Odds and Ends

Odds and Ends – April 2021

The March 30 edition of Oaklandside featured a major article about the City Council’s approval of new regulations regarding vending, music, parking, and more at Lake Merritt – particularly along the east shore of the park.

Andrew Alden, the amateur geologist who regularly posts excursions focused on geological features, has just published an online article about a rock garden that’s being constructed at the Gardens of Lake Merritt.

Terry Smith and Tora Rocha, the Pollinator Posse’s chief honchos, were recently interviewed on the Nature Archive Blog with the discussion focused primarily on the frightening decline of the monarch butterfly population on the west coast.

C. J. Hirschfield’s recent review for Eat Drink Films of a documentary titled, “Bedlam: The Shame is on Us” is especially relevant here in Oakland where the homeless population has reached epic proportions. Approximately 40 percent of that population is suffering from a mental illness for which they’re receiving inadequate or, more likely, no treatment. The consequences (direct and indirect) are enormous.

James Robinson Photo

On March 28, the Junior Center of Art and Science adjacent to the duck pond at Lake Merritt was hit by a fire that caused an estimated $250,000 in damages. A GoFundMe campaign is seeking to raise a minimum of $50,000.

Also in response to the fire, David Wofford and Katie Noonan, the co-chairs of Lake Merritt Rotary Center Friends posted the following message:

Although the Rotary Nature Center is slightly less vulnerable it is a historic building and it could be ransacked and vandalized.  Could this be an impetus for integrated action at this part of the waterfront in Oakland?  We hope that those who have worked for years to restore the RNC as an interpretive center for all of Oakland, will now join the Rotary Nature Center Friends in caring for the area and developing and implementing the stewarding programming needed for the area.
Other agencies involved in this process with us are the Parks and Rec Commission (PRAC), Public Works (now under new leadership), Nicholas Williams, Director of Parks, Recreation, & Youth Development and Mayor Libby Schaaf, who submits the city’s two-year budget in June.
Also, We will work to schedule our first meeting with newly elected councilperson Carol Fife as soon as possible.  In the past years, we were passed over in the Capitol Improvement Budget process by the Mayor and Parks Director Nicholas Williams, but that should be behind us now as we budget for the future of Oakland.
We want to assure everyone that as the primary stewards of the wildlife refuge at Lake Merritt we are still bringing science and nature programming to the area and we will continue tending and planting around the Rotary Nature Center grounds and doing more planting along the estuary shoreline, on or around Earth Day.
Please see our facebook page and website for upcoming dates and times: