Tag Archives: preserve

Treasure the Environment with Family-Fun Activities In the Bay Area

Any day is a good day to learn about protecting the environment, but this month, especially so. Earth Day takes place on April 22 every year and in “normal” times we would participate in a myriad of activities and events to help protect, preserve, and improve the planet we all share. This year has been a bit dystopian, but as we spring forward our hope is that slowly we will get back to normal and enjoy all that the Bay Area has to offer. So, whether you are looking for something to do with the family or by yourself, something quiet, or an outdoor adventure, we’ve got you covered! 

Wildlife

The Marine Mammal Center, Sausalito

The center offers daily guided and audio tours, a great way to raise awareness of environmental issues. There are also many interesting exhibits and on clear days, you’re rewarded with stunning vistas of the city.

Getting there: The Marine Mammal Center is located at 2000 Bunker Road, Fort Cronkhite, Sausalito, CA 94965.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey

From jellies to penguins to sea otters and sharks, over 200 exhibits and 80,000 plants and animals that call the Monterey Bay Aquarium home. The first museum to have a living kelp forest, the array of exhibits is sure to enthrall tots, from watching marine mammals swim about in humongous tanks that imitate their natural habitats to watching them being fed.

Member days: May 1-14, Open for all: May 15

Getting there: 886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940

Curiodessy

A science museum and zoo for children and families where visitors see wild animals up-close and play with kid-friendly science exhibits. CuriOdyssey is home to nearly 100 rescued animals, most native to California, that cannot survive in the wild.

Getting there: 1651 Coyote Point Drive, San Mateo, CA 94401

Gardens

Golden Gate Park

The 55-acre “urban oasis” with more than 9,000 plants from around the world is always beautiful, but, for obvious reasons, is the most magical in the spring when so many flowers begin to bloom. Pack a picnic to enjoy on the grounds or wander through the gardens and visit flora from Australia, Chile, South Africa, and more, all in one afternoon. April is a good time to see magnolias in bloom, but there are always really cool plants to check out no matter when you go.  

Getting there: 501 Stanyan St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Japanese Gardens San Mateo 

This Japanese garden is designed by landscape architect, Nagao Sakurai of the Imperial Palace of Tokyo, and features a granite pagoda, tea house, koi pond and bamboo grove. Visit during spring/summer to feed the koi and catch cherry blossoms in full bloom. There’s also a mini-train that’ll delight kids, tennis courts and many picnic areas.

Getting there: 50 E 5th Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401

Japanese Gardens Hayward

The garden was designed by Kimio Kimura. It follows Japanese garden design principles, using California native stone and plants. No stains were used on the wood constructions. Nails and fasteners are recessed, and all wood was notched, and aged, to simulate the appearance of a traditional Japanese garden.

Getting there: 22373 N 3rd St., Hayward, CA 94541

San Francisco Botanical Garden

Visit this beautiful garden at the peak of its bloom in spring. Situated within Golden Gate Park, the garden showcases over 8,000 species of plants. There are several different collections within the garden, such as Mediterranean and Tropical.  

Getting there: 1199 9th Ave., San Francisco, CA 94122

Boat ride along Stow Lake

Take advantage of spring in full bloom by renting a paddle, electric, or row boat to tour this hidden gem. Situated in the middle of Golden Gate Park, the lake includes a 110-foot artificial waterfall, colorful Chinese pavilion, and a 125-year-old Stone Bridge. During springtime, visitors will also get the chance to see ducklings and goslings hatch! Rentals start at $24/hr.

Getting there: 1 Stanyan St, Unit 2, San Francisco, CA 94118

Places to Visit

Soar to new heights on Golden Gate Park’s SkyStar observation wheel

The giant Ferris wheel in the Music Concourse brought in to celebrate the park’s 150th birthday will stick around for longer than planned because it wasn’t open for most of last year.  

Getting there: Golden Gate Park’s Music Concourse, 1 Bowl Drive

Hiller Aviation Museum

An AvGeek’s Nirvana. Beautifully curated exhibits show the past, present, and future of flight. Aircraft are beautifully restored and displayed with exciting angles and exceptional lighting. The museum has more than 50 aerospace vehicles along with companion descriptive displays concerning the history of flight.

Getting there: 601 Skyway Rd, San Carlos

Immersive Van Gogh

Step into the world of Vincent Van Gogh at this trippy exhibit with over 500,000 cubic-feet of illuminated projections of his work that will make you feel like you’re literally inside of his paintings. The “experiential journey” has been modified for COVID times, but still promises to be one of the most unusual and/or cultural things you’ve done in a very long time. The exhibit runs through the beginning of September.

