Crissy Field's new environmental education center is looking damn fine. Photo by Green Building: Project FROG
I don’t have the exact numbers on this, but I’ll wager dollars to doughnuts that most of San Francisco is unaware that there’s a national park within city limits. We are generously parked here- a fact that the Crissy Field Center  has been working to educate us on since 2001. This is big! So big that their grand re-opening this weekend isn’t just going to be a fun family celebration, but a well deserved look back at a SF institution done good.
Crissy Field has worn more hats than Elton John. Originally a fishing hangout for the Ohlones back before whitey harshed the original San Franciscans’ buzz, the field has also gone through a life as the city’s airfield. But when the planes stopped landing, a joint project between individuals, businesses and the national park service got rid of much of the concrete and chain link fence to revert the area back to its original state, planting over 100,000 native plants in the process and establishing a connection between the city and the Presidio natural area that Crissy Field edges.
Nowadays, the Crissy Field Center exists to reacquaint city residents with the natural environment that thrives around manmade San Francisco. SF Unified is the center’s primary partner, participating in joint programs vital in introducing ecosystems to kids who may never have been to national park before. Teen leadership programs take place in the center, so called “ladders of learning” that teach young people about renewable energy data collection, leading site tours and other park related activities- skills that translate to greater viability in the job market. The center has educated over 750,000 community members with its programs and classes on the Presidio, an area many are surprised to learn is part of the national park system.
Middle school cool kids check out a watershed model through the Crissy Field Urban Trailblazer program. Photo by Joey Chandler
On Saturday, we have a chance to celebrate the work that’s been done to bring our kids closer to nature. Due to the current construction on the Doyle Drive/Pacific Parkway approach to the Golden Gate Bridge, the center has had to temporarily relocate- but what a relocation! The new building is LEED certified, and has generated a fraction of the waste a typical construction site would due to pre-manufactured architecture (Eco-Clad , anyone?) and the use of reclaimed materials- including redwood siding salvaged from a site in Marin County. Plus, it looks badass.
So toddle up to the Marina this weekend and partake in the festivities. There will be live music- Japanese folk drumming group Ensohza , DJ Balthazar and the Banana Slug String Band - as well as free food and fun opportunities for the kiddies and big kids alike to learn about our environment, including lessons on how long our food travels before it hits our bellies and hands-on tutorials on how to make natural cosmetics and house cleaning supplies. Plus the chance to see one of our city’s public education gems… so get green with it already.
Crissy Field Center Grand gREen Opening
Sat/6 11 a.m.-3 p.m., free
199 East Beach, SF