By Naama Raz-Yaseef
We are thrilled to share with you a resource we at The Watershed Project have been working on over the past year. Introducing Urban Nature Loop – a self-guided walking tour of North Richmond! This project, accessible through our website and an app, stretches between Verde School along Wildcat Creek trail to Fred Jackson Way, Chelsey Ave. through Shields Reid Park, and back to Verde School on Giaramita St., with extensions to the Fish Passage and Urban Tilth’s Farm.
The Urban Nature Loop aims to connect people with their environment, and more specifically, their watershed (Wildcat Creek). It also provides an excellent opportunity to improve physical fitness and mental well-being – simply by walking outside. Last, but not least, it provides interesting and useful information on 19 Points of Interest along the trail, so you can learn more about natural, cultural, community, and housing assets in the neighborhood. In each Point of Interest, we cover a different topic, ranging from nature, art and music, history, community, and development issues, by providing short text, photos, and video interviews with community members.
By downloading the free mobile phone app, PocketSights, you can embark on an interactive, self-guided tour of the neighborhood. The app’s location-based features ensure that you receive relevant information about each Point of Interest while walking. Alternatively, you can open the content directly on our website by selecting the relevant Point of Interest at the bottom of the Urban Nature Loop webpage.
This work is a collaborative effort, and we couldn’ve been able to accomplish it without the devoted help of many, to name a few: Elizabeth Dougherty, Executive Director of Wholly H2O who helped us kickstart the interactive tour app based on their Walking Waterhoods, the University of California, Berkeley students – Mashal Imtiaz, Charlynne Marcos, Lauren Pong, Isabelle Winstead, that created some of the initial content, our one and only Green Collar Corp intern, Elizabeth Pineda, that created and edited much of the content, including interviewing and editing videos with community members, as well as GCC Zachary Drummond, Pinkie Young, our Youth Field Crew Manager, that created the tour’s website, and many many community members, agency staff, artists, tribal consultants, and other organizations that provided their time, knowledge and expertise: Adam Biosvert, Cheyenne Zepeda, Cynthia Jordan, Darrell Davis, Deja Gould, Doug Harris, Dulce Galicia, Fred Alvarado, Iylode Kinney, Jeanine Strickland, Kalu Dennis, Laura Navarro, Peter Mangarella, Princess Robinson, Richard Muro Salazar, Roger Wachtler, Ruth Ortega, and Tony Ucciferri.
It is a work in progress, and we look forward to your comments and suggestions. Feel free to add comments and photos directly into the app or send them to us. After this launch, we will install sidewalk stickers to help navigate along the route – directional arrows, location maps, and QR codes for each Point of Interest (scanning it with your phone’s camera will automatically open the right page on our website). Next, we plan to host guided tours with community members, groups, and agency and elected officials. We will keep you posted!
This is the 3rd part of a series of articles on art and community projects The Watershed Project has been creating in North Richmond, with previous articles on Sidewalk Art of Plants and Animals of the Wildcat Creek Watershed and Kiyana and the Wildcat Creek illustrated storybook.