BEETS join LEJ at Candlestick Point Restoration

3.7.15-BEETS-LEJ_IMG_0342On Saturday, March 7, 2015 The BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) took a trip to the South East corner of San Francisco to join LEJ (Literacy for Environmental Justice) teens and staff for a day of gardening and habitat restoration at Candlestick Point State Park. Most of us had never been to this first California State Park, which was purposely acquired to bring state park values into an urban setting. 
3.7.15-BEETS-LEJ_IMG_0185The morning started at the LEJ community garden and native plant Nursery, where staff Anthony Khalil and “Brother Nature,” as well as teens Bernice, Henry and Karla showed us around and gave us a great education about the native plants and growing from seeds.
Teens were able to propagate native grasses into containers and learn about the history of the area.
3.7.15-BEETS-LEJ_IMG_0213The name Candlestick Point dates back to the 1800s, when a U.S. Coast Guard survey gave the designation to a rock outcropping that resembled a candlestick. It has been the home of the nearby 49ers football stadium, which is currently being torn down.
At the beginning of World War II, the United States Navy filled in tidelands to create the nearby Naval Shipyard (now closed).Today the part of this landfill on which the park sits is a cultural resource that demonstrates the effect of major land changes in ecologically sensitive areas.
3.7.15-BEETS-LEJ_IMG_0311After a short ride from the garden to Candlestick Point, we hiked out to the point to do some restoration of native habitat, and view the panoramic sights of the City and South Bay. Anthony Kahlil spoke about how the urban environment has changed from one hundred years ago from grasslands and sand dunes to urban areas.
3.7.15-BEETS-LEJ_IMG_0239Anthony also talked about what LEJ plans to do to help restore Candlestick Point State Recreation Area (CPSREA) to a healthy habitat for the future. In fact, in partnership with California State Parks (CSP), LEJ was just awarded a $1M grant from the California’s Strategic Growth Council, entitled “Healthy Habitats and Lifestyles,” which will generate significant opportunities for them to continue to advance environmental health, ecological stewardship, and community development in southeast San Francisco.
After a great workday, the BEETS and CommunityGrows staff joined the LEJ team for a terrific BBQ. A great day being outdoors, learning about our City, giving back through restoration and making new friends. 3.7.15-BEETS-LEJ_IMG_0299
3.7.15-BEETS-LEJ_IMG_0333Thank you LEJ for sharing your work with us! Let’s keep the partnership going!
Check out more photos from the day at our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.