sense, Dave Forman, who is one of country’s greatest ethical conservationists, has more in common with the late Luke Cole (the founder of the Center on Race, Poverty, & the Environment) than he does with Peter Kareiva (the Chief Scientist at the Nature Conservancy) who is currently attempting to obliterate conservation as we know it based on utilitarian arguments. Dave Forman and Peter Kareiva cannot be reconciled into one movement: even though both ostensibly are attempting to conserve wildlife. But Dave and Luke, on the other hand, could be reconciled into one movement—even though Forman focuses on wildlife and Cole on human-life—because at base they have the same moral foundation.

The dichotomy between wildlife-people and people-people is unhelpful both because it prevents us from engaging allies and building power, and because it adds confusion to an area of our work that desperately needs clarity. It needs clarity because if we don’t know how and why we stand together, our efforts to address the systemic, cross-cutting threats facing people and the planet will likely be disjointed, slow, and rupture alliances. By drawing on our moral imperative, rather than the object upon which our movement is focused, the Wild Equity Institute believes we can avoid this outcome. Because our ethical foundation is where our commonality can be demonstrated most clearly, and from there we can build a more powerful movement for people and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth.

Saturday, May 18, 9:00am – 1:30pm: The Wild Equity Institute is joining our friends from the California Native Plant Society to search for San Francisco’s rare plant populations. Search groups will be meeting at Fort Funston, Bayview Park, and Heron’s Head Park.

Groups will meet at the three separate parks to look for and document rare plants, then convene for an optional lunch at Pasquale’s Pizzeria in the Inner Sunset to share photos, our new rare plant knowledge, and, of course, some pizza.

To RSVP or for more information, please contact dslakey@cnps.org by May 16th

California members and supporters,

I’m writing to let you know about a unique clean energy investment opportunity we recently learned about. Mosaic is an online platform that enables individuals to invest in solar projects being developed across the country. Warren Buffett has invested $4 billion in solar energy and now, with a minimum investment of $25, you too can do well by doing good. Click here to begin investing in a clean energy future.


The Mosaic funding model aggregates our individual investments into complete solar projects.

Here’s how it works: You invest in high quality solar projects through Mosaic’s website. The solar project developers earn revenue by selling the electricity they produce. This revenue enables Mosaic to pay you back with interest.*

Mosaic is fundamentally changing the way clean energy is financed, no big banks or big bank accounts required. The more you invest, the more solar power gets generated and the greater your potential return. It’s a win-win for you and the planet. Bank on the sun with Mosaic and earn competitive returns.

We here at the Wild Equity Institute share Mosaic’s mission of democratizing clean energy and encourage you to check out Mosaic today.

Sincerely,

Brent Plater
Executive Director

P.S.—Watch this short video about Mosaic produced by our friends at Green for All.

  • Please visit joinmosaic.com to learn more about the project and to access the offering memorandum, which discusses the project, the terms of the investment and the risks associated with this investment.

474 Valencia St, Suite 295
San Francisco, CA 94103

Public Transportation
The Wild Equity Institute office is conveniently located within a short walking distance of the 16th Street BART station and several MUNI lines.
Please visit 511.org to plan your route.

Wild Equity is joining our friends from Tatzoo and Sunday Streets to Spring into Summer at the California Academy of Sciences’ NightLife celebration. Stop by the Wild Equity table in African Hall. Then go see the live tattoo exhibit hosted by Tatzoo.

NightLife is a 21 and over event. Tickets are available through the California Academy of Sciences.

Monday, April 22, 12:00pm: Join the Wild Equity Institute and over 60 environmental and climate justice organizations on Earth Day to tell the White House, Congress, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stop protecting polluters. It is time to start protecting our climate, our health, and our communities!

Meet in front of the U.S. EPA Region IX Office at 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco.

12 noon: Environmental Protection Agency
1:45pm: March to State Department: NO KEYSTONE XL!
2:15pm: State Department, One Market Plaza

For more information, please call 415-349-5787 or email info@wildequity.org

55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA

The N Judah, 44-O’Shaughnessy, and the 5-Fulton have stops within a short walking distance of the California Academy of Sciences. Pleas visit 511.org to plan your route.

Sunday, April 14, 11:00am – 4:00pm: Come get crafty at the Wild Equity Institute table at Sunday Streets in the Mission. We will be making frog masks!!!

The Sunday Streets Mission Route: Valencia Street (Between Duboce Avenue & 24th Street) and 24th Street (Between Valencia Street & Hampshire Street).

While we make frog masks, we will be highlighting and gathering support for Wild Equity’s campaign to restore Sharp Park and save the endangered San Francisco garter snake and the threatened California red-legged frog.

We need volunteers to help table. If you are interested, please email Amy at azehring@wildequity.org

Saturday, April 13, 10:00 am – 11:00 am: You are invited to join the Wild Equity Institute and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on a guided tour of the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge. This is an opportunity to visit a unique area normally closed to the public. The Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge is home to three highly endangered species: the Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly, the Contra Costa Wallflower, and the Antioch Dunes Evening Primrose.

Meet at the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge Entrance Gate, 501 Fulton Shipyard Road, Antioch, CA 94509. Wear sturdy shoes for this sandy 1.5 mile hike. Please see above to RSVP.

For more information or for carpool arrangements, please contact us at info@wildequity.org

The Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly (Apodemia mormo ssp. langei ) is a brightly colored, fragile, and highly endangered butterfly that has been protected by the Federal Endangered Species Act since 1976. The species is endemic to the Antioch Dunes in Contra Costa County, and the only known extant population today is found at the Antioch Dunes.


Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly. Photo © Liam O’Brien.

Between 50 to 100 years ago, the population size of the Lange’s metalmark butterfly at the Antioch Dunes is estimated to have been approximately 25,000 individuals. However, by 2006, the number had plummeted to a total of 45 adults. For the past five years, the number of adults observed in the wild has continued to remain at critically low levels. Surveys from 2009 to 2011 revealed an average population for the species of 35 individuals in the wild.

The sole food plant for the larval (caterpillar) stage of the butterfly is the naked-stemmed buckwheat (Eriogonum nudum ssp. auriculatum), which grows best in areas with good drainage. The health of the Lange’s Metalmark is entirely dependent on the population of naked-stemmed buckwheat, and there is a direct positive correlation between the population size of this plant and the population of the butterfly.

However, today the buckwheat is only found in a limited portion of the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge, and this remaining area is threatened with extirpation due to the prolific overgrowth of non-native, invasive plant species, none of which provide food for the butterfly’s caterpillar stage. Although the naked-stemmed buckwheat is not threatened with global extinction, the loss of this essential host plant at the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge will surely lead to the extinction of the Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly because of the species’ limited range.


A restoration vision for Sharp Park.

Some of you may have read an article recently saying that Wild Equity’s lawsuit over Sharp Park Golf Course was dismissed, case closed. This article was spawned by a misleading press release by a golf industry front group. Here’s what really happened:

After our lawsuit was filed claiming that the golf course was killing endangered species without a permit, the golf course applied for the very permits our lawsuit claimed it needed.

In October a permit was issued: and it is a doozy. It contains over 50 pages of terms and conditions that burden the golf course with hiring biological monitors to walk in front of mowers, building new breeding and feeding ponds for endangered species, and restoring habitat to create a biological corridor connecting Laguna Salada to the national park next door, Mori Point.

Since a permit was issued, the legal issue we raised was over or “moot,” and Wild Equity is in the process of recovering fees and costs from the City for catalyzing this legal change.

While the permit didn’t order the creation of a new National Park at Sharp Park, we never asked the Court or the permitting agency to do that: because we know that move will have to come from San Francisco and nowhere else.

And we are very close: on five different occasions the San Francisco Board of Supervisors have voted to move forward with restoration planning at Sharp Park in partnership with the National Park Service. While the last vote was vetoed by new Mayor who never met with us, we have a new Board of Supervisors next year.

There will be more legal challenges and legislative work on this campaign in 2013, so stay tuned as we restore Sharp Park!

You are invited to join the Wild Equity Institute and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on a guided tour of the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge.

The Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge is home to three federally protected endangered species: the Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly, the Contra Costa Wallflower, and the Antioch Dunes Evening Primrose. Because of its small size and sensitive habitat, the Refuge is only open to the public on select days. While the butterfly doesn’t start flying until late summer, this trip provides a great opportunity to explore the Refuge while the endangered wildflowers are in bloom.

Meet at the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge Entrance Gate, 501 Fulton Shipyard Road, Antioch, CA 94509. Wear sturdy shoes for this sandy 1.5 mile hike. Please RSVP on our event page. Remember, you must have a free wildequity.org account and be logged-in to our site to RSVP.


The Antioch Dunes Evening Primrose, the Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly, and the Contra Costa Wallflower.

For more information or for carpool arrangements, please contact us at azehring@wildequity.org

We’re excited to announce that Laura Horton, a long-time volunteer and law clerk, has joined Wild Equity as a Staff Attorney. She will be working with Executive Director Brent Plater and our amazing volunteers to help us unite grassroots conservation and justice movements to create a more equitable and sustainable world for all.


Laura Horton, Wild Equity Institute Staff Attorney.

Laura has been passionate about environmental issues for as long as she can remember. Over the years she has worked for various environmental organizations, including a legal internship at Wild Equity, and has been active in social justice issues. During law school Laura was a student leader in the National Lawyers Guild and the ACLU, and was the Managing Editor of the Environmental Law Journal. She has published articles on a number of issues including energy, immigration and disaster law, and eco-consumerism, and also currently serves as a volunteer writer/editor for both the National Lawyers Guild Review and the American Society of Legal Scholars.

Prior to joining Wild Equity, Laura received a fellowship to work with the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association in Harare, Zimbabwe, where she helped empower rural mining communities in asserting their environmental and economic rights. Laura holds a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a J.D. from Golden Gate Law. She says she is beyond thrilled to return to Wild Equity as a staff attorney, and we’re honored to have her on board as well. Welcome Laura!

