All posts by Natalie Martell

Written by Julia Prince

A pollinator at work in the first median.

A pollinator at work in the first median.

This past Saturday, October 1st, the Pollinator Boulevard opened its wings a little wider as we finished mulching the second median on Dolores Street. With the first median at the intersection of Market Street already completed and in full bloom, transforming the second median from dried out turf to a flourishing garden puts us one step closer to our goal; creating a continuous band of pollinator habitat down the medians of historic, Dolores Street.

The fruits of our labor; a bee transporting red pollen.

The fruits of our labor; a bee transporting red pollen.

Why, you ask? For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Dolores Street Pollinator Boulevard, allow me to explain. This is the passion project of BASE and Patricia’s nonprofit, With Honey in the Heart, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of pollinators and increasing their habitat. The vision of Patricia and the community which has materialized around and embraced the project is multifaceted: to beautify the street that is starved for color and life, to create habitat for the pollinators we need and love, to give nature a place in the city, to educate the public about ecology, to bring the community together over common goals, and to give the neighborhood a sense of identity to be proud of.

Sheet mulching day volunteers.

Sheet mulching day volunteers.

We were able to get our hands in the dirt once the Department of Public Works approved the plan for the second median, the local community contributed to the final design, Prado Group payed for the turf removal and Whole Foods Market and Bayview Green Waste offered to donate the necessary materials for the task. To pull together enough people for the job, we drew from the network of volunteers that has surfaced in support of the Pollinator Boulevard. It was great to see some friendly faces, welcome newcomers, and deepen the connections that have been born from this project. We are proud to establish common ground for local stakeholders invested in the health, beauty, and ecology of the neighborhood to meet, share ideas, and impact their community.

A beautiful day to sheet mulch!

A beautiful day to sheet mulch!

After tearing out the existing turf, sheet mulching is the second step in installing the newest garden. It is also a necessary step in establishing a fruitful, organic, landscape. Often times, when gardeners are transforming an unproductive, weedy, area into a new design, they will apply chemicals to eradicate weeds and additional chemicals to build nutrients in the soil. Sheet mulching is a permaculture technique that both builds rich soil and eliminates weeds without the need for chemicals that have harmful effects on the environment. Layers of nitrogen and carbon rich materials are spread over the ground, breaking down naturally over time, proliferating organic matter in the soil, and suppressing weeds.  Making sure weeds are at bay before installing a new garden is vital at a site like this where the existing turf has been laying its seed in the soil for decades.

Spreading cardboard.

Spreading cardboard.

To make this step of the installation process possible, Whole Foods Market provided recycled cardboard and refreshments for the workday while Bayview Green Waste donated two truck-loads of mulch. At 10 am on Saturday, once our people and materials were all in one place, the first item on the agenda was to lay down cardboard. It helps to think of sheet mulch like a layer cake.

The cardboard is the substance and it is necessary both in choking out weeds and feeding carbon to the soil through decomposition. Once every inch of the median was covered in cardboard so no weeds stood a chance, the next task was to pick up our shovels, rakes, wheel barrels, and especially our stamina in order to evenly spread out the two heaping piles of nitrogen-rich mulch. This is the frosting. It took about 4 hours to finish the entire process, with time mixed in for chatting and snacking. Most volunteers came at the beginning and saw the entire task through, but we were happy to have people stop by and help out in whatever capacity they could.

Spreading out the mulch over the cardboard.

Spreading out the mulch over the cardboard.

What was really the cherry on top of our sheet mulch cake was the number of people walking or driving by on the street who stopped to commend the work we were doing. One local resident from around the corner stopped to tell us that, “I used to have to pollinate the tomatoes in my garden with a tiny, little paintbrush. Now I have bees!” It is clear that the first median has touched a lot of people whether they enjoy the way it looks or they have noticed the abundance of pollinators now populating their once abandoned gardens. Check out the video below and you will find, the consensus is pretty simple; the Pollinator Boulevard is filling a need in the neighborhood and residents have a defined stake in its success.

