In my short three months at POST, I learned a lot about the inner-workings of a medium-sized non-profit. Coming from experience with small non-profits, the format of the POST office was a surprising, but appreciated change. Protecting open space in a fast growing area like the Bay Area is a huge job that could only be handled by a highly organized group of dedicated workers.
I’ve very much appreciated the organizational structure of the office and everyone’s commitment to the success of POST. With a mission statement like theirs, it’s easy to feel proud of your job. I learned a lot about the great land we have in the area.
Another great takeaway for me is the feeling of being surrounded by people who all care for the environment. There’s a sense of positivity and hopefulness that comes with being around environmentalists that are actively working towards a better future. It’s been an enriching experience to speak with people that care for open space and sustainable farming, whenever we would table at community and lecture series events. I’d go home at the end of the day having learned something new about someone’s personal connection with the Earth and spreading ideas of sustainability.
I’ve had a couple of projects that have left an effect on how I think. My ongoing Media Archive project has been an effective way for me to educate myself on the circumstances of the Bay Area and the Environment during the years I was not an active environmentalist. It turns out that a lot of things happen when you’re busy with elementary school. A challenge I’ve enjoyed thinking through while at POST, is marketing the organization to the general public. I’ve enjoyed asking questions like, “How do we get people to get involved with our cause? What marketing methods are people drawn to and how do people like to receive information?”
I will always be grateful to the folks at POST for giving me the opportunity to learn. I’ve been able to absorb a ton of information and experiences that’ll shape my career as I move forward.
– Krystel Malimban, Communications Intern
Happy Bike to Work Day! Since 1956, thousands of people have taken to their bikes for their commute on this May holiday. Biking to work is a great workout that also reduces your carbon footprint. Plus, you can take advantage of numerous local celebrations and giveaways.
POST’s staff is always game for Bike to Work Day. According to the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, 40% of Bay Area commuters live within five miles of their offices, but many, like our POSTies, live substantially further afield than that. Let’s hear from a few POSTies about their rides to our office in downtown Palo Alto this Bike to Work Day:
Route: Oakland to the Bay Area Open Space Council Annual Conference in Richmond
Liz says: “I’m going to the BAOSC’s annual conference in Richmond, so I actually get the chance to bike to work! I’m biking over with a group of other conference attendees — I’m excited for the conservationist peloton!”
Route: Palo Alto to the POST office
Lindsay says: “While I wish I could spend every day mountain biking on POST-protected land, I love getting to bike to the office. The Palo Alto Bike Boulevard makes it super easy!”
Route: San Francisco to the POST office
Paul says: “Forty miles is a bit far for every day, but I love biking to the office every once in a while. Nothing beats seeing the morning sun glint off of Crystal Springs Reservoir.”
Route: Pescadero to the POST office
Gordon bikes to our office regularly, but his commute is an extra-special one. He lives right on the beach outside of Pescadero, and passes by or through a whopping 7,861 acres of POST-protected land on his way.
The 35-mile ride, with its hairpin turns and over 2,000 feet of elevation gain, is no walk in the park, but Gordon say,s “It’s definitely worth getting up at 5:30 to do it.” He rides up Highway 1 to Pescadero Creek Road, then on to Highway 84 and Old La Honda Road before heading down into Silicon Valley. Gordon loves watching nature wake up – sun rising, birds singing, bunnies scampering – as he bikes in the morning. He follows the sinking sun home in the evening, and emerges onto Highway 1 just before it sinks into the Pacific, feeling “so peaceful and connected to the land.” Sounds pretty dreamy to us, too, Gordon.
How do you celebrate Bike to Work Day, and why? Share your stories in the comments or on social media with the hashtags #POSTMyRide and #BTWD2015. Happy trails!