Thursday, April 4, 7:00pm – 9:00pm: Brent Plater, Executive Director of the Wild Equity Institute, will discuss the largely-unknown landscape of the Antioch Dunes. The Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge was created to protect extremely rare insects, and remains the only wildlife refuge specifically created for invertebrate conservation. An unforeseen problem threatens this dune community: nitrogen deposition, driven by the proliferation of fossil-fuel fired power plants around the dunes. If the rate of nitrogen deposition is not arrested or mitigated, we may witness the extinction of the Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly in the very near future. The Wild Equity Institute is experimenting with new ways to build a stronger conservation and environmental movement to protect the Antioch Dunes and hopefully will make conservation movements stronger and more resilient in the process.

Meet at the Camellia Room, The Gardens at Heather Farm, 1540 Marchbanks Drive, Walnut Creek, CA 94598

This lecture is part of the Mt. Diablo Audubon Society monthly educational meeting. Visitors are always welcomed!

The Golden Gate National Parks are one of our country’s boldest conservation experiments. Congress squeezed the nation’s largest urban park between some of the most expensive real estate in the country, a refuge for wildlife and city dwellers alike.

Comprised of several different land management units spanning three California counties, it is one of the most recognized and visited portions of the San Francisco Bay Area. Indeed, many of the GGNP’s lands are world-renowned destinations: from Alcatraz Island to Muir Woods, millions of visitors enter the GGNP each year to explore the Bay Area’s history, culture, and environment.

Yet there is much more to the GGNP than most visitors recognize. Congress has established an expansive legislative boundary for the Park. This legislative boundary includes all the widely recognized GGNP areas such as Mori Point, Fort Funston, Crissy Field, and the Marin Headlands, but also lands adjacent to Point Reyes National Seashore; lands the GGNP manages in cooperation with other public agencies; and even lands the GGNP doesn’t currently own or manage, but may have an option to purchase in the future. There is even a marine component, extending about 1/4 mile out to sea. Collectively, the lands within the legislative boundary are referred to as the “Golden Gate National Parks,” which is a more inclusive moniker for this unit of the National Park System.


Click on the image above to view the legislative boundary for the Golden Gate National Parks.

Some of these less-recognized GGNP lands are exceptional biological resources. For example, lands adjacent to Edgewood County Park and the San Francisco Peninsula watershed lands both contain threatened and endangered species, and Angel Island and Mount Tamalpais also contain superlative biological resources. As a participant in the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year, you may explore all of these lands in your search to connect with and restore the 36 endangered and threatened species found in the Park.

Biological Diversity at the GGNP

The GGNP contains more federally protected endangered and threatened species than any other unit of the National Park System in continental North America: more than Yosemite, Yellowstone, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks combined. This is both cause for celebration and concern: Bay Area residents and the Nation are privileged to have such a diverse landscape in public ownership, but the imperiled status of so many of the GGNP’s species may indicate that we need to re-think our relationship to the Park.


Click on the image above for more information about the California Floristic Province.

The GGNP’s proximity to the San Francisco Bay Area’s thriving civilization makes the Park’s biological diversity seem astounding. Yet in some ways it makes perfect sense. The Nature Conservancy considers the San Francisco Bay Area to be one of six biological diversity hotspots in the United States; Conservation International lists the California Floristic Province—in which the GGNP lies—as a biological diversity “hotspot,” making it one of the richest and most threatened reservoirs of plant and animal life on Earth; and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (“UNESCO”) has made the GGNP a core component of the Golden Gate Biosphere Reserve, a status also granted to the Central Amazon Rainforests.

Environmental Justice and the GGNP

The GGNP was established during the National Park System’s “parks to the people” era of park creation, an era defined by bringing the values of the National Park System closer to where people live. During this era, some 35 years ago, our nation realized that the values preserved in the National Parks System were not reaching all of America’s communities equitably. With most national parks preserving places far from urban areas, those with the will and wherewithal to visit were primarily wealthy and white.

The National Park Service’s response to this information was, in hindsight, its first environmental justice program. The GGNP was part of this response: as explained by Congress in 1973, “many families in this urban impacted area do not enjoy the affluence which would enable them to take advantage of the outdoor recreation areas located even as close as the Point Reyes National Seashore,” and thus there was a pressing need to provide National Park values to Bay Area residents.

Today the GGNP gives people who otherwise cannot or won’t drive to Yellowstone or Yosemite National Parks an opportunity to enjoy San Francisco as interpreted by the preservationist values that are the core of the National Park System. This of course applies to those without the fiscal resources to travel to our distant National Parks, but it also provides opportunities for the over-worked and time-stressed individuals who, because of life’s daily grind, cannot scrape the time together to visit far-away places.


Click on the image above to read Dr. Roberts’ Study on Ethnic Minority Perspectives about the GGNP

The GGNP is also a hope-filled example of the transition communities can make from war and militarism to environmental protection and contemplative recreation. Much of the land that comprises the GGNP today was once used by the United States military to defend the San Francisco Bay and the Nation. The GGNP is a global model for the coming transition from militarism to environmental justice and reconciliation.

But as the GGNP’s concentration of imperiled species provides us both with hope and concern, the GGNP’s ability to operate consistent with principles of environmental justice has also been mixed. The lands chosen to be part of the GGNP largely surround wealthy communities, and historically African-American neighborhoods such as Bayview-Hunters Point have not shared equally in the environmental benefits that the park provides.

Working with organizations such as the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy’s Crissy Field Center and academics such as Dr. Nina Roberts of San Francisco State University, the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year aims to empower a wide and diverse audience to explore the GGNP and reconnect with the superlative National Park values found in the GGNP.

The Urban National Park Experiment

The boldness of the National Park Service’s urban national park experiment was evident at the GGNP’s inception. Congress understood that the creation of the GGNP “[would] not add significantly to the open lands in the city,” but equally understood that by bringing the National Park System’s values to this urban environment we would ensure that the GGNP was preserved “as far as possible, in its natural setting, and protect[ed] from development and uses which would destroy the scenic beauty and natural character of the area.”

National Parks such as the GGNP cannot accomplish this goal while simultaneously accommodating all forms of recreation enjoyed by the public without restriction. In establishing the GGNP Congress recognized this by stating that recreational and educational uses “shall” only occur in the Park if they are “consistent with sound principles of land use planning and management.”

A national park, as opposed to a city, county, regional, or even a state park, was uniquely able to make this vision become reality because of the National Park System’s greater resources, its relative insulation from political whims, and its less-parochial outlook. The unique role the GGNP plays in the Bay Area’s diverse open spaces has also been highlighted in the National Park Service’s planning documents, which explain that the role of the GGNP is to “provide opportunities for forms of enjoyment that are uniquely suited and appropriate for the superlative natural and cultural resources found in the parks” and that the park service will “defer to local, state, and other . . . organizations to meet the broader spectrum of recreational needs and demands.”

This urban national park experiment has largely worked. The GGNP has become synonymous with the high quality of life San Franciscan’s hold dear, intertwined with our identity as much as the Golden Gate Bridge and the 49ers. It props-up property values, provides recreational opportunities for thousands of visitors, and creates an oasis for a variety of wildlife species.

The Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year aims to encourage exploration and understanding of the unique role that the GGNP plays in our collection of public lands, while encouraging people to take steps to preserve the unique and imperiled wildlife that call the GGNP home.

Sunday, March 24, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm: Join Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute to search for two of the most imperiled vertebrate species on the San Francisco peninsula: the California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake. This will be a leisurely walk to enjoy the restoration work being conducted at Mori Point and to learn about the bold steps being taken to save the frogs and the snakes from the brink of extinction. This event is rain or shine. Meet at the Mori Point Entrance Gate, at the intersection of Bradford Way and Mori Point Road, Pacifica, CA, 94044.

Please see above to RSVP.

Sunday, March 24, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm: Join Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute to search for two of the most imperiled vertebrate species on the San Francisco peninsula: the California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake.

This will be a leisurely walk to enjoy the restoration work being conducted at Mori Point and to learn about the bold steps being taken to save the frogs and the snakes from the brink of extinction.

Meet at the Mori Point Entrance Gate, at the intersection of Bradford Way and Mori Point Road, Pacifica, CA, 94044.

Please RSVP here. NOTE: you must have a free wildequity.org account to RSVP for events. Sign-up here if you need an account.

Erica Ely, a student at San Francisco State University, was crowned the 2012 Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year champion for seeing and saving the most endangered species during the course of the competition. She is the youngest person to ever win the overall competition.


Erica Ely poses with prizes from the Sports Basement
and Patagonia’s San Francisco store.

Erica won the competition by seeing the largest number of the Golden Gate National Park’s endangered species, and then taking the most actions that help those species recover. As the 2012 champion she earned a $100 gift certificate to the Sports Basement and a backpack and clothing from Patagonia’s San Francisco store.

Congratulation Erica, and thank you for helping us save our imperiled neighbors!

Keep an eye out for your chance to win prizes for seeing and saving endangered species in 2014, when we run our next public Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year.

Brent Plater, Wild Equity’s Executive Director, will be interviewed on KOWS 107.3 FM’s Tommy’s Holiday Camp about Wild Equity’s work protecting people and the plants and animals within and surrounding the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge. Listen in from 7:10-8:55pm to learn what nitrogen deposition can teach us about the future of conservation.

Click here to listen to the podcast of the interview.

Brent Plater, Wild Equity Executive Director, will be interviewed on KOWS 107.3 FM’s Tommy’s Holiday Camp about Wild Equity’s work concerning the communities within and surrounding the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge. The Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge was created to protect extremely rare insects, and remains the only wildlife refuge specifically created for invertebrate conservation. But today it is threatened by an unforeseen problem: nitrogen deposition, driven by an explosion of fossil-fuel fired power plants, ringing the dunes. If the rate of nitrogen deposition isn’t arrested or mitigated, we may witness the extinction of the Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly, who’s numbers are now in the dozens. Brent Plater, Executive Director of the Wild Equity Institute, will tell us about this largely unknown landscape, how to observe wildlife there, and how his organization is experimenting with new ways to build a stronger conservation and environmental movement to protect the Dunes and hopefully make conservation movements stronger and more resilient in the process.

Tune in at KOWS 107.3 FM (Occidental, CA) or stream live by clicking here


Brent Plater, Wild Equity Executive Director

Saturday, October 20, 2012, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. — Join Wild Equity on a Big Year Bike Ride led by Brent Plater! The bike route will take you on a journey to view several threatened and endangered species within the Golden Gate National Parks: the Marbled Murrelet, Humpback Whale, Raven’s Manzanita, Stellar Sea Lion, the Gowen Cypress and the San Francisco Lessingia. This is a great chance to get your counts in for the Endangered Species Big Year for a chance to win the grand prize! RSVP required using the form above. We will meet and end at the Bazaar Cafe, 5927 California Street, between 21st & 22nd Avenues.