 

After a productive day of expanding pollinator habitat, everyone was exhausted, but we will have plenty of time to recuperate until plants are ready to go in the ground. Sheet mulching requires time for decomposition and the thorough eradication of weeds before new plants can be positioned in the landscape, thus our next work party is scheduled for the Spring. This will be the final step of installation where the garden will truly come to life. We will keep you posted!

Stay tuned for a planting day work party this Spring. We would love your help!

Stay tuned for a planting day work party this Spring. We would love your help!

 

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The Dolores Pollinator Blvd. is officially expanding!

Come join us for a Community Sheet Mulching Event on Saturday, October 1st from 10-2. We’ll begin the process of eradicating the dead turf and weeds from the second median at Dolores St. and 14 St. to make way for colorful, pollinator friendly, drought tolerant planting.

All are welcome! Invite family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues!

To learn more about the project, visit:
www.pollinatorblvd.com

Questions? Contact:
patricia@baselandscape.com

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We are very proud to announce that BASE has won a national award for the Roving Rangers, two bright and beautiful mobile park ranger stations currently serving communities in California. The American Society of Landscape Architects recognized our work on the Rangers with a 2016 Communications Honor Award, which honors achievements in communicating about landscapes and their value.

Made from retrofitted bread trucks and resembling food trucks, the Rangers are a thrifty, flexible and non-traditional approach to bringing parks to people—and encouraging more people to come to parks.


Besides celebrating the award at the 2016 ASLA Annual Meeting, Patricia will be speaking on a panel about Green Cemeteries: A New Paradigm for Public Open Space on Friday, October 21 from 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM. Don’t miss it!

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These past two Fridays June 17th and June 24th from 4-7 pm, we had the pleasure of talking with the community about our latest project, Parklab at SF’s newest food truck park, SPARK Social SF. Parklab is a new interim use park that will activate a vacant 4-acre stretch of land running through the center of Mission Bay, one of San Francisco’s most rapidly growing neighborhoods. This new green space will serve as a social junction where people and place intersect. From it, we hope notions of community can continually be discovered. We spoke with a lot of people from various locations both locally and throughout the Bay Area!

During these events, we enjoyed the opportunity of gathering more insight as to what people would like to see in that space. Currently, we are in the early stages of ideation, and all input is appreciated. Eco hot tubs, pollinator gardens, community gardens, art residency yurts, community workshop spaces, an outdoor incubator kitchen, a roller rink, and rotating shop kiosks, are just a few of the many great ideas that we have heard from the community. Possibilities are endless!

On June 24th, we celebrated pollinator week by handing out wildflower seed balls in the form of Seedles to the community. Seedles are a mix of wildflowers that are pollinator friendly, such as California Poppy, Tidy Tips, Mountain Phlox and more! Each ball contains about 5-25 wildflower seeds! Pollinators, such as bees, birds, and butterflies are an extremely important part of our ecosystem, and we hope to spread the love and knowledge of these important creatures. By planting more wildflowers, and using permaculture principles we at BASE hope to help create as much healthy habitat as possible in our city in vacant and underutilized spaces. We also celebrated using chalk art as a medium for children of all ages to be a part of the action.

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Natalie (designer at BASE) and Sara (summer intern at BASE)

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Chalk art!

Drawing pollinators!

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 Parklab Overall Concept Plan

Parklab Concept Plan Close up of block p-15.

 

Stay tuned in our journey to share your vision and get involved! We would love to see you at the next event.

We are pleased to announce that the two BASE-designed and -fabricated mobile visitors centers, LA Ranger Troca and the Roving Ranger, have been featured in the June 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine!

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BASE Annual Report

Happy 2016!

We are excited to introduce our first ever BASE Annual Report! 2015 was a big year for us here at BASE. Our projects took us from the shores of Lake Tahoe to the national parks of Los Angeles, allowing us to create innovative and enduring places for thousands of folks from Oregon to Mexico. And we are loving every minute of it. We hope you will take a few moments to read about a few of our projects and accomplishments from 2015.
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Come join us and help plant pollinator habitat!

