My View of the Bay


view from downtown Oakland
view of the Bay from downtown Oakland

As a recent college graduate, I currently find myself swimming through this ocean of opportunities, trying to find an island and fruitful coconut tree to call my own. Last march I graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a B.A. in environmental studies and soon found myself back home in Oakland.

Though I consider Santa Cruz my second home, Oakland is still number one. Despite growing up in the Bay Area I have never mustered up the ability to take it for granted, and don’t really know how I could. Every time I catch a glimpse of the view, whether it be of the blue Bay waters, the San Francisco skyline, or Mt. Tam, a unique sense of place washes over me and I can’t help but let out a sigh of satisfaction. From the scenery to the food to the diversity of people and entertainment, what’s not to be grateful for?

Other than being a great place to live, I can’t think of a better place to pursue the environmental field. The Bay Area has always been at the forefront of environmental issues and is home to an abundance of green businesses, non-profits and like-minded people. With the hard-hitting reality of climate change upon us and the need to shift towards a more sustainable future, the environmental field only continues to grow. Yet trying to find a job, let alone attempting to discover what you’re truly passionate about in the first place, are not simple tasks.

After applying to a variety of environmentally related jobs, I decided to look into some part time internships aligned with my environmental interests. In October I applied for an office volunteer position with Save The Bay and have spent the past few months working on the communications team.

Working for Save The Bay has been a privilege. It’s given me the chance to pursue my love for the Bay, engage others and gain valuable insight into the world of environmental non-profits. Going into the future, it’s vital that young people get involved in Bay issues and never take this incredible natural treasure for granted. Keep providing for the Bay and the Bay will provide for you.

Learn more about our office volunteer positions here.

Volunteer Spotlight | Meet Tahmina Hossain

Meet Tahmina Hossain from Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Tahmina Hossain
Tahmina Hossain

How many times have you volunteered with Save The Bay?
First time.

How did you get involved with Save The Bay?
Encouraged by Solar City, my workplace.

What is the best thing about volunteering with Save The Bay?
It was a great sight to see so many people of different ages and ethnicities coming together to save the environment.

What is your favorite thing about the San Francisco Bay Area?
The beautiful weather and amazing scenery.

What is one thing you do each day to protect the environment?
Recycle and compost as much as possible.

Anything else you want to tell us?
Thank you for providing this amazing service to the community. Many of us want to help preserve our environment but don’t really know how to. Save The Bay makes it so easy and convenient, whether you have experience or not. Thank you for this amazing and gratifying experience.

Volunteer opportunities are available throughout the Bay Area. Sign up here

How the Bay was Born

the Bay area during the last ice age
The Bay Area during the last ice age

The Marin Headlands in 10,000 B.C.- no bridges, no San Francisco skyline, and no Bay. Instead, a large river meanders its way along a broad valley, then cuts west through a deep canyon later named the Golden Gate. From here, the river continues 30 miles west across a vast and lush plain, and pours into the Pacific Ocean.

It’s difficult to imagine the Bay Area without our beloved Bay, yet in terms of geologic time, the San Francisco Bay is an extremely young formation. 20,000 years ago, the Earth was in the depth of the last ice age. With so much water frozen in glaciers, the sea level was far lower than it is today and more land was exposed. Sea level was so low that the California coastline began 30 miles west of the Golden Gate.

Have you ever stood on Mt. Tam or another high view point and been able to spot the faint outline of the Farallon Islands? These Islands were once hills along the edge of the old coastline.

During the last ice age, the area now occupied by the Bay was a large river valley. Water draining from the Sierra Nevada and nearby mountain ranges formed a grand river that flowed through the Golden Gate, across the Farallon plain and into the ocean. Though the world was in an ice age, the climate in the Bay Area was not much different from today. The expansive Farallon plain and adjacent river valley supported an unimaginable diversity of large mammals; including mammoths, saber tooth tigers, American lions, bears, camels, buffalo, llamas and ground sloths. It was a true Eden, overflowing with life.

About 11,000 years ago the ice age came to an end. Glaciers around the world began to melt, and the sea level rose rapidly. The Farallon plain was flooded and seawater began to fill the San Francisco Bay at the rate of about 1 inch per year. As ice sheets in the Sierra Nevada melted, enormous amounts of water and sediment flowed down the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers. Much of this sediment accumulated on the shores of the Bay, forming mudflats and marshes that supported plants and wildlife. By 5,000 B.C. the sea level had risen 300 feet and San Francisco Bay was born.