In a reality grantmaking panel with $1,000 on the line, program officers from the Hewlett Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, the California Wildlands Grassroots Fund, the Northern California Environmental Grassroots Fund, and the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment evaluated grant proposals from Wild Equity and five other groups live in front of over 100 grassroots environmentalists.

And each program officer reached the same conclusion: Wild Equity’s proposal was the best of the bunch!

Check out this clip from the panel and see why so many are finding inspiration in our work:

We were humbled to earn the $1,000 from the panel, and grateful for the constructive feedback we received from these experienced grantmakers. Consider following their advice—help us become more effective by contributing to the Wild Equity Institute’s work today!

January 7, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:

Neal Desai, National Parks Conservation Association, (415) 989-9925
Jeff Miller, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 669-7357

Protections Sought for Endangered Frogs, Snakes at Pacifica’s Sharp Park

San Francisco — Conservation groups filed a legal appeal today to secure essential protections for endangered frogs and snakes that live at Pacifica’s Sharp Park. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently found that pumping water from wetlands, habitat alteration, mowing, gopher control, and other activities at the Sharp Park golf course, run by the city of San Francisco, are hurting and killing threatened California red-legged frogs and highly endangered San Francisco garter snakes.

“The Fish and Wildlife Service has rejected San Francisco’s baseless position that its golf-course activities do not harm federally protected species,” said Neal Desai of the National Parks Conservation Association. “It’s clear our lawsuit was needed to bring professional oversight of the city’s operations. This is a step forward in the campaign to safeguard the precious biodiversity in the Bay Area. The appeal we are pursuing will guarantee that San Francisco abides by the same rules as every other city when it comes to protecting endangered species.”

“Sharp Park ought to be a safe place for red-legged frogs and San Francisco garter snakes, two of the rarest animals in the region,” said Jeff Miller with the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s unfortunate and frustrating that the city’s management of the golf course has continues to put these species in danger. We’re taking action to make sure these animals finally get the protection they deserve.”

Sharp Park is an important wildlife habitat adjoining National Park Service properties in Pacifica. Today’s appeal, filed in the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, seeks to ensure that appropriate and legally binding protections are implemented to prevent and reduce the ongoing killing and harming of endangered species by the golf course’s operations.

Background

In March 2011 the Center for Biological Diversity, Wild Equity Institute, National Parks Conservation Association, Surfrider Foundation, Sequoia Audubon Society and other organizations sued San Francisco under the Endangered Species Act for illegally killing and harming — “taking” is the legal word — protected species through operation of the golf course. San Francisco was manipulating water levels in wetlands and stranding frog eggs during the breeding season, as well as mowing habitat areas occupied by endangered species, without any federal permit.

San Francisco maintained that its golf-course activities were not harming either species, but shortly after the lawsuit was filed the city initiated a formal consultation process under the Endangered Species Act — a step that sought approval to harm and kill protected wildlife. The Fish and Wildlife Service reviewed the golf course’s impacts and has issued conservation measures that both San Francisco and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the federal agency that issues a permit for wetlands degradation on the site) must adopt.

The Fish and Wildlife Service’s October 2012 “biological opinion” vindicates the position of conservation groups: that golf-course operations adversely affect both the frog and the snake. The Service prescribed dozens of protection measures that the city and the Corps of Engineers must adopt to address impacts, including the construction of new habitats to compensate for wetlands the city is destroying or degrading.

In light of the Service’s biological opinion, the lower court recently dismissed the conservation groups’ pending lawsuit, ruling that the Endangered Species Act claims have now been adequately addressed, although the Corps has yet to issue its permit adopting the conservation measures prescribed by the Service. In their filing today, conservation groups are appealing the ruling to press for further assurances that the habitat needs of endangered species will be addressed.

The city-owned golf course at 400-acre Sharp Park is plagued by crumbling infrastructure, annual flooding problems and ongoing environmental violations. More than three-dozen San Francisco community, recreation, environmental and social-justice groups have called for closing the golf course and creating a more sustainable public park at Sharp Park. A 2011 peer-reviewed scientific study by independent scientists and coastal experts concluded that the most cost-effective option for Sharp Park is to end golf-course operations and restore the functions of the original natural ecosystem, which will also provide the most benefit to endangered species.

But the Park Department has refused to consider this option, and is instead pursuing a plan that would harm endangered species at the site and bail out the golf course’s financial problems with millions of dollars of taxpayer money. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed legislation in December 2011 to prevent this from happening, but Mayor Ed Lee vetoed the legislation.

 The Wild Equity Institute is building a healthy and sustainable global community for people
and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth.

http://wildequity.org/

###

Wild Equity Institute is receiving its first branded products soon, and the buzz is building. For example, a focus group participant at San Francisco State University had this to say about our new “I Bird San Francisco” T-shirt:

“This shirt has value far more important than its price. How much is it worth to promote environmental protection in your community? How much is it worth to use organic clothes? The shirt is worth our entire future as a civilization.”


I Bird SF 100% organic cotton T-shirt. Comes in natural color, sizes S, M, L, & XL.

That’s right folks: our I Bird SF shirt is worth our entire future as a civilization!

Lucky for you we’re giving them away—to members who contribute $60 or more to our end of year membership drive! Either join Wild Equity or renew your membership at the $60 level or more and you’ll get an I Bird SF T-shirt on the house!

Already have plenty of shirts? No problem! You can substitute a Wild Equity branded reusable water bottle made in the USA from 100% recycled aluminum!


The Wild Equity bottle is made of 100% recycled aluminum in the USA.
24oz with twist-off cap. Select green or white.

Want the bottle and the shirt? We’ve got a solution for you too: if you contribute at the $100 level or more, we’ll send you one T-shirt and one water bottle at no extra charge!

Ladies and gentlemen, there hasn’t been a Wild Equity membership deal this good since….well ever! Not only do you get some cool sustainable products, you also get to contribute to our work saving San Francisco’s Natural Areas Program so it can continue stewarding our local plants and wildlife; transforming Sharp Park Golf Course into a new national park everyone can enjoy; and saving the Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly and empowering local communities to end pollution from power plants that destroy the species’ habitat.

So join now and let the world see that you’re part of our movement. Of course, you can always decline the stuff and let all of your contribution go directly to our work: just let us know what you prefer in the notes section of your order! Be sure to specify color for the bottle, and size for the shirt! And thank you for believing in our work!

Sincerely,

Brent Plater
Executive Director

ps—If you already gave this year and earned a shirt and/or a bottle, we’ve got you covered! We’ll contact you when they are ready to ship and take your order. Or contact us anytime and let us know what you want! We expect first shipments to go out in late January.

Friday, December 21, 2012, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm — Join the Wild Equity enviros for happy hour as we close-out the 2012 year and brainstorm on ways to get active in the environmental movement for the new year. We will also be saying good-bye to Brent as he journeys to the land down-under. Don’t worry, he will be back next year, and ready to tackle more environmental challenges. Bring your ideas about how Wild Equity can advance its mission for the upcoming year, and the ways we can make it happen.

Meet us at Vesuvio’s Cafe, 2255 Columbus Ave.
(between Broadway St & Jack Kerouac Aly), San Francisco, CA 94133

Cheers!

July 17, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:

Brent Plater, Wild Equity Institute, (415) 572-6989

Golf Industry Front-group, San Mateo County Politicians
Caught Forging Senator’s Signature on Official State Resolution

San Francisco — A controversial California Assembly Resolution requested by the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, authored by Assemblyman Jerry Hill, and presented to the public by San Mateo County Supervisor Carole Groom states that the Resolution was endorsed by State Senator Leland Yee. But a letter from the Senator’s office says his office never cleared or approved the resolution’s language.


The Controversial California Assembly Resolution and Senator Leland Yee’s Written Response.

“The misrepresentations by the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance—and the politicians it gives money to—must end,” said Brent Plater, executive director of the Wild Equity Institute. “We call on the Golf Alliance, Supervisor Groom, and Assemblyman Hill to endorse honest, informed public debate by retracting the resolution immediately.”

In May of 2012, the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance—a front group for golf privatization advocates and an active opponent of affordable municipal golf in San Francisco—and San Mateo County Supervisor Carol Groom released a controversial California Assembly Resolution authored by Assemblyman Jerry Hill and purportedly endorsed by Senator Leland Yee. The resolution contained several false statements about the historic value of Sharp Park Golf Course—statements that San Francisco’s own Historic Preservation Commission did not concur with when it evaluated Sharp Park Golf Course in 2011.

But a new letter from Senator Leland Yee denies that he approved of or endorsed the resolution, explaining that “[t]he language was not cleared by my office, nor does it accurately represent my position on Sharp Park. While my signature was on the resolution, it was electronically generated and not approved by my office.”

“The public needs to know the truth about Assemblyman Hill’s and Supervisor Groom’s support for the Golf Alliance’s multi-million dollar government bailout plan for Sharp Park Golf Course, and their steadfast opposition to affordable golf in San Francisco,” said Plater. “But false endorsements obfuscate the facts and are a disservice to our democratic process. We look forward to an immediate retraction of the resolution and an honest debate as the campaign to restore Sharp Park advances.”

The endangered species-killing, money-losing Sharp Park Golf Course is owned by San Francisco but located in Pacifica, California. It is plagued by crumbling infrastructure, annual flooding problems and ongoing environmental violations. More than three dozen San Francisco-based community, recreation, environmental and justice groups have called for closing the golf course and creating a more sustainable public park at Sharp Park. A 2011 peer-reviewed scientific study by independent scientists and coastal experts concluded that the most cost-effective option for Sharp Park is to remove the golf course and restore the functions of the original natural ecosystem, which will also provide the most benefit to endangered species.

The Department has refused to consider this option, and is instead pursuing a plan that would evict endangered species from the site, bail out the golf course’s financial problems with tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, and continue San Francisco’s liability for fines for Endangered Species Act violations. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed legislation in December of 2011 to prevent this from happening while improving access to affordable golf, but Mayor Ed Lee, at the behest of Supervisor Groom, Assemblyman Hill, and other Golf Alliance-supported politicians, vetoed the legislation. Further action by the Board of Supervisors is expected this year.