Think about a small village on the San Mateo Coast in say, 1850. Now think about the households in that community. What did they eat for dinner? There was no mass-produced food, no Big Ag, no supermarket stocked with frozen pizzas and bags of chips. What made it to your dinner plate was what the land was producing: various meats, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains, all depending on the season, the region, and the individual farm.
Now, fast-forward over 150 years to the present day. We are once again learning that a delicious plate of food depends upon ingredients that are grown organically and sustainably close to home. In today’s world, farmers have responded to our growing demand for SOUL food (that’s short for sustainable, organic, unprocessed and local) by creating Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs. CSAs allow community members to buy shares of a farm’s harvest directly from the farmer. The farmer provides the consumer with a box of farm-fresh products and receives the reliability of a committed customer base in exchange. CSAs make it easy for people in the local community to get high-quality produce, meat, and dry goods at competitive prices with a lower-than-usual carbon footprint. It’s a terrific model for both consumers and farmers, and it’s thriving right here in the Bay Area.
POST works with many local farmers that offer CSA boxes, and now is the perfect time to sign up for a 2015 subscription. Here some of our favorite CSAs – click through to learn more and sign up.
Blue House Farm: 8-10 different fresh fruits and vegetables (enough for 2-4 people each week), grown on POST-protected land in Pescadero. The boxes are delivered to POST’s Palo Alto office for easy pickup on the Peninsula.
Pie Ranch: 9-13 different fruits, vegetables, legumes, herbs and more, grown on POST-protected land in Pescadero
Markegard Family Grass-Fed: Beef, pork, lamb, and poultry, all sustainably raised on POST-protected land in Pescadero. Their meat is also featured in Fifth Crow Farm’s CSA.
Root Down Farm: Offers a chicken share directly from the farm; meat is also featured in Fifth Crow Farm’s CSA
Fifth Crow Farm: Leafy greens, veggies, berries, eggs, herbs and more, including meat from Root Down Farm and Markegard Family Grass-Fed
Bon appetit – we hope you have a delicious summer!
By Marti Tedesco, POST’s Senior Director, Marketing and Communications
As a poison oak sufferer, I always assumed everyone knew how to identify a patch of the plant, but recently heard a fellow hiker admit they didn’t know what it looked like! So I did some research. Poison oak, or toxicodendron diversilobum, is the West Coast cousin of poison ivy. The leaves of both plants are covered by an oil called urushiol, which causes a red, bumpy, itchy rash that takes at least ten days to recede. Though a lucky few are immune, contact with poison oak can result in a range of reactions, from mild itching to severe, life-threatening systemic inflammation. Urushiol is nothing to mess with – the chemical is so tenacious that it has been found on Native American artifacts, still potent 1,000 years later.
Here is what you need to know in order to avoid an uncomfortable couple of weeks: Depending on its size, poison oak can look like a woody vine, a thicket, or a shrub. The leaves themselves are usually in groups of three and can vary from large, flat, matte, and green, to small, sharp, shiny and reddish. All hikers in the west would do well to remember the mantra,“Leaves of three, let it be.” “If it’s hairy, it’s a berry” is another helpful rhyme – the stems of berry plants have small thorns or hairs on their stems, while poison oak has a smooth stem. Be careful, though! Poison oak often grows in and amongst berry bushes, so often it’s better to steer clear of both. Oh, and don’t think you’re home free if the stalk doesn’t have any leaves….just the stems of poison oak plants can harbor urushiol as well.
Is there any upside to poison oak? Turns out that, while it may be a pest to humans, it makes great forage and habitat. Poison oak is rich in phosphorous, sulfur, and calcium, so the leaves and berries are a valuable food source for deer, birds, and other wildlife. It provides shelter for birds and small mammals, has been found to contribute to overall bird density and diversity in California, and provides great erosion control. Also, the plant is thriving in these warming times. High temperatures and CO2-rich air have caused woody vines like poison ivy and oak to grow at 150% their normal rate, according to a Duke University study.
