Volunteer Spotlight | Meet Amanda Ackerman

Amanda Ackerman
Amanda recently came out to work with us at the MLK Shoreline.

Meet Amanda Ackerman, an Environmental Engineer from Berkeley.

How many times have you volunteered with Save The Bay?
6 times: 1 Coastal Cleanup Day, 2 sheet mulching projects, 2 nursery days, and 1 planting

Do you have a favorite site or experience?
I love planting and working at the MLK Jr. Shoreline.

How did you get involved with Save The Bay?
I started on the Coastal Cleanup Day and kept on coming.

What is the best thing about volunteering with Save The Bay?
Knowledgeable and friendly staff, and seeing the impact you make in a day.

What other activities or hobbies do you enjoy?
Short hikes in the East Bay Regional Parks and urban farming.

What is your favorite thing about San Francisco Bay Area?
The close proximity between city and wilderness/parks. I have all the benefits of a city and can easily visit a park, no matter where I am in the Bay Area.

What is one thing you do each day to protect the environment?
Reduce waste where possible, and use public transit when it’s reasonable.

What is your first/fondest memory of San Francisco Bay?
The first time I was in the Bay Area I visited Muir Woods. If you can visit really early in the morning you can beat the crowd and see more wildlife/birds. The trees are huge and magical.

Anything else you want to tell us?
I love Save The Bay and how they merge education and allow the volunteers to get dirty and make a difference. I also appreciate the policy work they do.

You can join us all throughout the Bay for a planting, mulching, or nursery event. Sign up here

Back to School: A Day in the Field

Students planting along the MLK Shoreline
The students work to repopulate native plants along the MLK Shoreline.

Last month I attended one of our Restoration Education Programs, where our restoration team partnered with a local school to take 6th graders out to the Bay for a day of hands-on learning. After everyone had arrived and circled up a thought formed in my brain (and I know I wasn’t alone in this) – it was early and cold, didn’t everyone want to just go inside?

But, as the sun made its appearance and my coffee kicked in, the thought faded. The restoration staff had set up a scavenger hunt with facts about plants, the shoreline, and local wildlife. The kids were really excited about finding these nuggets of wisdom and they all wanted to read the facts out loud, but only a lucky few got the privilege. We wound our way down to the planting site and, after an early lunch, got to the event of the afternoon — planting! I was impressed to see the kids get straight to it without complaining and with gusto. Each student was asked to plant 10 seedlings, and most were determined to meet that goal — taking buckets of mulch and water, and prepared seedlings to the flagged spots.

I meandered about helping kids lay down the mulch and giving out compliments on their newly planted natives. I planted a few of my own baby plants in the ground and eventually the time came to clean up. Slowly everything was put back in its place and the students and restoration crew circled up to say goodbye. This particular class had been taught to do “appreciations” at the end of the school day and they were all eager to thank the crew.

At least once a week, our restoration crew takes kids out to the Bay to show them what it is we are trying to protect. And if all days go like this day did, hundreds of seedlings get planted and a number of happy students get to have a hand in restoring the Bay.

We are currently booking school programs for April and May. Learn more here.

Weekly Roundup January 18, 2013

weekly roundupThe recent collision of oil tanker Overseas Reymar with one of the Bay Bridge towers has brought attention to the too lax regulations governing ships in the Bay. For example, the rules restricting travel during fog exempt the Bay Bridge. Further investigation of the accident on January 7, reveals that a risky route change by the pilot was one factor in the accident, though strong currents and fog also played a role. With more towns facing flooding from super storms and rising sea-levels, the government has mandated its first-ever inventory of the nation’s flood control infrastructure. Many were found in urgent need of repair, leaving hundreds of communities vulnerable. The first marine “garbage patch” has been found in the South Pacific off the coast of Chile. Made up of floating plastic pollution, the center has the highest density of trash with 396,342 particles per square kilometer. A Pleasanton Gazette article highlights our community-based restoration programs, focusing on our efforts in the San Leandro Bay at The Martin Luther King Regional Shoreline.

Contra Costa Times 1/12/13
Lawmakers fail to protect us from San Francisco Bay shipping calamity
Much can go wrong in San Francisco Bay. Despite Bay Area News Group reporter Paul Rogers’ years documenting ship mishaps, lawmakers have failed to adequately protect residents and the environment from potential calamity.
Read more>>

San Jose Mercury News 1/15/13
Pilot in oil tanker accident switched course near Bay Bridge, during particularly difficult currents
Shortly before a 752-foot oil tanker collided in the fog with the Bay Bridge last week, the pilot of the huge ship changed course in a risky maneuver that placed the vessel into a difficult turn even as strong currents swirled around the bridge towers.
Read more>>