 The Wild Equity Institute is building a healthy and sustainable global community for people
and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth.

http://wildequity.org/

###

Sunday, December 2, 2012, 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. — Join Brent Plater on another epic Big Year hike at Muir Woods to see the threatened Coho Salmon, Central California Coast Evolutionary Significant Unit, and the Steelhead, Central California Coast Distinct Population Segment. Witness the semelparous spawning behavior of the Coho Salmon and take an action to help save these imperiled species. RSVP required. Meet at Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, CA, 94941. For more information or for carpool arrangements contact us at info@wildequity.org. Keep in mind, everyone pays their own $7 entrance into the park.

Hope to see you there!

In December we are giving away a sling bag from Patagonia to the first person who a) completes the conservation action item for the Gowen Cypress, or b) records a sighting and/or action item for the Coho Salmon.


The Gowen Cypress

Action Item for the Gowen Cypress: Consider how to best save nature in an era of climate change
Write a few sentences answering the question: When is it appropriate to move imperiled wildlife and plants, and when we do it, how do we do it properly?

Action Item for the Coho Salmon: Work with SPAWN to rescue wild Coho from their desiccated natal streams.
Or join us for our Muir Woods Big Year Salmon-Stroll and record your sighting here.

Sunday, December 2, 2012, 11:00 am – 1:30 pm – Join us for the last epic GGNP Big Year hike of the year! Brent Plater will lead the hike out to Muir Woods to see and save the threatened Coho Salmon, Central California Coast ESU, and the Steelhead, Central California Coast DPS. Witness the semelparous spawning behavior of the Coho Salmon and take an action to help save these imperiled species. Everyone pays their own $7 entrance into the park. Please RSVP now!


Searching for spawning Coho Salmon.

On Monday, November 19, at 1:00 p.m. in San Francisco’s City Hall Room 250, the Board of Supervisors will vote to remove a plan to redevelop Sharp Park Golf Course from the Significant Natural Resource Areas Management Plan, so that these two different projects with very different purposes can stand or fall on their own merits.

We need you to be there to support this resolution: attend the hearing and tell the supervisors to vote YES on the resolution!

Background.

Sharp Park is a wetland owned by San Francisco but located in San Mateo County. The City drains Sharp Park year-round so people can play golf on the land. The golf course loses money, harms two endangered species, and puts the surrounding community at risk when the course floods. The Wild Equity Institute is working to build a better public park at Sharp Park, a park that saves San Francisco money, protects the environment, sustainably adapts to sea level rise and climate change, and provides recreational opportunities that everyone can enjoy.


A restoration vision for Sharp Park.

The Promise.

In 2005, San Francisco submitted its Significant Natural Resource Areas Management Plan for environmental review. The Plan included some modest restoration activities at Sharp Park, but left the golf course in tact. At the time, Wild Equity staff and others requested that the City consider a more ambitious restoration opportunity: closing the golf course and creating a new National Park at Sharp Park. San Francisco’s Recreation and Park Department responded in writing, stating ‘should changes to the Sharp Park Golf Course be proposed, they would undergo a separate regulatory review, including CEQA environmental review.’

A Promise Broken.

But in 2011, the Recreation and Park Department went back on its written word. It jammed a multi‐million dollar golf course redevelopment plan into a chapter of the environmental review document for the Natural Areas Program: a completely different project with completely different purposes. Adding injury to this insult, they refused to consider any restoration alternatives to its golf course redevelopment plan for Sharp Park, claiming that the golf course was an ‘historic landmark,’ even though the City’s own Historic Preservation Commission disagreed with this conclusion.

The Solution.

Now the Supervisors are considering a resolution that would undo this duplicitous act by the Recreation and Park Department: a resolution that orders the Department to separate out its plan to redevelop the golf course and put that plan through “a separate regulatory review, including CEQA environmental review,” as the Department promised the public from the start.

What You Can Do.

Please attend this critical hearing and tell the Supervisors to vote YES on the resolution. Meet us at City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, at the Land Use Committee, Room 250, 1:00 pm. RSVP using the form above right away!

Talking Points.

  • I support the resolution to segregate out the Sharp Park Golf Course redevelopment plan from the Natural Areas Program Management Plan Environmental Impact Report, and I ask the Supervisors to support this resolution too.
  • The Recreation and Park Department must make good on its commitment to conduct separate reviews of these two different projects, and that is what this resolution makes the Department to do.
  • The resolution orders the Department to stay true to its word by removing the Sharp Park Golf Course project from the Natural Areas Plan and allowing these two different projects to be considered by the public and policymakers through their own environmental review processes.
  • The resolution was introduced in July of this year, and no comments in opposition have been submitted by the Department to date. Now is the time to finally put the Department back on track with these projects.
  • The resolution does not change the status quo at Sharp Park Golf Course and does not plan for or modify any land activity at Sharp Park. This is a procedural resolution to ensure the Department make good on its word to the public and policymakers.
  • This resolution does not attempt to control the future of Sharp Park Golf Course in any way, and therefore a vote supporting the resolution does not mean the Supervisor is taking a position on Sharp Park’s future.
  • The resolution does not affect the City’s discretion to propose alternatives or select a preferred alternative for either project in any way.

On Monday, November 19, at 1:00 p.m. in San Francisco’s City Hall Room 250, the Board of Supervisors will vote to remove a plan to redevelop Sharp Park Golf Course from the Significant Natural Resource Areas Management Plan, so that these two different projects with very different purposes can stand or fall on their own merits.

We need you to be there to support this resolution: attend the hearing and tell the supervisors to vote YES on the resolution!

Background.

Sharp Park is a wetland owned by San Francisco but located in San Mateo County. The City drains Sharp Park year-round so people can play golf on the land. The golf course loses money, harms two endangered species, and puts the surrounding community at risk when the course floods. The Wild Equity Institute is working to build a better public park at Sharp Park, a park that saves San Francisco money, protects the environment, sustainably adapts to sea level rise and climate change, and provides recreational opportunities that everyone can enjoy.


A restoration vision for Sharp Park.

The Promise.

In 2005, San Francisco submitted its Significant Natural Resource Areas Management Plan for environmental review. The Plan included some modest restoration activities at Sharp Park, but left the golf course intact. At the time, Wild Equity staff and others requested that the City consider a more ambitious restoration opportunity: closing the golf course and creating a new National Park at Sharp Park. San Francisco’s Recreation and Park Department responded in writing, stating ‘should changes to the Sharp Park Golf Course be proposed, they would undergo a separate regulatory review, including CEQA environmental review.’

A Promise Broken.

But in 2011, the Recreation and Park Department went back on its written word. It jammed a multi‐million dollar golf course redevelopment plan into a chapter of the environmental review document for the Natural Areas Program: a completely different project with completely different purposes. Adding injury to this insult, they refused to consider a single alternative to its golf course redevelopment plan for Sharp Park, claiming that the golf course was an ‘historic landmark,’ even though the City’s own Historic Preservation Commission disagreed with this conclusion.

The Solution.

Now the Supervisors are considering a resolution that would undo this duplicitous act by the Recreation and Park Department: a resolution that orders the Department to separate out its plan to redevelop the golf course and put that plan through “a separate regulatory review, including CEQA environmental review,” as the Department promised the public from the start.

What You Can Do.

Please attend this critical hearing and tell the Supervisors to vote YES on the resolution. Meet us at City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, at the Land Use Committee, Room 250, 1:00 pm. RSVP now!

Talking Points.

  • I support the resolution to segregate out the Sharp Park Golf Course redevelopment plan from the Natural Areas Program Management Plan Environmental Impact Report, and I ask the Supervisors to support this resolution too.
  • The Recreation and Park Department must make good on its commitment to conduct separate reviews of these two different projects, and that is what this resolution makes the Department to do.
  • The resolution orders the Department to stay true to its word by removing the Sharp Park Golf Course project from the Natural Areas Plan and allowing these two different projects to be considered by the public and policymakers through their own environmental review processes.
  • The resolution was introduced in July of this year, and no comments in opposition have been submitted by the Department to date. Now is the time to finally put the Department back on track with these projects.
  • The resolution does not change the status quo at Sharp Park Golf Course and does not plan for or modify any land activity at Sharp Park. This is a procedural resolution to ensure the Department makes good on its word to the public and policymakers.
  • This resolution does not attempt to control the future of Sharp Park Golf Course in any way, and therefore a vote supporting the resolution does not mean the Supervisor is taking a position on Sharp Park’s future.
  • The resolution does not affect the City’s discretion to propose alternatives or select a preferred alternative for either project in any way.

Thursday, November 15, 2012, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. — Join Wild Equity for Third Thursday Film Night with SF Environment. We will be showing the moving documentary, Pale Male, the story of a notorious red-tailed hawk who made his home above a 5th Avenue apartment building in New York City. A sensational movement transpired when the building’s co-op board ordered Pale Male’s nest to be removed.

The Pale Male Petition:
On July 24, 2012, the Wild Equity Institute filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) urging it to change its migratory bird nest policy. The policy encourages destruction of migratory bird nests, which is prohibited by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MTBA). The Service’s policy has led to the destruction of countless bird nests since it was enacted, including one of a famous New York red-tailed hawk.

Please Join us at SF Environment, 11 Grove St., San Francisco, CA. There will be snacks and drinks. RSVP here. Hope to see you there!


Pale Male

During the month of November, participants in Wild Equity’s GGNP Endangered Species Big Year can win a $25 gift certificate to the Sports Basement: if they are the first person who records a sighting for, and/or takes action to help, the Western Snowy Plover.

We’ve lead a trip or two to see this cute little puff of feathers within the GGNRA, but now it’s time for participants to conduct the Conservation Action Item for this bird: reduce harassment of the Snowy Plover by leashing your dog in plover areas and/or asking others to do the same.

Off leash dogs are the biggest recreational threat to the Western Snowy Plover at the Golden Gate National Parks. Not because dogs are mean, but because unleashed dogs are much more effective at chasing and disturbing this tiny shorebird than anyone or thing you can find on San Francisco’s beaches. Help this endangered species by leashing your dog in sensitive Snowy Plover habitats and asking other people to do the same.

