Every year, our Save The Bay team spends a summer day out of the office engaging in recreational activities around the Bay. The Summer Staff Outing is a day for staff to enjoy each other’s company and expand our understanding and appreciation of the Bay and the areas around us. These annual outings are also a great way for us to enjoy the beautiful Bay that we work to restore and protect every day.
Last year, our staff rented bikes and spent the day cycling around Angel Island. This year, we spent the day canoeing around San Leandro Bay, followed by a picnic at Crab Cove in Alameda.
Our day began at Tide Water Boating Station, along the Oakland Estuary at Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline. We had the privilege of going on one of the East Bay Regional Park’s recreation programs, a guided canoe trip that took us out on the Bay and gave us a unique perspective on our MLK nursery and many of our restoration sites.
After receiving a quick safety briefing from our instructors, we grabbed paddles and PFDs and began launching our canoes into the water. As I got into my boat, I spotted a familiar name written across the side of it: Esther Gulick, one of our organization’s founders.
It turns out that many of the canoes that we used that day were boats that had been donated to EBRP from Save The Bay. Our pilot education program Canoes in Sloughs, used to take kids canoeing out on the Bay to learn more about the estuary and the native species that depend on it. While we now teach by doing hands-on restoration programs with local schools, the tradition of Canoes in Sloughs lives on the through the EBRP recreational programs
While we were out on the water, we saw many of the native creatures that we work to save, including seals, pelicans, egrets, and cormorants. During our paddle, we got the chance to learn more about the natural history of the area, hearing stories from one of the EBRP naturalists about the formation of Arrowhead Marsh and it’s population of endangered Ridgway Rails, as we explored the perimeter of the site from the water.
After a few hours of paddling, we returned to the shore and got ready to head to Crown Memorial State Beach for lunch. When we arrived at the picnic site, we were greeted by a beautiful spread of fruit, salad and more. After eating we took to the beach, where we tossed around the Frisbee, watched the nearby kite surfers and played group games. We ended our day with a quick talk from Bay writer and natural history educator Joel Pomerantz.
After a fun-filled day of no work and all play, I returned to the office the next day feeling restored and inspired. It was great to be able to enjoy the Bay with my fellow Bay Savers, all of whom are so dedicated to protecting and restoring our most valuable regional treasure, the San Francisco Bay.