Thursday: Drink Wine, Learn How to Get a New Tree

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Kyle Lemie from Friends of the Urban Forest says now is the time to sign up to have a tree planted in front of your glamorous Bernal home:

There’s a Bernal Heights Tree Planting Happy Hour on Thursday, May 5, 2016.

The deadline to sign up to get a new tree May 25, 2016.

Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) is a non-profit organization that helps San Francisco residents get new trees on their blocks, and covers most of the costs. They have planted over 50k trees in San Francisco, but we still have more work to do.

There is a community tree planting happening in Bernal Heights this July, and FUF has raised money to subsidize tree planting for local residents. FUF can help you plant a tree in the sidewalk or yard in front of your home and FUFwill come back for 3 – 5 years of follow-up tree care.

We are kicking things off with a community happy hour on Thursday, May 5th, at 7pm at Charlie’s place at 548 Precita Ave (near Florida St.). We will have wine and cheese and discuss how we can get more trees in our neighborhood.

If you want a tree planted at your house, Sign up now for a free, no-obligation site visit. The deadline to get on the list is May 25th, 2016!  To participate in the July community planting, and to learn more about FUF’s work in the Mission click here.

If you cannot get a new tree but would like to volunteer for the July Planting sign up here.

Contact Kyle from FUF with any questions: info@fuf.net or (415) 268 – 0772

Why should you plant a FUF tree at your property? Trees provide benefits such as:

– Cleaning the air
– Preventing flooding
– Reduce Crime
– Promote exercise
– Absorb Traffic Noise and increase privacy
– Build neighborhood and civic pride”

PHOTO: Tree planting, courtesy of FUF

Saturday: Party Like a Pumpkin at the Alemany Farm Harvest Festival

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It’s harvest season at the awesome, freeway-rustic Alemany Farm on the south side of Bernal Heights, and co-founder Jason Mark is extending an invitation to all Bernalese to join the harvest festivities on Saturday:

11th ANNUAL ALEMANY FARM HARVEST FESTIVAL
Saturday, October 24th, from 11am to 5pm

Join Bernal Neighbors and Folks from Throughout the City for Alemany Farm’s 11th Annual Harvest Festival!
This community gathering has become a favorite fall tradition as we enjoy the warm October sun before we head into the shorter, cooler winter days. All are welcome! Bring a friend…make new friends…catch up with old friends…and have some fun at the farm. It’s free!
The day includes:

– Farm tours (11:30 & 2:30)
– Garlic planting
– Herb crafts
– Face painting & pumpkin patch for kids
– Live acoustic music from Duo Pizzicato (1:30)
– Potluck Picnic & BBQ (1pm-ish): Bring a side, snack, or dessert to share. Plus we’ll have roasted pig; BBQ (w/ veggie options); beans & rice; and fresh farm salad. (Bring your own plate and utensils, if possible, to help reduce waste.)

The Farm is located on Alemany Boulevard, and just down hill from the St. Mary’s Recreation Center on Crescent. More details at AlemanyFarm.org.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Alemany Farm

Help a Bernal Neighbor Working to Beautify Part of Mission Street

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One of the most conspicuous things you notice when you look at older (pre-1970) photos of San Francisco is that there were far fewer trees in our open spaces and along our streets. The city looks somewhat more harsh, and vastly more naked. Tree-planting has done a lot to make our glamorous urban lifestyles more lovely, but some parts of Bernal Heights have not yet received an arboreal upgrade.

Neighbor Erik Williams is leading the charge to get some trees planted along the College Hill stretch of Mission Street, and he could use your help. Neighbor Erik writes:

I live on Mission Street in Bernal Heights, very close to St Mary’s Pub.

I’m currently working with the SF Department of Public Works to have trees planted along Mission between Crescent and Park streets. I feel this would improve the look of the neighborhood. The city is supportive, and we have a good advocate within the department. However, we need other residents to contact the DPW to show support in order to get the plantings funded.

