Our Spring cohort of BEETS had an overnight camping experience on Saturday and Sunday, March 26-27, 2016. The goals of the trip were: to have fun, learn about the environment, learn more about each other, bond together, and try something new.
The Presidio shuttle picked up the youth at John Muir School and drove them to the Rob Hill Campsite, where they were oriented and set-up provided tents. It was a beautiful spring day for camping in the Presidio.
Teens set up a lunch of sandwiches and then proceeded to the Presidio Nursery. They learned how the Nursery is helping to restore the Presidio by planting native plants. They learned about seeds and how they are preserved. Here the BEETS got to shake acorns and hear the seed rattling. One of the plants they studied was Aesculus California. Here is a photo of the seed growing and the final plant in a bush form. One of the highlights was to learn about our ancestors who took care of these lands had a lot of knowledge about the plants they lived with. Our ancestors understood that if they take care of the plants, the plants will take care of us.
At the end of the Presidio Nursery trip, the teens paired up and Desmond, the Presidio Nursery Community Coordinator and our guide, led them through a trust exercise called “Find Your Tree.” The activity required the BEETS to trust their partner as they led them blindfolded through the woods and then they had to rely on their sense of touch, smell and hearing to find their tree.
Afterward the group came back to the campsite to relax, build a campfire and watch the sunset. After dinner there was a campfire with stories and games. Then they went on a night hike to Golden Gate Bridge where they saw an amazing view of the stars and the beauty of San Francisco. The night ended with s’mores around the campfire and off to sleep in their tents.
On Sunday, rise and shine was at 7:30 and then they took down their tents and cleaned up the campsite. After a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, yogurt and granola, there was a team building exercise where the paired up and walked around the trails to find native plants. They shared with the group a plant that they’ve found and some facts from their cards.
After a check out circle with CAP (Camping in the Presidio) staff, the teens did appreciations and review goals of the trip. It was a great weekend! Some of the appreciations included: teens thanked each other for helping cook and clean dinner, even when that wasn’t their assigned task; one BEET appreciated another BEET for staying by his side when he started to feel sick Sunday morning; several BEETS said they appreciated nature and the beauty of the campsite!
For more photos check out our Flickr Photostream here.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, June 16-17, the summer cohort of BEETS when over night camping in the Presidio at Rob Hill Campground. In the afternoon they took a hike to the Presidio Nursery, and met with three park leaders, Desmond Murray, Nursery Community Coordinator, and Danielle Jolette and Hillary Kato, full-time interns in the program. These great educators spent the afternoon sharing their knowledge about plants and conservation with the teens. Desmond also let us know that paid internships at the nursery are available to high school and college level students, dates are TBD for the next year and he encouraged BEETS crew members to apply in the future.The Presidio Nursery nurtures not only thousands of plants, but also hundreds of volunteers and youth from throughout the Bay Area. Founded in the spring of 1995, the nursery is a vibrant collaborative effort of three agencies: the Presidio Trust, National Park Service, and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. Together they support the nursery’s goal of restoration within the Presidio. In 2012, the nursery grew 120,000 plants—twice its usual number! In addition, the Presidio Nursery grows many trees to support the Presidio reforestation effort, including about 300 Monterey cypress trees each year. The nursery also nurtures native trees such as Coast live oak, Wax myrtle, and California buckeye. The nursery is a lively complex with greenhouses and shade houses filled with plants, an educational garden, the Habitarium where volunteers meet, and a lab for more detailed study. Visitors to the park can stop by to volunteer on certain days or to explore. For those just passing through, there are educational signs as well as staff and interns on site. The BEETS got to do some propagation and planting in the nursery and learned about the care that is taken in gathering and storing the seeds.
They also explored the redwood groves and learned that Sequoias and giant redwoods are often referred to interchangeably, though they are two very different, though equally remarkable, species of tree. Both naturally occurring only in California, these two species share a distinctive cinnamon-colored bark and the proclivity for growing to overwhelming heights. Both also require very specific, though very distinct, climates to survive.Returning to the campsite they had a BBQ and night visit to the cemetery overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. A great adventure to start the summer session with these great teens. Thank you Adrian Almquist and Melissa Tang for leading this event. To see more photos, check out our Flickr Photostream here.