Donate Your Trees To The Elephants

We just noticed the Oakland Zoo is asking for dead tree donations, because zookeepers need to feed the elephants and other animals living there.  Now that we’re cleaning up from the storms, there’s plenty to share.  How can you resist?

The zoo specifically requests browse, or the tree branches that their beasts consume.  According to John Briggs, browse/elephant keeper, the zoo animals prefer five to eight feet long branches – and need a lot of fuel.

  • Here’s an official list of acceptable, delicious trees:  Acacia, Alder, Almond, Apple, Bamboo-Green, Birch, Bird of Paradise, Blackberry, Carob, Cotoneaster, Deciduous fruit trees, Elm (Ulmus), Eugenia, Hibiscus, Oak, Palm Frond-Green, Poplar, Plum, Roses, Maple-Silver, Maple-Sugar, Mulberry, Sweetgum (Liquidambar), Thistle, and Willow (Salix).
  • And here’s an official list of unacceptable, toxic trees:  Conifers, Eucalyptus, Elderberry, California Bay, Horsechestnut, Laurel, Olive, Maple-Red, Myrtle, Pepperwood, Pittosporum, Rhododendron, Walnut, Pear, Juniper.

Our zoo’s been on an endless and insatiable hunt for animal food.  For years, they were harvesting trees at the Oak Knoll Naval Hospital, but neglected to get required permits when the hospital closed.  In addition, some trees were illegally felled at the nearby King Estates Open Space.

Earlier this month, Zoo Director Joel Parrott offered his mea culpas and apologized for running afoul.   Since that’s water under the bridge, we should focus on helping the special creatures that roam across the Oakland Hills.  Elephants like Osh, Dunda, Lisa and Donna, as well as all the other zoo residents, need some decent meals and snacks!

To donate:  Please reach the Zoo’s John Briggs ( or 510-632-9525, ext. 266)  or Jeff Kinzley ( or 510-632-9525, ext. 225).  They can sometimes pick up trees but request drop-offs at the zoo.

A Typical Oakland Hills Painting

While walking today, we noticed a pretty winter scene due to the light and downed tree.  The sun was literally shimmering across the greenery, and it was absolutely gorgeous there.

We wish the intensity could be captured perfectly, but wanted to share this lesser-grade version.  With camera-phone at the ready, it’s always worth a valiant attempt!

In this case, a sad-looking tree and a little brush transformed into a misty Oakland Hills painting.  Have you captured any special views lately?  Please pass them along, and we’ll share them here.