Monthly Archives: July 2013

Saturday Concert Docent Training – Wed., Aug. 14

The success of the upcoming Saturday In The Park concert series you’ve been hearing about hinges on the active participation of our McLaren Park community in several ways. Perhaps the most important are the docents who will provide security monitoring, help with set up and tear down each show, and help with other tasks like greeting park visitors and pointing them in the right direction. These events will simply be impossible to produce without this significant volunteer effort. So join us, won’t you, in helping bring these bright spots of local talent onto the stage for us all to enjoy!

If you can help with crowd monitoring and related tasks, we especially need your help, and you need to join us at a training meeting sponsored by SF SAFE, Friends of the AMP, SFPD, RPD Park Rangers, and others. The meeting is at Ingleside Police Station from 7-8pm, Wednesday, August 14. For more information about volunteering, contact Linda Litehiser at 585 8005.

McLaren Bioblitz a Wild Success

Thanks to all who joined in the great fun and huge effort of the first-ever McLaren Park bioblitz! The results are beyond our wildest expectations.

McLaren Park BioBlitz

Watch the Video
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Speaking of all that species data, here’s a synopsis:
  • We had well over 60 attendees with a wide range of expertise and age, of which 43 submitted official observations into the iNaturalist database.
  • From all previous plant and animal species lists painstakingly accumulated over the decades, we knew of about 250 species in McLaren Park, of which about 70 had been recently observed and entered into iNat.
  • During the 3-hour bioblitz, we made 1310 observations and discovered a whopping 248 confirmed species!
  • About 90 or so of those were not on any previous lists, so the known species list for McLaren now stands at 340. Most of these new species are insects — moths, dragonflies, beetles, and creepy crawlies of various sorts [aka bird food], but a few are plants and other critters.
  • Here’s the results from several different views:

We’re already talking about when to do it again in McLaren, and already other parks are talking about picking up the model we’ve proven here. So stay tuned for more nature nerdiness. Last but not least, a huge thanks to all of our partners in this bold citizen science adventure — Nerds For NatureiNaturalist, and Bay Nature Institute!

By the way, if you are interested in the intersection of technology and nature conservancy you’ll want to attend the innovative Nerds For Nature “Project Speed Dating” event next month in Oakland (Friday Aug.16, 7-9pm). It’ll be a hoot!

Mansell Improvement Project Will Start November 2015

McLaren Park – Mansell Corridor Improvements | San …
Project Update. Our project team hosted two community meetings and a site walk in February and March, and distributed and collected a community feedback form.

The design is the same as we have posted online last fall, and we presented  at the same time (October 14, 2015). As you may know, Improvements to Mansell for pedestrian, transit and bike safety were among the most prioritized in the 2010 McLaren Needs Assessment Report. Additionally, the road is in poor shape, and this project would provide repaving of the roadways for all vehicles as well.

RPD staff will be asking the Rec Park Commission for approval of the award of contract in October, hoping to begin construction in November depending on the speed of certification of contract and contractor mobilization.

If you have any additional feedback or questions on this project, please contact Karen Mauney-Brodek, project manager, at 415-575-5601.

Thank you!

Tick Season Hits McLaren

Tom Scott gives us a heads up that ticks are currently abundant in McLaren Park. “In the past two weeks alone I’ve found 3 different ticks on me, although none had clamped down (thankfully). I don’t recall finding any ticks in the previous 8 years that I’ve been going to the park. My dog remains tick-free thanks to the medication she uses.”
Tom explains, “the ticks I found on myself have been identified as Dermacentor variabilis, also known as American Dog Tick and Wood Tick. This species is not known to carry Lyme Disease, but it can carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. It’s unlikely, though, that the ticks in McLaren carry this disease. I don’t think this is an urgent health concern for park users, but something to be aware of.”
Suggestions when going to the park: Apply mosquito repellent, especially to your legs and even if you’re wearing pants. Also, it’s a good idea to check yourself after returning from the park. Ticks tend to go for warm moist areas, such as armpits and groins.

Park Concert Series Needs Volunteers

After several years of negotiation and planning, Friends of the AMP are bringing a free afternoon concert series to McLaren Park’s Jerry Garcia Amphitheater over the next few months. Working with the McLaren Park Collaborative, and fiscally sponsored by the SF Parks Alliance (501-3c, so donations are tax-deductable), their mission has been to create fun, family-friendly picnic-style events at the amphitheater. Their efforts have scored six professionally-produced afternoon shows by talented local performers, free to the public, called “Saturday In The Park”. They envision a casual afternoon of entertainment — bring a picnic, come early, let the kids run on the hills and have a great time.

