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.

 

Guest Post | Palo Alto Mayor Sid Espinosa

Palo Alto Mayor Sid Espinosa

Last Saturday, I had the great pleasure of spending the morning with Save The Bay at the Palo Alto Baylands. Along with several of my colleagues on the Palo Alto City Council, I was thrilled to get to a closer look at SF Bay on a special canoe trip. It was a beautiful, clear morning to be out on the bay, with hardly even a breeze. We saw plenty of birds, including the endangered California clapper rail, and even made friends with a bat ray. This photo doesn’t begin to describe how exciting it was to paddle next to this elegant ray as it meandered through the muddy slough just a few hundred yards from the golf course.

After our canoe trip, we joined 65 volunteers who were weeding invasive plants to help protect the seedlings that Save The Bay planted this winter. NBC Bay Area brought them out in force. There were plenty of kids and adults on site to get their hands dirty and celebrate Save The Bay’s work.

Baylands Bat Ray

We were rewarded with a sense of satisfaction and a “County Fair by the Bay,” complete with food truck, fun games for the kids, and folk music. My personal favorite was the shark photo booth, especially after my morning with the bat rays.

On behalf of the residents of Palo Alto, I’d like to thank Save The Bay for the work they’ve done over the past 50 years to ensure that SF Bay – our bay – is a great place to be. Palo Alto has a proud history of bay protection dating back nearly a century, before it was cool to be green! And there’s nothing like a Baylands paddle to drive home just how foresighted that work was, and how critical to our collective future that we all continue to work together to keep saving the bay.

— Sid Espinosa