The term "habitat restoration" refers to the process of restoring the functional aspects of a given ecosystem to a semblance of its pre-disturbed state. The reasons for the disturbances vary greatly but are caused by humans in almost every case. For this reason, we have a responsibility to ourselves and to future generations to try to put our natural areas in order.
Habitat restoration does not simply refer to wild areas or places visited only by biologists or hikers. Several of our restoration areas are within the city limits of San Francisco. One of them is Heron's Head Park, formerly Pier 98, in the Bay View/Hunter's Point District of San Francisco, one of the most beleaguered and environmentally violated areas in the city. The restoration of Heron's Head Park has become a focus of service learning for our organization, and offers prime opportunities for students.
The field of environmental restoration is one of the fastest growing fields of scientific and social research. It is one of the few fields of science which integrates individuals from a multitude of backgrounds and experiences. The scientific basis of it cannot be denied, which is why the Center for Habitat Restoration is based in the Biology Department at City College of San Francisco.
However, habitat restoration also provides a strong force for social change, particularly in areas with lower socio-economic standing, which have historically been the hardest hit in terms of environmental problems. Restoration offers a way for people to take back control of their communities and affect a positive change. This enhances a sense of stewardship and community pride. At CCSF and the Center for Habitat Restoration, we seek to offer students and members of the community opportunities to be of service to their communities while learning valuable skills and receiving college credit at the same time.