Solstice on the Shoreline

From the ancient Egyptians to the Ohlone living here in the Bay Area, many cultures experience winter as a powerful time of ritual, reflection, and renewal. The season officially begins Thursday, December 21st – with a solstice! The term translates to “sun stands still,” as the sun appears to pause in its incremental journey across the sky.
All smiles for Solstice on the Shoreline!
Our dedicated volunteer group was all smiles for Solstice on the Shoreline!
Save The Bay decided to mark this changing of the seasons by planting seedlings with some of our most dedicated volunteers and donors. Through their labor and their generosity, this diverse community had already given richly to support our programs. But on last Saturday’s Solstice on the Shoreline event, they dug right into soil to help out even more. Former board members joined avid gardeners and corporate partners to put on gloves, pick up trowels, and protect our Bay.

 

Along the way, Donna Ball and Kenneth Rangel of our Restoration team explained how our staff cleans seeds and sanitizes soil using somewhat simple tools. They made clear these tasks can be both intricate and time-consuming without advanced technology. However, as we build the support necessary to cover this equipment, Save The Bay staffers remain plenty resourceful in their push to create habitat. 
 
Meanwhile, high winds and incredibly hard ground never phased our passionate participants last weekend. Our restoration staff used an auger – a drill bit that can create holes in the ground – to start each of our planting spots. Then, our lively group got to work (sometimes wielding pickaxes!). In the end, we carved a warm bed to lay the young seedlings.
 
Building community to share Save The Bay’s story is a key part of my role as Events & Outreach Manager. I’m thrilled that the events I design and host can genuinely boost the health of San Francisco Bay. Witnessing that “A-ha” moment on a volunteer’s face as they begin to understand their own role in protecting our Bay is incredibly rewarding. After all, my own positive experiences as a student and educator are a major source of inspiration as I work to connect – and expand – Save The Bay’s community.
 
Save The Bay is a resource for learning, scientific exploration, rejuvenation, and above all, making memories.  With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I encourage you to take a moment to breathe in the Bay air, take a calming walk along its shores and rejuvenate your soul.  We are ready to start building a year’s worth of amazing events and gatherings for 2018. I look forward to seeing you at Blue, our Bay Brunch Cruise on Earth Day (April 22, 2018), and Bay Day, our region-wide celebration for San Francisco Bay, on October 6, 2018.

 

You and your family can also join one of our public programs for free throughout the year. Save The Bay relies on thousands of volunteers annually to make progress on our many wetland restoration projects. Check our calendar often as spaces fill quickly. We can also create dedicated private restoration events for your group or company. Contact Jack Wolfink at jwolflink@savesfbay.org to learn more.

 

A Little Bit of the Bay at Mountain Lake

Save The Bay Presidio Trust Mountain Lake Restoration Volunteer
Our Save The Bay team at one of Presidio Trust’s restoration events at Mountain Lake. Photo by Nissa Kriedler.

This fall, Save The Bay’s Restoration Team had the opportunity to participate in one of the Presidio Trust’s restoration events at Mountain Lake in San Francisco as part of a workday trade. There our team had a chance to learn about freshwater wetlands both through hands-on invasive species removal around Mountain Lake and through a special lecture on wetland soils from UC Berkeley professor Stephen Andrews. In the coming months it will be our Restoration Team’s turn to host the Presidio Trust restoration crew for a day on the Bay, teaching them about salt marshes, and getting them dirty at one of our restoration sites. Rumor has it there may even be a Save The Bay vs. Presidio Trust softball game (I think we all know who would win)! In the end we will all be winners as we learn from one another and strengthen friendships with others working to improve the environment around the San Francisco Bay.

To try and catch the Presidio Trust team out with Save The Bay sign up for one of our restoration events today.

Volunteer Spotlight | Meet Alexander Mustille

alex_mustille_volunteer spotlight
Alex Mustille has been volunteering with Save The Bay for 5 years!

Meet Alexander Mustille, a Data Consultant for Kaiser Permanente from Pacifica, CA!