Mission Street is a vital corridor for Bernal Heights, and we have an opportunity to convince the city to invest in making Mission Street more beautiful. DPW will evaluate the corridor for tree planting, provided those of us in the neighborhood write in to show our support.

Although much of Mission Street is tree-lined as it runs through Bernal Heights, there are no trees along the 3800 block, from Crescent Ave to Park St. This area is the top of College Hill, where the Bernal subregions of Holly Park, St Mary’s Park, and College Hill border each other. This area includes many local business such as St Mary’s Pub, Giovanni’s Pizza Bistro, and Balompie Café.

We want to make this a better neighborhood for families and children, and we need your support. Please write in support of this tree planting for the 3800 block of Mission St by emailing the SF department of Public works at: urbanforestry@sfdpw.org.

I’ve created some images to show how the plantings could look. As I’m sure Bernalwood readers will agree, the addition of the trees would add appeal and vibrancy to the neighborhood.

Please take a few minutes to write in and support the tree planting. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

PHOTOS: via Neighbor Erik

Bomb Squad Drama! Mother-In-Law Finds Hand Grenade In Bernal Back Yard

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There was plenty of drama on Lundys Lane last night after a hand grenade (!!!) was found at a Bernal Heights home. Police were called, area streets were closed off, and the Bomb Squad arrived in a big truck to defuse the situation.

Luckily, the Bernalwood Action News Team had an embedded correspondent on the scene to cover the story. Reporting live from her own back yard, Neighbor Alison tells us about the shocking discovery:

Here’s the scoop on what happened.

My mother-in-law was working in our back yard, digging out a patch of dirt. There was a pile of rocks that she had hit with a pitchfork, and one of them seemed different than the others, so she picked it up and noticed how heavy it was. Then she realized it was a grenade, and set it down very carefully.

She came inside and told me — I was with my 7-week-old.  I’m somewhat embarrassed to say that we immediately Googled “found grenade San Francisco” for a bit to see if this is common. I found a couple of stories from the last few years where people had found grenades, and they had called the police, so we decided that’s what we should do too.

It should have occurred to me that this would trigger the Bomb Squad showing up and we would need to evacuate, but it did not. About five officers arrived about 20 minutes later, and we had to grab a few things and leave, as did all the neighbors on our side of the street. Our neighbors across the street were told they had to “shelter in place,” which meant they were allowed to stay home as long as they were inside. So they invited us to come over, and poured some wine while we waited things out.

My husband was arriving home at the time, and the police had to escort him down the street to join us at the neighbor’s house. They actually asked him if it was his grenade.

Eventually the bomb squad truck arrived. After about 90 minutes, they gave us the all clear to return home. The verdict was that it was a World War II era grenade, and that it had been emptied out. Their guess is someone brought it home from the war as a souvenir.

It was an eventful evening! We’re home now eating It’s It.

Take note, folks: After an exciting evening of explosive ordinance disposal, real San Franciscans reach for It’s It.

PHOTOS: Top, vintage grenade discovered on Lundys Lane, by Neighbor Alison. Below, Bomb Squad on Lundys, courtesy of Vivian Redmond/48hills

New Urban Agriculture Project Coming to College Hill Reservoir Site

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The Examiner recently brought news that the land next to the College Hill reservoir near Holly Park will soon become the pilot site for a new urban agriculture initiative. Reporter Mike Koozmin writes:

San Francisco residents four years ago called for more urban agriculture space in The City, prompting a pilot program that is now beginning to bear fruit.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission announced Tuesday that a new garden site is expected to open this summer in Bernal Heights and another site in Crocker-Amazon could be built out late next year. A planned community garden in Bayview-Hunters Point at the Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant was scrapped and instead gardening supplies were offered there and other locations.

Urban agriculture supporters in San Francisco have long looked to the SFPUC to show more leadership on the issue given its vast open-space portfolio.

