Notes from the Field | A dumpster full of weeds

What do we do with all these weeds at Ravenswood Pond?? Thanks to Budget Dumpster for helping us get rid of all those invasives.

Over the past few months Save The Bay’s Habitat Restoration Team has had to adapt our programs because of the severe drought we are experiencing throughout California.  The warm weather and lack of rain has curtailed our ability to plant native seedlings and in many cases non-native invasive species, like slenderleaf iceplant, have begun to germinate early.  In order to manage these new issues, we have been fortunate enough to have an army of dedicated volunteers, park rangers, and companies who have stepped up to help. Together, we’ve spent countless hours watering and mulching existing seedlings and weeding those pesky invasives that are now competing against the native plants.

We’ve been lucky to get help from some unexpected places. Recently, we were contacted by Kevin Robert Rossignol, who is the Outreach Coordinator for Budget Dumpster.  As luck would have it Kevin offered us a free dumpster bin rental, which usually cost around 400 dollars to rent!

Now you might ask, why would Save The Bay need a dumpster?  Well, the location of some of our sites makes it difficult to dispose of invasive non-native weeds like slender leaf ice plant.  Sometimes we have to resort to composting these weeds them on site.  Since these plants can easily spread from the compost pile and be reintroduced to the restoration site, it’s best to get rid of these plants all together.  Our restoration site at Ravenswood Open Space Preserve in Menlo Park needed some tender love and care and with Budget Dumpster’s generous donation we were able to remove hundreds of pounds of invasive species.

Budget Dumpster donates dumpster bin rentals to various organizations every quarter and I just wanted to give a big thanks to Kevin Rossignol and all those at Budget Dumpster for their help!

Notes from the Field | Re-conceptualizing Nature: Discovery the Natural World in an Urban Setting


Palo Alto Baylands
Urban landscape meets the shoreline at the Palo Alto Baylands. Photo by Jess Madding

Growing up on the Peninsula, my primary interactions with the natural world were separate from my everyday life: hiking in the Sierras, school trips to outdoor education facilities in Santa Cruz or Point Reyes, or tromping around in Tahoe snow.

My encounters with nature shifted in college, as I discovered numerous ponds, lakes, nature trails, and even climbing destinations on the outskirts of Boston. However, it wasn’t until working for Save The Bay that my perception of nature was truly challenged.

Most of Save The Bay’s restoration sites have urban backdrops: Oracle Arena can be seen from our sites along the Oakland Shoreline, the Dumbarton Bridge is adjacent to our Ravenswood Pond site, and our Creekside site in Marin is below swing-sets and jungle-gyms at Hal Brown Park.

Teaching environmental education surrounded by man-made structures has given me a new vision of experiencing “nature.” At first, I worried about my ability to instill students with the same wonder at the natural world I felt in more secluded locations. However, this fear evaporated as I witnessed excited students discovering how to identify native plants and unearth purple shore crabs along the shoreline, even on levees or armored shorelines.

Ultimately, the meeting of a city landscape and the Bay shoreline provides local residents with more connection with our tidal marshes. These marshes protect our cities from flooding and provide habitat so that we can experience the awe of seeing a fox or hearing the call of an endangered clapper rail.

Spend some time connecting with nature in your own backyard – volunteer with us.

Notes from the Field | Earth Day around the Bay

In celebration of Earth Day, this past weekend Save The Bay partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge, REI, the Lucy Evans Nature Center, the Environmental Volunteers Eco Center, and a total of 76 community volunteers to clean up and restore habitat at several sites along the San Francisco Bay shoreline.  Each of our programs offered a unique opportunity to get outside and experience the beauty of SF Bay, as well as learn about our local ecosystems.

Ravenswood Pond in East Palo Alto

Earth Day at Ravenswood
Volunteers learn more about the Bay before helping to restore Ravenswood Pond. Photo: Judy Irving (c) Pelican Media

This pond is a top priority in the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project – the largest tidal wetland restoration project on the West Coast – and has undergone construction to become a reconfigured managed pond that tests multiple approaches to nesting islands and habitat for shorebirds and other pond-dependent species. Save The Bay and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been partnering at this site since 2008 to remove trash and non-native species, and reestablish native habitat.

This past weekend 38 volunteers contributed to the restoration of Ravenswood Pond by removing over 600 pounds of invasive, non-native slender-leaf ice plant, as well as 40 pounds of trash from the along the road and tidal marsh transition zone.

Palo Alto Baylands

The Palo Alto Baylands consists of approximately 1,940 acres in Palo and East Palo Alto. This area was originally purchased in 1921 for the development of a municipal airport, salt-water swimming pool, yacht harbor and clubhouse, playgrounds, picnic groups, golf course, and game reserve. In the 1960s, local activists – including Lucy Evans and Harriet Mundy – fought for the protection of the Baylands’ natural habitats, halting a $30 million private development plan. In 1992, the Emily Renzel Wetlands restoration project was completed with a $1,000,000 grant from the California Coastal Conservancy. Save The Bay has been partnering with the City of Palo Alto at several sites in the Palo Alto Baylands since 2001 – removing trash and non-native plants, and planting native seedlings.

Weeding at Compass Point
Volunteers removed 780 pounds of invasive plants at Compass Point.

This past weekend 38 community members volunteered at the Save The Bay Palo Alto Native Plant Nursery, and Compass Point. They removed 780 pounds of invasive, non-native mustard and radish, watered native seedlings that were planted this past winter, and propagated over 700 new native plant species to be planted next year.

Thank you everyone who contributed their time this past weekend!

As Margaret Meade said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

At Save The Bay we will continue to give back each weekend with the help of community members like you. Come join us!