Opening Day on the Bay is a long-standing tradition to launch the boating season on San Francisco Bay. Since 1917, sailors have paraded their vessels as a celebration of spring and their love for sailing the waters of our beloved Bay.
The parade’s theme this year was “Heroes on the Bay” and the Berkeley Yacht Club chose to honor Save The Bay’s founders for their entry. They gave us a call to see if we had any images of Sylvia, Kay, and Esther that could be used to fit the theme. Fortunately, we held onto a long banner picturing the founders from our 50th anniversary gala, which the club was able to rig up on the front of a sailboat named Oksza.
The image of our founders flew proudly above San Francisco Bay, and a Save The Bay flag flew high above a long banner reading “Protection and Restoration”. Club members were inspired to introduce the story of these local environmental heroes to a new generation of Bay enthusiasts. Plus, the Oksza took 2nd place sailboat in the parade!
Patti Brennan from Berkeley Yacht Club said, “It was a memorable moment to see the original founders of Save the Bay inspiring a new generation. Berkeley Yacht Club and its members are honored both to have had this opportunity and to receive this award.”
Thanks to the Berkeley Yacht Club for celebrating Sylvia McLaughlin, Esther Gulick, and Kay Kerr, as Heroes on the Bay!
The warm summer sun had burnt off the fog lingering above the San Francisco Bay on a bright beautiful Sunday afternoon in June. It was a perfect day to get out on the water and go sailing. My father and I had been talking of sailing together ever since I joined the Cal Sailing Club in spring of 2013, and today was finally the long awaited day to go. We suited up in our life vests and raised the sails of a small Bahia to venture out near the Berkeley Marina.
Every time I go sailing in this pocket of the Bay between the Marina and Point Emeryville, I think of how this area could have been drastically different if it weren’t for the 3 women that started the organization I work for now, Save The Bay.
The area I sail today in the 1950’s was slated for development, filling in the shallow waters of the Bay for more commercial and residential space, and expanding the city of Berkeley 4 square miles westward into the Bay. But thanks to Kay Kerr, Sylvia McLaughlin, and Esther Gulick who led a coalition of 10,000 members in its first year, Save The Bay was able to stop this project from becoming reality and changed the course for any further development on the Bay. Now I am able to enjoy long sunny afternoons on the water practicing my sailing skills as others pass windsurfing, kite surfing, kayaking and more.
My father and I spent hours traversing the waters back and forth as I showed him my tacks and jibes, how to adjust the sails and what to do if the boat did capsize (which he was very happy to see that it didn’t happen). It was a great day for us to bond, showing off my new hobby and having some great conversation, with beautiful views of the Golden Gate and the San Francisco skyline.
Bay Area residents are so lucky to be living in such an incredible place, but how often do we really get out and enjoy it? I am very happy to say that with the work my organization has done, I am able to enjoy the immense beauty the Bay has to offer and share it with people I love. I encourage all to do the same.
Check out this week’s Weekly Roundup for breaking news affecting San Francisco Bay.
SF Gate 8/23/13 Dunkin’ Donuts searches for foam cup alternative
Dunkin’ Donuts sells more than 1.7 billion cups of coffee around the world each year – and many of those are served in a foam cup. That volume of trash would make any environmentalist pop a vein, and the doughnut chain’s disposable cups even became the topic of a Change.org petition that’s drawn nearly 125,000 signatures. Read more>>
Marin Independent Journal 8/24/13 Volunteers pull invasive plants, protect marsh wildlife at Kentfield park
Mulcahy was one of 10 volunteers participating in the clean up at the Kentfield park Saturday. Members of Save The Bay, an organization that restores Bay Area habitats, organized the event in partnership with the Marin County Parks and Open Space District as part of an ongoing effort to protect the brackish marsh near the park. The organizations have been teamed up for about a year, holding 10 events to remove non-native plants, plant native ones and gather litter at the site — the only one in Marin County that Save The Bay helps maintain. Read more>>
SF Gate 8/25/13 Sailing from the dock of the Bay
We tugged waterproof pants on over our own, zipped ourselves into jackets, dragged life vests over our heads and then, over those, bibs (to prevent any Velcro straps or zipper pulls getting entangled with the boat stuff). Then came the thrill, a sail aboard an Extreme 40 Catamaran, a fast boat that was state-of-the-art about two Cups ago.