Since its birth, San Francisco Bay has been a defining feature of our region. But we must remember that our region is continually evolving—through natural processes as well as human influence. Over the last 150 years humans have greatly altered the landscape and continue to do so. Sea level, as a result of climate change, is expected to rise 16 inches by 2050, which will also raise the level of the Bay. In order to preserve Bay shoreline habitat for wildlife and protect shoreline communities from flooding, we need to re-establish as much tidal marsh as possible as quickly as we can. We’re working with partners around the region to restore 100,000 acres of wetlands, which scientists say is the minimum the Bay needs to be healthy. Join us to help keep the Bay thriving into the next ice age!

Volunteer with Save the Bay here.

Watch this clip from Saving the Bay on how the Bay was formed

Volunteer Spotlight | Meet April Ann Fong

April Ann Fong
April is a biology instructor at Portland Community College

Meet April Ann Fong from Portland, Oregon

How did you get involved with Save The Bay?
I wanted to do restoration with a grassroots organization that does great environmental work.

What is the best thing about volunteering with Save The Bay?
Doing good things with great people

If you could be one Bay plant or animal what would it be and why?
Pickleweed because I would look like pickles.

Who is your environmental hero?
David Suzuki, Bill McKibben, Rachel Carson and John Muir.

What is your favorite thing about the San Francisco Bay Area?

What is one thing you do each day to protect the environment?
Public transportation.

Anything else you want to tell us?
I think it is important to inspire and teach everyone the importance of environmental stewardship, to provide the fool to do work and to have fun!

Volunteer opportunities are available throughout the Bay Area. Sign up here.


Weekly Round-Up November 18, 2013

newspaperCheck out this week’s Weekly Roundup for breaking news affecting San Francisco Bay

SF Gate 11/11/13
Cupertino becomes latest Bay Area city to crack down on plastic shopping bags
Six years after San Francisco led the nation in banning plastic bags, Cupertino is the latest city to follow suit. A new law makes it illegal for retail establishments to provide single-use plastic bags and allows the Cupertino stores to charge a dime for paper bags.Restaurants, nonprofit shops and dry cleaners, among others, are exempt from the city’s ordinance.
Read more>>

SF Gate 11/8/13
Public has a right to know about Google barge in the Bay
What in the world is Google building in the San Francisco Bay?
Why is it so difficult to find out what’s going on?
For weeks, the enormous barges (there’s one in Portland, Maine, as well) have invited wild speculation.
Read more>>

NBC Bay Area 11/12/13
Smaller Warriors arena still faces big fight
Backers of the Golden State Warriors’ new waterfront arena are prepping for a fight — with a smaller fighter.
Design 3.0 of the Warriors’ proposed new home at Piers 30/32 along The Embarcadero waterfront is now 125 feet high in the center and 110 feet along the perimeter, with more public space — enough to fit “three Union Squares,” a team spokesman said — to make it a “smaller version of Dolores Park in the water,” reported the San Francisco Chronicle.
Read more>>

SF Gate 11/12/12
Green paving helps the Bay, human health
Every time it rains, San Francisco Bay gets a little sicker. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Asphalt streets collect pollutants from motor oil to metals from brake pads to nutrients from garden fertilizers. Rains quickly wash it all into storm drains, local streams and the bay. When combined with decades of industrial pollution, storm-water runoff damages marine life and kills fish, leaving those that survive too toxic to eat. We cannot completely repair the bay’s ecology, but we can improve its health and ours by changing the way we build city streets.
Read more>>

San Francisco Chronicle 11/15/13
2 million oysters in Bay begin restoration effort
Two million native oysters have settled on man-made reefs in San Francisco Bay over the past year, marking the first major success in an effort to bring back a species ravaged by human excess, researchers said Thursday.
The reefs, made of mesh bags filled with discarded shells from Drakes Bay Oyster Co., are part of the most comprehensive experiment ever attempted to bring back the nearly extinct Olympia oyster and restore its long-lost reef habitat.
Read more>>

San Jose Mercury News 11/15/13
San Francisco Bay: Feds release 50-year, $1.2 billion plan to restore wetlands and wildlife. Noting that the ongoing effort to restore thousands of acres of marshes and wildlife around San Francisco Bay is the largest wetlands renaissance in the United States other than the restoration of the Florida Everglades, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Thursday unveiled a 50-year blueprint to finish the job.
Read more>>