Nurturing Open Spaces

Submitted by Deedee Morrison


Client: Pleasanton Public Art Program

Location: Pleasanton, CA, United States

Completion date: 2019

Artwork budget: $30,000

Project Team


Deedee Morrison

Morrison Design Studio

Industry Resource

Doug Smoak

Smoak Fabrication

Industry Resource

Russell Smoak

Smoak Landscape Design


Nurturing Open Spaces = City of Pleasanton Public Art Project for Bernal Park. 9' Laser Cut & Polished Stainless Steel. Quercus douglasii, known as blue oak, is a species of oak endemic to California. Blue oak covers about 3 million acres and is one of the largest ancient forest type in California – but they are imperiled. These beautiful woodlands are one of the largest ecosystems in California, but they are imperiled by agricultural development and suburbanization. These ancient woodlands contribute to watershed protection and preserve an important component of the eroding biodiversity of California.


Growing native plants in your yard adds beauty but more importantly adds habitats for wildlife, especially for pollinators. Even a small backyard garden can make a big difference. Pollinators have evolved with native plants, which are best adapted to the local growing season, climate, and soils. Most pollinators feed on specific plant species — hummingbirds sip nectar from long, tubular honeysuckle flowers, while green sweat bees prefer more open-faced sunflowers. Non-native plants may not provide pollinators with enough nectar or pollen, or may be inedible to butterfly or moth caterpillars. The goals were to encourage participation and support from local residents to plant backyard gardens with native flowering species to restore habitat for native pollinator species.


I worked with the City of Pleasanton' landscape architects to determine which pollinator species were native to the region. I then took this pollinator species and used them to create the art patterns that are laser cut into the stainless steel. Many, many butterflies, moths, bumble bees and other pollinator species are disappearing their natural habitat ranges. Why are pollinators in trouble? It appears that habitat loss and pesticide poisoning account for much of the population declines. We can do our part to support pollinators by creating pollinator friendly gardens and protecting wildlife habitat. Just as in nature, healthy human ecosystems are imperative to the health and wellness of our communities. Pleasanton is an example of an important ecosystem that supports, nourishes and sustains the members in its community.

Additional Information

A grouping or a field of wildflowers is one of the most beautiful experiences we can encounter in nature. But wildflowers also support entire ecosystems for pollinators, birds, and small animals on a micro scale. Butterflies and other insects, small birds, and animals depend on seeds, nectar, and pollen for their food supply and life support system.The natural plants have adapted to an amazing array of habitats and microclimates in the region, achieving a balance with other living things and forming the foundation for all life.