Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

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Park Stewardship: San Francisco


August 22,
Presidio Bluffs,
1–4 pm:

We will be returning to Battery Crosby on the Batteries to Bluffs Trail.

August 24,
Lands End,
1–4 pm:


Check out photos from our volunteer programs on our new Flickr account.

Greetings volunteers!

With school starting, we wanted to take a moment to thank the many elementary school, high school, and college students who collectively volunteered over 250 hours at our drop-in programs this summer. Whoa! Thanks y'all!

benandjackYou were the backbone of our programs during these months, always bringing high energy and enthusiasm to every work day. We'll miss seeing some of you regularly, but hope you'll join our Saturday programs (or Thursdays, if your class schedule allows) during the school year. Please spread the word to friends and classmates about the fun you had with us this summer—let's build an army of youth park stewards!

A reminder that this and next week's Saturday Lands End programs (August 24 and 31) are canceled. Please enjoy the late summer weekends and prepare to return to a sunny September filled with new projects and eyes toward planting season.

We are holding our survey open indefinitely, so please take a few moments to share your thoughts with us. We are interested in learning more about what brings you to volunteer with us, and how we can make our volunteer programs the absolute best they can be. Find the survey here: SF Park Stewardship Volunteer Survey. Thank you for the feedback!

See you in the field!

Did You Know: Medicinal Plants at Lands End?

Fifteen centuries ago, the Ohlone people traveled from the San Joaquin-Sacramento River system to the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas. Until the late 1700s, the Ohlone lived relatively undisturbed, peacefully trading with neighboring tribes and developing an extensive knowledge of medicinal plant usages. In this article, we will rediscover the historical utilitarian and medicinal applications of Lands End vegetation.


Ever wonder what you would do if you were out hiking and you reached into your bag, only to realize that you left the bug spray at home? Never fear, yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is here! Characterized by its white canopy of flowers on top of a deep green stalk, yarrow serves as a temporary but effective insect repellent. Just rub fresh leaves onto your skin. It also moonlights as a cold remedy and natural antiseptic. Caution: Be careful not to leave mashed leaves on a wound for too long, as it may cause the skin to inflame.

grindelia Poison oak can be an outdoor enthusiast’s worst nightmare, especially if he or she runs out of Tecnu. Thankfully, Lands End sports its own brand of skin-cleanser in the form of gumplant (Grindelia hirsutala). Gumplant is an evergreen shrub with yellow flowers and gets its moniker from the gum-like white center of the bulb. Since the white sap is so sticky, it can also be used as a decent substitute for glue. Fun fact: The Pomos used gumplant as a sedative, an antispasmodic (something that suppresses muscle spasms), and an expectorant (something that treats coughs).

For those who find thrill in extreme sports and often break bones as a result, horsetail fern (Equisetum laevigatum) is essential. These segmented, vascular plants contain high amounts of calcium helpful in repairing broken bones. Subsequently, consumption makes for shinier hair, stronger nails, and cleaner urinary tracts. Words for the wise: Ingest for three weeks and then stop for at least a week, as too much may cause more problems for your body.


One of the most eye-catching flowers in he Lands End landscape is the Indian paintbrush (Castilleja affinis), a favorite amongst our volunteers. Scrumptiously positioned throughout the shrubs, the bright blossoms are edible and slightly sweet, though we better not catch anyone snacking on these natives! Indian paintbrush absorbs selenium, a highly toxic alkaloid.

There are many more outlandish, quirky, and beneficial native and non natives out at Lands End. Next time you walk the trails, think of the many natural remedies our native plants have to offer. But remember: it is illegal to take resources from a national park, and I shouldn't be quoted as a trained medical doctor for these ailments and cures. Stay safe and happy trails!

About Last Week...

Last Thursday, a team of new and returning volunteers descended the Battery to Bluffs trail, pulling incipient invasives on a march to Batteries Crosby. Once there, we leveled the fields of radish spreading throughout the dense scrub below the battery. It was a hard day of work with fantastic results.

Girl Scout Troup 60321 joined us earlier this August for a wonderfully productive workday!

On Saturday, we gave East Wash a few more touch-ups on its makeover. We more effectively enforced the blackberry "containment line," and put the secondary weeds in their place. Downtown, we diligently freed our plants from a thick mat of dying grasses and patches of radish throughout. The vigorous and speedy growth of last winter's plantings at East Wash is an exciting preview of what's to come at this site.

See you next week!

More Stewardship Opportunities

Can't make it out to Lands End or the Bluffs or looking for something a little different? We have a wide range of volunteer opportunities in San Francisco. You can help restore other sites with the Presidio Park Stewards and Presidio Plant Patrol, or help propagate and grow native plants in one of our nurseries—Fort Funston or the Presidio Native Plant Nursery. This week, programs from our stewardship partners include:

Friday, August 23
1–4 pm - Presidio Plant Patrol at the Coastal Bluffs

Saturday, August 24
9 am–Noon - Presidio Park Stewards at El Polin

Sunday, August 25
10 am–1 pm - Presidio Park Stewards at Sumner Grassland

Wednesday, August 28
9 am–Noon - Presidio Park Stewards at Crissy Field

Our friends with the Presidio Park Stewards also send out a regular newsletter. Check out the archive or sign up via their website.

We offer regional newsletters for San Mateo, San Francisco, and Marin. If you would like to subscribe to a specific regional newsletter, visit the Park Stewardship homepage.

Park Academy
The Conservancy offers great enrichment classes. To see a full schedule, visit the website.

Program Meeting Locations

Presidio Coastal Bluffs
We meet at the triangle-shaped parking lot on the southeast side of the intersection of Lincoln Boulevard with Storey Avenue and Merchant Road. This is adjacent to the Fort Scott baseball field. View a map of this location.

Lands End
We meet at the trailhead in the Merrie Way parking lot off of Point Lobos Avenue (near Louis' restaurant). Get directions to the Lands End Trailhead.

Our work sites are easily accessed by public transportation. Use the trip planner on transit511 for more information.

Other programs
Check out our volunteer page for the meeting locations for other programs in San Francisco.

See you in the field!

Eric, Yakuta, and Drew

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