Getting there: 10 South Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94103

Mission-Driven Nonprofits

Planterday: The Mission-Driven Mobile Plant Shop

 Dedicated to destigmatizing mental health and promoting mental health resources. As official sponsors of Crisis Support Services of Alameda County, they donate a portion of their monthly proceeds to suicide prevention services in the local community.

The Bay Area Ecology Center

A list of Bay Area environmental/sustainability-related classes, workshops, exhibits, tours, films, and other events. Events posted are directly related to Ecology Center’s main topic areas and located mostly in the East Bay. 

350 Bay Area

Building a grassroots climate movement in the Bay Area and beyond to eliminate carbon pollution and achieve a clean energy future with racial, economic, and environmental justice. San Francisco Bay Area residents building a grassroots movement for deep CO2 emission reductions.

They have local groups in most every county. They have hundreds of volunteers, supported by a small but mighty staff, working since 2012 to:

Raise awareness & urgency for the climate crisis; Mobilize to demand action at the speed & scale required to protect us all from the worst impacts; Support the voices of young people calling for a livable planet; Dig into policy options to get real emissions reductions actions passed

Stop and smell the wildflowers! Spring is when the landscape is alive with carpets of colorful wildflowers. Check out some of the best wildflower displays on the Peninsula and in the South Bay. 

Hikes

Arastradero Creek Loop (Pearson Arastradero Preserve)

3.7 miles Flowers peak: Late-March- Mid-April

The rolling hills in this preserve create a range of habitat types offering refuge for a great diversity of wildflowers. You’ll find the biggest patches of wildflowers along the sunny, southern-facing slopes.

Getting there: 1530 Arastradero Road, 1/4 mile north of Page Mill Road.

Bald Hills Loop (Calero County Park)

8.5 miles  Flowers peak: Late-March- Mid-April

Enjoy a large outcropping of serpentine soil, offering big, showy HALF displays of native wildflowers. You’ll also enjoy views of the southern Santa Cruz Mountains and nearby Diablo Range.

Getting there: 23205 McKean Rd San Jose, CA 95141

Año Nuevo Point Trail (Año Nuevo State Park)

1.5 miles Flowers peak: April

Best known as the destination to see 5,000-pound elephant seals, Año Nuevo is also home to a spectacular display of spring wildflowers. This easy, gentle trail is good for all ages and abilities. 

Getting there: 1 New Year’s Creek Rd, Pescadero, CA 94060

River Trail (Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park)

2 miles Flowers peak: April

Giant redwoods tower over the cool waters of the San Lorenzo River in this park. It contains one of the largest stands of old-growth redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and an abundance of spring flowers add to the beauty of this landscape.

Getting there: River Trail (Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park)

Arrowhead Loop (Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve)

4 miles Flowers peak: Late-March- Mid-April

Just a short drive from downtown San Jose, this preserve offers phenomenal views of Coyote Valley, the Diablo Mountain Range, and a plethora of spring flowers. You don’t have to

complete the full loop to get your fill of spectacular flowers.

Getting there: From Highway 101, take Bailey Avenue west, Turn left on Santa Teresa Boulevard, Turn right on Palm Avenue. The preserve is at the end of Palm Avenue.


Mona Shah is a multi-platform storyteller with expertise in digital communications, social media strategy, and content curation for Twitter and LinkedIn for C-suite executives. A journalist and editor, her experience spans television, cable news, and magazines. An avid traveler and foodie, she loves artisan food and finding hidden gems: restaurants, recipes, destinations. She can be reached at: mona@indiacurrents.com


 

How to Preserve Your Energy

This is not a discussion on conserving energy resources given by Nature like oil and gas. This is a discussion on conserving the energy we human beings possess at the individual level so that we can make the optimum use of the resources that are given to us: the body and the mind. It is too common to miss the obvious and concentrate on things that sound glorious, all the while ignoring that which is nearer to us and that which can be accomplished easily. It is a fad today to speak of conserving energy, of mapping non-conventional energy sources, and of decreasing our use of non-renewable energy sources. In the momentum and intensity of such discussions, most of which do not find practical solutions, we forget that each one of us has been blessed with tremendous sources of energy in the mechanisms of our body and mind. We need to focus on how to harness these sources that we possess to excel in our endeavours.

