- October 2019
- September 2019
- July 2019
- June 2019
- October 2017
- July 2017
- March 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- August 2016
- July 2016
- May 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- December 2015
- October 2015
- August 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- September 2014
- August 2014
- June 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
Tag CloudAgave air layering albizia Alcataz Island Alcatraz alcatraz gardens Alcatraz history Alcatraz interns Alcatraz Island alcatraz plants archeology banana slug Bardou Job; heirloom rose Bees Black Point Gardens centranthus concrete cordyline dividing drought tolerant echium Fasciation Florilegium Gardens gladiolus Golden Gate Parks Conservacy Habitat hedera heirloom History invasives iris Parks Conservancy phenology photography Plants Pollinators Propagation restoration San Francisco Sustainable Gardening The Garden Conservancy Victorian Victorian Gardens volunteer
Slideshowbanana slugIMG_3197IMG_6524 (1)Jane OlenchukMelissa Harris (2)IMG_4413IMG_4432IMG_4547IMG_4652IMG_4655IMG_4664IMG_4675IMG_4685IMG_4755IMG_5744IMG_6500IMG_0210IMG_7039IMG_3371IMG_8486IMG_9446IMG_1772IMG_8600IMG_8615IMG_8616IMG_8622IMG_8625IMG_8829IMG_8833IMG_8839IMG_8844IMG_8845IMG_8847sal 2sal 6IMG_9306IMG_9360IMG_9367IMG_9394IMG_9399IMG_9411IMG_9413IMG_9429IMG_9439IMG_9444IMG_3909IMG_1385
Monthly Archives: August 2011
What do the WWII Normandy landing site, Point du Hoc, and Alcatraz Island have in common? The answer: aging reinforced concrete buildings, unrelenting coastal elements of buffeting wind and saltwater, and heavy traveler visitation to the site.
These environmental elements affected the picturesque Puppy Stairs which lead from the switchback behind Building 64 up to the historic gardens above. The concrete is cracked and chipped, the rebar
rusting, and the stairs unusable to the majority of Alcatraz Island visitors. Built in the 1920s, during Alcatraz’ Military period, the steps are known as the Puppy Stairs because of their small rise. They were also known at one time as the Poodle Stairs, and other stairs in the same vicinity with a much larger rise were known as the Great Dane Stairs.
Dr. Tonya Komas, Director of the Chico State Concrete Industry Management program and a few students visited Point du Hoc in 2009 to do some noninvasive evaluations of the 20 World War II military bunkers. In 2009 Jason Hagin, Historical Architect for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, heard about this project at Chico State University exploring issues of environmental damage to structures similar to Alcatraz.
With Hagin’s connection to Komas, along with a grant from BASF, a concrete repair materials company, the rehabilitation of the Officers’ Row Stairs last summer and this year’s Puppy Stairs was a go. Students from Chico come to this project to fulfill an internship requirement which gives them credit toward their degree.
Phil Peterson, Public Relations Director for the Concrete Industry Management Alcatraz Preservation Field School, answered some questions about the project:
What is involved in this project?
In 1966, the U.S. Department for the Interior established the National Historic Preservation Act, intended to preserve America’s historic and archeological sites. This legislation applies to our work in the areas of restoration, rehabilitation, and repair. To rehabilitate is to fix the historic site for use by the public, making every effort to maintain its historic nature.
What type of special materials will be used?
We are using a special concrete repair mortar called ZERO-C, a fresh-on-the-market repair mortar short for “zero-cracking” that has been developed over the past half-decade by BASF, a global chemical company. It’s basically construction Play-doh.
How long do you think the project will last?
We leave August 12 and return to school the week after, but we will be back many more summers. Chico State’s Concrete Industry Management program has a five-year agreement with the National Park Service to keep performing our restoration work, so we will keep coming back until at least 2015. As far as the Puppy Stairs is concerned, they should be finished next year, or the year after.
Who is working on this project?
The project is led by Professor and CIM Director Tanya Komas as well as Project Manager Andrew Billingsley. He is a
student from last year’s pilot program who graduated and has been hired as faculty to oversee the project, as well as teach this year’s group of students. Students involved include Brandon Agles, Steven Aguilar, Kenneth Garcia, Greg Hollingshead, Brian O’Hair, Brian Peart, Phil Petermann and Sofia Salazar.
We have been provided with housing in the Marin Headlands for this project by the Parks Conservancy and NPS. Without housing, we wouldn’t able to do this project, and we’re eternally grateful for their help. On a personal note, this whole summer has just been unreal to me. Every once in a while I take a break from work and just look around and attempt to absorb the gravity of our work.
Contributed by Kristen Elford, Parks Conservancy
Thanks to Phillip Petermann, Dr. Tanya Komas and Jason Hagin. Bibliography: Thompson, Erwin N. “The Rock; A History of Alcatraz Island, 1847 to 1972”. Denver Service Center Historic Preservation Division National Parks Service. Denver Colorado.
I like to think that everyone looks forward to going to their work, to a job that is their hobby, and to spend their work day with people they like. I am that fortunate, and this morning on the ferry ride to the island, my volunteers surprised me with a poem, homemade cookies and a token of their appreciation for me.
One of my volunteers, a talented song writer and singer, wrote a
Gardener’s Ode to Shelagh Fritz.
To Shelagh Fritz who always knows
Exactly how her garden grows
And thus imparts this sage advice
“Rid oxalis at any price!”
Thus we perch on cellhouse slope
With hori hori and the hope that
Wind will die and sun come out
That does not always come about.
More likely that a chilling rain
Trickles down my neck to drain
Inside the shirt that once was dry
A chill so deep my fingers cry,
“Enough, now to the ferry get
Before the toes know they are wet”
But oh this island has a knack
Of luring all the gardeners back.
“Why do we come?” Well, since you ask
The mundane nature of the task
Upon that rock, in the middle of that bay
Puts you in a soulful way.
What does all this have to do with Shelagh?
We’d like to tell her that she rocks!
But please, Ms. Fritz, we have one question,
Along with gloves can you get us some socks?
By Beth Marlin Lichter
I am constantly amazed by the people that come out to the island, rain or shine, to help in the gardens. Just today, I worked with a group of interns from Filoli, a family whose children were earning their Girl Scout and Boy Scout badges, and my regular dedicated volunteers. All the volunteers come for their own reasons – new in town, new to gardening, want to meet more people, stay active, or just to try something new – but the ones that keep coming back, I think all stay for the same reason; they are the one that have discovered that the Gardens of Alcatraz are a really special place, and once you put your hands in the soil and you start caring for the island, it become a part of you.
Thank you to all my volunteers and staff, you keep me coming back too.