Speaker Series

Everyone is welcome to attend membership meetings in the Recreation Room of the San Francisco County Fair Building (SFCFB) at 9th Avenue and Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park. The #71 and #44 buses stop at the building. The N-Judah, #6, #43, and #66 lines stop within 2 blocks.
Before our programs, we take our speakers to dinner at Chang’s Kitchen, 1030 Irving Street, between 11th and 12th Avenues. Join us for good Chinese food and interesting conversation. Meet at the restaurant at 5:30 pm. RSVP appreciated but not required. If you wish to notify, please call Jake Sigg at 415-731-3028.

April 5, 2018 THURSDAY, 7:30 PM

Restoring Unlikely Urban Environments

Speaker: Dr Ann Riley

In the past 30 years a movement to restore very degraded riparian corridors , including digging up streams  underground in culverts has been pioneered in the San Francisco Bay Area and  spread through the country.  These neighborhood-scale projects have produced unlikely wild areas in densely populated cities. The monitoring of these reach level projects  shows remarkable fish, bird and  wildlife use. The projects serve as evidence that very degraded stream environments, such as creeks in culverts and ditches can be restored to ecologically functioning environments even in unusually constrained circumstances. Central to the restoration methods is the resurrection of the technology, soil bioengineering, that  uses bundled native plants to substitute the use of  concrete and rock riprap to stabilize channels.  The presentation covers 20-30 years of records of native plant use  which produced  valuable information on the best long term survivors.

Dr. Ann Riley is the author of Restoring Neighborhood Streams ( 2016) and Restoring Streams in Cities (1998) and in the past year  was  featured in a PBS TV show, Urban Nature.  She has worked as a river scientist for state agencies for over 25 years and involved in  the non-profit sector  since the early 1980s as a cofounder of the Urban Creeks Council and California Urban Streams Partnership.

Dr. Ann Riley has  organized, planned , designed ,constructed and funded  stream restoration projects  as Executive Director of the  Waterways Restoration Institute in California and other regions of the country. Her involvement with non-profit work at the community level countrywide spans over thirty years. She has also worked for  local, state and federal agencies for a total of 31 years in watershed  planning , water quality, water conservation,  hydrology, flood management , stream science  and restoration. Her career includes public policy work for the National Academy of Sciences and the John Heinz Center For Science, Economics and the Environment.  A feature of both her private and public sector work has been to provide jobs and training for conservation and youth corps. In 1982 she  cofounded the Urban Creeks Council in California and in 1993 was instrumental in  organizing  the first conference of the Coalition  to Restore Urban Waters , a national network of urban stream and river organizations.  She began a program in the California Department  of Water Resources in 1984 that continues to provide grants to support urban stream restoration. Awards recognizing her work include an American Rivers award in1993 for her leadership in establishing  a national  urban river movement,  the California Governors’ Environmental and Economic Leadership  award in 2003, and the Salmonid Restoration Federation Restorationist of the Year Award in 2004.  She began her association with river scientist Luna Leopold in Washington D.C in 1971 and completed two graduate degrees under his direction at the University of California, Berkeley. She is an urban farmer at her residence in Berkeley, California raising chickens, bees,  growing food, and brewing county- and state fair-awarded mead and beer.


May 3, 2018 THURSDAY, 5.30 to 7.30 pm

San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum

Arthur Menzies Garden of California Native Plants

Leader: Ted Kipping

Come join us for a discovery tour of the Menzies Garden in May. Remember to bring a bag supper and enjoy a communal dinner in the garden among the native plants and evening wildlife. We have an expert to make your after-dinner walks truly an enjoyable experience and take advantage of the opportunity to ask your questions.  Meet in the parking lot behind the County Fair Building before 5.30 pm. Please be on time, as we may have to lock the gate behind us.



June 7, THURSDAY, 7:30 PM

Mount Tam and Serpentine Data Collection

Speaker: Rachel Kesel