Archive for the ‘Bernal Heights Living Library & Think Park’ Category


See Evolution of Life Frames – Video Produced By Bonnie Ora Sherk

Evolution of Life Frames, produced by Bonnie Ora Sherk in 2002, shows the evolution of her pioneering oeuvre showcasing many works including: Early Life Frames of Portable Parks 1-111 (1970),  Crossroads Community (the farm) beginning in 1974, to the most evolved, and inclusive series of Life FramesA Living Library - an ongoing public, ecological art work in diverse locations that she began in 1981.  

Evolution of Life Frames has been shown in art museums, galleries, and other venues worldwide. 


New Grant For A Living Library – Lauren Bon & The Metabolic Studio !

Life Frames, Inc. is pleased to announce a grant from Lauren Bon & The Metabolic Studio for the Branch Living Library & Think Park Programs at seven SFUSD schools in San Francisco, PreK-12.  This generous grant enables A Living Library to work with over 1500 students monthly, year-round, during the school day, after school, and during the summer, in hands-on, interdisciplinary, standards-based learning, and ecological greening of their school and community.
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The Branch Living Library & Think Parks supported by Metabolic Studio are:
OMI/Excelsior Living Library & Think Park in the Excelsior at Leadership High School, James Denman Middle School, San Miguel Child Development Center *
Bernal Heights Living Library & Think Park in Bernal Heights at Junipero Serra Elementary School, Junipero Serra Child Development Center *
Chinatown Living Library & Think Park at Gordon Lau ES and Commodore Stockton Child Development Center
The Metabolic Studio grant is a complement to the funding from the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families (DCYF), which has funded the Branch Living Library & Think Parks since 2002 for the After-School Programs.
We are very grateful to our funders !  Thank you !
* NOTE:  The OMI/Excelsior Living Library & Think Park and the Bernal Heights Living Library & Think Park are both part of the Islais Creek Watershed, where Life Frames is also developing the Bernal Heights Living Library Nature Walk, linking schools, parks, public housing, streets, and other open spaces leading to currently hidden Islais Creek at the south side of St. Mary's Park.

Exciting Volunteer Opportunities with A Living Library !

There are many exciting volunteer opportunities for college students and others available this year with Life Frames, Inc. & A Living Library in San Francisco !


View the Flyer to find out more about these unique opportunities. You can also become a Technology Intern, and  help A Living Library expand its online presence and worldwide outreach. We are searching for hard-working, creative interns with experience and interest in all aspects of Web Design, that are skilled in Social Media Outreach, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ! View details here.

ALL Tech Flyer


Snapshots From June: A.L.L. ECO-ART Interns and Other Living Library Garden Happenings !

Busier than a hive of bees, more deluxe than a Chinese Jade, and even more glorious than a Marigold, this 2013 summer flew by in an amazing flurry at the OMI/Excelsior & Bernal Heights Branch Living Library & Think Parks.

Twenty hard-working, and exuberant middle and high school students from across San Francisco came together this month with the challenge to use A Living Library Gardens as a lens to explore a more profound understanding of themselves, and the world we live in.  Over the first month of their Internship, students learned about the environmental fundamentals of a garden, from living soil, to water resources, to ecosystems, and community connectivity.  

Art, Science, Cooking, and Mentorship Projects helped support ideas of environmental, social, and personal health and sustainability.  A.L.L. brought a fun twist to the big question of the future of our communities and our world. Take a look at the photo montage below to follow A.L.L. Garden Fun!


Welcome to A Living Library Lower Garden: Jasmine Flowers with Bunny the Bee, and Carrot Top photos taken by Student Steward Interns. 

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Our A.L.L. ECO-ART Interns showed no apprehensions; from day one, they dug right into garden work, such as seed and food harvesting, garden bed resurrection, and all-around, garden beautification. 

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IMG_1881Students became aware of healthy food supporting healthy bodies.  Instead of a soft drink, or coffee, they learned to try this refreshing Melon Slushie.   Just blend chunks of fresh cut watermelon,  honeydew, and ice! 

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Through an ecosystem health lesson, students learned that garden friends, such as invertebrates and birds, can be indicators of environmental quality. Students used recycled materials to create bird feeders and houses to encourage our garden diversity. 


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The more hands the merrier! Our Student Stewards discussed the importance of mentoring younger generations, from the symbolism of role models, to the idea of sustainability for our future communities and world.

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In an effort to help A Living Library shine at City Hall, a handful of our Student Stewards showed up to the Garden early one morning, collected flowers and herbs of every color and smell, and crafted beautiful bouquets to dazzle Mayor Ed Lee and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.  We walked to BART, and walked some more until we reached the front door of City Hall.  Our students posed briefly for a photo opportunity, before entering City Hall, where they were able to deliver personal support of A Living Library through reading their letters, giving away bouquets, and meeting some of the Board members.  

