Notes from the Field: Introducing Donna Ball, Habitat Restoration Director

Donna Ball
Meet Donna Ball, Save The Bay’s new Habitat Restoration Director.

I am excited to have this opportunity to introduce myself as the new Habitat Restoration Director for Save The Bay.  I have followed and supported the work of Save The Bay since moving to the Bay area and feel very fortunate to be joining an incredible staff of passionate, energetic, dedicated people who are committed to protecting and restoring San Francisco Bay.

I am joining Save The Bay with over 10 years of experience working as a salt marsh ecologist in estuaries on the West Coast, and have worked on numerous marsh restoration projects in San Francisco Bay, Elkhorn Slough, and Humboldt Bay.   I have also worked in a variety of habitats in the Bay area in my last 7 years as a restoration ecologist for H. T. Harvey & Associates before coming to Save The Bay, but salt marshes are by far my favorite.

I love almost any outdoor activity, but am very much at home in a pair of knee boots mucking about in the mud or along the edge of a marsh.   San Francisco Bay is ringed by a unique combination of marshes and wetlands and provides an opportunity to enjoy a variety of wildlife and habitats.  I find it amazing that I live where I can leave the heavily-populated urban environment and traffic-filled highways and within a short period of time be near large expanses of marsh where I can hike, bike, birdwatch, or just be still in a peaceful, restorative environment.

During my first week of work here at Save The Bay, I was privileged to participate in Ring Around the Bay; an event co-sponsored by REI and Save The Bay with restoration projects literally ringing the bay.  I spent the day with over 40 hard-working, enthusiastic volunteers laying sheet mulch and removing invasive species from a marsh at Palo Alto Baylands.  Even amidst the sounds of hard work and laughter I could still feel the sense of peace and relaxation of the mind that a day in or near the salt marsh always brings me.   I’m so grateful that these places exist and I am excited to be joining a community of dedicated volunteers, students, and Save The Bay staff who show up week after week as part of a 50+ year tradition of protecting and restoring wetlands that ring our Bay.

As I settle into my position of Habitat Restoration Director, I will be joining many of these events in the coming months to orient myself and find ways to contribute to all of the various projects here at Save The Bay.  I greatly look forward to meeting many of you who regularly show up to help on these projects.   If you haven’t ever participated in a Save The Bay event I would like to encourage you to join us for a day of hard work, fun, and sense of accomplishment.

See you in the marsh!