The Huffington Post 1/17/13
Levee Repairs Needed Across America, Including Washington, D.C., Dallas And More, Study Says
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Inspectors taking the first-ever inventory of flood control systems overseen by the federal government have found hundreds of structures at risk of failing and endangering people and property in 37 states.
Read more>>

5 Gyres Institute Blog 1/17/13
A New Garbage Patch Discovered: The South Pacific Gyre
Scientists from The 5 Gyres Institute have discovered the first evidence of a “garbage patch”, an accumulation zone of plastic pollution floating in the South Pacific subtropical gyre. The new study, published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin (http://bit.ly/V8tWuC) marks the first documentation of a defined oceanic garbage patch in the Southern Hemisphere, where little research on marine plastic pollution exists.
Read more>>

The Pleasanton Gazette 1/18/13
Restoring the Bay
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The sheer veracity of the statement is exemplified by Save the Bay organization that is now 51 years old. Thanks to their sustained efforts, the urban San Leandro Bay has supported endangered California clapper rails and a host of other species in its healthy tidal marsh. Restoration sites of the non-profit focus on the transition zone that is just uphill of the tidal marshes. This narrow zone supports creatures that seek refuge during high tides.
Read more>>


Weekly Roundup January 11, 2013

weekly roundupAn oil tanker hit the Bay Bridge early this week, fortunately causing only minimal damage, with no oil spilled. The cause remains unknown, but serves as a reminder that the rules governing tankers in the Bay are not strong enough. The Bay Bridge is exempt from the San Francisco Harbor Safety Plan, which advises ships not to navigate certain areas of the Bay with less than a half-mile visibility. High tides were back this week, reminiscent of the King tides but now accompanied by especially low tides too. The last remaining commercial fishery in San Francisco Bay was in full force this week, with schools of herring arriving in numbers unseen in past decades. The fishermen were out competing with local wildlife who were happily fattening up on this local delicacy. For once, there seemed to be enough for all. San Franciscans are celebrating new waterfront parks that are opening more of the southern end of the city to the public. If you want to get up close and personal with our local wetlands, and have a good time with your family, you might want to try geocaching. Read on to learn more.

CBS SF Bay Area 1/7/13
Oil Tanker Hits Bay Bridge Tower; No Spill Reported
An empty oil tanker caused minor damage Monday when it struck a tower in the middle of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge while navigating beneath the hulking span, officials said.
Read more>>

SF Chronicle 1/6/13
Dramatic tides carry great experiences
Last time around in mid-December, we called them king tides. They caused flooding in many tidal wetlands and lowlands edging San Francisco Bay. The levels of high and low tides fluctuate throughout the year, but this week’s highs mark the extreme in the next six months. In nature’s teeter-totter effect, uncommon negative low tides will follow.
Read more>>

Bay Nature 1/9/13
San Francisco Bay herring running at Mission Bay
The herring are running again in San Francisco, and it’s quite a show. Commercial fishing boats cast their nets in China Basin, at the mouth of Mission Creek, in the shadow of the Giants ballpark, and dozens of anglers threw small nets from piers and wharves all along the waterfront in Mission Bay.
Read more>>

SF Chronicle 1/10/13
Open future for city’s maritime past
The ghosts of San Francisco’s maritime past are getting some new company along the southern waterfront as the city works to bring people to sites previously open only to ships and seafarers.
Read more>>

Bay Nature 1/5/13
Cut Off from Nature or Take the Right Cut-off?
This is part of an occasional series of posts about the geocaching adventures of Bay Nature intern Paul Epstein and his son.
The wetlands defy easy access: crucially important to migrant bird populations and the health of the Bay, they are at the same time sometimes ugly, often muddy, and likely close to large, loud, smelly highways. Dad always enjoyed the concept of wetlands, though the reality was another matter. As an undergraduate, Dad had majored in a dead language, deep inside the walls of the Humanities. Recognizing that there was a larger world out there, Dad promised himself that he would take one class, not just in the adjacent corridors of the Sciences and the Social Sciences, but actually in a different college. Setting aside optometry, Dad took exactly one course in the School of Natural Resources, Political Ecology, in which he wrote exactly one, very lengthy paper on the loss of wetlands around the bay.
Read more>>

Volunteer Spotlight | Meet Jack Goldstein

Jack Goldstein
Jack recently volunteered with us at the Palo alto Baylands.

Meet Jack Goldstein, a student from Woodside.

How many times have you volunteered with Save The Bay?
This is my first time!

How did you get involved with Save The Bay?
Through the Young Men’s Service League (YMSL).

What is the best thing about volunteering with Save The Bay?
Getting to be in nature while volunteering.

What other activities or hobbies do you enjoy?
Playing music

If you could be one Bay plant or animal, what would it be and why?
Geese, because they can fly and they are awesome.

Sign up to volunteer with us here