This month’s Emerald Keeper is the Coronado Bridge and Bay Garden Club. Formed in 1972, the Bridge and Bay Garden Club (BBGC) has been involved in all phases of gardening, civic activities and the conservation of natural resources.
Of interest to Emerald Keepers is the reforestation program that BBGC has supported over the years known as “Penny Pines.” Their donations of $68 per acre have restored trees to the 440,000 acres of the Cleveland National Forest, in our own east county.
The first Penny Pines reforestation program began in 1941 by a San Francisco women’s Sports Association to benefit a national forest in northern California. Today, donations continue to pay for the cost of planting seedlings by the Forest Service, in combination with Federal funds, on lands that have been adversely affected by fires, pests and disease. In 1941, a $68 donation provided 680 seedlings on an acre of land. The same $68 today purchases approximately 200 seedlings.
For as long as the 75 BBGC members can remember, they have supported the Penny Pines program. According to club president Kathy Beaton, “wildfires are destroying so many trees. Trees… provide the air that we breath, and they bring the water that we need. It makes sense to replace the trees as fast as possible.”
At each monthly meeting, club member Andrea Luttinen passes a basket to collect loose change, usually bringing in $40-$60. Over 70 acres of seedling plants have been added to the Cleveland National Forest as of the end of 2021, due to the club’s efforts.
The BBGC is probably best recognized for their work locally. As President Beaton says, “we promote gardening and ecological systems to make areas beautiful and sustainable.” Club members actively do garden maintenance at the post office, the Coronado Middle School, in Spreckels Park at the corner of 6th Street and Orange Avenue and at a church school kindergarten. Members also support programs such as organic composting, the function of bees, and the benefits of growing mushrooms.
President Beaton is excited to be introduced to Emerald Keepers because she feels it’s necessary to “save our oceans and forests one garden at a time.”
The BBGC meet in the Coronado Library Winn Room on the last Monday of the month. “We’re an active, city club looking for new members to get involved with new projects. We are a fun group of people that really enjoy learning to ‘dig in the dirt’,” shared President Beaton.