The Strawberry Creek Watershed Project

The Strawberry Creek Project was born out of a desire to help offer the wider community a peek into the history of West Berkeley. The area around Poet’s Corner is rich with natural and social history that many community members may not be aware of. Strawberry Creek is a year-round creek that flows from the Berkeley Hills to the San Francisco Bay. Because of the powerful springs from which it arises, it provided sustenance for the many plants, trees, and animals, including bears and eagles, which thrived here for thousands of years. The neighborhood was once the home of Ohlone people who lived on the banks of the creek for at least 5000 years. Strawberry Creek, which is now hidden beneath culverts and concrete, once rushed through the neighborhood filled with salmon—and with so many shell fish that huge shell mounds, made of shells discarded by the native peoples, abounded in the area. The area was strongly affected by the gold rush in the mid-1800s, and home to a thriving Finnish community in the first part of the 1900s. The political debate between the socialist and communist factions of the Finnish community contributed to Berkeley’s long and enduring reputation as a place of social debate and discussion.

In collaboration with BASE Landscape Architecture and other community groups, we researched the history of the land and the creek, and constructed a 36” by 24” informational placard, which will soon be affixed to the side of the Sacred Stream Center. You can view the placard here. If you would like to contribute to this project and help us offset the costs of creating this educational resource for the community, please consider making a donation here.