A special message from Save The Day

After years of hard work, Save The Bay has decided to expand our mission beyond the scope of San Francisco Bay. With new threats to the Bay like climate change, urban pollution, and promise of an exponentially increasing population in the Bay Area, we feel that it’s time to shift our focus to what really matters, you!

As of April 1, our new mission is to inspire Bay Area citizens to Save The Day through random acts of kindness. Here’s what we mean:



Uh oh! No more half and half? Rescue a co-worker in need. A photo posted by Save The Bay (@savesfbay) on



We’ve all been there…spare a square for a buddy in need and help Save their Day! #sharingiscaring A photo posted by Save The Bay (@savesfbay) on

April fools!

At Save The Bay, we’re all for random acts of kindness, and that includes our beloved Bay. One real thing you can do to show some love for San Francisco Bay is by voting YES on Measure AA for a Clean and Healthy Bay this June 7, 2016.

Take Action Now: Pledge to vote YES on Measure AA for a Clean and Healthy Bay.

Calling all Bay photographers


A message from Save The Bay’s Staff Photographer:

As a photographer and manager of Save The Bay’s social media pages, one of the best parts of my job is to share your photos of San Francisco Bay on our Instagram feed. I personally think your Bay photos have the power to inspire and frame a vision for a cleaner, healthier Bay. That’s why I’m inviting you to enter our 2017 Save The Bay Calendar Photo Contest!

Whether you’re an avid photographer with a professional set up or a master phone photographer, I’m sure you have some great shots. And I’d love to see what you’ve captured!

Before you snap and submit your San Francisco Bay photo, here are a few things to keep in mind:

The subject matter:
Your submissions may include landscapes, wildlife, or recreation on the Bay; they can focus on open water, shoreline, or tidal marsh—from San Jose to Sonoma and anywhere in between. All we ask is that your photo connects with Save The Bay’s mission to protect, restore, and celebrate San Francisco Bay.

What’s in it for you:
The fame and glory of potentially having your photo published! And knowing that you contributed your photo to helping protect and restore our Bay. Along with copies of the calendar, featured photographers will receive a Save The Bay t-shirt, tote bag, a prize of $50, and cool gear from our friends at REI!

The technical aspects:
All photos should be landscape orientation and should be 3300 x 2500 pixels or larger. Please see terms and conditions outlined on our webpage. All photos must be submitted by April 15, 2016 for consideration.

How do we choose the winners?:
After the April 15, 2016 submission deadline, Save The Bay staff will select the top twelve photos that will be featured in the 2017 calendar. But, we still need your help in deciding which photo will grace the cover!

Phase two of our contest will take place on our Facebook page. Each day we will post one of the twelve photos on social media. Your Facebook likes, wows, and loves will all be counted as YES votes. The photo with the most combined votes wins. We will announce the cover photo winner May 1, 2016.

Young people for a clean and healthy Bay


The first time my science teacher taught me about climate change and the destructive impact it will have on our local communities and environment, I was devastated.

To me, easy access to the outdoors and the Bay shoreline is one of the best perks of living in the Bay Area. My earliest outdoor memory is when my Dad picked me up from kindergarten and took me to a creekside spot nestled in the foothills near Los Altos to beat the early summer heat. Without a care in the world, I splashed in the water, laughing so hard that my cheeks hurt.

Even today, I am my best self when walking along the Bay Trail or soaking in the views of the South Bay from its surrounding peaks. But I no longer visit these places just to have fun. The experience of being outside has helped me shed the burden of shouldering high expectations to do well in school and in life.

My love for the natural beauty of our region is no longer just an escape but is also a personal motivator. Today, as a member of the Communications Team at Save The Bay, I help brainstorm creative ways to inspire regional action on important issues including climate change, and carry out those messages via email, blogs, social media, and photography.

Right now is an exciting time to be part of the organization. In June, Bay Area voters will vote on Measure AA for a Clean and Healthy Bay — a $12 per year parcel tax to raise critical funds needed for restoration wetland restoration around the Bay.  My primary focus now is to help spread the word to get Measure AA passed.

Driven by the same impulse to make a difference in their communities and address climate change, Ethan, Rachelle, and Zia have also joined the movement to save San Francisco Bay. Together we are fighting on multiple fronts to address one of the biggest problems our generation now faces.