We clambered aboard a variety of vessels to make our way – a strange term to use for water transportation, but the trip from the pier to catamaran involved two separate inflatable boats, the first of which sped through the water under the Bay Bridge – to the catamaran. En route, we strapped on helmets. Read more>>
BBC News 8/26/13 Sea otter return boosts ailing seagrass in California
The return of sea otters to an estuary on the central Californian coast has significantly improved the health of seagrass, new research has found. Seagrass was deemed to be heading for extinction in this region before the otters returned.But scientists found that the animals triggered a chain reaction of events that boosted the water-dwelling plants. The urbanisation of California has led to a huge increase in nutrient pollution in coastal waters, from increasing use of nitrogen-rich fertilizers. Read more>>
Mercury News 8/27/13 San Jose approves foam food container ban
San Jose will become one of the largest cities in the nation to ban plastic foam food containers when a law the City Council passed Tuesday takes effect next year. The council voted 9-2 to approve an ordinance that would ban the foam containers starting in January for large multistate restaurant chains and extend to small neighborhood eateries and other businesses a year later. San Jose is one of the largest among dozens of cities and counties including 70 in California that have approved bans and restrictions on the foam containers, which environmentalists say become more persistent and pervasive pollutants that harm wildlife than other packaging material that breaks down more easily. Read more>>
Marin News 8/28/13 Cigarette eater meter in San Rafael collects 50,000 cigarette butts
Three months after its installation, a public art piece called a “cigarette eater meter” has collected 50,000 cigarette butts and in turn raised money for a local nonprofit. The 7-foot-tall meter was placed in the San Rafael city plaza on Fourth Street on May 30 as part of an effort by the San Rafael Clean Coalition to get litter off city streets. The coalition, a group of organizations and volunteers focused on keeping the city tidy, wants people to retrain themselves not to throw cigarette leftovers on the ground. Read more>>
Save The Bay’s restoration team and dedicated volunteers have been hard at work this summer making sure those pesky invasive plants are removed while watering the thousands of native plants that were installed during last winter. This Saturday July 20th, Save The Bay and REI are partnering for the 2nd annual Ring Around the Bay Day. Get outside with us and help restore the Bay. Sign up today!
We love working on the Bay, but we also love to play. I asked my Restoration Team what they have been up to this summer. Here are 5 fun ways to appreciate San Francisco Bay:
1. Boating. If you have been lucky enough come out to one of our Saturday public restoration events you have probably met Jon, known around the office as our “Inspector of Ingenious Innovation”. Jon works as the Restoration Project Specialist, but in between tending to his enormous garden or practicing his banjo he is learning to sail. He is well on his way to receiving his Junior Skipper certificate after long hours learning all the ins and outs of sailing on the Bay. “I grew up here and went to school at UC Berkeley, but I had never really experienced the Bay. Now I get to go out on the water and enjoy the bay up close and personal!” If you want to learn how to sail check out Cal Sailing Club.
Many of my co-workers that they have begun using the ferry more (especially during the BART strike) and they are even planning a trip to Angel Island. Many of the marshes that surround the Bay have canoe and kayak launches that can give you a unique opportunity to bird watch and explore the nooks and crannies of the salt marsh.
2. Mountain Biking. Seth is Save The Bay’s Restoration Program Manager and an avid outdoor enthusiast. When he is not running rivers as a guide in the Sierra foothills (which he explained was a part of the SF Bay’s watershed) he loves mountain biking around China Camp State Park. This park is a beautiful example of relict salt and brackish marsh with untouched upland transitional habitat.
3. Hiking.Check out the Bay Trail. It was not too long ago that the San Francisco Bay was in dire need of help. By the late 1950’s there were only about 4 miles of publicly accessible shoreline and unregulated pollution flowed freely into our water. With the help of people all across the Bay Area we have made the bay not just a body of water to drive over, but a place for every person to enjoy.
4. Rock climbing. When I asked Doug, our Nursery Manager and jack of almost all trades (he has yet to learn the rules to Jai Alai), how he has been enjoying his summer he told me about his urban rock climbing adventures. One of the best places to rock climb which puts the bay front and center is Indian Rock in Berkeley.
5. Kite flying. I was recently working at one of our many restoration sites and as the fog burned off I began to feel the summer heat. Invasive fennel is no joke! As I pick axed my way through another massive fennel plant I was beginning to feel the initial eagerness to take on such a formidable foe waning with every bead of sweat dripping off my head. But then, the cool bay breeze began to blow giving me a respite from the midday sun. I use that wonderful bay wind to my advantage when my friends and I go to Cesar Chavez Park in Berkeley to fly kites. I never realized how much fun it could be to be tugged around by the wind! There are many parks right on the bay that provide a perfect opportunity to fly a kite.