Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Constructed Wetland Gets a Makeover

Lisa Lee Benjamin, the designer of the constructed wetland and living roof returned to the EcoCenter to donate her time, materials, and expertise to redesign the constructed wetland.  Together with CCSF students and faculty, the original plants were removed and new ones planted (from Bay Natives of course!) with the addition of a lot more gravel and even some moss on the floating logs.  The plant list at present is minimalist (6 Juncus patens, 2 Scirpus spp. and 1 Juncus effusus) in part to see which of those removed might actually regrow.  Students will also conduct environmental monitoring on the wetland and acrylic tanks this weekend and compare to last weeks results.  We even spotted a fish in the wetland!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Digging Trenches at the EcoCenter

CCSF students helped dig a trench for an irrigation line to water the native landscaping surrounding the EcoCenter until it has time to establish itself.  About six inches deep, the trench leads from a pump that is connected to the rainwater harvesting tank that collects water from the "clean" roof (i.e., the aluminum rooftop).  The water from that same tank will hopefully be used one day soon to also plumb the facility's toilets. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

First Corporate Work Day of the Rainy Season

LEJ's Patrick and Charles, Geoff from Bay Natives and CCSF students work alongside employees of Price Waterhouse for the first workday of the rainy season.  Work included weeding the drainfield to make way for new plants in the butterfly meadow, digging holes for manzanita and other shrubs, and digging a trench to install an irrigation system linking the rainwater harvesting tanks to the landscape surrounding the EcoCenter.  

Friday, October 12, 2012

Tracy Zhu returns to help train CCSF students give tours of the EcoCenter

Today Tracy Zhu returned to the EcoCenter to work with CCSF faculty and students to share her experience in training students to give tours of the EcoCenter.  Given Tracy's years of experience as a former LEJ employee and program manager of the facility, she is the perfect person to share the history of the organization and the creation of the EcoCenter and its mission.  Students will incorporate this information together with their research and understanding of the sustainable systems at the EcoCenter to help conduct tours ranging from K through 12 students to working professionals. Thanks to Tracy we can make sure that the history of the EcoCenter, especially the environmental justice component of its story continues to be communicated to future visitors.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Ever Wonder How to Clean Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Panels?

Very carefully given that you have to get up on the rooftop and there is glass and electrical wiring involved!  After inspecting the panels to ensure there were no cracks or loose wiring, CCSF students Ivan Hu and Toby Taylor climbed onto the roof and washed and dried the 24 pv panels. Using a soft cloth scrubber and water with a little vinegar and biodegradable dish soap added, Ivan and Toby scrubbed the dirt and bird poop that accumulated on the panels since the summer.  Keeping the panels clean is important so that they do not lose efficiency and produce as much electricity as possible.  Ivan and Toby will be writing up a standard operating procedure and will make "how to" videos so that future students working at the EcoCenter can follow in their footsteps.