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'Living art' growing in East Palo Alto

Cooley Landing site holds community planting event this weekend

The community is invited to help restore local wetlands by planting native Juncus patens (a California rush) at the Living Shoreline Project at Cooley Landing in East Palo Alto this Saturday, Feb. 25, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The project is a collaboration between environmental artist Linda Gass, Grassroots Ecology and programs of San Mateo County.

Gass originally installed temporary art at the site marking the historic shoreline of the San Francisco Bay, now shrunk due to human activity and infilling of the bay, during her Creative Ecology residency with the Palo Alto Art Center. Now, the time has come to replace the plastic survey markers of the installation with native plants.

“In this permanent installation we are adding a focus on environmental and social justice by taking positive action in the form of landscape restoration,” Gass said in a press release.

East Palo Alto's Cooley Landing site was formerly a county dump and has now been transformed into a wetlands preserve and nature-education center.

The newly planted rushes will help provide habitat and contribute to a healthier ecosystem by acting as a filter of toxins and a sponge against tidal surges.

The Feb. 25 event is the last in a series of community volunteer days. Participants should meet promptly at 9:30 a.m. at the Cooley Landing Education Center, 2100 Bay Road, East Palo Alto. Gass will speak about the project before work begins. To register, go to Event Brite. Volunteers of all ages are welcome.

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