Making an Impact : Bay Restoration

Emily Stanford is a sophomore at Oberlin College studying biology. She is interested in becoming an ecologist and conducting research. During her winter break, Emily visited the Bay Area and volunteered her time to help with the horizontal levee project at Oro Loma.

Emily working with Save The Bay staff and volunteers at the Oro Loma Horizontal Levee project.

I first heard about Save The Bay through an alumnus from my school who recommended it as a great place to get experience doing basic field work. As an aspiring ecologist, I decided to travel to the Bay Area during my winter break to volunteer with them to see what I could learn and to make a positive impact on the area.

While there, we worked on restoring a wetland that would provide filtration at the Oro Loma water treatment plant in San Lorenzo. The ultimate goal was to plant 70,000 plants. Every day we alternated work by cutting roots and rhizomes from the plant beds, counting them, and replanting them in the mud. It was very dirty work, but it turned out to be very rewarding. I really enjoyed spending the days outside and it was awesome realizing how much work we had accomplished at the end of each day.

However, the best part about working with Save The Bay was being able to spend time with the awesome faculty and volunteers who came out every day. They were funny, enthusiastic, passionate about their work, and great to talk to. I had many awesome conversations with them and we often had fun by playing games while we worked. All in all, it was a great experience and I hope to come back if I am in the area again. I would highly recommend that anyone come out if they have a free day.

— Emily Stanford