Going to the Roots: Our New Name and Logo

By Erin Banks Rusby, Project Manager

Earlier this month, we announced that the Acterra Stewardship program is now an independent, fiscally sponsored project of Acterra: Action for a Healthy Planet. As part of this transition, we want to start broadening our connection to the local community through social media (Instagram and Facebook), as well as this blog. The Eco Roots blog will give a behind-the-scenes look at our work and what inspires us to improve the habitat of California’s native ecosystems.

To start, we thought we’d share about how we arrived at our new name, Grassroots Ecology, and the accompanying logo. Indeed, it was quite the journey! We started back in February by brainstorming as a staff what our core values and interests are that make the work that we do appealing and engaging to our volunteers. We also asked friends, family, and volunteers about what values and words came to mind when they thought of us. From there, staff contributed to a massive Google Sheet that contained over 450 words we associate with our name as well as creative name ideas.

We explored many possibilities. Words included scientific names of plants that sounded catchy, such as, “quercus” and “stipa,” as well as people-focused words, like “community,” “share,” and “collaborate.” We came up with some enjoyable though impractical names, favorites being “Stewards Californica” and “Parks and Restoration.” We also considered acronyms, such as “South and West Bay Ecosystem Action Team” (SWEAT) and “Bay Area Restoration Network” (BARN). In the end, our new name, Grassroots Ecology, rose to the fore because of its dual allusion to two core aspects of our program: 1) our focus on planting locally native plants to improve the native ecology and biodiversity of our area, and 2) our grassroots work with the community to educate and engage volunteers in habitat restoration.

With our new name solidified, we were on a path to a new logo. We agreed that an image of native grass with its roots visible would reflect the name best. However, it proved a formidable task to create a realistic looking native grass in a logo that needs to look good both large and small. Ultimately we modeled the logo off of the state grass of California, purple needle grass, a species that we use a lot in restoration due to its deep roots. We ultimately decided we liked the look of the negative space to show the grass rather than a colored drawing of a grass, but wrote the word “Ecology” in the same color of purple that gives the grass its name.

After months of collaboration, we are excited to share our new name and logo with you all! In the months to come, we look forward to seeing you at our volunteer events and connecting with you on our revamped Facebook and Instagram pages, monthly and weekly newsletters, and monthly blog.