Thursday, March 13, 2008

Friends of Knowland Park

Looks like even zoos in California are misguided...

Greetings from Knowland Park-

I just wanted to let you know you're not alone in this fight. The community in Oakland, CA is fighting to preserve a space much like the one you are, where plans and approvals have been in place for over ten years. It's amazing to me to read the similarities between your circumstances and ours!

Knowland Park is the last remaining large open space in Oakland that looks out westward over the San Francisco Bay. Most of the remaining open spaces are regional parks that contain a very different ecosystem and look eastward to the Central Valley. The Oakland Zoo wants to create new exhibits on nearly 60 acres of prime open space, using only 23 of the best acreage and leaving the rest behind fencing.

Luckily, we discovered this before they broke ground, and are just beginning to gather support and put the word out via the media. The Oakland Zoo has been quite secretive in pursuing their expansion plans, and this will be their 3rd attempt in 30 years to expand into this precious open space, each time being fought by community members from surrounding cities. Unfortunately our representatives are reticent to re-open the case, and we are trying to find ways to get their attention in this year, an election year.

I would like to offer what little assistance and knowledge we can muster to your organization, even if it's only moral support. I will link to your site to ours to help you get a better Google ranking, and to let our community know that we are not alone in seeing a Zoo expand into natural habitat to teach people the dangers of displacing animals from their natural habitat.

What these zoos are overlooking is that people, and children especially, need their own natural wild places to go to take a deep breath and be in touch with nature. There is an excellent book on the subject by Richard Louv, called "Last Child Left in the Woods" that discusses Nature Deficit Disorder and its effects on the younger,
digital generation.

Sorry, for the long email, it's just exciting to find out we're not alone! Please let me know if you need anything, and be sure to check out our website at -- it's not as good as yours, but we're trying! If you ladies have learned any good strategies, please let us know.


Jason Webster
Friends of Knowland Park