To claim your prize be sure to sign-up for the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year and record your action items and sightings at our website. If you don’t record it, it didn’t happen, and it doesn’t count!

Our work always seems to heat up in the Fall, and this year is no different. Supervisor Christina Olague has brought new legislation to City Hall, legislation that will defend San Francisco’s Natural Areas Program from anti-wild forces in San Francisco.

In 2005, San Francisco submitted its Significant Natural Resource Areas Management plan for environmental review—a plan that contains modest restoration goals for lands at Sharp Park managed by the City’s Natural Areas Program, but left all other Sharp Park lands, including the endangered species-killing and money-losing golf course found there, unchanged.

At the time, Wild Equity staff and others requested that the City consider a more ambitious restoration opportunity: to restore Sharp Park Golf Course, the money-losing, endangered species-killing golf course in suburban San Mateo County that San Francisco has been subsidizing with taxpayer dollars for years.

But San Francisco’s Recreation and Park Department responded—in writing—in no uncertain terms: any changes to Sharp Park Golf Course proper could only be considered through a separate planning process.

But in 2011 the Recreation and Park Department, under the duplicitous leadership of Phil Ginsburg, went back on its written word. It jammed a multi-million dollar golf course redevelopment plan into a chapter of the environmental review document for the Natural Areas Program.

We think Phil Ginsburg is jamming this unrelated, indefensible project into a separate environmental review document for one reason only: he knows that standing on its own no reasonable legislator would ever condone it.

Supervisor Olague agrees, and that’s why she’s introduced legislation that will order the Recreation and Park Department to segregate the golf course plan out of the Natural Areas environmental review document, so that each project can stand or fall on their own merits.

Hearing details are still forthcoming, but we’ll need you to show your support for this critical legislation soon—so keep your Monday afternoons free for the next few weeks!

Folks, we have some great prizes to give away during the remaining months of the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year!

In November we are giving one lucky winner a $25 gift certificate to Sports Basement.

Here are the details:

The first person to record a sighting for the Western Snowy Plover and fulfill the conservation action item will be awarded a gift certificate to Sports Basement.

The Conservation Action Item: Reduce harassment for the Snowy Plover by leashing your dog in plover areas and asking others to do the same.

Unleashed dogs are the biggest threat to the Western Snowy Plover; unleashed dogs tend to chase and disturb this tiny shorebird when they are roosting at the GGNRA’s beaches. Help us protect this endangered species by leashing your dog in sensitive Snowy Plover habitats and asking other people to do that same.

Want to see the Western Snowy Plover in its natural habitat?

Join us on Sunday, November 11, from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm, at Ocean Beach for the Western Snowy Plover Walk-About, led by Plover docent David Schmidt, to search for and help the threatened Western Snowy Plover. Meet at Beach Chalet Restaurant Parking lot. RSVP now.

In December we are giving away a sling bag from Patagonia to the first person who a) completes the conservation action item for the Gowen Cypress, or b) records a sighting and/or action item for the Coho Salmon.


The Gowen Cypress

You will have an opportunity to see the Coho Salmon in December!

Join us on Sunday, December 2, from 11:00 am – 1:30 pm, for the Muir Woods Big Year Salmon Stroll. Meet at Muir Woods National Monument. For more information, and to RSVP, please visit the Big Year calendar.


Searching for spawing salmon.

Join the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year now and start taking action!

You don’t want to miss this coming Third Thursday Film Night with SF Environment! We will be showing the moving documentary, Pale Male, the story of a notorious red-tailed hawk who made his home above a 5th Avenue apartment building in New York City. A sensational movement transpired when the building’s co-op board ordered Pale Male’s nest to be removed.

The Pale Male Petition:
On July 24, 2012, the Wild Equity Institute filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) urging it to change its migratory bird nest policy. The policy encourages destruction of migratory bird nests, which is prohibited by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MTBA). The Service’s policy has led to the destruction of countless bird nests since it was enacted, including one of a famous New York red-tailed hawk.

Please Join us at SF Environment, 11 Grove St., San Francisco, CA. There will be snacks and drinks. RSVP now!


Pale Male

Thank you to all who came out this weekend to search for, and help, one of the smallest and rarest shorebirds in San Francisco, the Western Snowy Plover. On Sunday, a group of birders and plover-lovers journeyed out to sunny Ocean Beach for a hike, led by David Schmidt, to find this tiny bird in its natural and protected habitat.


David Schmidt discussing the history of the area.

It was a beautiful day and a perfect time to find the Western Snowy Plover basking in the sun, but they must have been content hiding among the sand dunes, because we did not spot any plovers this day. However, we were lucky enough to see several Sanderlings, another small wader which, from afar, can easily be mistaken for the Snowy Plover.


Searching for the plover and other wildlife.

We had a great time identifying other birds, socializing with friends, and learning about the history of San Francisco’s natural areas. Thanks again to everyone who joined us on this beautiful day!

Keep in mind, we are offering a gift certificate to Sports Basement for the first person who spots and/or takes action to help the Western Snowy Plover. Just be sure to sign-up for the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year to record your sightings and actions.

The Conservation Action Item: Reduce Harassment for the Snowy Plover by leashing your dog in plover areas and asking others to do the same.

It is determined that unleashed dogs are the biggest threat to the Western Snowy Plover; unleashed dogs tend to chase and disturb this tiny shorebird when they are roosting at the GGNRA’s beaches. Help us protect this endangered species by leashing your dog in sensitive Snowy Plover habitats and asking other people to do that same.

Check out the Endangered Species Big Year calendar now to RSVP for future Wild Equity events!

In November we are giving one lucky winner a $25 gift certificate to Sports Basement!

Here are the details:

The first person to record a sighting for the Western Snowy Plover and/or fulfill the conservation action item will be awarded a gift certificate to Sports Basement.

The Conservation Action Item: Reduce Harassment for the Snowy Plover by leashing your dog in plover areas and asking others to do the same.

It is determined that unleashed dogs are the biggest threat to the Western Snowy Plover; unleashed dogs tend to chase and disturb this tiny shorebird when they are roosting at the GGNRA’s beaches. Help us protect this endangered species by leashing your dog in sensitive Snowy Plover habitats and asking other people to do that same.

Sunday, November 11, 2012, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. — Join us on a leisurely walk around Ocean Beach, led by Plover docent David Schmidt, to search for and help the threatened Western Snowy Plover. This small shorebird is highly threatened by human activities and habitat degradation. Join us to see this adorable species in its native habitat and learn ways that you can help before it is too late! Part of the Endangered Species Big Year, a race against time to see and save each of the GGNP’s endangered species. Meet at Beach Chalet Restaurant Parking lot. RSVP on this page.

This weekend we will be heading out for a leisurely walk, led by David Schmidt, to see the endangered Western Snowy Plover at Ocean Beach. This small shorebird is highly threatened by off-leash dog disturbance and habitat degradation: but you can help it recover. Join us to see this adorable species in its largest remaining refuge in San Francisco, and learn how you can help before it is too late! Meet at Beach Chalet Restaurant parking lot. Please RSVP here.

On Friday, students from Downtown High School joined Wild Equity for a trip to Rodeo Lagoon to see and take action to save the endangered Tidewater Goby. This small aquatic species is listed under the endangered species act because of a significant declined in its population, mainly due to habitat destruction and invasive species. The fish is found in only a small portion of its native habitat; it is unfortunately no longer found in San Francisco.

The students learned about the Tidewater Goby’s fragile state and took action to help protect the species. Darren Fong, Aquatic Ecologist
 for The Golden Gate National Recreation Area, gave a talk about the history of Rodeo Lagoon and showed the students the Tidewater Goby with a special underwater camera.


Darren Fong showing students a seine that will collect fish samples.


Researchers collecting samples with a seine in Rodeo Lagoon.

The students even had a chance to be field biologists for the day! Karen Crow, Assistant Professor at San Francisco State University, who studies the Three-spined stickleback for its evolutionary and genetic traits, taught the students useful sampling techniques. The Three-spine stickleback were collected from the lagoon with seines and transported into buckets where the students measured them to determine which ones would be valuable for further research.


Students measuring the Three-spined stickleback.

The students were also presented with the opportunity to engage in critical habitat restoration. They worked with James Cartan, from the National Park Service, removing invasive ice plant along the lagoon shoreline.


Students removing invasive ice plants.

We all had a wonderful time with the students on this trip. It was a great opportunity to learn about the ecology of Rodeo Lagoon, habitat restoration, and receive hands-on experience, which helped create a positive difference for the sensitive species at Rodeo Lagoon.


The Tidewater Goby


Field biologists, and Darren Fong, with the underwater camera.

You can also help create sustainable communities and protect native species by volunteering with us, becoming a member, or donating on-line today!

Directions to Rodeo Lagoon, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California 94941, from San Francisco, CA:

1. Head northeast on Market St toward S Van Ness Ave
0.2 mi
2. Turn left onto Larkin St
440 ft
3. Take the 2nd left onto Grove St
0.2 mi
4. Turn right onto Van Ness Ave
1.6 mi
5. Turn left onto US-101/El Camino Real/Lombard St
Continue to follow US-101/El Camino Real
5.1 mi
6. Take exit 442 to merge onto Alexander Ave
0.3 mi
7. Slight left onto Danes Dr
0.1 mi
8. Slight left to stay on Danes Dr
125 ft
9. Continue straight onto Bunker Rd
2.5 mi
10. Slight right to stay on Bunker Rd
0.5 mi
11. Continue onto Mitchell Rd
463 ft

Rodeo Lagoon, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California 94941

The Wild Equity Institute is glad to announce that Anna Sylvester has joined our Board of Directors, serving as our newest Board Secretary.


Anna Sylvester, Board Secretary.

Anna traces her love of nature to her Swiss heritage. She is focused on “legacy living”, working to preserve species, habitats, and precious coastal areas (like Sharp Park) for generations to come.

Anna and her husband, Erich Sylvester, live in the Presidio and operate Sylvester Valuation Group, a business appraisal firm specializing in fair market value appraisals for estate and gift tax purposes.

Anna previously served as secretary for another non-profit, and that experience will be put to great use on the Wild Equity Institute’s Board of Directors.

