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Jerry Kent

Tree Dilemma in the East Bay Hills

Speaker: Jerry Kent

Wednesday, April 23, 7:30 pm
Location: Orinda Library Garden Room (directions below)

The Bay Area native landscape was too barren for the early settlers from the East Coast, so they planted many trees. Between 1870 and 1910, numerous large-scale tree planting projects took place in this region, almost always including the new, fast-growing Tasmanian blue gum eucalyptus in combination with a few other large trees to create a new urban landscape. Planters wanted trees that would grow quickly to buffer winds, provide ready firewood, landscape new parks and universities, provide mountain home sites for sale, create timberland to reduce property taxes, collect fog drip for increased water supply, and provide hardwood lumber. Here in the East Bay, we still live with the legacy of those tree planters: well over a thousand acres of eucalyptus and Monterey pine (native to California, but not the Bay Area) that have displaced native species and represent potential fire hazards requiring active and costly management or conversion to less risky natives.

Jerry Kent has studied the problem of fires in the East Bay Hills and led public discussions since 1991 on what might be done to prevent them. As an avid historian, he has collected archival photos of the East Bay and chronicled all the major known plantings of eucalyptus in the area since 1853. He will present the history of large-scale nonnative tree planting in the East Bay as well as the management dilemma those plantings now present.
Beginning at Redwood Regional Park in 1962, Jerry Kent worked for the East Bay Regional Park District for 41 years, retiring as Assistant General Manager of Operations. During most of his tenure he oversaw fire-related vegetation management programs District-wide. He continues to serve on advisory panels dealing with vegetation management and other aspects of fire safety on the wildland/urban interface and is a member of the Claremont Canyon Conservancy board.

East Bay CNPS membership meetings are free of charge and open to everyone. This month’s meeting takes place in the Garden Room of the Orinda Public Library at 24 Orinda Way (in Orinda Village). The Garden Room is on the second floor of the building, accessible by stairs or an elevator. The Garden Room opens at 7 pm; the meeting begins at 7:30 pm. Call 510-496-6016 or email sr0433@yahoo.com if you have questions.

Directions to Orinda Public Library at 24 Orinda Way:

From the west, take Hwy 24 to the Orinda/Moraga exit. At the end of the off ramp, turn left on Camino Pablo (toward Orinda Village), right on Santa Maria Way (the signal after the BART station and freeway entrance), and left on Orinda Way.
From the east, take Hwy 24 to the Orinda exit. Follow the ramp to Orinda Village. Turn right on Santa Maria way (the first signal) and left on Orinda Way.

Once on Orinda Way, go 1 short block to the parking lot on the southeast side of the two-story building on your right. There is additional free parking beneath the building as well as on the street.

From BART (4 blocks): Exit the Orinda station, turn right and cross a pedestrian bridge, then cross a second pedestrian bridge on the left. Go 1 short block on the sidewalk to the third pedestrian bridge. Go 2 blocks on Orinda Way to the Orinda Library.


Plant Collectors and Collections: Stories from the California Academy of Sciences
Speaker: Debra Trock

Wednesday, March 26, 7:30 pm
Location: Room 6, Orinda Community Center (directions below)

Native plant lovers and local history buffs may have heard the story of how California Academy of Sciences botany curator Alice Eastwood climbed up the shattered staircase to the sixth floor of the academy building after the 1906 earthquake and rescued the academy’s collection of botanical type specimens before the building burned. But there’s more to this story and to other stories of botanical exploration and plant collection by Ms. Eastwood and the many botanists who have contributed to the academy’s herbarium. Debra Trock will introduce us to the collection and share stories of some of the botanists and collectors whose work has made this repository of biodiversity information the largest collection of vascular plant specimens in the western U.S. and the sixth largest in the country.

Debra Trock is Senior Collections Manager in the Botany Department at the California Academy of Sciences. She holds a PhD in botany from Kansas State University, and her research focuses on the taxonomy of the Tribe Senecioneae (Asteraceae), particularly the genus Senecio and its segregates. She is also involved with the Flora of North America project and serves as Member-At-Large on the board of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections.

East Bay CNPS membership meetings are free of charge and open to everyone. This month’s meeting takes place in Room 6 of the Orinda Community Center at 28 Orinda Way (in Orinda Village). Room 6 is at the south end of the Community Center building. The room opens at 7:00 pm; the meeting begins at 7:30 pm. Call 510-496-6016 or email rosacalifornica2@earthlink.net if you have questions.

Directions to Orinda Community Center at 28 Orinda Way

From the west, take Hwy 24 to the Orinda/Moraga exit. At the end of the off ramp, turn left on Camino Pablo (toward Orinda Village), right on Santa Maria Way (the signal after the BART station and freeway entrance), and left on Orinda Way.

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Alice Eastwood with plant press, Warner Hot Springs,
San Diego County, 1913. Courtesy of CAS Special Collections

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Alice Eastwood with plant press, Warner Hot Springs,
San Diego County, 1913. Courtesy of CAS Special Collections

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Curator Alice Eastwood in the California Academy of
Sciences herbarium on her 80th birthday in 1939.
Courtesy of CAS Special Collections

 
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