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California: Taking Care of Grove Helps Families to Heal

September 16, 2011

This Saturday, the National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park will mark its 20th anniversary. Like the third Saturday of every month, this will be a workday at the grove, with 100 or so volunteers weeding, planting, pruning, and reflecting.


The grove's first tree planted in remembrance of someone lost to HIV/AIDS was a redwood, placed by San Francisco's mayor at the time, Art Agnos, on Sept. 21, 1991.

Since then, the grove has grown with the help of 500 volunteers and 120,000 donated hours of labor. The nonprofit National AIDS Memorial Grove organization privately raises money for the memorial's $420,000 annual operating budget.

The 13-acre tract, which forms a natural bowl, was secured through a 99-year city lease in exchange for funding a full-time gardener in perpetuity. By World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, the grove hopes to unveil an $80,000 waterfall, which will course through rocks and spill into a pool at the Circle of Peace, cross under the stone plaza and flow an additional 350 feet into Dry Creek. Groundbreaking on that project takes place this Saturday.

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Excerpted from:
San Francisco Chronicle
09.13.2011; Sam Whiting

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