Archive for January, 2011

Fake rocks

28 January 2011

The Hillcrest School, up in upper Rockridge/Broadway Terrace, has a beautiful campus with gardens, trees and this play structure.

fake rocks

I wish it were real rocks. Of course the artificial outcrop is good for encouraging unstructured play, confidence using one’s body and all the rest. The lessons it teaches will serve the kids well as they move on to indoor climbing walls and other safe amusements. But I cherish grit, lichens, little holes with secrets inside, moss, roughness that scratches to get your attention. I favor visual texture, variegation, the presence of minerals in their cryptic typicality, the possibility of fossils. I want kids to explore wild rocks in wild places, even if it’s only a roadcut or a vacant lot. I think these kids deserve a real, local knocker, the kind their neighborhood abounds in. We have enough fake rock in our Disneylands and along our freeways.

Thank you.

Bird islands

13 January 2011

Lake Merritt is formally a wildlife sanctuary, declared in 1870, but the land itself is artificial and needs maintenance.

artificial land

The Parks and Recreation Department website says that the first bird island was built in 1925 and the other four were added in 1956. As long as I can recall (since 1989) they have been a tangle of thick foliage and tall snags, but right now the islands are undergoing a makeover. Anyone have more information?


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