How many years have you volunteered with Save The Bay?

5 years!

Do you have a favorite site or experience?

Favorite site is MLK Shoreline. I was able to eradicate many blackberry bushes on site 3 or 4 years ago.

How did you get involved with Save The Bay?

I first heard about Save The Bay through a friend, many years ago.

What is the best thing about volunteering with Save The Bay?

Meeting people who are passionate about ecological restoration!

What is your favorite thing about the San Francisco Bay Area?

The beach! Specifically, Linda Mar Beach for surfing. It’s great for beginners!

What is one thing you do each day to protect the environment?

Not watering my lawn! And regularly planting in my front yard.

Volunteer opportunities are available throughout the Bay Area. Sign up here.

A Rewarding Experience

Earlier this month, my fellow restoration specialist and I had the privilege to lead a restoration education program with My City School, a new school in San Francisco created for students with mild to moderate learning disabilities. I was contacted by the school’s coordinator, also a parent and founder, who inspired me with her story of how she sought out a way to provide a better learning experience for her child, as well as other young, challenged students in San Francisco. I was touched by her story and eager to offer My City School students the experience of a wetland restoration program with Save The Bay.

My city school photo
Students from My City School visit our MLK Jr. Shoreline site. From left to right: Will, Dimitri, Bella, Rachelle, and Tommy.

On their Bay Discovery trip at the Martin Luther King Jr. Shoreline, we transplanted gumplant seedlings, went for a “wetland walk” during which we explored the features of wetland ecosystems, and participated in a shoreline trash cleanup. As group leaders, we were able to spend one-on-one time with the students and teach them about the Bay, the wetland ecosystem, and measures we can take to help it thrive. We also watched terns diving for fish and manta rays swimming in the shallows!

All in all, the most memorable part of this experience came at the end of the program, when these students expressed how thankful they were for spending the day with Save The Bay and making the Bay a better place for us all. This event noticeably spurred their passion to protect, restore, and celebrate the San Francisco Bay. I speak for both my coworker and I when I say that this was a truly rewarding experience, and one that highlights the importance of our education programs for students of all varieties.

Learn more about our Restoration Education Programs here.

Annie’s: Bringing Homegrown to the Marsh

Annie's granola bars
Coby enjoys one of Annie’s organic granola bars while volunteering at our Palo Alto Baylands site.

Recently I had the pleasure of leading a volunteer event with Annie’s Homegrown, Inc. at our newest restoration site at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve. They showed up bright and early with positive attitudes and festive team shirts that displayed their iconic rabbit label (in case you were wondering, the rabbit’s name is Bernie).

As we drove out to our site through a maze of levees just south of the San Mateo Bridge we stopped to show them relics of the salt ponds that once covered the now ecological reserve and described future plans for the site, which will be open to the public in just a few years.

Once we arrived at our site we quickly got down to business. We worked hard as Willets searched for food in adjacent mud flats and flocks of sandpipers flew overhead in great numbers like a murmuration of Starlings. By the end of the day we were exhausted — and for a good reason. In total Annie’s installed over 100 native plants, including Marsh Baccharis (Baccharis glutinosa), Western Goldenrod (Euthamia occidentalis), and Creeping Wild Rye (Elymus triticoides). I am often impressed by how much gets done during our corporate volunteer programs.

After we cleaned up, we piled into our cars and drove back to the parking lot where we met. We said our thank yous and good byes and parted ways. My colleague and I reflected on the productive day and spoke longingly for next year’s program with Annie’s.

Little did we know we’d be hearing from them again much sooner than that. A little less than a month after our restoration event with them at Eden Landing, Annie’s sent us 2,500 organic granola bars to share with our volunteers! Now during our restoration programs we are proud to share these fantastic snacks made by a company that takes pride in sustainable, quality ingredients and cares as much about community as we do at Save the Bay. Our staff is so grateful for Annie’s contribution.

Come out and grab an Annie’s organic granola bar at one of our restoration events around the bay this spring!