I’m a little bit embarrassed to admit that I never really thought about how open spaces get taken care of, or by whom. It turns out volunteers are part of the answer. 

Crissy Field is a beautiful open space at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, near the Presidio. It used to be an Army airfield, and is now a national recreation area. If you’re visiting, it’s a beautiful place to run. (If, like me, you don’t run on vacation, it’s also nice for sitting, and there’s a cute little store and coffee bar on site.) 

Photo source

I spent a morning with a team of friends from work weeding a long stretch of berm – another team of volunteers followed us a few days later and laid new sod, so it stays soft and grassy. Invasive species, I learned, are prickly and smell weird.

If you’re into this and might want to do it, here or somewhere nearer you, check out Volunteer.gov .