So now you know what it looks like, but what should you do it you come in contact with some? If you touch poison oak or think you have been exposed to it, the first thing to do is wash the area thoroughly with soap. If you have access to them, specialized products like Technu and Zanfel are great for removing urushiol and keeping the rash at bay. Next, wash your clothes in hot water, separately from unaffected laundry. If you took your dog on the hike, consider taking your furry friend in the shower with you: urushiol can stay on their fur, so your pet can inadvertently spread the oil all. Lastly, if over-the-counter remedies are not making any impact on your ensuing rash, contact your doctor and they’ll get you fixed up.
Learn more about poison oak here.
May all your hikes be poison-oak-free this summer!
By Krystel Malimban, POST Communications Intern
When you hear “tree hugger,” do you think “darn hippies!” or “that’s me!” or somewhere in between? Whatever your opinion of the term, it describes people who identify as environmentalists and advocate sustainable lifestyles.
You might have assumed that the label is meant to be figurative, but did you know it’s actually quite literal? While there are a few alternative theories, most scholars agree that Chipko activists, in India in the 1970s, were the first tree huggers.
The Chipko movement started when Indian villagers began literally embracing trees in their local forest to prevent lumber companies from cutting them down. Since chipko means “to stick or cling” in Hindi, the movement was given the name Chipko. Their local forests were essential to the economy and welfare of their local villages, and so the Chipko activists (fun fact: they were mostly women!) felt compelled to take action to save them.
They were inspired by India’s long history of nonviolent protests. Back in 1730, a group called the Bishnoi sacrified their lives to protect a forest of sacred Khejri trees, and, more recently, Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of satyagraha, or truth force. In the end, the Chipko protest proved successful: a committee from the state capital sided with the villagers and stopped the planned clear-cut.
The success of the Chipko Movement, in turn, has inspired many of the nonviolent protests that have followed it. The negative tone modern environmentalism can take (especially in the light of climate change woes) makes hearing stories of past environmental successes all the more important. In addition, the Chipko movement should make 21st-century environmentalists proud – their success proves that being labeled a treehugger is a compliment!
So, we give thanks this Arbor Day for the Chipko activists, who paved the way for organizations like POST to protect our local landscapes, and the trees that stand within them. And next time you’re in a forest, feel free to give the nearest tree a big hug.
Have a happy Arbor Day, everyone!
By Harvey Gaylin, member of POST’s Open Space Legacy Society
As a fellow supporter of Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST), I want to share my story with you.
My wife, Gina Holmes, a Southern California native, fell in love with the San Mateo coast 28 years ago while helping a friend move. Six months later, we moved to El Granada from Los Angeles. We became active in the community—we joined the successful battle for the Devil’s Slide Tunnel instead of a multi-lane freeway over Montara Mountain, and helped form the Midcoast Community Council to protect the environment, agricultural land and greenbelts.
Coming from the densely populated LA basin, we savored the Peninsula: the redwoods, Butano State Park, the ocean, all the open space. Gina was very nature-oriented. She volunteered as a docent at Año Nuevo State Park and as a naturalist at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve.
It was Gina’s love for open spaces and wildlife as well as my great empathy for POST’s mission that led me to my decision. After she passed, I made plans to leave everything to POST. We don’t have children, but this memorial for Gina will help preserve what gave her joy for future generations.
A lot has been done to preserve open space so far, and a lot is still at risk. Our house is modest—at the time of our relocation I sold photographs and Gina sold animal sculptures on the art show circuit—but it has increased in value over the years, and will help POST sustain their wonderful work.
Even at age 74, I love hiking with POST. They recently led a tour on the Wicklow property in El Granada which lets hikers go from Quarry Park, a mile from my house, up to the coastal ridges.
Thank you for your support of POST. Together, we have a meaningful, lasting impact on this beautiful area we call home.
Learn more about POST’s planned giving program, the Open Space Legacy Society, and how you can include POST in your estate plans here.