Welcome Anna! We look forward to working with you as we build a healthy and sustainable global community for all!

On October 5th, the Franciscan Manzanita will officially get federal protection under the Endangered Species Act! We’re hosting a party that day to celebrate this giant leap forward for plantkind, and you can help us make this the greatest manzanita party ever by:

· Inviting our members and supporters to the celebration
· Setting-up and tearing-down on Oct. 5
· Delivering food and party favors to the venue
· Welcoming people at the door
· Distributing flyers
· Serving food and drinks
· DJ’ing
· Photography and videography on Oct. 5
· And more!

Contact Roxanne at rramirez@wildequity.org or (415) 347-6518 if you want to help us party!


Cheers to the protection of the Franciscan Manzanita!

With the campaign mailer deluge hitting our mailboxes, it appears that the supporters of San Francisco’s Proposition B are spending almost as much money trying to pass the proposition as the City might generate with the bonds Prop B. authorizes!

To cut through the clutter, the Wild Equity Institute provided some initial reasons to vote no on Prop. B several days ago, but the latest mailers sparked some additional research: and confirmed our suggestion that you vote no on Prop. B.

There is a pronounced difference between funding capital improvements and funding ongoing operations. Operations have simply not been a funding priority of our elected officials, and as a result RPD has been driven to pursue additional funding in the form of concessions and services. . . . It does not makes sense to spend money improving buildings or restoring parks if we can’t afford to open those buildings or operate those parks. There needs to be a sustained commitment to operations to support any capital program. . . . In fact, our hope has been that the operating deficit would be addressed first.

Prop. B makes this problem worse: it forces San Francisco to build new capital projects without providing any stream of income to maintain the projects over time. Like all bonds, Prop. B can only fund capital projects—not a dime of the money Prop. B raises can be used to address the existing operating and maintenance backlog. Let alone the additional operations and maintenance burdens that new capital projects will impose on our park budgets.

To truly solve our parks’ budget problem, RPD needs to join with park advocacy groups demanding larger operation and management budgets at the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor’s office, where we can obtain the annual operating and maintenance money our parks need. But to date, RPD has refused to join with us, and instead it has pursued bloated capital funding, and wasted operating budgets subsidizing suburban golf in San Mateo County. Perhaps, as the SPUR report suggests, this is because RPD has failed to properly prioritize its revenue problems.

  • As RPD’s maintenance and operating budget becomes more dire, the City’s Natural Areas Program suffers the most. The Natural Areas Program is not a priority within RPD, and it is funded last nearly every time budgets are reduced. If we build more capital than we can afford to maintain, the City’s operations and maintenance budgets will become even more stressed. As budgets become more constrained, staff will be cut, and it is most likely that Natural Areas Program staff will bear the brunt of those cuts. Again, Proposition B makes this problem worse by providing no funding for operations and maintenance while building several new projects RPD will be required to operate and maintain indefinitely.
  • All the projects specified in the bond have been declared categorically exempt from CEQA. The Bond language incorporates categorical exemptions from CEQA for nearly all the identified projects specified in the bond. This is an abuse of CEQA, and something environmentalists and conservationists should not support.
  • Building our way out of repair and maintenance is extremely environmentally harmful. RPD has suggested that Prop. B will address its maintenance backlog by getting rid of items that need repair, and building new projects in their stead. But we can think of no more environmentally harmful way to address our maintenance backlog. Is our decline into a throw-away culture so complete that even our infrastructure is now disposable? We think that in the City where single-use plastic bags have been banned, we can do better than creating throw-away capital projects. San Francisco demands better than this, and our environment requires it.
  • Strategy. There is little doubt that San Francisco politicians generally, and Recreation and Park officials specifically, give little heed to conservation concerns. This is in no small measure because the conservation community needs to become more effective applying political pressure in most campaigns—Wild Equity’s campaign to restore Sharp Park being one of the few exceptions, which was the only land-use issue to get a majority vote at the Board of Supervisors in several years. To turn this around, we need to express political displeasure to those who make decisions antithetical to our concerns. This was done by opposing bond initiatives on environmental grounds in the East Bay a few years ago, and since that time East Bay parks have had a much stronger relationship with the Sierra Club. We can do the same here.

We can understand why some institutions might determine that the short-term benefits of specific, promised projects outweigh the long-term negative impacts that Prop. B imposes on our parks. Surprisingly, SPUR endorsed this proposal, albeit with an important caveat: that the long-term funding problem be addressed sooner rather than later. But Wild Equity is in it for the long-haul, and Proposition B will fundamentally make park financing more difficult if it passes.

That’s why we urge you all to vote NO on Prop. B.

Saturday, October 20, 2012, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. — Join Wild Equity Institute on a bike ride led by Brent Plater through San Francisco to see and save several endangered species within the Golden Gate National Parks. The route will offer the opportunity to see the Gowen Cypress, Marbled Murrelet, Raven’s Manzanita, Humpback Whale, San Francisco Lessingia, the Western Snowy Plover, and the Steller Sea Lion. This is a great opportunity to get your counts in for a chance to win the Endangered Species Big Year grand prize! We will start and end at Bazaar Cafe, 5927 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94121. RSVP required! Suggested donation: $5, but no one turned away for lack of funds.

We hope to see you on this adventure!

Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders, an initiative aimed at mentoring and training up-and-coming leaders in conservation, is now looking for exceptional conservationists with over 3 years previous commitment to the environment, and at least 15 more years ahead of them in the field, is now accepting applications for its 2013 class.

Successful applicants will be offered a one-week training course in the spring of 2013 that provides networking and career mentoring opportunities, leadership and wildlife conservation campaign skills, and experience planning, implementing and evaluating a real wildlife conservation campaign benefiting an imperiled species. Follow-up meeting will occur later in 2013 and 2014.

All costs are covered for US-based participants. Applicants based outside the US must show an ability to cover the costs of flights to all three trainings, and must be fluent in English.

Applicants must download and submit the application by close-of-business November 16th, 2013. (Applicants based outside the United States will only be considered with an identified sponsor for travel costs). For more information, please go to www.WildlifeLeaders.org.

This Saturday, October 20, 2012, from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., Join the Wild Equity Institute on a bike ride through some of San Francisco’s last wildlife habitats to search for and help save several endangered species found within the Golden Gate National Parks. The route will offer the opportunity to see the Gowen Cypress, Raven’s Manzanita, Humpback Whale, San Francisco Lessingia, the Western Snowy Plover, and if we are very lucky, the Steller Sea Lion, the Marbled Murrelet, and the Southern Sea Otter! This is a great opportunity to score some points and win prizes during the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year!

We will start and end at Bazaar Cafe, 5927 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94121. RSVP required: please use this website to RSVP. Suggested donation: $5, but no one turned away for lack of funds. We hope to see you on this adventure!

This weekend was one of the busiest in San Francisco history. In addition to all the festivities throughout the city, the Franciscan Manzanita was officially listed under the Endangered Species Act along with a proposal for several acres of critical habitat and, of course, we threw one big party to celebrate.


© David Burban

Thank you to all who came out on Friday to share the love for the Manzanita, support the work of Wild Equity Institute, and celebrate this historical moment in the environmental movement!

Many familiar friends and new faces joined us to party, wish a hopeful recovery for the Franciscan Manzanita, and give a big “Thank You” to the lead organizations that helped make it happen.

“The Franciscana,” our signature elixir, good food, music, dancing and great company all made for one amazing Manzanita celebration! We listened to great tunes from DJ Justice, who kept the dance party going all night long. We learned a new dance move, “the Manzanita,” from volunteer Leah Thompson, who accompanied it with a video (below), made exclusively for the celebration by Kirra Swenerton.


Leah Thompson, our dance performer for the night. ©David Burban


DJ Justice picking out the hot jams! ©David Burban

We had the pleasure of listening to a live performance by Kristin Plater, a very talented musician from New York. She also led us in singing “Happy Birthday” to the Franciscan Manzanita before we cut the birthday cake!


Kristin Plater singing for us and the Manzanita. ©David Burban

Many people had the lucky opportunity to meet, and take pictures with a very special guest, a close relative of the Franciscan Manzanita, the Mt. Tam Manzanita (Arctostaphylos hookeri)! We also had two guest speakers, Brett Hall, State Board President from The California Native Plant Society and Mike Vasey, Biology Professor from San Francisco State University. Videos to come real soon!


photos ©David Burban

Of course, we could not have rocked this celebration without the help of our wonderful volunteers, you know who you are. So thank you to everyone who provided a hand in the party planning! Visit our Facebook page for more pictures of the celebration.


photos ©David Burban

We have many more events coming up real soon! Be sure to RSVP for our Big Year Bike Ride next week, Saturday, October 20th from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm. Sign-up for a Wild Equity account, visit our calendar, RSVP and join the Wild Equity fun!

Hello GGNP Big Year participants!

Today, October 1st, is the first day to start working towards the monthly GGNP Big Year prize. This month we are giving away a Better Sweater fleece scarf and beanie from Patagonia, perfect for staying warm when you’re out saving endangered species! Just be the first person to spot and record a sighting for any one of the 11 endangered plants found in the GGNP and be the lucky prize winner.

Be sure to sign-up for the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year and record your sightings and actions. Good Luck!

Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park was one of John Muir’s most treasured landscapes. But in one of San Francisco’s greatest environmental transgressions, a century ago the City built a dam across the Valley, and has been using a huge swath of the National Park as a water storage reservoir ever since.

Today San Francisco’s water supply system needs billions of dollars in upgrades, and that’s why it is the perfect time to start planning to improve San Francisco’s water conservation measures and investigate the possibility of restoring Hetch Hetchy Valley. That’s what Proposition F will encourage San Francisco to do, and that’s why the Wild Equity Institute strongly urges San Francisco voters to VOTE YES on Proposition F on November 6, 2012.

Proposition F is a forward-looking measure which calls on San Francisco to be more reliant on renewable, local water supplies, to recycle more of our water, and to encourage the use of reclaimed “greywater” by homes, businesses and local government. By decentralizing water delivery, we will reduce our dependence on faraway water sources that are jeopardized by climate change, and we can empower all San Francisco residents to take control and responsibility for this essential resource.

