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By Elizabeth Real                          Follow East Palo Alto Today on
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February 23, 2017                   
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Looking at Blue Survey Whiskers

Attendees at Cooley Landing Art Installation
Linda Gass' Living Shoreline art installation in Cooley Landing attracted many local residents on February 11, 2017. Photos courtesy of Linda Gass.

Did you know that East Palo Alto’s Cooley Landing is home to thousands of species of plants and animals? Local artist, Linda Gass, highlights this fact in her artwork.

In 2015, Gass was selected by the Palo Alto Cultural Center to receive its Creative Ecology Art and Science Residency award. Gass chose Cooley Landing as the site for her exhibition. Her project engaged the community by hosting several events that explained the natural plants and animals that live in Cooley Landing. Community members helped with her project's temporary land art installation by placing blue survey whiskers into the ground to showcase the former shoreline.

This year, Gass is hosting a new event called the Living Shoreline to replace her temporary art installation with a permanent one. She is continuing her collaboration with Grassroots Ecology, a non-profit organization in Palo Alto, which provides volunteer-based environmental stewardship programs, to engage the East Palo Alto community in a fun, educational event that will also take place at Cooley Landing.

In addition to her collaboration with Grassroots Ecology, Gass is also working with the San Mateo County Sea Level Rise Task Force. She has funding from the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District and support from the San Mateo County Offices of Sustainability and Education for the project.

So far, Gass said that she has had the assistance of over 120 community members, teens as well as adults, to plant juncus patens—a tall, dark green native plant that is well-suited for the Cooley Landing climate - to replace the blue survey whiskers that were planted in her temporary installation.

Gass explained that the purpose of this project is to “add beauty and education[al] value to Cooley Landing” as well as instill a sense of “community pride from having helped to create the installation.”

One of the events took place on February 11, 2017 and the next event is scheduled for February 25 from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. In addition to helping with the installation, the community will learn about “how living shorelines can provide habitat, filter toxic water, and help protect against sea level rise at Cooley Landing.”

You can sign up for this event at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/create-a-living-art-installation-with-native-plants-at-cooley-landing-registration-30871500489