What a way to get a deeper understanding of our city and community government and systems, learning how it affects local groups, down to each individual child who is part of A Living Library


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As a Thank You Gift to our Student Stewards, and Congratulations, for their first completed month of the A.L.L. ECO ART Internship, we took a hike to San Francisco's Glen Canyon Park.

From the front gate of the OMI/Excelsior Branch Living Library & Think Park, we left full of zest and excitement. We were shocked by the transition from city streets, to valleys deeply filled with trees. Glen Canyon made it obvious to our team, that wilderness and nature really is all around us, and can be just as much a part of urban lives, as rural lives.

We arrived back at our A.L.L. Garden exhausted and proud, walking a total of 5 miles in 4 hours ! What a hike ! If you have not yet had the chance to visit Glen Park in San Francisco, it is worth the exploration, a hidden gem dazzling us in its natural beauty.  And, the same Islais Creek that is under Balboa High School, is day-lighted here !  Pretty exciting to see and learn about !!!


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Thank you A.L.L. Eco-Art 2013 Summer Stewards, you have made the garden beautiful and full with your interest, care, and laughter! 

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Blog post written by A Living Library Garden Instructor, Courtney Calkins. 


Three Stars Shine on A Living Library and Illuminate Student Discussion on our Responsibility to our World

In May, OMI/Excelsior and Bernal Heights Branch Living Library & Think Parks were illuminated by three brightly shining stars in San Francisco. The largest one in our solar system, the sun, finally made a long lasting appearance in all it’s glory. It warmed our bones, and our new greenhouses’ occupants from last month’s seed planting course.

This month our students focused on community and environmental stewardship conversations spurred from the brightly shining Hayes Valley Farm, the Free Farm Stand, and REACH The Future. These stars made a lasting impression on our students and posed the rhetorical question of whose responsibility is the future of our earth and its communities?

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As a person caught in limbo between rural mountains and urban architecture, I often question: Do green spaces support strong communities, or do strong communities support green spaces ?  

Two well known San Francisco Urban Agriculture programs, the Hayes Valley Farm and Free Food Stand, lead me and A.L.L. students to question and answer, Well, maybe both ?

Students were brought into the world of community supported green spaces and community building through giving and the generosity of certain community groups. The Hayes Valley Farm was a three year interim land use project, dedicated to educating people that dirt and plants can grow bountiful food and community. The Free Farm Stand was spurred by the idea that bounty should be shared. This project started as neighbors giving away excess from their own backyards, and rapidly transformed to become a city-wide, supported endeavor where we learned first hand that food, health, and community can, and should be equitable and accessible to all people.

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This year, both of these community supported projects came head to head with adversity, as they were asked to leave their areas of green occupation. After multiple years in their respective locations, these projects had to be temporarily dismantled and relocated to make way for new city development.

And how did the groups respond ? By giving !

Our students were introduced to dozens of plants given to A Living Library by these two organizations. Our students were gleeful about the opportunity to plant and care for food plants, such as tomatoes, basil, peppers, tree collards, and chayote. They learned the benefits of beautiful native and ornamental geraniums, yarrows, strawberries, comfrey, and clover. And, through all this, our students were mesmerized by the generosity of communities, and green space. It seems that green spaces supporting strong communities is a closed-loop system, that should be everywhere. They are equitable, integrated and help elevate each other.

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With grace, inquiry, and camaraderie, another group, REACH The Future, engaged students in a discussion about natural resources and our abhorrent consumption of energy as Americans. Although the U.S. only houses less than 5% of the world's population, Americans use 25% of the world's energy. Some students were shocked to learn of our unfair consumption, while some retorted that we deserve more than other people. This reaction, and the unanswered questions, as to whose responsibility is our future, was a spark that provided an eye-opening introduction to students into powerful, real-world issues happening today in San Francisco, and across the world.


REACH The Future founder, Michael Gutman, continued with the lesson to discuss cleaner, renewable energy sources such as wind, water, and solar power. And to the students’ surprise, he showcased a simple, do-it-yourself solar oven with a warm, delicious apple cobbler. This treat would have convinced any critic of the impressive power of the sun.

After our classes learned how to build their own solar ovens using just cardboard, aluminum foil, glue, and string, a finished oven was auctioned off to a lucky student in every class ! 

This month at A Living Library, our partners planted seeds of green space, food, health, responsibility, nature and nurture, and we hope to produce the most abundant, beautiful bounty of all, community.

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Blog written by A Living Library Garden Teacher, Courtney Calkins.

© 2018 Life Frames, Inc. & A Living Library

A Living Library, Life Frame, Think Park, & A.L.L. are registered trademarks

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