Opponents of this simple planning proposition have resorted to scare tactics to defeat it. This debate on KQED’s Forum between Mike Marshall of Restore Hetch Hetchy and San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener highlights many of these scare tactics. The Wild Equity Institute urges you to listen to Mike Marshall debunk these scare tactics so you can hear how sensible Proposition F really is. A few key points:

  • Proposition F will have no impact on Camp Mather. Opponents of Proposition F have claimed that concrete from the decommissioned dam will be dumped on Camp Mather, a beloved recreation area owned and operated by San Francisco. But Proposition F doesn’t even require the dam to be removed, and certainly doesn’t require concrete to be taken from its existing location and dumped on Camp Mather. The only thing Proposition F requires is to study the possibility of restoring Hetch Hetchy Valley, so that we can make informed decisions about the future of our water supply before billions of dollars are poured into the status quo.
  • Proposition F will not disproportionately impact the poor. The Wild Equity Institute spends each day redressing inequities across our human communities, and would never support a proposition that would exacerbate this concern. But some opponents have argued that Prop. F will raise water prices on the poor. There is no evidence indicating this would be the case, but if higher water rates are a possibility, that proves why Proposition F’s planning requirements deserve your vote. Only through Proposition F will San Francisco devote the thoughtful planning and oversight needed to understand this concern. If making environmental reparations is determined to be a lower priority than keeping water costs below market rates, Proposition F allows San Francisco to ultimately decide against restoring the Valley. Alternatively, it allows us to mitigate any increased costs that the City’s poor might otherwise unfairly bear, while still obtaining the environmental benefits restoring the Valley can provide. These benefits could be significant: existing studies indicate that there could be a multi-billion dollar net benefit to restoring the Valley from job creation, increased tourism, and environmental benefits.
  • Proposition F will not make San Francisco’s electricity less ‘green’. Some have suggested that the dam and reservoir that destroyed Hetch Hetchy Valley should remain because it delivers ‘green power’ to San Francisco. But this is deceptive in two ways. First, the resevoir does not generate any electricity. The water in the reservoir, when released, does travel downstream through power generators that are fed by several different reservoirs. But that will not change if the Valley is restored—water will still run downstream through these facilities. Second, it borders on absurd to call any power generation that occurs through the desecration and destruction of the world’s most famous and iconic National Park ‘green’ energy.

For all these reasons, Wild Equity Institute urges all San Francisco voters to vote Yes on Proposition F on November 6, 2012!

This event has been postponed. Please stay tuned for the new date and time.

Join us Thursday, October 11, 6 pm – 8 pm at Sports Basement on Bryant St. We will be showing the moving documentary, Pale Male, the story of a notorious red-tailed hawk who made his home above a 5th Avenue apartment building in New York City. A sensational movement transpired when the building’s co-op board ordered Pale Male’s nest to be removed.

The Pale Male Petition:

On July 24, 2012, the Wild Equity Institute filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) urging it to change its migratory bird nest policy. The policy encourages destruction of migratory bird nests, which is prohibited by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MTBA). The Service’s policy has led to the destruction of countless bird nests since it was enacted, including one of a famous New York red-tailed hawk.

Join us at Sports Basement, 1590 Bryant St. to see this inspiring film, enjoy good company, snacks and drinks!


Pale Male © Lincoln Karim

Saturday, October 13, 2012, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. — Join Wild Equity at the WNC Wildlife Conservation Expo. We will be tabling alongside many wonderful, environmental organizations dedicated to wildlife conservation. There will also be a speaker series with twenty of the world’s most committed wildlife conservationists. “Hear first-hand their stories of pioneering conservation science and working with communities in the remotest places on Earth.” We hope to see you there!

If you would like to volunteer with Wild Equity on this day, you get free entry into the expo plus you will get to see the speaker of your choice. We need help setting up and breaking down, tabling, talking to people and making connections. Let us know if you are interested by emailing us at info@wildequity.org.

Event has been postponed for now. A future date is coming soon!

Thursday, October 11, 2012, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. — Wild Equity is hosting a movie night at Sports Basement on Bryant St. We will be showing the moving documentary, Pale Male, the story of a notorious red-tailed hawk who made his home above a 5th Avenue apartment building in New York City. A sensational movement transpired when the building’s co-op board ordered Pale Male’s nest to be removed.

The Pale Male Petition:
On July 24, 2012, the Wild Equity Institute filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) urging it to change its migratory bird nest policy. The policy encourages destruction of migratory bird nests, which is prohibited by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MTBA). The Service’s policy has led to the destruction of countless bird nests since it was enacted, including one of a famous New York red-tailed hawk.

Join us at Sports Basement on Bryant to see this inspiring film, enjoy good company, snacks and drinks!

Join the Wild Equity Institute’s Executive Director Brent Plater for a panel discussion about innovative environmental education projects at the 2012 North American Association for Environmental Education Conference. The discussion begins at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 11 in Junior Ballroom 4 at the Marriott City Center, 1001 Broadway, Oakland CA 94607.


Brent Plater, Wild Equity Institute’s Executive Director

In 2011 Brent Plater and the Wild Equity Institute received a TogetherGreen Fellowship to expand the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year into Bay Area classrooms. TogetherGreen is a five-year partnership between Audubon and Toyota that builds conservation leadership and promote environmental action projects. This panel will discuss remarkable case studies from several TogetherGreen fellows and grantees who have successfully involve diverse audiences in conservation action. In addition to Mr. Plater, National Audubon Society’s Luisa Arnedo & Melissa Hopkins, The Ocean Project’s Wei Ying Wong, and On My Mountain’s John Robinson will discuss their work.

After the amazing discovery of the Franciscan manzanita in the Presidio, the Wild Equity Institute filed a petition under the Endangered Species Act to ensure that the long-term recovery planning process for the species was conducted using the best recovery tools available.

As part of the short-term plans to protect the individual plant, biologists from several agencies determined the plant should be moved to a more secure site within the Presidio. This video documents some of the work done on the project.

Now that the move is complete, long-term recovery planing for the species—in addition to the work to save this individual plant—will now move forward.

Visit the Wild Equity Institute table at the WNC Wildlife Conservation Expo this Saturday, October 13, from 10 am – 5 pm. We will be tabling alongside many wonderful, environmental organizations dedicated to wildlife conservation. There will be several opportunities to meet wonderful organizations from all over the world, and hear stories about conservation efforts from the world’s most dedicated environmentalists.

Tickets to the expo are $60 general admission and $30 for students with ID. For more information, or to find out how you can get a ticket, visit wildnet.org.

We hope to see you there!

Join the Wild Equity Institute’s Executive Director Brent Plater for a panel discussion about innovative environmental education projects at the 2012 North American Association for Environmental Education Conference. The discussion begins at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 11 in Junior Ballroom 4 at the Marriott City Center, 1001 Broadway, Oakland CA 94607.


Brent Plater, Wild Equity Institute’s Executive Director

In 2011 Brent Plater and the Wild Equity Institute received a TogetherGreen Fellowship to expand the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year into Bay Area classrooms. TogetherGreen is a five-year partnership between Audubon and Toyota that builds conservation leadership and promote environmental action projects. This panel will discuss remarkable case studies from several TogetherGreen fellows and grantees who have successfully involve diverse audiences in conservation action. In addition to Mr. Plater, National Audubon Society’s Luisa Arnedo & Melissa Hopkins, The Ocean Project’s Wei Ying Wong, and On My Mountain’s John Robinson will discuss their work.

Friday, October 5th, 2012, 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. — Celebration for the Franciscan Manzanita! Join the Wild Equity Institute at the Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics, 518 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA, 94110 to celebrate October 5: the day the Franciscan Manzanita finally becomes protected under the federal Endangered Species Act! We’ll be drinking a new signature elixir called the “Franciscana” and dancing the “Manzanita”—a new dance move that will surely sweep the nation once the YouTube videos of the night hit the interwebs! There will be food and music, and another too rare event: an opportunity to celebrate with dozens of great people like you, people working to build a healthy and sustainable global community for all! $5 donation requested at the door, but no one turned away for lack of funds.

The Franciscan Manzanita, which for over 40 years was thought to be extinct in the wild, was rediscovered in the Presidio by Dr. Daniel Gluesenkamp in 2009. But because it was presumed extinct, the Endangered Species Act didn’t protect this rare plant—the law applies to endangered and threatened species, not extinct ones.

So the Wild Equity Institute successfully pushed to extend Endangered Species Act protection to the Franciscan Manzanita, ensuring that the world’s most powerful conservation tools would be available as we restore this species and the habitats upon which it depends. Read more about our work here.

On October 5th, Endangered Species Act protection for the Franciscan Manzanita will officially become effective. Accompanying the listing is a proposal to designate several sensitive areas as critical habitat for the plant—when this proposal becomes final, it will be the first time any San Francisco land has been protected as critical habitat for any endangered species. If that’s not cause for celebration, we don’t know what is: so Join us October 5th from 7-11 p.m. at the Eric Quezada Centerfor Culture and Politics, 518 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA, 94110. The Center is accessible by several modes of public transit: the 16th Street BART station is just a block away.

Responding to a petition filed by the Wild Equity Institute, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has secured funding to start the Endangered Species Act protection process for the Franciscan manzanita in 2010.

A single Franciscan manzanita plant was rediscovered in the wild by Dr. Daniel Gluesenkamp this winter. The species was last seen in the wild nearly seventy years ago. The individual plant has been moved to a more secure home in the Presidio of San Francisco, and with the help of the Endangered Species Act the recovery efforts for the entire species can begin in earnest. Learn more here.

Join Wild Equity to celebrate the official listing of the Franciscan Manzanita!

Friday, the 5th of October
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

The Eric Quezada Center for Culture & Politics
518 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94110

Join us for food, specialty cocktails and music by DJ Justice!

Please R.S.V.P.

Join us at The Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics to celebrate this success. We’ll be drinking a new signature elixir called the “Franciscana” and dancing the “Manzanita”—a new dance move that will surely sweep the nation once the YouTube videos of the night hit the interwebs! There will be food and music, and another too rare event: an opportunity to celebrate with dozens of great people like you, people working to build healthy and sustainable global community for all!

$5 donation requested at the door.

Hope to see you all there!

San Francisco voters: the Wild Equity Institute urges you to vote NO on Proposition B.

