I know I am not alone in feeling a deep bond to the diverse landscapes of the Bay Area. I was fortunate enough to spend my childhood living in the Bay Area and exploring everywhere from the redwoods and grasslands to the marshes and sand dunes. Those moments have driven me to give back to the land that has given so much to me.
I am overjoyed to be joining Save the Bay as its Nursery Specialist. I was introduced to Save the Bay this past summer, when I participated in the fellowship program as the Nursery and Habitat Restoration Fellow. I felt inspired by the three women who started Save the Bay in 1961, and by the resourceful people I worked with on the habitat restoration team, who give their all every day.
Luckily, working closely with plants wasn’t new to me. I spent years gardening in several urban farms throughout Berkeley and Oakland. For two years, I managed an educational farm that is part of a summer camp in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.
When I returned from the mountains I had the opportunity to work with the Golden Gate Parks Conservancy as a habitat restoration technician — work that I realized is quite similar to gardening! It was rewarding to get to know the landscapes I grew up with in an entirely new way, through the lenses of the endangered and endemic species whose habitats were threatened by human development. I felt so aligned with habitat restoration work, as it offered a truly reciprocal relationship with the landscape.
I also assisted at the Presidio Native Plant Nursery, which grows plants for restoration projects throughout the Presidio Trust. I relished the detail-oriented nature of this work and admired the tiny scale at which nursery initiatives operate. Planting small seeds and watching them sprout is my version of magic, and I feel lucky to facilitate this process every day!
Native plant nurseries are essential components of habitat restoration. Since the areas in which we work have been degraded so heavily, the natural balance that allows native plants to grow and flourish in an ecosystem is not yet in place. Nurseries are safe spaces for native plants to become strong before they are planted at a restoration site.
As the nursery specialist I am humbled to be able to grow over 30,000 plants a year for our restoration projects in tidal wetlands throughout the Bay Area. This number will continue to grow, as our projects expand in the coming years. With 90% of natural tidal wetlands in the Bay Area lost, habitat restoration is a critical step towards healing tidal wetlands. They serve an irreplaceable role in climate change mitigation, and in protecting them, we protect numerous species, including the endangered Ridgeway’s Rail and Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse that call the Bay Area home.
I am especially looking forward to our public nursery programs, where I have the privilege of sharing our fun and rewarding work with all of you!