Our body is a storehouse of energy but unfortunately, we not only do not know how to use it, but often times we waste its energy without bringing any good. Most people use their limbs for purposeless actions. Abusing physical energy is so common that some people think it is the natural course to take. It is really ironical that most of the times people put their bodies to severe stress and misuse its energy in the name of recreation or leisure. In the pretext of resting their bodies, most people just torture it. The ancient sages of India were very particular about the energy of the human body and acknowledged even the minutest expenditure of energy like that which is expended while we blink our eyes. The first step in preserving our energy is to preserve our physical energy, the energy that is produced by and contained in the body. It is surprising how much physical energy can be saved by just doing a rapid mental calculation about the work and motion involved in any action.Yoga begins with the taming of the physical body. Only a body tethered in silence and moving only on purpose is fit for yoga. Needless swaying of heads and moving of limbs creates a strong disturbance that percolates to the deeper recesses of the mind.

Just like a camera consumes energy even if it is just switched on, similarly our sense organs consume energy even if they just stay put on a particular object. The best way to conserve the energy of the sense organs is to restrain from taking in any sensory input that one does not need. Then, the eyes would see only what has to be seen, the ears would hear only what has to be heard, the tongue would taste only what is to be tasted, the skin would touch only what has to be touched, and the nose would smell only what has to be smelled. Trained in such a fashion, not only would the distraction caused by the senses be reduced to a bare minimum, the sensory experience of such trained senses would be accentuated and superfine with a remarkable intensity.

We constantly blame the mind for distractions and for losing focus. Our complaint is that the mind is wandering all the time. Imagine a person who is served several plates of mouth-watering dishes at the same time, all dishes exuding mind-blowing scents, and served with royal dressings. How can that person concentrate on only one dish then? Such is the predicament of our mind. It is constantly being simultaneously fed several sensory inputs. When the eyes see, all the other four senses do not shut down and so is the case with the other sense-organs. Much like a person,who is aware of the usage of electricity,would switch off the electrical appliances that are not needed; we should switch off our sense-organs that we are not using at that momentThat would lead to an enormous energy surplus in our body.

In preserving the physical energy the importance of sleep cannot be overemphasized. Numerous present-day ailments can be cured by a regular and full dose of sleep. Conservation of individual energy has to be done at the level of breathing also. Long and sustained breathing cycles help the body to be calm andand have better reflexes. It is not for nothing that all traditions of martial arts give tremendous importance to the control of breath. This also shows the importance of living in pure and unpolluted environments.To produce a good breathing cycle, we need to also eat nutritious and wholesome food. It is quite common to have one’s body spend lot of energy on digesting unwanted or improper food that was supposed to give energy in the first place!

Human beings possess an exceptional intellectual capacity. Most of it is squandered in unnecessary ruminations on things that are of no use either at the individual or the collective level. To focus our thinking and analysis is an art that has to be perfected in order to get the most of our brains. Precision of thought and a daring to do intellectually daunting tasks preserves and also invigorates our intellectual energy. A thorough grounding in logic helps one to eventually transcend all linear thought. A trained intellect can ably rein the mind.

In the pursuit of the preservation of individual energy the biggest challenge is preserving the energy of the mind, mental energy. Thoughts consume the mind. To preserve the mental energy and also to preserve the mind itself, one needs to constantly question the need for a particular thought to arise in the mind. Brooding on the past and worrying about the future are the most common leaks of the mental energy. When our mind is drained of its energy, it goes into ill-health commonly known as psychological ailments that could range from a minor bout of depression to an acute incidence of schizophrenia. Daydreaming and fantasising also rapidly consume the mental energy. To train the mind from abstaining from activities that needlessly consume its energy, one should root it on a theme of focus that the mind would hold on to when it does not have any purposeful activity to do. Too many attachments clutter the mind. A minimalist lifestyle and a detached attitude help the mind to focus its energy and prioritise its goals. Strong attachments are like forgotten anchors that do not allow the ship of the mind to move forward. Uncluttering one’s mind from attachments and unrealistic expectations helps the mind to behave in a trained and disciplined manner. With less and less of garbage the mind would not have to suffer its stench!

If one can preserve the mental energy, then it leads to the preservation of the intellectual and physical energy as well. Such conserving of energy is one of the first steps towards a spiritual life.

Swamiji is Editor of Prabuddha Bharata.This article was first published in the Prabuddha Bharata, monthly journal of The Ramakrishna Order started by Swami Vivekananda in 1896. 


To read same article in Hindi.

To read same article in English.