Dec 10, 2017

December workday report & the Panhandle gets its first signposts

Yesterday at the Panhandle, volunteers from the community joined with Rec and Park's gardening staff for the final community workday of 2017. Afterward, we gathered for our group picture below the new signposts, which, for the first time, proudly name our neighborhood park.

Perks of volunteering: holiday wreaths and homemade cookies
The morning's work centered around the plantings near the restroom. Starting at the mound, we planted approximately a dozen oenothera - evening primrose, the same variety that has done well nearby and produces yellow blooms on tall flower spikes, leaving behind lots of tasty seeds for the birds. The new primroses were placed in a bare spot on the mound, which otherwise has filled in well with coyote brush, ceanothus, yarrow, strawberry and other native plants since initial planting two years ago by park staff and volunteers.

For the rest of the morning, our crew of volunteers was busy with raking eucalyptus leaves from the grass, trimming the honeysuckle shrub bordering the playground, removing weeds from the rain garden, and doing some careful pruning of the dogwoods.

Nov 14, 2017

Tree planting at November workday in the Panhandle (pictures)

Thanks to the participants in our November workday at the Panhandle Park. Assisted by Brian and Frankie, the group took care of a tree planting - a cedar planted near Oak @ Shrader. 

Thanks to Dana for the photos this month

Nov 8, 2017

Join the community workday this Saturday, November 11

Coming up this weekend:

Panhandle Community workday
Saturday, November 11
9 am - 12 noon
Meet near the bulletin board (Oak @ Ashbury)
Gloves and Tools provided

Oct 12, 2017

October Workday CANCELLED for air quality

Our Rec and Park staff have made the decision to cancel the Panhandle workday on Saturday, Oct 14 due to the poor air quality. This decision is in keeping with a number of other outdoor activities that are being curtailed due to the same reason.

Check AirNow for information about Air Quality.
AQI Forecast -

Sep 25, 2017

Panhandle bike path re-striped, ladder crosswalk striping added

The center stripe of the Panhandle bike path has been repainted for the first time in years. Along with the repainted yellow center line, the city has added ladder crosswalk striping at all of the locations where pathways cross the bike path.

The striping is another facet of Rec & Park's Panhandle Pedestrian Safety Improvement Project, which began late in 2016 and was put on hold during our wet winter. The prominent center stripe will make it more apparent that the north side pathway is intended for bike travel, and with the south pathway recently resurfaced, there's hope that a greater portion of pedestrian traffic will use the south path. The new crosswalks remind people on bikes to be alert to anyone who may step across their path.

Sep 9, 2017

September Workday at the Panhandle

At today's workday, volunteers focused on some care for two Queensland Kauri trees, which were planted about four years ago and have been slowly maturing (close to a more mature specimen). We removed some protective wire mesh that had been wrapped around the trees, and propped them against the wind by (carefully) installing two new posts.

Meanwhile, other volunteers removed dead stalks of the nearby cabbage tree (cordyline australis), a monster of a specimen. Families from the San Francisco Day School were also out with us today and raked up mountains of eucalyptus leaves near the playground.

Aug 30, 2017

Summer bloom at the park

The planting near the Panhandle bulletin board - aka The Mound - has a great bloom this summer from a plant called Island snapdragon (previously Galvezia speciosa, now Gambelia speciosa, native to California's Channel Island).

Restoration of William McKinley monument completed

Scaffolding came down last week, revealing the restored monument to William McKinley, 25th U.S. President. City staff confirmed that the project is complete. Important parts of the restoration were strengthening the monument to withstand earthquakes, and repointing with mortar the many pieces of granite that comprise the pedestal and the steps at the base.

Coming Sept 9: final workday of the summer

Coming soon:
Panhandle Community Workday
Saturday, September 9, 2017
9 am - 12 noon
Meet at the bulletin board (near Oak @ Ashbury)

Aug 13, 2017

August workday at the Panhandle

It was a cold Saturday morning, and as we walked through the Panhandle we could hear heavy drops of condensed fog falling from the tall trees. But there was work to do! A large eucalyptus branch had fallen near the south path. In the mound full of perennials, Bermuda Grass was sending its ropy underground shoots through and around our plantings. Weedy annual grasses had infiltrated the rain garden. Thousands of leaves and passels of bark strips lay scattered across the meadows. And the stumps of dead trees stuck up from the turf, like unfinished business. Was there any way for us to accomplish all of the work? Fortunately, our regular volunteers were in attendance, and our numbers were bolstered by the Bridgemen, a group for gay, bi and trans men who get together and give back to the community in service projects. 