Finding activist roots in the Bay Area

IMG_2767Pressuring local policy makers to adopt laws that help make the Bay pollution free and surrounding communities resilient to a changing world — that’s the role Save The Bay’s Policy Associate Ethan Tucker plays each day to make his new home an even more desirable place to live.

Shortly after graduating college with a degree in Political Science, Ethan packed his bags and moved across the country to begin a new life in the Bay Area. He thought joining Save The Bay would be a great way to learn more about the Bay and it environment, as well as to better understand the ongoing political struggle to protect it.

Even as a newcomer, he’ll tell you that the Bay makes everyday life spectacular. On the way to work Ethan takes in the sweeping view of the Bay, the City, the Bridge, and the hills of Marin.

“I love that the thing I’m working to protect is so visible, so tangible, and so much a part of everyday life here,” says Ethan. “It makes the work feel really real.”

Even though Ethan’s work isn’t directly connected to the ballot measure, his work is still aligned with the mission to save the Bay. He hopes to see young voters carry on in that same spirit by passing Measure AA this June because it will show the world that we are committed to a more sustainable future.

Inspiring local volunteers

20160302_100619Also committed to passing a vitally important measure and inspiring others to do the same is Save The Bay’s Restoration Education and Community Engagement Specialist and Bay Area native Rachelle Cardona.

“The most rewarding part of my job is when my work has a noticeable impact on a volunteer or members of the public,” Rachelle exclaims. “Often times, people walking by our restoration sites while we are working congratulate us on a job well done and thank us for saving the Bay!”

For the past two years, she’s helped connect nearly 15,000 community volunteers to the edge of the Bay. Just last year, over 6,000 volunteers helped put over 12,000 native plants in the ground. As impressive as that is, Rachelle is quick to point out that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done and can only be done if Measure AA passes.

Our Bay wetlands help sustain life and are even capable of protecting communities from sea level rise. According to scientists, the Bay needs 100,000 acres of wetlands to thrive. At this moment, only 45,000 acres have been restored and more than 30,000 shoreline acres are already awaiting restoration, but the missing piece is funding.

Acting on climate

climate-march-2015To make matters worse, compared to other bodies of water in the United States, San Francisco Bay receives almost no federal help. And it’s that lack of support that also fires up Save The Bay’s newest Policy Fellow, Zia Grossman-Vendrillo.

“I don’t want my community to wait for a disaster to happen before feeling motivated to protect our shoreline and wetlands,” Zia tells me. “Supporting initiatives for climate adaptation and preparedness is crucial not just for the Bay and its wildlife, but also our low-lying bayside communities and economy.”

Like all of us, the Bay also has a special place in Zia’s heart. Fond memories of biking along the Richmond shoreline after school, watching the sunset over the Bay with her friends, and the story of how the Bay was saved from complete destruction in the 1960s are what inspires her to act on climate.

Prior to joining the movement to save San Francisco Bay, Zia and her friends traveled to New York City to march alongside 30,000 friends at the People’s Climate March in 2014.

In her blog, she writes, “In that moment, I didn’t feel like my actions and ideals were insignificant. I didn’t feel hopeless. My concerns and beliefs were real, they were powerful, and they were echoed and seen in the voices and faces of the strangers around me.”

The truth about climate change is much more than an inconvenience; it’s a global issue that demands our attention locally at this moment in time.

In our lifetime, Bay waters will rise 16 inches by 2050, scientists forecast unpredictable weather patterns and more intense storms — flooding miles of roadways and communities that are built at sea level.

While it may seem daunting and impossible to take on such big issues like climate change, it is possible for us to take the first step by voting YES on Measure AA for a Clean and Healthy Bay this June.

Your “Yes” vote will help raise $500 million to finally put large-scale restoration projects into motion and help create even more success stories, like the recent levee breaches at Sears Point in Sonoma and Bair Island near Redwood City.

“Young people have the most to gain from the clean and healthy bay measure,” says Ethan. “This whole process is about having a say in what the Bay Area looks like in years to come.”

By voting yes on Measure AA, we can all help keep San Francisco Bay thriving for years to come by funding restoration projects for the next 20 years. If you ask me, $12 a year is a small price to pay for sustaining a body of water that’s been a big part of my life and the lives of everyone who has will call the Bay Area home.

Take Action Now: Pledge to vote YES on Measure AA for a Clean and Healthy Bay.

