2020 Highlights

Magic Intentional Community

Mag­ic entered 2020 as more than twen­ty res­i­dents and end­ed as twelve. Some depar­tures were long­planned; oth­ers reflect­ed people’s social rela­tions beyond Mag­ic and dif­fer­ent COVID-19 risk tol­er­ance. We who remained found the pan­dem­ic impe­tus to reflect, to learn, to grow, and to love. Diana and Harp­er shared dog-walk­ing for neigh­bors. Ali grew veg­eta­bles for all. Res­i­dent PhD Kathy Hug gave a stir­ring com­mence­ment address to cel­e­brate two res­i­dents’ earn­ing master’s degrees. Andrew, Jeff, Hilary, Ali, and David re-floored the shop. Robin, Jeff, David, Andrew, and Hilary “chopped wood and car­ried water” while strate­gic plan­ning. We host­ed “din­ners-at-a-dis­tance.” Every­one pitched in to plant shrubs and vines, build trel­lis­es, lay mulch, and move the piano of Jeff’s youth from Los Ange­les to the 373 upstairs commons.


We ren­o­vat­ed the Mag­ic web­site (ecomagic.org) to empha­size inte­grat­ed val­ue­science the­o­ry and prac­tice. We Zoomed week­ly the­o­ry class­es to include peo­ple liv­ing out­side Mag­ic, and we mod­i­fied prac­tices such as week­ly yoga in Peers Park to be more COVID-19 pru­dent. We updat­ed the course web­site (valuescience.org) to make syl­labus, quizzes, read­ings, and oth­er resources freely available.

Silicon Valley Barcode of Life

After ear­ly 2020 pre­sen­ta­tions to a total audi­ence of 200, Jen and Hil had recruit­ed ample vol­un­teers to col­lect anoth­er round of arthro­pods for DNA bar­cod­ing. With COVID-19, they shelved that plan, and piv­ot­ed to draft­ing a report of bio­di­ver­si­ty at Hid­den Vil­la, revamp­ing the SVBOL web­site, and con­duct­ing a pilot DNA bar­cod­ing for the Mono Lake Committee.

Habitat Stewardship

In Jan­u­ary, Mag­ic plant­ed and main­tained pri­or “Sec­ond 100 Years” plant­i­ngs with dozens of vol­un­teers. One group sup­port­ed a col­lab­o­ra­tion with biol­o­gy pro­fes­sor Tad Fuka­mi (pic­tured at event with son) in an exper­i­ment to study mon­key flower micro­bio­me. Then came COVID-19. We sus­pend­ed work with out­side vol­un­teers, and watered and main­tained these and pri­or years’ plant­i­ngs with in-house crews.

Reduce Waste. Feed People.

A fun­da­men­tal pur­pose of Mag­ic is direct ser­vice to those in need. This year vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions bore the addi­tion­al bur­den of pan­dem­ic. We start­ed 2020 col­lect­ing donat­ed food at the Cal­i­for­nia Avenue Farm­ers’ Mar­ket as we have for more than a decade. Then COVID-19 arrived. Peo­ple lost jobs. Our social ser­vice agency part­ners scram­bled to serve a grow­ing client base. Farm­ers kept giv­ing. We col­lect­ed, sort­ed, and deliv­ered. Agency part­ners bun­dled and dis­trib­uted. Hun­gry peo­ple enjoyed this agape feast, and all who con­tributed celebrated.

Magic Family

When COVID came, we adapt­ed. Harp­er, Andrew, and Hil became even more ripped. David and Jeff biked to emp­ty beach­es. Ali and Hil wrote for Nature Meth­ods. Harp­er became everyone’s bar­ber and built a road bike from spare parts. Jeff Zoomed with his band. Jen com­plet­ed art­work com­mis­sions and made pre­mier record­ings of 5/4 waltzes. We cel­e­brat­ed Jen’s and Hil’s 21st birth­days with din­ner at the ocean. When 100°F heat and wild­fire smoke came, we adapt­ed. Rohit loaned his car to the younger set for their first solo road trip, an escape to the Smith Riv­er. Hilary, Jen, and David found refuge with David’s sis­ter and broth­er-in-law in Col­orado. At Thanks­giv­ing, we recom­mit­ted to shar­ing privilege!