By the end of the workday, the weather was still damp and chilly, but the group had persevered through the challenging project. The tally was seven tree stumps removed. The cart was full of the stubs of roots and the pickup truck had a full load of weeds and leaves. The traces of our work removing the stumps showed in several areas with a topping of fresh soil. With the work done by the end of the morning, the Panhandle was looking great, and was more ready for tree plantings that are anticipated this fall.

Jul 10, 2017

July Workday

Our community workday on Saturday gave everyone the chance to catch up on neighborhood events will working with park staff on the planted areas around the playground. Some of our accomplishments were: pruning the honeysuckle along the playground fence; deadheading the yarrow and the juncus on the mound under the blazing hot sun; dividing clumps of Douglas Iris in the rain garden; clipping back geraniums in the small garden on the southeastern corner of the playground; and raking a mountain of eucalyptus leaves from the grass near the Oak & Ashbury.

Jul 3, 2017

GoBike close to opening stations near the Panhandle

For those looking - the GoBike stations closest to the Panhandle should be Central @ Fell, Hayes @ Cole, and Oak @ Broderick. GoBike tells me they will arrive by the end of summer. The GoBike map says they are coming soon. 

Sidewalk Science

A post shared by @mmmavis on

Jun 23, 2017

Complete restoration of William McKinley monument is underway

The Panhandle's largest public artwork is under restoration after years of deferred maintenance and suffering from exposure to the natural elements and occasional vandalism.

Stains on the marble and on the granite visible in this photo from 2011
The restoration includes cleaning stains from the inset white marble on which the face of William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States, is carved. The tall bronze figure of a standing woman will also be resurfaced. The mortar between the granite pieces of the base will be replaced, a process called "repointing." New rods will be inserted to seismically strengthen the structure.

According to project manager Jennifer Correia, the work will be done by ARG Conservation Services at the cost of $300,000, from San Francisco's general fund allocation for capital improvements to the Civic Art Collection. A fence and scaffolding went up around the monument in late June and the work will continue through August.

Jun 19, 2017

Repairs to the multi-use path completed

As the Panhandle Pedestrian Safety Improvement Project neared completion, repair crews last week smoothed out the major bumps in the Panhandle's busy multi-use path. The sites of the repairs were scattered across both the eastern and western halves of the park.

The easternmost repair site, located between Baker and Lyon, was where two massive cypress trees grow just a few feet off the pathway. This repair required more extensive work - the entire path needed to be nudged over a few feet to create more separation from the two trees and their root systems.

Pictures from June 15

The framework for the pathway
This adjustment to the pathway required a surprising amount of digging and the building of a wooden framework. By the weekend, the repair was completed and the pathway was back in operation.

Jun 17, 2017

Redwood pruning gives the southeast corner a new look

The coast redwoods in the southeast corner of the park were pruned of most of their low branches last week, resulting in a significant change of appearance. Long a focus of community stewardship efforts, the coast redwoods at the park's eastern edge exist in a few different clusters - at the two eastern corners of the park and behind the McKinley Monument. This ambitious pruning is a sign that the city is increasing its efforts to take care of the trees in the Panhandle. 

From inside the park, the facade of Mt Zion Baptist is more visible than in recent history.

With the low-hanging branches removed, the massive trunks of the redwoods make an even more dramatic statement.
Still shady, but less gloomy at the southeast corner.

By contrast, the north-side redwoods haven't been recently pruned, and branches dip within reach. 

Jun 14, 2017

June workday report

The workday on Saturday, June 10 brought out regular volunteers and some new folks as well, to work on keeping the Panhandle beautiful. After a thorough weeding of the rain garden, we turned to pruning basal shoots and root sprouts (suckers) produced by the large elm trees near the playground. We continued with our loppers towards the east, making it all the way to Baker Street, clearing basal shoots around more trees and also some pruning back some shrubs that had begun to intrude on the multi-use pathway.

