…what exactly, is a 13-year-old doing as an intern for Save The Bay?

Last summer, we had a young and passionate employee at our Save The Bay office: Shreyes, a 13-year-old intern who volunteered with our Marketing and Communications department.

Shreyes was homeschooled and began his academic adventures at the age of five. He excelled, and when he was 9-years-old, he enrolled in an Environmental Studies class at Foothill College. This class changed his life forever. He discovered a passion for conservation that eventually led him to Save The Bay.

After taking the course, Shreyes realized how important it is that we care for the environment. He writes in his blog:

“If we don’t clean up our act, and fast, Homo sapiens will soon cease to exist.

That’s why we have to save the environment.”

And, continues…

“Every single one of us has to pitch in to ensure our species’ survival.

Yes, even me. So I did.

The summer after taking that environmental science course, I replaced 90 percent of all incandescent light bulbs in our house with LEDs or CFLs. I turned off our sprinkler system. I reduced our A/C consumption. Our house’s energy usage was halved, and our water bill reduced by about 20 percent. I even convinced my family to install rooftop solar. But there was only so much I could do at home. One house cannot solve climate change. So I got involved in causes and decided to take action.”

Lucky for us, Shreyes decided to contact Save The Bay and we welcomed him as one of our Communications Fellows.

Your back to school gift to Save The Bay can inspire students like Shreyes. Your donation will support programs like SEED (Students Engaging in Ecological Design), which engages middle and high school students in the complete cycle of tidal marsh restoration from seeds to ecosystems. Your contribution will also support all the education, restoration, and advocacy efforts that teach and inspire students in the Bay Area and beyond.

Shreyes is a truly gifted young man, and his amazing story shows how environmental education can inspire students to protect and preserve the planet. Shreyes had to make an impact…

“Like many, I want to make a difference in my community and the world. Here at Save The Bay, I get the chance to do so.”

Providing immersive, hands-on education to students is vital to protecting the fragile ecosystems of the Bay Area. Our award-winning restoration education programs reach more than 2,000 kids each year – just $10 makes a difference providing essential tools for service learning on the shoreline. DONATE today!  

Our programs provide students with an opportunity to positively interact with and protect our beautiful Bay. After all, these young minds will be responsible for the Bay in the future — and our actions today will influence how they treat our environment tomorrow and for years to come.

Thank you, Shreyes, for your drive and desire to do good in the world! And, to all of our youth and student supporters, we wish you a successful school year ahead.


David Lewis
Executive Director, Save The Bay

P.S. If you’ve got five minutes today, read Shreyes’ wonderful blog here and remember, when you donate $10 or more you will also receive our new 2018 Save The Bay Calendar. 

Bal Tashchit: Protect Our Bay

7thTzedakah JacobWSaveTheBayCheckJacob W. is a 7th grader at a local school on the Peninsula who selected Save The Bay for his Tzedakah project, which honors the Jewish value of obligatory giving. Each student chooses a Jewish value and a social issue that aligns with the value, as well as an organization working on the issue. Students then commit to volunteering, advocating, and fundraising for the organization.

Jacob chose the value of Bal Tashchit and identified Save The Bay as an organization working to prevent environmental degradation. He fundraised $1271.42 dollars for Save The Bay as part of his Tzedakah project, which he presented to Executive Director David Lewis.

In his own words, this is why Jacob chose Save The Bay for his Tzedakah project:

“The value I chose for the 7th Grade Tzedakah Project was Bal Tashchit (בל תשח׳ת), which means to protect our world. Save The Bay is an organization in the Bay Area that works to prevent water pollution, restore the shoreline and overall protect the Bay from harm. Their work enacts Bal Tashchit because they are caring, protecting and healing the Bay Area. I chose them because they are the largest regional organization working on what they do and because of their success.”

Thank you, Jacob, for your commitment to protecting our world by supporting Save The Bay!

Bilingual learning at the Baylands


“All right, let’s do Ridgway’s Rail. Repeat after me: ¡El!” I shout.