This effort is funded in part by a grant from SF Parks Alliance, with the bulk of the funding coming through the offices of SF Supervisors Avalos, Campos, and Cohen, whose districts surround the park. Training of docents will be done through SF Safe with assistance and advice from Ingleside Police Station and Park Patrol. In other words, an entire community effort. Shows will start at 2pm with some opportunity for pre-show activities. All performances will be supervised by trained volunteer docents.

Here’s how to get involved:

  • Volunteer to become a docent – work one or all six shows or a shift at one or more shows… you decide. They are looking at about 20 volunteers per show. There will be several types of volunteers depending on interest and ability.
  • Park Monitor training will be conducted by SF Safe. Volunteers doing park monitoring will need to attend a short training class.
  • Light duty volunteers may be assigned to helping with refreshment sales or hospitality for other volunteers and performers, or providing park information to visitors.
  • There is a Google Group for volunteers to discuss their activities, please send an email to Linda Litehiser or call at 585 8005 to be added to the group or to find out more.
Most of the main performers are already booked, but they are looking for intermission and pre-show acts of all types. So if you know a good juggler or magician or comedian or dancer or ??? please connect with Linda and Friends of the AMP will follow up to see if they can be worked in to a show. And if you know of a really good local band or performer that you think should be on the stage, pass that along, too. More detailed information on the shows will be available soon.

Saturdays In The Park @ Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, 2 – 4pm

  • Aug 17 – Caberet Songstress, Chinese Traditional Folk Music, and More
  • Aug. 24 – Local Blues Revue at the JGA
  • Sept. 14 – Charity & the Jam Band – A fun children’s show
  • Oct. 12 – Indie Rock, Reggae, and Blues bands from the ‘hood
  • Oct. 19 – Youth Rocks! — Local kid talent lights up the stage
  • Oct. 26 – An Afternoon of Latin Jazz, with Bill Ortiz

SF311: A High-Tech Squeeky Wheel


The original ParkScan system devised some years ago by the Neighborhood Parks Council (now SF Parks Alliance) has helped bring awareness and accountability to various infrastructure problems in our open spaces. The 311 program is an even more comprehensive effort that covers the entire City, using both an on-line system and live phone operators to transcribe voice reports from 311 callers.

Now there are several apps for that, and we hope to see this new trend towards high-tech civic engagement blossom even further. Check out this list of several new apps that feed directly into the City’s SF311 system. We have tried CitySourced with some success, but the others have their merit as well. The advantage of the apps is that they use your smartphone’s GPS to geo-tag the report, and you can directly attach photos that you take of the problem, as well.

We invite you to try them all out and let us know how it goes. We also encourage you to use for practice data all of the illegal dumping and graffiti that has been on the rise in our park, especially along the Mansell corridor, but in other corners as well. Let see how loud we can squeek for John McLaren Park!

Report motorcycles in the park!

In recent weeks a number of motorcycles have been riding at high speeds through the trails and meadows of McLaren. This threatens natural habitat and pedestrian safety.

Riding a motorcycle in a city park is against the law! Police encourage anyone seeing motorcycles in the park to call 911 immediately.

Coyotes and foxes in the park!

There have been numerous sitings of coyotes in McLaren Park this year. And, there is good evidence that a family of foxes have located here as well.

City coyotes are generally not a threat to humans. Timid by nature, they have adapted to the urban environment and are able to find plenty of food. However, these rules-of-thumb change during breeding time. Two coyotes seen together – like those recently sited in McLaren – are likely a breeding pair and can be more agressive, particularly when the pups arrive. (Click image for info on coexisting with coyotes. For a more detailed brochure, click here.)

If you see a coyote:

  • Do not approach it. Back away calmly.
  • Do not offer it food.
  • Important: control your dog! Coyotes and dogs do not mix and your dog will lose a fight. Smaller dogs can even be killed. Keep your dog on leash in areas where coyotes have been sighted.
  • If a coyote approaches you, make yourself large, shout, if necessary throw something (not food!) at or behind the coyote, and move away slowly towards a more human-populated area.