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Green Seed and Plant Lab Blossoms at the Presidio


Presidio of San Francisco (May 11, 2010) — On Wednesday, May 12, the Presidio Trust and its partners, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the National Park Service, unveil the Seed and Plant Lab, the first phase of a new Presidio Stewardship and Sustainability Center at Fort Scott. The ribbon cutting ceremony takes place at 11 am at the lab, 1244 Appleton St., San Francisco 94129 in the Presidio and will be followed by a tour of the building.

Designed and built by ZETA Communities, a San Francisco off-site systems building company specializing in net-zero energy structures, the Seed and Plant Lab features high-efficiency heating and refrigeration systems and provides an ideal space for processing, storing, and treating over 300 batches of seeds used to grow plants for park restoration projects. The building was constructed from sustainably harvested wood and was designed to make maximum use of natural lighting. Over the course of a year, the Seed and Plant Lab will produce as much energy as it uses.

“We are pleased to partner with ZETA Communities on the new Seed Lab,” said Craig Middleton, the executive director of the Presidio Trust. “This building complements the Trust’s commitment to green building principles.”

The 1,040-square foot building replaces a World War II era warehouse that had fallen into disrepair in recent years. The demolition of the warehouse made room for the seed lab and other future components of the project including greenhouses, a shade house, a new education and volunteer center, and a Field Stewardship Center to be housed in a rehabilitated historic building. The project also includes a system for recapturing and reusing water from the greenhouses.

The Presidio Nursery is a partnership between the Presidio Trust, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the National Park Service. Generous support for the new Seed Lab has been provided by the FedEx Corporation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, through their Urban Conservation grant program. Funding was also provided by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and Conservancy members. FedEx team members will be on hand to volunteer in the new lab on Wednesday.

“We are so grateful to the FedEx Corporation, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation for their generous contribution of resources to the Seed Lab, and for their commitment to urban conservation programs,” said Greg Moore, the executive director of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

400 species of native plants call the Presidio home. In order to preserve the plants’ unique genetic material and evolutionary traits, the nursery uses only seeds it has collected in its plantings. Those seeds are sorted not just by species, but by geography as well. Staff and volunteers grow 60,000 plants a year for habitat and reforestation projects throughout the Presidio, creating a rich and diverse plant community.

The Seed and Plant Lab was designed specifically for the nursery’s delicate work of sorting and collecting seeds. The building was constructed in ZETA’s Sacramento factory in just four weeks. It took crews less than an hour to lift the building, by crane, onto the site.

“This project demonstrates our shared goal of conserving natural resources, while treading lightly on environmentally protected land through off-site construction,” says Naomi Porat, CEO of ZETA Communities.

“We’re pleased to partner with the Conservancy, the Trust and the National Park Service, which continue to set a high standard and provide national leadership in innovation in sustainability.”

Since 1996, more than 616,000 plants have been grown at the nursery. Last year alone, over one million seeds were collected, 5,000 people volunteered their time in the nursery, and 2,500 students took part in hands-on educational programs.

The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to administer the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park that is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The areas overseen by the Trust include expansive open space and spectacular views, a 300-acre historic forest, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. The National Park Service oversees the coastal areas of the Presidio. The park comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to the Presidio’s status as a National Historic Landmark District.

Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, established in 1981, is the nonprofit membership organization created to preserve the Golden Gate National Parks, enhance the experiences of park visitors, and build a community dedicated to conserving the parks for the future. The Parks Conservancy has raised more than $190 million to support park projects since its inception.

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Presidio Trust Media Relations

Lisa Petrie

(415) 264-7787