Interest in the cultivation of land by residents is evident by at least one measurement. Last year, there were 750 people on a waiting list to use community gardens in the Recreation and Park Department’s portfolio. The department oversees 38 community gardens, which average about a quarter of an acre in size. It also has 33 garden plots and serves 53 gardeners. The SFPUC set timelines for when the Bernal Heights and Crocker-Amazon space will become active agriculture sites. The sites were selected in 2012 for an urban agriculture pilot program, which relates to broader issues of food security and climate change.

The College Hill Learning Garden in Bernal Heights is out for competitive bidding and is expected to become operational in the summer. In partnership with the San Francisco Unified School District, the 6,000-square-foot site will provide lessons for kindergarteners through fifth-graders. The site will include a bioinfiltration basin, rain gardens, green roofs and a composting toilet.

IMAGE: Google Earth

Saturday: Volunteers Wanted to Help Make Bradford/Jarboe Stairs More Beautiful

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Remember that City-owned lot near the top of Bernal Hill that suffered from neglect, overgrowth, and a general sense of sad? And remember how an extremely sexy group of neighborhood volunteers cleaned up the land so well and so thoroughly that it is now certified for use as a Bernal Heights Unicorn Habitat?

Well, Neighbor Samir is organizing a similar volunteer clean-up effort for some neglected terrain in Alemanistan, around the Bradford and Jarboe Stairs. The work happens tomorrow, Saturday, February 21 from 9am to 12 noon, and our local unicorns would love it if you could help.

Neighbor Samir tells the recent history of the site:

According to neighborhood lore, before the Bradford and Jarboe stairs were put in place, there was a dirt path here that was attended to by a neighbor.

Then when two new residences went up on the 300 block of Bradford, the developer worked with the city to install these stairs. They ended up tearing out all the landscaping, but they put in some new plants. The City maintained it for 5 years then stopped. (That was about when my partner and I moved to the block, a little over 3 years ago.)

I think neighbors were put off by the whole process of the stairs going in, and the neighbor who did the original landscaping sold his house and moved away.

In the time since the city stopped doing maintenance, myself and a few others have made individual efforts to go out there and clean things up. Others have repeatedly called 311, but no one ever comes out to do anything. I’d basically all but given up, until I saw the Bernalwood post about the Ellsworth garden. I saw [Jerad Weiner, DPW’s community liaison]’s contact info in the comments, and reached out to him directly. That’s how this got going. Jerad was very responsive and got to work right away organizing this gardening day.,

From what I gather, the first day we’ll be weeding and trimming. We’re then supposed to assess which areas should get mulch and DPW attention. Jerad also mentioned that if we neighbors get together and put together a list of things we want, we can request that the City purchase them (plants, etc).

This area too could soon become a vibrant Bernal Heights Unicorn Habitat. But first, it needs your help. Saturday morning. Nine to noon. As explained here:

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Awesome Volunteers Help Make City-Owned Land Look Gorgeous Again

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Remember the volunteer work party that joined forces with the San Francisco Department of Public Works last Saturday to spiffify that (formerly) neglected City-owned lot on Ellsworth at Bernal Heights Boulevard?

By all accounts, the effort was a big success. Neighbor John sent this note to Jerad Weiner, DPW’s community liaison, to celebrate the glorious collaboration:

Jerad,

Many thanks for the email and for working with us to fluff the garden. It looks 1,000 percent better already! I am going up tomorrow morning to finish smoothing the mulch out and doing a little more pruning. The birds have never been so happy – there were many of them alighting on the fresh mulch.

Other than that, the project is a complete success. Thanks to DPW for the chips and for hauling away the debris. And thanks to you for your help – we couldn’t have done it without you.

Bravo, Citizens! Bravo DPW! Way to take charge, take names, and look sexy while getting it done.

PHOTOS: Top two, John Blacburn. Bottom, John Cremer. With thanks from Bernalwood