We’ll be gathering Saturday, March 12th at 10 AM in front of Whole Foods – Market Street to plant drought tolerant pollinator habitat at the Dolores St. Pollinator Blvd. We’ll be digging around in the mulch and planting colorful shrubs and perennials. If you’re in a rush, stop by to throw some Seedles. All tools will be provided by SF Public Works and snacks will be provided by Whole Foods Market – Market Street.

All are welcome. We hope to see you there!

 

What: Community Planting Day

When: Saturday, March 12, 10 am

Time: 10am – 3pm

Where: The median outside of Whole Foods Market – Market Street at 2001 Market Street, San Francisco.

What to Bring: Friends, gardening or work gloves if you have them

 

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*Dolores Street Pollinator Blvd is part of Street Parks, a land stewardship program co-managed by Public Works and Parks Alliance that works with community members to convert City-owned parcels into green open space, verdant gardens, wildlife habitat, neighborhood gathering spaces, and more.

 

We are excited to share that our Bee Safe research has been featured in WLA Magazine!

The Bee Safe campaign was chosen as one of 16 research projects featured in the 21st edition of WLA Magazine, an online magazine by World Landscape Architecture. This issue, entitled Research and Policy, showcases studies and research by landscape architects on a wide range of topics from saving bees to sea change and rethinking dying shopping streets.

Check out the pages on the Bee Safe campaign below and the full issue of WLA21 here.

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The Dolores Street Pollinator Boulevard is officially underway!

Come join us and help build pollinator habitat!

We’ll be laying down sheet mulch to rid the median of weeds and any lingering grass seed while creating nutrient rich soil. The sheet mulch will work its magic for about 6 months before we host another community volunteer day to add the new plants.

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*Dolores Street Pollinator Blvd is part of Street Parks, a land stewardship program co-managed by Public Works and Parks Alliance that works with community members to convert City-owned parcels into green open space, verdant gardens, wildlife habitat, neighborhood gathering spaces, and more.

Summer is here! And for many, that means tons of fun, sun, and relaxation. Summer is an exciting time here at BASE, too. It’s the time for CONSTRUCTION. While kids are off having their summer fun, their schools are often receiving improvements. This summer, we have three different school improvement projects underway:

Aptos Middle School

This project is part of the San Francisco Unified School District’s (SFUD) Schoolyard Greening Program. Thus far, existing asphalt has been selectively cut to make way for planter boxes which will double as seating elements. A mock-up of the planter boxes has been complete. Eucalyptus logs are on site and will soon be stripped of their bark, stained, and secured to act as additional seating. Orange spray paint lines depict the outlines for what will become a painted asphalt pattern. We are anticipating project completion in early August – just in time for the beginning of the Fall semester.

Aptos Middle School - Planter Mockup

Aptos Middle School - Cut Asphalt

Aptos Middle School - Logs

Herbert Hoover Middle School

This an another space being transformed as part of the SFUSD’s Schoolyard Greening Program. Base aggregate has been laid to receive unit pavers in what will become an outdoor classroom space. Planting areas have been laid out and will soon be constructed from beautiful 12×12″ redwood lumber. Irrigation and hose bibs have gone in. We just reviewed one of the log mock-ups and can’t wait to see the rest of them in place.

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Hoover Middle School - Log Placement

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Bullis Elementary School

This summer at Gardner Bullis Elementary School in Los Altos Hills, CA, BASE added a new gathering space centered around a large Oak shade tree where students can lounge and socialize on wood benches, basalt column benches, giant pebbles, and cushy synthetic turf. Near the school drop-off area, we added a new decomposed granite path and a series of benches for parents to wait for their children after school. Throughout the campus we added lots of new drought tolerant and low water use planting.

We just did our final walk-through earlier this week, so everything is ready to go when students return to campus this Fall.

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Bullis Elementary - Bench Detail

 

Check out the improvements we made to Bullis Elementary last summer. The planting is looking great after a year of growth:

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