Unplugging and Engaging with Bay Discovery

“Being outside and away from tech – there’s a peace to it.”

Sarah Pierce is proud to call Palo Alto home, but this lively math and science teacher has no qualms about confessing: something beautiful happens when you turn your back on power chords and explore local wetlands firsthand.

Enter: Save The Bay.

Through generous donations, we give students the chance to unplug and engage with nature. Sarah has been bringing Jordan Middle School students to our Bay Discovery program for the last five years. She says the “hard labor” of weeding is valuable for the more affluent students whose chores are often “outsourced.” Yet, Sarah is especially grateful to witness the effect that the Bay Discovery program has on underserved students, young people who “rarely have the experience of being on water in their own neighborhood.”

For them, Sarah says, simply pausing can prove most powerful. “They can just sit and listen and hear how there are actually birds here.”

Your support allows Bay Area students of all backgrounds to experience our hands-on programs. From planting projects to weeding activities, our education team connects young people with local marshland in memorable ways.

Sarah says this environment can also empower girls to engage with science. She finds that school lab stations can sometimes prove competitive, even discouraging. But wetlands?

To Sarah, they offer: “equity for everybody – they’re such a big space that everybody can weed.”

Simple Moments, Lifelong Activism: Welcoming Nicole Schmidt to our Education Team

I​ ​am​ excited​ ​to​ ​introduce​ ​myself​ ​as​ ​the​ ​new​ ​Restoration​ ​Education​ ​Specialist​ ​for Save​ ​The​ ​Bay.​ ​I​ ​am​ ​very​ ​grateful​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​part​ ​of​ ​a​ ​passionate​ ​and​ ​talented​ ​team​ ​dedicated​ ​to the​ ​protection​ ​and​ ​restoration​ ​of​ ​the​ ​tidal​ ​marsh​ ​wetlands​ ​of​ ​the​ ​San​ ​Francisco​ ​Bay.

Studying Environmental​ ​Studies​ ​and​ ​Sociology​ was certainly part of the reason I became an environmental​ ​educator​ ​and environmental​ ​justice​ ​activist. My main source of inspiration? Reading​ ​​Last Child​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Woods​ ​by​ ​Richard​ ​Louv​​ ​​. In​ ​his​ ​thought​-provoking​ ​book,​ ​Louv​ ​connects​ ​the​ ​rising​ trends​ ​of childhood ​obesity,​ ​depression​ ​and​ ​attention​ ​disorders​ ​to​ ​a​ ​decrease​ ​in​ ​spending​ ​time outside. I​ ​want​ ​to​ ​inspire​ ​people​ ​of​ ​all​ ​ages​ ​to​ ​unplug,​ ​at​ ​least​ ​for​ ​a​ ​bit​ ​each​ ​day. I want to encourage them to ​slow​ ​down,​ ​be present​, ​and​ ​explore​ ​the outdoors ​with​ ​friends,​ ​family​ ​and​ ​the​ ​surrounding​ ​critters.

I​ ​am​ ​coming​ ​to​ ​Save​ ​The​ ​Bay​ ​with​ ​over​ ​7​ ​years​ ​of​ ​experience​ ​working​ ​as​ ​an environmental​ ​educator​ ​with​ ​people​ ​of​ ​all​ ​ages​ ​and​ ​backgrounds.​ ​I​ ​have​ ​experience​ ​working with​ ​marine​ ​invertebrates,​ ​teaching​ ​about​ ​marine​ ​ecology​ ​and​ ​inspiring​ ​an​ ​ocean​ ​conservation ethic.​ ​I​ ​also​ ​worked​ ​as​ ​a​ ​Naturalist​ ​teaching​ ​lessons​ ​about​ ​sustainability, ecology,​ ​organic gardening,​ ​alternative​ ​forms​ ​of​ ​energy,​ ​and​ ​natural​ ​history​ ​through​ ​experiential​ ​lessons​ ​hiking​ ​in the​ ​Santa​ ​Cruz​ ​Mountains.​

For​ ​the​ ​past​ ​two​ ​years,​ ​I​ ​had​ ​the​ ​incredible​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​work​ ​with Education​ ​Outside​ ​as​ ​the​ ​instructor​ ​at​ ​Cleveland​ ​Elementary​ ​in​ ​San​ ​Francisco.​ ​I​ ​managed​ ​the school​ ​garden​, as well as​ ​sustainability​ ​programs​ ​on campus ​and throughout the ​community.​  My​ ​favorite​ ​moments​ ​as​ ​an educator​ ​in​ ​these​ ​roles​ ​were​ ​when​ ​students​ ​found​ ​something​ ​that​ ​interested​ ​them,​ ​slowed down,​ ​observed,​ ​asked​ ​questions,​ ​and​ ​remained​ ​in​ ​awe.​ ​They​ ​were​ ​completely​ ​present.​ ​Not worried​ ​about​ ​anything.​ ​Simply​ ​inspired​ ​by​ ​the​ ​beauty​ ​and​ ​wonder​ ​of​ ​nature -​ ​whether​ ​staring at​ ​the ocean,​ ​standing in a redwood​ ​forest,​ or spotting a small​ ​plant​ ​growing​ ​in​ ​the​ ​cracks of a sidewalk.​ ​These are precisely the moments that ​inspire​ ​people​ ​of​ ​all​ ​ages​ ​to become​ ​environmental​ ​stewards.

I​ ​am​ ​so​ ​excited​ ​to​ ​bring​ ​my passion​ ​as​ ​an​ ​educator​ ​to Save​ ​The​ ​Bay.​ ​I​ ​am​ ​looking​ ​forward​ ​to​ ​leading​ education,​ ​public​ ​and​ ​corporate​ ​Restoration Programs​ ​at​ ​our​ ​sites​ ​and​ ​engaging​ ​folks​ ​in​ ​hands​-​on​ ​restoration​ ​work.​ ​I​ ​will​ ​also​ ​be​ ​working​ ​on updating​ ​Save​ ​The​ ​Bay’s​ ​curriculum​ ​to​ ​include​ ​lessons​ ​and​ ​activities​ ​aligned​ ​with​ ​Next​ ​Generation Science​ ​Standards​ ​for​ ​each​ ​grade​ ​level.​ ​I​ ​am​ thrilled that I’ll get to ​develop Climate​ ​Change curriculum​ ​for​ ​middle​ ​and​ ​high​ ​school​ ​students.

How​ ​lucky​ ​are​ ​we​ ​to​ ​live​ ​in​ a​ ​breathtaking urban​ ​area​ that’s so close to ​vibrant wildlife habitats​?​ ​I​ ​am​ ​looking​ ​forward​ ​to​ ​working​ ​on​ ​the​ ​restoration​ ​of​ ​our​ ​tidal​ ​marshes.​ ​I encourage​ ​everyone​ ​to​ ​come​ ​and​ ​volunteer​ ​at​ ​one​ ​of​ ​our​ ​​volunteer​ ​events​​ ​and ​help​ ​the​ ​Bay​ ​Area remain​ ​ecologically​ ​diverse​ ​and​ ​resilient!

See​ ​you​ ​in​ ​the​ ​marsh!