Lowell students will lead park tours

November 28, 2008 6:57:16 PM PST
It started as a wetlands restoration experiment eight years ago. Today, most people have never heard of Heron's Head Park in San Francisco's southeastern side. It's a hidden gem and the new year brings a new opportunity to take a guided tour.

In the midst of an industrial dumping ground and an old power plant, nature has found a sanctuary for itself. It's called Heron's Head Park.

"They've taken out 5,000 tons of concrete. They've taken out landfill and they increased the amount of the wetlands here," says Nancy DeStefanis, from San Francisco Nature Education.

Eight acres of marsh wetland attracts about 100 bird species, especially during the upcoming winter months when they are migrating to warmer land.

"This place is like a rest stop for like birds migrating along the Pacific fly away like north and south so we see a lot of birds here," says Aileen Luo, a future nature guide.

Today Luo is training to be a nature guide at heron's head park.

"Oh! Do you see the gold slippers? It's a Snowy Egret, not a Great Egret. The Great Egret has the gold beak and the black feet," says DeStefanis.

Six students from Lowell High School are training with DeStefanis.

"What other feature of these ruddy ducks is special besides the tail?" asks DeStefanis to a student.

Thanks to months of training, each of them can now identify most of these birds.

"I really like how it's slightly isolated and then there are all these birds that no one even knew about and I want to share this with people as much as possible," said Ruby Lam, a future nature guide.

The land is owned by the Port of San Francisco. Heron's Head Park is the old Pier 98, located in the Hunters Point.

Maryann Rainey is a nurse at Lowell. She's responsible for recruiting these students. They'll get paid $300 at the end of their three-month internship.

"They get so much more from it, they cultivate an appreciation of nature," says Rainey.

"In this world we live in, it's so fast paced, we have to do things like go back and forth, but then coming here and learning about this place it makes you want to walk more often and see what is around. It leads you to live your life in a better way," says Ariana Lopez, a future nature guide.

These guided tours of Heron's Head Park will begin on January 3rd then the first Saturday of every month from 10 to noon. These teens from Lowell will be waiting for you.

Heron's Head Park Winter Tours: click here


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