It doesn't have the party atmosphere of Labor Day or the solemnity of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, and it certainly lacks the marketing juggernaut of winter festivities. Yet even with its inherently high nerd potential, Arbor Day has its own leafy cachet. As possibly the least controversial holiday ever, this celebration is hard to argue against: Trees may not seem like the world's most important issue, but their planting and care are inexpensive and easy, and the benefits we derive from having lots of green spots around town (shade, birds, oxygen) are hard to overstate.
Today Mayor Newsom (who, judging from the event's promotional photos, hasn't spent a lot of time holding a shovel) joins volunteers organized by Friends of the Urban Forest in planting native species in a Bayview park. The group's goal is to plant 5,000 trees in San Francisco this year -- and as Paris Hilton would say, that's hot. Plantings begin at 8 a.m. in Gilman Park, Gilman & Griffith, S.F., and continue at several other locations throughout the day. Participation is free; call 554-5447 or visit www.sfarborday.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Bowling's not hard for newbies. It takes practice to get good, but even a novice can knock off a couple of points. So maybe it wasn't that difficult to persuade local celebs like Carolyn Tyler (of ABC7 News) and Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi to hurl a few balls at "Bowl for Change," a fund-raiser for the Tenderloin social service agency Central City Hospitality House. Admission is spendy, but the cause (helping homeless and indigent folks) is worthy, as is the chance to mingle with city names like Vernon Glenn (KRON 4 sports) at 5:30 p.m. at the Presidio Bowling Center, 93 Moraga (at Montgomery), S.F. Admission is $75 per person ($375 for a team of six); call 749-2184 or visit www.hospitalityhouse.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
Navigate S.F.'s secret coast
Most people who cycle the waterfront rarely get farther south than SBC Park. After you cross Lefty O'Doul Bridge the promenade disappears, and both the road and the surroundings turn a bit dicey. But that's set to change with the Blue Greenway initiative, which hopes to complete the Bay Trail using a "green" corridor of winding paths through the southern waterfront. Envision what's to come at the Neighborhood Parks Council's free "Southeastern Waterfront Bike Tour," where guides Michael Alexander of San Francisco Beautiful and Josh Hart from the Bicycle Coalition explore the verdant, hidden charms of Agua Vista Park, Warm Water Cove, the Muwekma Ohlone Sanctuary, and Heron's Head Park. Get in gear at 10 a.m. at the Bike Hut, Pier 40 (near Embarcadero & Townsend), S.F. Riding along is free; call 621-3260 or visit www.sfneighborhoodparks.org.
-- Michael Leaverton