San Francisco State University is dedicated to celebrating the diversity of species which can occupy the special ecological niche offered by an urban campus.
The San Francisco Bay region is regarded as one of the world's global biodiversity hotspots. These regions contain an exceptionally high number of unique species that are threatened.
A college campus is a unique environment to nurture life of all kinds. When we take time in our busy lives to take a close look, we will begin to discover the richness of our surroundings and strengthen our connection to the vast world of diversity around us.
- Health Center Bee Garden
- Pollinator Perimeter
- Lawn Meadows
- Pine Understory Garden
- The Garden of Remembrance
- Decomposer Garden
Vital Connections of Campus Wildlife
This garden is one of the sunniest spots of our often fog-shrouded campus, and has been planted to attract wildlife such as birds, bees, and butterflies. The warmth of the sun is critical for many flying animals, as well as the plants that rely on them for pollination and seed dispersal. The surrounding trees, shrubs and leaf litter provide important cover for wildlife. Many of the plants that set seed provide food for songbirds.
Increasing Urban Biodiversity and Reducing Water Consumption
The Grounds Department has decided to use native flowering plants in our campus's landscape as a way to promote native pollinators and increase Bay Area Biodiversity. Many butterflies such as the mission blue butterfly only lay their eggs and live as a caterpillar on the silver lupine bush. Although this bush is native to San Francisco Area is has greatly disappeared because of urbanization and invasion species. By planting these pollinator perimeters we are providing both foraging area and nesting sites for local birds, bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Also because all these plants are acclimatized to the San Francisco environment they require less water and maintenance. This project exemplifies SF State's commitment to integrate sustainability into our urban campus.
The Pollinator Perimeter Project is planning to engage students from SF State, Lowell High School and other neighborhood schools, and a wide range of neighborhood organizations. The ultimate goal is that the perimeter of our campus is a demonstration of beautiful, climate appropriate landscaping that provides an educational reference for participants and residents of the Bay Area of appropriate biodiversity, resources management, and planting strategies while providing an opportunity for us all to work together toward a common goal of environmental stewardship and education for our youth.
Grass Areas For Native Animals
Our campus has decided to allow unused lawns to grow out and set seed. Although the traditional lawns look nice, they are labor intensive and take up valuable space. By not regularly trimming the grass our schools saves both energy and water. These lawn meadows provide areas of relief for birds and small mammals to hid from predators, forage and obtain nesting material
The Cycle of Nutrients
To establish this garden, woody debris and native plants were arranged in a grove of Monterey Pines (Pinus radiata). Allowed to decompose naturally, plant material such as logs and leaf litter provide food and shelter for fungi, salamanders, insects, and other invertebrates. These organisms in turn are food for foraging birds and small mammals, who are eaten by our campus birds of prey. After digesting a meal, owls regurgitate the bones and fur in the form of "owl pellets" that can occasionally be found under these pines. Although Monterey pine is one of our most common on campus, wild populations of this species are threatened by a fungal disease and habitat loss.
The Garden of Remembrance
Located in-between Burk hall and fine arts this garden was established in 2002. It honors the 19 former SF State students who were pulled from their classes under U.S. military and government orders and forced to live in remote camps across the country, along with over 100,000 other Japanese during World War II.
Designed by Japanese American artist and honorary SF State Master of Fine Arts recipient Ruth Asawa, she was able to cultivate a peaceful garden, with 10 boulders to represent the 10 internment camps and a waterfall to represent the Japanese return home. Surrounding the falls are fragrant plants such as rosemary and Japanese cherry blossoms. At the entrance is a bronze plaque with a description of the garden and the fellow San Francisco State alumni whom were effected.
Having Fun With Fungi
This garden is used for Mushroom Taxonomy classes to inoculate logs and grow mushrooms. This garden provides a space where logs and pine needles can decompose down naturally by fungus, arthropods and bacteria. This process of breaking down orangic material releases needed nutrients back in to the environment. So this area is also demostrating an important link in the ecosystem. It’s also a great example that one doesn’t need pretty flowers to make a garden. However just like the flowers on campus, please don't pick the mushrooms.