Friends of Albany Hill: Fundraising Letter

Dear Friend of Albany Hill:

If you remember when and why you wanted to Save Albany Hill - remember again!

The SAVE ALBANY HILL TRUST FUND, opened in June 1992, is once again making a request for funds to carry out our visions: to preserve remaining open space on the Hill, to fund local stewardship projects and to initiate public education about the cultural, historical and natural diversity and significance of this Emerald Island.

Activities we have undertaken since our opening in 1992:

Symposium: “Stewardship of Albany Hill” at the Albany Middle School, including Monarch Scientist John Lane, Anthropologist George Cole, Environmental Artists Judith K. Friedman and Carole Fitzgerald, Landscape Architect Gary Mason, Grassroots organizers John Steere, Cynthia Hall, and Lisa Stampfli-Torme.

Lecture: “Gone to the Birds”, by Dr. Richard Beidleman, biologist and author of the winter bird population survey on Albany Hill. Lecture funded by Soroptimist International of Albany, Inc.

Lecture: “Monarch Migration–A Fragile Trek” by John Lane, Monarch scientist, at the Edith Stone Room, Albany Community Center.

Lecture: “Earth Day–Importance of local stewardship efforts”, at U.C. Berkeley by Dr. Peter Raven, internationally renowned botanist and conservationist.

“Albany Hill Celebration” at Gathering Tribes Gallery on Solano Avenue featuring watercolors by Carole Fitzgerald, storytelling by Malcolm Margolin, author and publisher of Heydey Books, creek workshop by Planet Drum and Wolfe-Mason Landscape Architects, creek poetry by John Steere of East Bay Citizens for Creek Restoration.

In 1994 and 1995 we received $9,250 from the California ReLeaf/Urban Forestry grants. The grants funded specific tree care projects including the removal of 19 eucalyptus trees invading the oak woodland. Volunteers from the Friends of Albany Hill matched the grant funds with sweat equity under the guidance of botanist Dr. Barbara Ertter, of U.C. Berkeley, Robert Langston, retired lepidopterist, and Carole Fitzgerald, project manager.

Land Purchase:
In 1995 we requested city wide help in raising funds to purchase remaining privately owned open space. The city council responded by proposing a special assessment district which the citizens subsequently approved by vote. Approximately five and a half acres have been subsequently purchased by the City of Albany.

The Friends of Albany Hill continues the monthly vegetation restoration activities indicated in the Albany Hill Master Plan under the continued guidance of Dr. Barbara Ertter and Robert Langston.

Through a generous contribution from a Friend of Albany Hill, an $8000 grant will be awarded to Noah Booker of Shelterbelt Builders, Inc. over the next two years. This Grasslands Project will restore native bunchgrasses and wildflowers to the eastern and northern meadows. Seasonal public workshops will be held to teach our community native plant identification, seed collection and plant propagation.

Barbara Ertter, botanist at the University of California, illuminates one aspect of the need for stewardship to preserve Albany Hill’s natural diversity:

Although from I-80 there appears to be little more than eucalyptus and condominiums, Albany Hill and adjacent Cerrito Creek actually harbor a surprisingly diverse remnant of wild California that used to cover the fertile lands where now spread the cities of the East Bay. At least 100 different kinds of native trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses can be found, including two diminutive orchids and six ferns. None of these plants are currently listed as rare or endangered species but many are considered locally unusual or significant by the California Native Plant Society. Two species, the Nootka rose and the stinging phacelia, are known from no other sites in the East Bay and several other plants are nearly as uncommon. Wild buckwheat, while not unusual itself, is required by a rare butterfly.

Much of this diversity results from the existence of Albany Hill as an island of nature, the only significant remnant of wild California left in Albany. Where there was once a shifting mosaic of flower-filled grasslands, shrublands and tree-lined ribbons along streams, now spread the cities of Albany, El Cerrito, Berkeley, Richmond and Oakland. Albany Hill is further distinctive in being one of the only places in the East Bay where wooded slopes occur adjacent to waters of the bay, swept by winds blowing across the bay from the open ocean through the Golden Gate.

We need you to continue supporting our efforts:

  • contribute financially—any amount
  • participate in a volunteer workshop
  • attend our educational events
  • pick up litter when visiting the hill
  • allow wildflowers to go to seed

Yours sincerely,
Carole Fitzgerald
Board President

Donations are tax deductible. Make checks payable to our fiscal agent:

Sierra Club Foundation
Attention: Save Albany Hill Fund
906 Madison St.
Albany, CA 94706

For information, please visit our other web pages, or send e-mail to:

Updated August 4, 2004

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