Important Voter Deadlines:
Voter registration deadline: May 23, 2016
Vote-by-mail deadline: May 31, 2016
Primary Election Day: June 7, 2016

Sylvia McLaughlin, A life of impact


Touched by the news of Sylvia’s passing, reporters from the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and even Sylvia’s home state of Colorado paused to write lovely remembrances of her life and legacy. Here are some notable articles and remarks from the press.

Local Bay Area News Coverage:

Remembering Save the Bay’s Sylvia McLaughlin — KQED Forum  
Save The Bay Executive Director David Lewis sat down with host KQED Forum host Mina Kim for a conversation about Sylvia McLaughlin’s contributions to the environmental movement and her legacy.  Listen >

Sylvia McLaughlin, co-founder of Save the Bay, dies at 99 — San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle reporter Peter Fimrite chronicles the life of Sylvia McLaughlin from her early years to the formation of Save The Bay and her legacy as an environmental leader. Read more >

Save the Bay Co-Founder Sylvia McLaughlin Dies — KQED
Lindsey Hoshaw reflects on Sylvia’s life and the challenges she overcame to save the Bay. The piece ends with a 2008 interview with Sylvia about why she started Save The Bay. Read more> 

Sylvia McLaughlin: Champion for San Francisco Bay (1916-2016) — Bay Nature
David Loeb, Executive Director and Publisher of Bay Nature, reflects on Sylvia McLaughlin’s leadership and thanks her for showing how to get things done. Read more > 

Sylvia McLaughlin, last living founder of Save the Bay, dies at age 99 — Contra Costa Times
Reporter Dennis Cuff recounts the history of the movement to save San Francisco Bay started by Sylvia McLaughlin, Kay Kerr, and Esther Gulick. Read more >

Sylvia McLaughlin, lifelong Berkeley environmentalist, dies at 99 — Daily Californian 
Alexander Barreira writes for the Daily Californian, an independent student-run paper at UC Berkeley, reporting on the life of environmental trailblazer, Sylvia McLaughlin. Read More >

Other news:

Sylvia McLaughlin dies at 99; longtime San Francisco Bay environmental activist — Los Angeles Times 
Jill Levy reminds us that Sylvia’s activism was rooted in her love for the beauty of San Francisco Bay. That beauty inspired decades of advocacy and environmental successes. Read more>

Environmentalist Sylvia McLaughlin dies at age 99 — Denver Post 
News of Sylvia McLaughlin’s passing reported in a Colorado newspaper. Read more >

In Memoriam: Sylvia McLaughlin

In the days following Sylvia McLaughlin’s passing we received hundreds of emails, social media comments, and phone calls celebrating her life and legacy. Here are some of the most moving tributes to our co-founder.

“Her vision for the Bay was revolutionary even by today’s standards. So thankful for her dedication to our region’s greatest natural treasure.”
– Allison C.

“In the face of a multitude of environmental problems, Sylvia’s life reminds us of the power of optimism and determination. To keep pushing forward even when discouraged or set back. To never lose hope when fighting for what you believe in. That is how a true leader reaches such accomplishments.”
– Jon B.

“I am deeply honored every day to carry on the legacy of this great woman, of the vision she and her friends had to see San Francisco Bay as a natural treasure. Every time I catch a glimpse of our great bay, I am grateful for the work she did for all of us and inspired to keep working for a better bay. Rest in peace, Sylvia. I know that you are still enjoying the view.”
– Monica C.

“I had the great privilege of meeting and working with Sylvia throughout my tenure at Save The Bay. It was always such a pleasure to spend time with her because her stories were so inspirational, her wit was enviable, and her kindness and warmth were so welcoming. I never tired of telling others Save The Bay’s foundation story, nor did I ever tire of hearing it from Sylvia herself. She, along with Kay and Esther, did something truly remarkable and revolutionary — even for today’s standards — and I continue to draw inspiration from their courage and commitment everyday. She was such a gem, and she will be truly missed.” Amy R.

“In my work as a local activist, I remain inspired by the hard grassroots work Sylvia took up, believing that hope must be enacted if we are to save local places we love and spare the planet more devastation wrought by thoughtlessness and greed.” – Marilyn B.

I remember Sylvia as a force of nature — tireless in her advocacy for doing the right thing, and no less when that meant acting as the conscience of powerful people.  Not only SF Bay, but the entire community and the University are the beneficiaries of Sylvia’s dedicated energy and gentle but firm voice.”
– Rob G.

