Trees are good for a lot of things. Oxygen. Shade. Nests. Perches. Bark for bugs. Leaves for color. Plus: hammocks. Here in the Native Plant Area, the only place in the park with enough trees spaced close enough to do it, a park visitor is taking an afternoon nap suspended in air between a couple of Monterey pines.

Back in the early 1980s this was a patch of weeds. Then a handful of dedicated native plant gardeners, funded by a short grant from the City and the Coastal Conservancy, did an amazing amount of work to establish a native plant habitat on this site. The native trees are their handiwork. Check out the history here. Among the beneficiaries, count this park visitor.

The Chavez Park Conservancy has been working for more than a year to benefit this unique wooded area. Apart from repeated Saturdays when volunteers got down and pulled invasive weeds — weeds that can kill trees — we’ve won an award of $5,000 from the UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Fund to commission a study of the area and its problems. We’re still working on the City to agree to accept the money and permit the study to be done. Everyone who hears the facts agrees that this is a no-brainer, a consensus item. But change moves slowly. In an effort to nudge things forward, a working group of the Conservancy has written a letter to the City Manager, copies to City Council members, urging acceptance. Here’s a copy. If you agree, why don’t you let your City Council Member know?


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