Last week, I joined an "Unlikely Habitat: A Tenderloin Swallowtail Tour" walk of Civic Center/Tenderloin led by Elizabeth Stampe of Walk SF (http://walksf.org/) and Amber Hasselbring of Nature in the City (http://www.natureinthecity.org/). As part of the Green Connections project (http://www.sf-planning.org/index.aspx?page=3002) to design a network of green streets to open spaces throughout the City, Elizabeth focused on people-friendly habitat and Amber focused on wildlife-friendly habitat. Together, we had our senses searching for survival needs like SWAN (Sunlight, Water, Air, Nutrients), food, shelter and safety. We also noted threats like food deserts, air and noise pollution from car traffic, litter, street altercations, etc. and discussed opportunities for improving walking conditions and greening streets/parks to enhance the quality of life for people and wildlife (butterflies, birds and bees). (See http://www.sfphes.org/elements/24-elements/tools/106-pedestrian-environmental-quality-index.)
http://www.hocfarmersmarket.org/) on a cloudy Sunday so the sun-loving butterflies didn’t come out. Here Amber showed us a photo of western tiger swallowtail butterfly (http://www.art-ecology.com/swallowtails_%26_sycamores.html,
and http://www.sfbaywildlife.info/species/butterflies.htm). Amber said that the swallowtail butterfly lays eggs in sycamore, cherry and willow trees in stream corridors. The Civic Center has many London plane trees, which are a sycamore hybrid, so there’s potential for a river corridor along Market, but it’s missing nectar so it can feed only in the early life stage, and it’s a food desert in the adult stage. This is an opportunity to plant dandelion, thistles, and buckwheat. Amber pointed out different habitats in the life cycle of a butterfly. Caterpillars, which are ravenous feeders, need leafy foods. Butterflies favor tithonia (Mexican sunflower), zinnias and asters—all flower heads with multiple florets that serve as landing pads where they can rest, sip nectar and pollinate.
http://thefreefarm.blogspot.com/2012/06/urban-agriculture-for-everyone.html). Our stop made me think about how butterflies and moths are like day and night. Butterflies are active in the day, attracted to bright colors like red, yellow, orange, pink and purple. Moths take flight at night, relying more on odors and sounds, rather than vision to get around.
http://www.tndc.org/our-services/community-garden/), open 2 hours each day from Monday to Friday. In 2010, following a summit on hunger, the Garden was established with dirt from Recology and after surveying the community on what to plant. Last year, 3,000 pounds of vegetables were given to 400 people in the neighborhood, on a first-come, first-served basis. It has become so popular that the weekly harvest is now done twice a month, and they will expand off-site in two rooftop gardens, designed by the community and tenants (http://www.tndc.org/donate/garden-expansion-project/).
http://sf-recpark.org/index.aspx?page=94 and http://www.pps.org/great_public_spaces/one?public_place_id=88) so we could visit and complete Elizabeth’s survey. Bonus: Join Walk SF and you get a T-shirt like the blue one on Elizabeth.
http://www.carbonfarm.us/tenderloin.html and http://www.luggagestoregallery.org/tnf/). He explained that the former site was a bar that was abandoned in the mid-1980s, and the alley became a habitat for drugs and prostitution so police were called often.
My favorite spots during our walk were the gardens, but they were all gated/caged communities, requiring a caretaker to open up and let us in to visit.
http://articles.cnn.com/2007-05-02/world/walking.speeds_1_speeds-singapore-cities?_s=PM:WORLD). When walking is such a pleasure, it's easy to be physically fit.