Notes from the Field | Deepening our roots at the Palo Alto Baylands

Our new workshed at the Palo Alto Baylands provides space to deepen our commitment to community-based restoration.

Over the holidays, as I reflected on this past year at Save The Bay, I was most proud of our commitment to authentically engage in community-based restoration. There is a joy that springs from the simple act of working together to heal wounds in the landscapes of our communities. As we continue to develop our restoration activities and volunteer programs, we deepen our own roots in the process.

Save The Bay has worked at the Palo Alto Baylands since 2004. In December, we celebrated the completion of a new workshed at our Baylands Native Plant Nursery as the final stage of a 3-year process to improve and expand our nursery facilities. The former, dilapidated workshed was little more than a chicken shack; it provided minimal security for supplies, but nothing else. We went through a thorough planning process with the city to build two new structures: a greenhouse to improve seed germination and a workshed to not only store tools, but to create a covered space for volunteers to engage out of the wind and rain. Our long term commitment to developing both the quality of our native seedling as well as the work space for volunteers grows out of deep roots in the community and in the Bay itself.

The workshed is a 625 square foot facility that is simple, functional, and elegant. It is designed to provide better storage for restoration tools and nursery supplies. There are large work tables to improve productivity and wide barn doors to facilitate better flow between the shed, greenhouse, and shadehouse. There are many partners to thank in the planning and building process, the City of Palo Alto, pro-bono efforts by Craig O’Connell Architecture, Santos and Urrutia Structural Engineers, and Cupertino Electric, the contractor Pete Moffat Construction, and major funding provided by the Santa Clara Valley Water District‘s Watershed Stewardship Grant program and Sand Hill Foundation. Of course, these facilities would not exist without the dedicated volunteers like you that desire to get outside, learn about the ecology of the Bay, and help restore critical ecosystems in their community.

We enter the New Year outplanting thousands of native seedlings, creating new habitat with each seedling, each volunteer deepening their connections to this place. Soon, the practice will come full circle and begin again, sowing seeds for the next generation, and deepening our roots in the process. Please join us this winter to help plant thousands of seedlings around the Bay. Sign up to volunteer today.

I hope you all have a wonderful and happy new year!

— Doug Serrill, Nursery Manager