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Contact: John Cunnane, 415-561-7049
Contact: Mark Shields, 202-354-6480Innovative Conservation Program Teaches Urban Youth About and Restoring Native Habitats
Planting Begins at 10am on Saturday, May 8, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO (April 12, 2010) – Area youth from 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. First Bloom gives students firsthand experience in national parks, and teaches them about native and invasive plant species.
“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!”
“One of the most important things anyone can do for the environment is to connect young people to parks,” said Neil Mulholland, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “Kids who are forging connections with the national parks today, are likely to have lasting relationships with the parks and the outdoors for their whole lives.”
First Bloom connects kids between 4th and 6th grades to nature and national parks. The nationwide program is currently taking place in 26 national parks in partnership with 31 youth groups across the country. First Bloom kids meet with park rangers monthly over one program year, approximately September 2009 to June 2010. They engage in outdoor, hands-on activities and learn to love the outdoors and their national parks. Toward the end of the program, youth involved plant a native landscape at a national park. That landscape is a lasting connection for those youth, a transferable experience, and a feature that all future visitors to the park will enjoy. To learn more about the First Bloom program, visit www.first-bloom.org.
Students from two Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (Willie Mays Boys & Girls Club at Hunters Point and Visitacion Valley) created the garden design based on what they learned from visiting various gardens around the Bay Area, and will be using a combination of low-growing perennials, ground covers and some grasses. The natives include California Wild Lilac, Monkey Flower, Margarita BOP and Checkerbloom. Park gardeners added a decorative chain fence that both protects the plantings and reflects the Park’s maritime theme. The students, and other park volunteers, will help maintain the plot.
“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.”
First Bloom programs around the nation were generously supported by the UPS Foundation, ARAMARK Parks and Recreation, and gifts from private donors and foundations.
About San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is located at the west end of Fisherman’s Wharf, in San Francisco. The park includes a magnificent fleet of historic ships, Visitor Center, Aquatic Park Historic District, and a maritime library. For more information about the park, or its public programs, please call 415-447-5000, or visit the park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/safr.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco
Part of the community since 1891, Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (BGCSF) currently serves more than 1,200 children and teens each day, offering a safe place to learn and grow. It operates nine Clubhouses in the city’s toughest neighborhoods, as well as Camp Mendocino, a residential summer camp in Mendocino County. Their award-winning programs and caring staff steer young people toward productive, responsible futures .For more information or to get involved, visit http://www.kidsclub.org/or call 415.445.KIDS.
About The National Park Foundation
You are the part-owner of 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured landscapes, ecosystems, and historical sites -- all protected in America’s nearly 400 national parks. Chartered by Congress, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks. We work hand in hand with the National Park Service to help connect you and all Americans to the parks, and to make sure that they are preserved for the generations who will follow. Join us – This is Your Land. www.nationalparks.org