Proposition B is a bond measure that puts the financial position of the park system at risk while implementing anti-environmental infrastructure projects in San Francisco’s last open spaces.

For years the Recreation and Park Department, particularly under the leadership of Phil Ginsburg, has pursued anti-environmental projects that lose money while mismanaging our parks:

Because of RPD’s mismanagement, it does not have adequate funds to maintain its existing infrastructure. When operating deficits become too large to ignore, RPD tries to transform our recreation properties into revenue generating assets by proposing even more environmentally harmful development in our parks.

This vicious cycle cannot be stopped with bond money: bonds can only be used for capital projects, and cannot be used to maintain the parks we love. It can only be stopped by better management of our park system: management that prioritizes eliminating RPD’s maintenance backlog, not new construction projects RPD cannot hope to maintain.

While RPD has promised to spend capital monies on specific projects across the City, none of these projects contain the innovative urban design principles that San Francisco has become celebrated for implemented on our street scape. Rather than taking a step forward with these designs, its proposal regresses into park projects that are at best benign, and at worst antithetical to modern recreation demand and environmental sensibilities.

Even worse, Proposition B eliminates safeguards found in previous park bonds that required RPD to spend the money on projects actually proposed, so in this election voters have inadequate assurance that bond money will be spent on the specific capital projects RPD has promised.

RPD must be reformed for parks to become economically and environmentally sustainable. Burdening RPD with environmentally harmful capital projects will make its problems worse by creating more infrastructure than it can afford to maintain, leaving a degraded environment and park system in its wake.

That’s why the Wild Equity Institute is urging all San Franciscans to vote NO on Proposition B.

On Sunday, September 23rd around 1pm, Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year stalwart Matt Zlatunich observed several Humpback Whales from the Cliff House, well within the legislative boundary of the Golden Gate National Parks! From Matt:

The leviathons were easily observable spouting and frolicking about. There was seemingly an abundance of food in the area as the seabirds, shearwaters, terns, jaegers, and cormorants, were putting on a good show.

So don’t delay—sign up for your GGNP Endangered Species Big Year, get outside, spot some whales, and then record your observations at wildequity.org to earn prizes for protecting our local endangered species!


Bring friends on your sea watch—the more eyeballs scanning the waves the better.

The GGNP’s legislative boundary is much larger than the boundary familiar to most park visitors, because the GGNP has established a wide variety of partnerships with adjacent landowners in order to promote good stewardship. The map below should help you visualize where you may explore the park and count any sightings you may see on that exploration towards your GGNP Endangered Species Big Year.

You may also download a Google Earth .kml file here. You will need to download the free Google Earth application to use this file.

Sunday, September 23, from 9 a.m. -12 p.m. Grab your running shoes and join Wild Equity on a morning jog through the beautiful San Francisco Presidio to see and save threatened and endangered species.

The route will take us on an adventure to see the Gowen Cypress, the Western Snowy Plover, the Presidio Manzanita, the Marbled Murrelet, and the the Stellar Sea Lion; and hear incredible stories about the many endangered species in the GGNP.

We will meet bright and early at the Sports Basement Presidio, 610 Old Mason St., San Francisco, CA 94129. Sports Basement will also provide snacks and drinks at the end of the run.

This is also a perfect time to get your shopping on! On this day, customers will receive a 10% discount on purchases made at Sports Basement Presidio and 10% will be donated to support Wild Equity!

Tell you friends and RSVP now!

Grab your running shoes and join Wild Equity on a morning jog through San Francisco’s beautiful Presidio Trust to see and save threatened and endangered species.

The route will take us on an adventure to see the Gowen Cypress, the Western Snowy Plover, past the California Seablite’s restoration site, and near the Raven’s Manzanita last surviving plant. Along the way you’ll hear incredible stories about the many endangered species in the Golden Gate National Parks!

We will meet at Sports Basement in the Presidio, 610 Old Mason St., San Francisco, CA 94129. Sports Basement will also provide snacks and drinks at the end of the run! Please RSVP at this website.

This is also a perfect time to get your shopping on! On this day, customers will receive a 10% discount on purchases made at Sports Basement Presidio and 10% will be donated to support Wild Equity!

This past weekend Wild Equity went frog wild! Thank you to everyone who came out to the film night and to those who hiked with us at Mori Point. We had a great time meeting new people, searching for endangered species, and hiking the beautiful outdoors.

On Friday Wild Equity joined Sports Basement for Film Night. We watched people compete for a chance at the Hop of Fame in JUMP, a frogumentary by Justin Bookey, a film about an unusual Mark Twain-inspired tradition. In the film competitors gather to prepare for the competition of a lifetime, to see who has the farthest jumping frog in all of Calaveras County. The film was effective at depicting the passion and determination of each participant in a comical and lively way. We definitely enjoyed the laughs!

We hope to see you all at our next movie night, October 11, 2012 at Sports Basement on Bryant St from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. We will be showing Pale Male, a documentary about the story of a beloved red-tailed hawk that inspired a sensational movement in New York City.

Read about how we are helping Pale Male.

On Sunday we trekked out to Mori Point to search for the San Francisco Garter Snake, the California Red-Legged Frog, and to hear stories about the restoration vision at Sharp Park Golf Course. Many new and familiar faces joined us this morning for one epic hike. As promised, we saw the threatened California Red-legged Frog, and we were lucky enough to see a Coast Gartersnake, dolphins and a Red-shouldered Hawk.


Sharon Handel wins the raffle!

Congratulations to Sharon Handel who won the raffle for a $15 gift certificate to Sports Basement!

Thank you to all who came out to support the work of Wild Equity. Sign-up for a Wild Equity account and join us on future GGNP Big Year trips to see and save endangered species, earn prizes and help us build a sustainable global community for all.

There are many ways you can contribute to the Wild Equity Institute’s campaigns and help us build a stronger environmental movement for all. Become a member, donate or volunteer today!

Congratulations to Dale Danley for being the first person to fulfill September’s GGNP Big Year conservation action item.

On September 1st, he joined the National Park Service and Wild Equity to restore habitat for the endangered San Francisco Lessingia. He helped clear away dead debris and invasive Eucalyptus trees at Lobos Creek Valley. Thanks Dale, the Lessingia is lucky to have you!

Dale is now the lucky winner of the REI Flash daypack essential for all his supplies while he’s out saving more endangered species!

You can be the next lucky prizewinner. In October, the first person to spot and record a sighting for any one of the 11 endangered plants found in the GGNP will be the winner of a Patagonia Better Sweater fleece scarf and beanie, perfect for staying warm on hikes and bike rides with Wild Equity.

Make sure you join the fun by signing up for the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year now.

You can also help by becoming a member or donating on-line today!

Sunday, September 16, 2012, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. — Join Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute as he leads a hike with guaranteed endangered species sightings! We will hike Mori Point in search of the two most imperiled species on the San Francisco Peninsula: The San Francisco garter snake and the California red-legged frog. Listen to stories about ongoing restoration and endangered species at Mori Point; and learn ways in which you can help save these species from extinction. Meet at the Mori Point Entrance Gate, at the intersection of Bradford Way and Mori Point Road, Pacifica, CA, 94044. RSVP required. For more information or for carpool arrangements please contact us at info@wildequity.org.

Friday, September 14, 2012, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. — Join Wild Equity to see JUMP: A Frogumentary by Justin Bookey. Every year in Calaveras County thousands of people compete in a frog jumping competition, an unusual Twain-inspired tradition since 1928. The film follows three teams working non-stop to compete for a chance at the Hop of Fame. The frogumentary will be shown at Sports Basement on Bryant St., 5th floor. Snacks and wine will be served!

Seating is limited so please RSVP on this page!

Then join us that following Sunday, September 16, 2012, 10:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. at Mori Point to search for the “Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” known as the California Red-Legged Frog and the most beautiful serpent in all of North America, the San Francisco Garter Snake.


The California Red-legged frog at Mori Point.

This weekend Wild Equity is celebrating two endangered creatures close to our heart: the California Red-legged Frog & the San Francisco Gartersnake. Friday we’ve got a film to screen and Sunday we’ve got a hike to lead: and both will be more fun with you there!

So join us in the festivities this weekend: don’t forget to RSVP for each event!

  • JUMP: A Frogumentary—Friday, September 14, 2012, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.: Join Wild Equity to see JUMP: A Frogumentary by Justin Bookey. Every year in Calaveras County thousands of people compete in a frog jumping competition, an unusual tradition that historically starred the California Red-legged Frog and was made famous by Mark Twain’s short story The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calevaras County. The film follows three teams working non-stop to compete for a chance at the Hop of Fame. The frogumentary will be shown at the Sports Basement on Bryant St., 5th floor. Snacks and drinks will be served! Seating is limited so please RSVP here.


The California Red-legged Frog at Mori Point.


The San Francisco Gartersnake.

Wild Equity is collaborating with Downtown High School’s WALC (Wilderness Arts and Literacy Collaborative) program once again for another “Endangered Semester” where the students compete in their very own mini-Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year.

WALC links outdoor learning and environmental education with math, art, technology and science, giving students the opportunity to learn about environmental issues, endangered species and motivates with ways they can help.

This semester, the students in WALC will have an opportunity to take multiple trips to see and save endangered species, like the Tidewater Goby and the Black Abalone, win points and prizes for their team, learn tactics for environmental activism and make sustainable and ethical life choices.


Downtown High School’s WALC students

Trip 1, Mori Point:

The first trip of the semester was to Mori Point to see and save the endangered California Red-Legged Frog and the San Francisco Garter Snake. The students had a chance to hike Mori Point and see abundant wildlife including a pod of dolphins, Brown Pelicans, and the California Red-legged Frog! The students drew wonderful pictures of the CRLFs in their field journal and reflected on ways to help.

Congratulations to the first two students who spotted and recorded the California Red-Legged Frog sighting! They will receive a $15 gift certificate to Sports Basement.


Students viewing the California Red-Legged Frogs and journaling.


Searching for the San Francisco Garter Snake.

After hearing all about the restoration vision for Sharp Park and the issues that surround the golf course, the students were inspired to write a letter to Mayor Ed Lee asking him to help save the endangered species by allowing the golf course to be restored into a National Park for all to enjoy.

We had a great time with the students and look forward to more trips soon!


Student writing letters to Mayor Ed Lee.