El,” reply the dozen fourth-grade students crowded around the bench.

Rascón,” I say, pointing to a laminated sign.

Rascón,” they chant back.

“¡De California!”

“¡De CaliforniaI!”

We’re in the middle of our “Wetland Exploration” activity along Adobe Creek Trail at the Palo Alto Baylands, which at first glance would seem like an unusual spot for a Spanish lesson. But it represents one of Save The Bay’s first steps toward making its educational programs more inclusive to all of the Bay Area’s students, including the many students who are immigrants and children of immigrants who don’t speak English at home.

As Save The Bay’s Temporary Spanish Language Project Specialist, I’ve helped Save The Bay take those first steps, specifically by translating and redesigning our key educational materials into Spanish.

Save The Bay currently runs educational programs at three restoration sites: Eden Landing Ecological Reserve in Hayward, Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline in East Oakland, and Palo Alto Baylands in East Palo Alto. All three of these sites are in neighborhoods where a majority of residents are working-class people of color. Students from all over the Bay Area visit our sites for field trips, and our programs reflect our region’s great diversity. Providing Spanish-language materials is one of the many ways we are working to make Save The Bay’s programs more meaningful, inclusive, and accountable to the students and communities with whom we work with. I’m honored to have been a part of it.

It’s been especially fun teaching our key wetland vocabulary in both languages, as some students fluent in Spanish are excited at the chance to teach their classmates. When I hold up a handful of Bay mud, teeming with microbial and invertebrate life, and ask who knows how to say “mud” in Spanish, a few students yell out “¡Lodo!” Then, while I talk about how the mud is the base of the salt marsh food web, the group gets the chance to stick their hands in a bucket and finger-paint it on their faces.

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Translating some of our educational cards of endangered animals, native plants, and invasive species presented some interesting linguistic challenges I hadn’t expected. Some species have well-used Spanish common names because they are also found in Latin America, like salt grass (la grama salada) whose range extends as far south as Argentina. Other species have names from Spain, such as yarrow (la milenrama) with its circumpolar distribution; and invasive species from the Mediterranean, such as fennel (el hinojo).

However, some of our California endemics have no widely-used contemporary Spanish name as far as I can tell. A few plants have beautifully descriptive old Californio Spanish names though, like marsh gumplant (la flor de agosto, literally “the flower of August”) and California buckwheat (la patita de venado, literally “deer’s paw”), so I used those names in our translations. But for a couple of secretive endemic animals who escaped the eyes of the Californios, I was left to simply translate their English names literally. Now we can all know our beloved salt marsh harvest mouse by another name: el ratón campestre de la marisma salina.

It’s a bit unwieldy, but the fourth graders still have a fun time yelling it.

Save The Bay was founded by three outstanding women over fifty years ago, and we are still living with the legacy of a Bay that’s only been made healthier and better-protected since then. But we must also recognize that these three women were white and had means, and that many other voices tell different stories about their relationship to the Bay and what it means to save it. As long as the Bay has existed there have been people of color who have stewarded it, and developing partnerships with the many marginalized communities who work to make the Bay beautiful and livable is tantamount in an age of environmental injustice. As this place we call home faces a new generation of environmental challenges, we will only be able to meet them if we consciously make space for everyone to develop a relationship with the Bay and save it.

So in Tagalog or Cantonese, Arabic or Farsi, Chochenyo Ohlone or any of the other languages that we speak: how would you say “It takes all of us to protect and restore the Bay”?

5 Great Spots to Learn About SF Bay

As the mom of an inquisitive 7 year old, I’m always looking for fun and beautiful places for my family to learn more about San Francisco Bay.  Here are 5 of my favorite places to learn, play and explore:

  1. Exploratorium: Science-based learning is a huge part of our mission here at Save The Bay.  And the Exploratorium located at Pier 15 in San Francisco shares that value. With hundreds of exhibits to explore and engage with, The Exploratorium has many Bay-related exhibits. Check out the Bay Observation Terrace on the upper level where you can uncover the history, geography and ecology of the Bay Area.  Plus, walk right outside and enjoy the beautiful vistas of San Francisco Bay.