“Sylvia inspired whole generations of Bay area citizens to embrace and tirelessly advocate for our beautiful Bay. She was the embodiment of grit, grace, generosity and perseverance. May we honor Sylvia by carrying on her fierce love for the Bay for generations to come.” – Mary S.

“Sylvia, Thank you for changing so many lives so that we can enjoy your efforts in saving our Bay.  It seemed very apropos that you chose to depart on a day when many women were meeting in Oakland to try to carry on your legacy.  Thank you.” – Janet L. 

Greatness in passion, women at the helm, thank you Sylvia in making our jewel of the bay a lasting environmental masterpiece.”
– Catherine B.

“With great appreciation for a life well lived and for setting the bar so high for environmental activism and stewardship. I appreciate Sylvia’s work every time I walk or cycle the Eastshore waterfront — which is often — and think of how lucky we all are to have such a beautiful spot in an otherwise intensely urban environment. I am grateful for her efforts, Sylvia McLaughlin was one of a kind.” – Susan A.

“For over twenty years I had the pleasure and honor of working beside Sylvia on the board of Citizens for East Shore Parks, and she always had our mission clear, and she kept us steering the right course with graciousness, kindness and respect. Such a lovely, dear woman.” – Teddi B.

“She was a tireless worker and an inspiration to all Bay Area residents. We will miss her and always remember what she did for us and for California.”
– Velma K.

“Sylvia used her life on our tiny blue planet in a way that will long be remembered, and which beneficially served the multi millions of residents and visitors to the Bay Area.  One of the most important aesthetic and economic features is our Bay and this small, determined woman saved it for all of us.  Well done, Sylvia.  I salute your  well lived life and thank you for this beautiful legacy.” – Jan B.

“Thanks, Sylvia, for all that you did to keep our bay healthy. I am so thankful to have met you and remain truly inspired by your tremendous contributions.” – Mike O.

Oh what a legacy she leaves. Honing her advocacy in an age when women were to keep silent, she did not! She, Dorthy Erskine, and a host of other women saved our landscape, our bay, our region. Our hearts are sad tonight, but undoubtly she is now hard at work helping protect a higher realm.”
– Steve V.

“Kay, Esther, and Silvia…the grand goddesses of the movement… are all gone now which leaves us old acolytes to pick up and share their institutional memories. And the burden of the fight goes to you and the other younger warriors who have the knowledge, fire, and determination to continue to win the battle to protect the best of the past to create a better future. My deep sense of sadness is palpable.  Let us help where we can.  Continued good luck.” – Rod D.

“Sylvia was one of my husband, John Dewitt’s supporters and friend when he first started working under Newton Drury at the Save the Redwoods League in 1964.  I got to know her better at the League Council meetings and then as a guest in her home.  Her energy and determination was astounding.  I will never forget her generosity, commitment to conservation, and dedication to making this place a more beautiful, more healthy, and one that could be enjoyed by all who live here.  Her efforts changed the bay from a toxic place, devoid of any plant growth, invertebrate graveyard, unable to support bird or animal life, to a vibrant jewel that it is today.” – Karma D.

“One of the most important qualities in life is tenacity (or, I daresay, stubbornness), which Sylvia and her co-founders had in spades. They will always be heroes to California and to the world.” – Amber K.

“Sylvia spoke to the kids at Berkeley Montessori School about 10 years ago. She was passionate as she told the kids about how difficult it was to start Save the Bay (thousands of index cards with supporters’ names and addresses were written and filed, lots of old fashioned phone calls were made and letters sent). The kids were daunted by the thought of no computers, Facebook or email. Sylvia just smiled!” – Colleen N.

“Women like Sylvia McLaughlin are so important as role models to both men and women. I didn’t know her personally, but her example gives me courage to generate positive change in my own fields. I know she will be sorely missed by those who knew and loved her.” – Melitta V.

“Save the Bay co-founder Sylvia McLaughlin has long been one of my role models. Pushing on when people told her it wasn’t possible, advocating for what her community needed, leading with grace. The highlight of my time as Board Chair was escorting Sylvia to Save the Bay events, hearing her stories, learning from her wisdom. When I’m feeling stuck, I ask myself what Sylvia would do. Our world is a much better place because of her. I’m honored to have known Sylvia.” – Jody R.