The poppy planters

Bernie and Bob LoFaso

Photo By Robert Speer

We couldn’t help noticing the couple sitting on short stools, patiently working on the strip of dirt between the sidewalk and East First Street across from the CN&R offices, at the entrance to Annie’s Glen. What were they doing? As the weeks went by, our question was answered, as bright-yellow poppy blossoms began to appear beside the street. The couple turned out to be Bernie and Bob LoFaso, who moved to Chico when Bob retired four years ago. (He’d lived in the area in the 1980s, when he’d been executive director of the county’s Community Action Agency.) They explained that they’d sown poppy seeds along the strip and were nurturing them along.

What are you trying to accomplish here?

Bernie: We wanted to get involved, and the park seemed like the best place.

Bob: We saw this little stretch here and realized a lot of people go by every day.

You’ve adopted it…

Bernie: Yes we have. We thought that if we took the responsibility for one particular area, others might do the same. It’s less overwhelming to take one area.Bob: Chico is so proud that it has the ninth-largest municipal park in the country, but did you know there are only six employees to take care of it? Think about that. And none of them is responsible for Annie’s Glen. It’s an orphan.

Who takes care of it?

Bob: Susan Mason and Friends of Bidwell Park, mostly. The first time we came here, Susan was here, pulling out star thistle.Bernie: It was summer, really hot. Ann Schwab was here too. It was before she got elected to the City Council. They were working hard.

Bob: Maybe the News & Review would like to take it on. Then we could work on some other project.

I’ll bring it up at our next staff meeting.

Bernie: Just think how much we could get done if lots of Chico businesses agreed to take care of part of the park.Bob: People go to the health club to work out, but it’s so useless. Why not come out here and have fun?

Anyone interested in volunteering can e-mail