First Bloom at San Francisco Maritime

A native plant garden in Aquatic Park.
The First Bloom native plant garden in Aquatic Park is thriving. Photo taken June, 2012.

NPS cab

Fourth grade class on the upper deck of the BALCLUTHA.
The First Bloom program at San Francisco Maritime is continuing for a second year with a fantastic class of fourth graders from the Yick Wo elementary school in San Francisco. Here they are on their first visit to the park on October 1, 2010. Ranger Rejane, standing in the door way, is giving them a tour of the 1886 sailing ship BALCLUTHA.


Children and park employees digging holes in the soil and planting native plants.
Planting the First Bloom garden in Aquatic Park on May 8, 2010.


The First Bloom garden in Aquatic Park.
The First Bloom native plant garden in Aquatic Park.


The logo of the First Bloom program.
The logo of the First Bloom program. The National Park Foundation First Bloom program is an innovative conservation program that teaches urban youth about native habitats.


Area youth from the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco, will plant a garden of native plant species in San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park on May 8, 2010 as part of the National Park Foundation’s First Bloom program. The youth will begin planting the Aquatic Park garden at 10am, and then break for awards at 11:15am.

Since October 2009, these 4th and 6th graders have been coming to the park in this eight-month long program, getting a firsthand experience in national parks and learning about native and invasive plant species.

They have taken field trips to the California native plant garden in Golden Gate Park, the native plant gardens on Alcatraz, the Marin Headlands, and the Presidio native plant nursery.

“Master gardeners at a number of Bay Area National Park sites mentored the girls and boys
throughout this program,” said Park Ranger Janie Mayton, who supervised the activities. “And First Bloom definitely planted a seed -- several participants told me they’d like to become gardeners!”

The students created the garden design based on what they learned from visiting various gardens around the Bay Area, and will be planting a combination of low-growing perennials, ground covers and some grasses, including California Wild Lilac, California Poppy, Monkeyflower, and Checkerbloom.

"Opportunities to expose our kids to parks and environmental sciences are a wonderful opportunity,” said Rebecca Randall, Camp Mendocino Director and Lead BGCSF Staff for First Bloom. “It gives our kids a chance to spend time in a safe environment with positive role models and forget about some of the challenges in their daily lives.”

On May 8 the kids will wrap-up the program by planting the garden they designed.

Read the news release.

Elementary school students using tools to plant native plants on a hillside in the Presidio in San Francisco.
With assistance from Presidio Native Plant Nursery volunteers, the students learned the best way to place the native plants in the soil on a hillside in the Presidio.

Janie Mayton for the NPS

A design drawn on graph paper for a garden composed of California native plants. It shows the type of plant and where it will be located.
Each student used the planting bed measurements to draw a scale model of the garden on graph paper. The kids compared the characteristics of about 15 native plants, such as color and how high each grows, as they designed their own garden.

Janie Mayton for the NPS

Four elementary school students standing on the deck of the sailing ship BALCLUTHA.
Some of the students from the First Bloom group on the foredeck of the sailing ship BALCLUTHA at Hyde Street Pier.



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