    Exploratorium photo, save the bay staff
    The Exploratorium’s waterfront location offers stunning Bay views. Photo: Save The Bay staff
  2. CuriOdyssey: If learning about wildlife interest you, CuriOdyssey has many exhibits dedicated to animals that call San Francisco Bay Area home including the river otter and the black crowned night heron. Walk through a 4,000-square-foot aviary and see if you can spot a snowy egret or a golden eagle.

    3453-2 Snowy Egret Arrowhead Marsh
    Snowy Egret at Arrowhead Marsh in Oakland. Photo: Rick Lewis
  3. Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge: Visit the nation’s first urban national wildlife refuge on the southern end of San Francisco Bay in Fremont. Don Edwards NWR has 30,000 acres that host millions of migratory birds and endangered species. There are numerous recreation activities to choose from including wildlife viewing and interpretive walks. If you are lucky, you might spot two endangered species endemic to San Francisco Bay: the Ridgway’s rail and the salt marsh harvest mouse.

    Newark Slough, Photo: Paul Crockett
    Newark Slough, Don Edwards NWR Photo: Paul Crockett
  4. Aquarium of the Bay: Committed to protecting and restoring San Francisco Bay, the Aquarium of the Bay is a great place to discover more about marine animals. Get up close to some of the native shark species that call the Bay home like the leopard shark and the sevengill shark. Check out these fun “shark-tivities” including feeding the sharks, a shark touch pool and an exciting walk through the underwater tunnel.

    The Broadnose Sevengill Shark is one of six shark species that live in San Francisco Bay.Photo: Monterey Bay Aquarium
  5. Bay Area Discovery Museum: With expansive views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito is a great way to play and learn about the Bay.  Play outdoors and feel the rush of cold-water tide pools, climb around iconic Bay Area landmarks or be a ship captain in Lookout Cove. Play indoors in Bay Hall with boats, ships and a Fisherman’s Wharf model.  This is a fun destination to be inspired by the Bay’s beauty and let your imagination run wild.

    Golden Gate Bridge at Sunset - Photo: Jill Zwicky
    View of the Golden Gate Bridge from Cavillo Point. Photo: Jill Zwicky

These 5 great spots to learn about SF Bay, have my 7 year old’s seal of approval!

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Looking for more ways to celebrate and enjoy the beauty of our Bay? Check out top spots to celebrate the bay, curated by our friends at Yelp!

Notes from the Field | Where is your water… shed?

Jack  with map
Jack gives students a bird’s eye view of our local watershed.

Have you noticed a recent upsurge in interest concerning the health and resilience of the Delta in light of the proposed Delta tunnel plan? This got me thinking about how little we see of our watersheds and how they affect our lives, and the lives of plants and animals that also call these watersheds home.

I must admit I am a bit of a history and map nerd, so I jump at any chance to combine those two subjects in my work. As a Restoration Project Specialist, I lead Save The Bay’s Restoration Education Programs, which gives me the opportunity to explore the ecological history of the Bay through maps. I often start programs with a map of the Bay from space so that students can get a bird’s eye view of their home and the surrounding geographical features and landscapes that encompass this region. When teaching students about watersheds, I love using a relief map of California because it helps them see the immensity of the San Francisco Bay watershed which extends the length of the Central Valley. The maps help students understand the myriad of uses and stressors that we have put on such an important, fragile and interconnected ecosystem.

I recently wrote about my restorative hike through Redwood Creek in the Oakland hills where I discovered the headwaters of the San Leandro Creek watershed. This exploration got me excited to find other watersheds around the bay. I came upon an awesome website created by the Oakland Museum that sheds some light on these hidden creeks and streams. Spring has sprung so I encourage bay area residents to explore these green spaces and learn more about your local watershed!