Get out and enjoy the additional clearance on the path

Jun 8, 2017

Panhandle workday this Saturday, June 10

Join us at the Panhandle Park on Saturday, June 10 for a community workday:

Saturday, June 10
9 am - 12 noon
Meet at the bulletin board near the playground (near Oak @ Ashbury)
Tools & gloves provided
All are welcome! 

May 29, 2017

Video on building community through work effort in the Panhandle

On this holiday weekend, I'm re-posting a video about the community workdays at the Panhandle, produced by Ben Youngerman, the creative force of local agency Panhandle Productions.

"Just show up, people are friendly, a great place to hang out and do something for the neighborhood."

May 26, 2017

May Workday Report

Park Stewards at the Panhandle on Saturday, May 13
Here's a late update about our stellar May Workday. Above all, it was a pleasure to be out in the park, on a warm and sunny spring morning. We focused our efforts in the central area of the Panhandle, near the restroom and playgrounds, with a focus on the mound (an area planted last year with a variety of drought tolerant native plants). In addition to weeding, we also spread a huge pile of wood chips around the mound to insulate the plants during the dry months ahead and make the area look its best.

We also added a few additional plants into our more established, diverse rain garden planting, and trimmed back a few of the rapidly growing plants. The May workday was also a chance to say thank you to Frankie, a Rec and Park employee, for his months of steady and friendly staffing of the community workday. We said hello and started getting to know Brian, a new staff person who will be assigned to work daily in the Panhandle and to support the community workday in the future. 

Woodchips making the mound look nice for the spring
Yarrow and sticky monkey in the mound setting up for a nice bloom

Noting that the dryer weather is allowing progress on the capital improvement work.
A fallen eucalyptus branch had been cut up and ready for removal. 

And the truck that was unlucky to be below said branch was awaiting removal and donation

Apr 5, 2017

Mar 23, 2017

Report from March workday

Amidst our historically rainy winter, we were able to enjoy a community workday at the Panhandle Park on a sunny Saturday morning.

Regular volunteers were joined by families from the San Francisco Day School, making a large group who were able to cover all the territory near the center of the Panhandle that we have spent much effort on taking care of: the rain garden, the mound of native perennials, and the plantings surrounding the playground.

Feb 15, 2017

Report from February workday

Again this month we were fortunate to have sunny skies for the Panhandle Community Workday on Saturday, February 11. Volunteers fanned out across the planted beds and lawns near the playground and basketball court to rake, pick up fallen eucalyptus bark and branches, and pull weeds.

This month the families from San Francisco Day School joined the workday, boosting our overall numbers and bringing out staff from RPD's youth education program. 

RPD staff were happy to have our help, because the ongoing rainy weather has increased the maintenance burden across the entire park system. The pathways through the Panhandle have remained clear of leaves and branches because staff have been out using blowers and removing leaves and branches on a routine basis. 

Jan 17, 2017

Report from Jan 14 workday

Thanks to all the community members who showed up for the first community workday of the year in the Panhandle Park. 

Our efforts focused around some of our planted areas near Ashbury, as well as the open grassy area next to the basketball courts. After the wet and windy storms, a mountain of leaves and bark was shed by the eucalyptus trees in the area and needed to be raked and removed. We also planted several new plants provided courtesy of the Rec and Park department.

Winter aspect of the red-stemmed dogwood

One small tree was toppled recently (near Lyon @ Oak)

McKinley Monument greets 2017

Jan 11, 2017

Sat Jan 14: first community workday of 2017

Panhandle Community Workday
All are welcome/no registration or RSVP required
Saturday, January 14, 2017
9 am - 12 noon
Meet next to the Bulletin Board (Near Oak @ Ashbury) 
Tools and Gloves are provided but feel free to bring your own gloves (especially if you have kid-size hands) 

As always, the Panhandle Community Workday is staffed by the SF Rec and Park Department and supported and promoted by members of the community as a project of the North of Panhandle Neighborhood Association.