Meet science teacher Jeff Sandler

Students at Creekside
Jeff Sandler’s class out on a SEED program with Save The Bay at Creekside Marsh in Marin.

Meet Jeff Sandler from Fairfax, a science teacher in Berkeley who brought his 7th grade class out to the shoreline to participate in Save The Bay’s SEED program.  SEED — Students Engaging in Ecological Design — engages middle and high school students in the full restoration cycle.

How did you get involved with Save The Bay?

Years ago, I took my high school classes out on the Bay with the Canoes in Sloughs program.  For the last three years, my middle school classes have been participating in the SEED program – where we help restore wetlands around the Bay.  A great service learning opportunity!

Do you have a favorite site or experience?

I guess my favorite site is the Native Plant Nursery at the MLK Shoreline. Having the students’ work there – doing everything from re-potting seedlings to cleaning out old planting tubes and flats – gives them a great sense of accomplishment as they can literally do 100’s of these in a few hours.  The students also get to “close the loop” on the whole restoration cycle. Working there shows us where the small plants in the tubes that we use for wetland restoration come from!

What other activities or hobbies do you enjoy?

Fishing, mountain biking, trail running, cooking

What is your first/fondest memory of San Francisco Bay?

Bringing my own children to the shore of the Bay to fish.  Now that they are grown up, they still enjoy fishing and I’d like to think that their great patience and appreciation of the natural world is the result of all of those hours spent on the Bay.

To learn more about our SEED program and see our resources for teachers on our website.

Thanks to Jeff and all the students who came out to learn about the complete cycle of tidal marsh restoration, from seeds to ecosystems!


Call for Volunteers: Help Restore Creekside Marsh in Marin

Creekside Marsh
Volunteer with us this summer at Creekside Marsh in Marin.

Marin County is home to some of the most beautiful natural areas of the Bay Area. Two years ago Save The Bay partnered with Marin County Parks to restore critical transition zone habitat at Hal Brown at Creekside Park in Kentfield. This area is one of Save The Bay’s newer sites and is currently our only restoration project in the North Bay. A beautiful pocket of marsh across from Marin General Hospital, Creekside Marsh is at the mouth of Corte Madera Creek with a spectacular backdrop of Mt. Tamalpais.  Home to the salt marsh harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys raviventris) and a breeding population of California clapper rail (Rallus longirostris obsoletus), the marsh provides habitat for both of these endangered species. The marsh is also essential for steelhead trout (Oncorhyncus mykiss) that use the watershed to spawn and feed.

A look into the history of Creekside Marsh provides a lesson in the power of organized community action in the face of environmental neglect.  By the early 1970’s, the site had become a virtual waste land, having been used as a dump site and covered by the dredging spoils from the Army Corps of Engineer’s construction of the Corte Madera Creek Flood Channel.  In response to plans to fill in the marsh to build a 160 unit condominium complex, local residents organized and established a plan for the restoration of the marsh and the creation of a park.  As a result of these and subsequent efforts, Creekside Marsh is comprised of 21 acres of restored tidal wetlands.

Come experience this beautiful area yourself and be a part of a historic effort to preserve and restore critical wildlife habitat by joining one of our public restoration programs at Creekside this summer!

Sign up for next restoration event – Saturday July 19, 9am-12pm. Check back for upcoming volunteer opportunities.



Notes from the Field | Re-conceptualizing Nature: Discovery the Natural World in an Urban Setting


Palo Alto Baylands
Urban landscape meets the shoreline at the Palo Alto Baylands. Photo by Jess Madding

Growing up on the Peninsula, my primary interactions with the natural world were separate from my everyday life: hiking in the Sierras, school trips to outdoor education facilities in Santa Cruz or Point Reyes, or tromping around in Tahoe snow.

My encounters with nature shifted in college, as I discovered numerous ponds, lakes, nature trails, and even climbing destinations on the outskirts of Boston. However, it wasn’t until working for Save The Bay that my perception of nature was truly challenged.

Most of Save The Bay’s restoration sites have urban backdrops: Oracle Arena can be seen from our sites along the Oakland Shoreline, the Dumbarton Bridge is adjacent to our Ravenswood Pond site, and our Creekside site in Marin is below swing-sets and jungle-gyms at Hal Brown Park.

Teaching environmental education surrounded by man-made structures has given me a new vision of experiencing “nature.” At first, I worried about my ability to instill students with the same wonder at the natural world I felt in more secluded locations. However, this fear evaporated as I witnessed excited students discovering how to identify native plants and unearth purple shore crabs along the shoreline, even on levees or armored shorelines.

Ultimately, the meeting of a city landscape and the Bay shoreline provides local residents with more connection with our tidal marshes. These marshes protect our cities from flooding and provide habitat so that we can experience the awe of seeing a fox or hearing the call of an endangered clapper rail.

Spend some time connecting with nature in your own backyard – volunteer with us.

Weekly Roundup October 12, 2012

weekly roundupThis week, we celebrate the news that our founder Sylvia McLaughlin will soon have Eastshore State Park named in her honor. “I feel extremely honored to have this park named for me,” McLaughlin said to the Daily Californian. “I hope that it will be a joy for future generations and also hope they will continue to appreciate and guard it.” In other news, Save The Bay and Marin County Parks launched a new restoration project at Creekside Marsh. NRDC’s blog affirms that this “Restoration Economy” is good for the environment and job growth. And we agree that Measure B would renew local funding for safe, clean water in Santa Clara County and protect our Bay. Finally, our friend Rick Lewis has some incredible photos from Arrowhead Marsh in Bay Nature.

The Daily Californian 10/10/2012
State park named for Berkeley environmentalist Sylvia McLaughlin
The California State Park and Recreation Commission has renamed Eastshore State Park in honor of lifelong environmental advocate and 95-year-old Berkeley resident Sylvia McLaughlin.
Read more coverage in the Oakland Tribune >>
Share your message for Sylvia here >>

Twin Cities Times 10/10/2012
Restoration project breaks ground
Volunteers of all ages throughout the Bay Area spent Saturday morning dirtying their hands and cleansing the environment, as Save The Bay and Marin County Parks partnered to launch their newest restoration site at Creekside Marsh at Hal Brown Park in Greenbrae.
Read more coverage in the Marin Independent Journal >>

NRDC Switchboard 10/9/2012
The New “Restoration Economy” a Boon for Jobseekers and the Environment
The news this past week has been plastered with encouraging headlines regarding the recent September, and revised July and August job growth numbers. Jobless rate falls to 7.8%, lowest since January 2009! Jobless rate hits 44-month low! 114K jobs added in Sept.; July, Aug. updates help unemployment rate! There’s an economic movement underfoot that will continue to support these much-revered statistics and the growth of good jobs – the “restoration economy.”

San Jose Mercury News 10/11/2012
Mike Mielke and Ben Field: Measure B will protect Santa Clara valley against flooding
Many of us remember that large parts of downtown San Jose looked more like a lake than a city after the torrential rains in 1995. Flooding at Highway 87 near the HP Pavilion ruined more than 300 homes and businesses. Still, we go about our daily lives taking for granted that we will always have a water system that protects us against flooding and provides clean, safe water to drink.

Bay Nature 10/8/2012
Snatch! The vultures vs. the hawk
Arrowhead Marsh, which juts out into the bay next to the Oakland Airport, is often full of drama. In a battle among feathered titans, a red-tailed hawk spots a group of vultures settling in on a carcass. The red-tail makes its move. Ask yourself: can you truly feel sorry for vultures?
Read more and view photos >>