The Heron’s Head park project is the kind of thing that makes a social justice environmental activist’s heart sing. Situated literally down the street from the Hunter’s View projects (now undergoing major reconstruction), the park is located in a neighborhood where a disproportionate number of residents are affected by diseases from asthma to diabetes. The community is near a superfund site as well as hundreds of other toxic sites. In response, the nonprofit Literacy for Environmental Justice, or LEJ, creates paid internships for local youth in ecology and environmental justice. They’ve spearheaded the effort to create and maintain the park, now a vital local wetland. The EcoCenter will no doubt be their crowning achievement thus far, and is a place to hold ecological workshops that are themselves a demonstration of green values.

Features of the EcoCenter include solar power, rainwater catchement, a green roof, sustainable building materials, and, to top it off, an Eco Machine that will process all of the wastewater produced onsite (including blackwater!) and use it to irrigate a nearby garden. With the exception of drinking water, the Ecocenter is completely off-the-grid and self-contained. To add some form to the function, the Box Shop designed vines and leaves to give an artful shape to the building’s electrical conduit, and artist Daniel Macchiarini created a Heron sculpture together with LEJ youth to be unveiled at the grand opening. The whole project is the eco-child of a host of organizations, but contributors include Toby Long Designs and Ocean Arks International. So go out and celebrate this awesome addition to San Fran!

+ EcoCenter

Lead photo from the EcoCenter Blog