The state of urban EE in San Francisco

How do we create an eco-literate city? In many urban areas fragmented ecosystems and human-dominated environments obscure city-dwellers connections to the biodiversity and natural systems of which they are a part. What’s more, urban environmental education is often a discrete and piecemeal experience within the continuum of life-long learning for both children and adults. San Francisco is well known as a place of remarkable cultural diversity, comprised of both residents and visitors from origins spanning the planet. Situated on the Pacific migratory flyway, San Francisco is also home to city, county and national park lands with a wide variety of remnant natural areas (some of which are part of the United Nation's International Biosphere Reserve network). Collectively these resources offer rich opportunities to create a city-wide web of formal and informal environmental education rooted in urban ecological stewardship and sense of place.

Since becoming an urban national park in 1994 the Presidio of San Francisco has been a leader and locus for a variety of community-based conservation and place-based learning initiatives. Beyond the park, the Presidio has cultivated interdisciplinary partnerships with other city government and non-profit organizations in a coordinated effort to more effectively engage the minds (and hands) of the public to understand, appreciate and steward their local nature. There is still much work to be done but notable achievements offer compelling ideas for other urban areas. This presentation will highlight partnership-based EE projects in San Francisco striving to achieve urban ecological literacy on a metropolitan level.