Spotting Turkeys, Shaping Tech: Meet the Bay Heroes of IBM

“I’ve been hiking the hills around here lately with co-workers, and we see a lot of turkeys.”

In the beginning, these birds came as quite a surprise to Danielle. She’d never spotted them on the sidewalks of New York City, her home before she started a job at IBM’s Silicon Valley Lab. Danielle would soon find that this tech campus, tucked away in hills south of San Jose, also boasted a bird nesting program and a butterfly garden.

Not surprisingly, Save The Bay sensed a kindred spirit from the start in IBM, a key Bay Day sponsor.

Thanks to IBM’s generosity, thousands of people will be able to celebrate San Francisco Bay at dozens of events across the region this Bay Day – October 6, 2018. In its third year, Bay Day seeks to empower everyone to #BeaBayHero and protect our breathtaking home.

More than 100 IBM employees did just that at a recent restoration event on the SVL campus. In two hours, these dedicated volunteers transplanted more than 5,000 seedlings – a major step toward building wildlife habitat.  Along the way, we chatted with many of the Bay Heroes who make up IBM: employees and interns with an equal passion for nature and technology.

We hope they inspire you to DIG IN at restoration events, tour a historic harbor at Portfest, register to VOTE for our Bay, explore 50+ community events, or DONATE to protect our home for generations – this Bay Day and beyond. Learn more at www.BayDay.org. Meet:



Juan 

Like Save The Bay, Juan believes small steps can make a major difference in reducing pollution.

“At home, I always tell my little sisters to fill up their water bottles and reuse them – not to buy plastic ones and toss them, because that hurts the environment.”



Sushmita 

Sushmita  believes deeply that we must be the voice for vulnerable wildlife. She’s right with Save The Bay in encouraging people to Iearn how their health and our health are intertwined!  

“The web of life — animals, people, plants — we all are a part of it. The more people go for walks and see the rarity of certain species, the more they’ll use their voice to protect them.”



Natalie 

Natalie takes after Save The Bay in bringing diverse communities together to protect the environment. She’s amazed by the connections people make volunteering outdoors.

“It gets people out of their hustle and bustle of the lab and pressure of the lab, talking about different things. Somebody might not realize, ‘hey, we both love to garden.’”



Vamseedhar 

Just as Save The Bay Executive Director David Lewis enjoys walking his dog by the shoreline, IBM’s Vamseedhar is also convinced: outdoor spaces refresh us! He finds them key to his work-life balance.

“Nature gives you piece of mind. It gives you good sleep at night. Computers don’t do that. (laughs). It’s why people should have a mix of being indoors with tech and outdoors with nature.”

We couldn’t agree more with Vamseedhar! Bay Day, after all, is about celebrating San Francisco Bay – its people, wildlife, and remarkable natural beauty. That’s why food trucks, live music, and kayak trips are just part of the fun in store for Bay Heroes on October 6th! We’re so grateful to IBM for making all of this possible.

How can your company show its true Bay Hero colors and sponsor BAY DAY like IBM?

Learn more at BayDay.org/

Want to be a BAY HERO and support Bay Day today?

DONATE

100,000 plants and counting

IMG_9957_BM 100k.
It’s hard to visualize what over 100,000 California native plants looks like. But it’s exciting to think of the habitat they will create when fully established at our restoration sites around the San Francisco Bay.

Save The Bay’s Habitat Restoration team is very proud of the accomplishments made this past planting season, reaching our most ambitious goals to date with a grand total of 103,770 plants installed from October 2015 to April 2016.

A bulk of these plants were propagated and planted for the Oro Loma Horizontal Levee, a project totaling 70,000 plants in itself. This innovative project is a multi-pronged approach to filtering waste water, mitigating floods due to sea level rise, and creating native habitat along the Bay’s edge. But it was no easy job installing 70,000 plants by hand. With long days in the field, rain or shine, hands and knees in the mud, the restoration team worked tirelessly to complete this project, and that we did. I’m happy to say the site is developing well and the native plants installed this winter are starting to spread over the horizontal levee’s surface.

Additionally, over 30,000 plants were also planted at our ongoing restoration sites around the Bay including the MLK Shoreline in Oakland, the Palo Alto Baylands, and Eden Landing Ecological Reserve in Hayward.

But regardless of however many native plants were propagated and planted at our sites, what’s truly inspiring is the community that joins together to make this possible. From our own staff, to 3rd grade students, to company employees, to families and college students, more than 6,000 volunteers each year help physically improve the shoreline of the San Francisco Bay, restoring vital habitat lost over time.

With the plethora of environmental problems we face, it gives me hope to see not all damage is irreversible; that with motivation, dedication, and getting your hands in the dirt, we can make real change.

Join us in the field this summer to help these native plants thrive! Sign up to volunteer.

Notes from the Field | Give your time this holiday season

Give back to the Bay this holiday season.
Give back to the Bay this holiday season.

The holiday season is upon us! The winter chill is finally settling in and hopefully it will bring some much-needed rain and snow. Now is the time we give thanks for our family, friends, and community – and many local residents want to give back. We all live around the bay, but how often do we get a chance give back to it?

Here’s a list of some volunteer opportunities I know throughout the Bay Area. By donating a little of your time, you can make a big difference in both the health of our local environment and build a stronger community in the spirit of the season.

Environmental Volunteers
Since 1972, this nonprofit has provided training to volunteers about the importance of Bay Area ecosystems. Why not learn more about your natural environment while helping to bring the bay to local classrooms, or by taking kids on educational nature walks in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties?

Audubon Canyon Ranch
Headquartered in a beautiful canyon next to the Bolinas Lagoon, this organization offers a wide variety of volunteer opportunities, including participating in bird surveys, planting native plants, and even docent training.

Marine Mammal Center
You love marine mammals, look no further. You can get up close and personal by rescuing stranded animals and providing them care, or support educational and administrative programs in Sausalito. They offer special programs for youth (ages 15-18).

Golden Gate Audubon Society
If birds are what you’re interested in, the popular Golden Gate Audubon Society has restoration projects throughout the bay area focusing on restoring habitat for resident and migrating birds. As a special holiday bonus join the thousands of citizen scientists taking part in the National Audubon Society’s Annual Christmas bird count!

Friends of Sausal Creek
This community association is a great example of people can come together to help better this riparian area and recreation zone in their own backyard. Come volunteer with Friends of Sausal Creek and get inspired to organize a group to help protect and restore a resource in your own neighborhood!

Literacy For Environmental Justice
Serving San Francisco’s Bayview Hunter’s Point neighborhood, this group works with local youth to create a more healthy and sustainable community helping clean polluted areas and providing healthy food access to low income residents. You can volunteer at their native plant nursery and community garden in Candlestick Point or for a restoration project near Yosemite Slough.

Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley
Learn about the wildlife living right in your own backyard, from hawks and deer to even coyotes and bobcats. This organization takes in ill and injured wildlife from all around the South Bay and provides an opportunity for the public to help in many different ways, like caring from sick animals at their rehabilitation center in San Jose or writing for their newsletter.

Point Blue Conservation Science
Formerly known as the Point Reyes Bird Observatory, this well respected organization supports research and community involvement in learning how local ecosystems will be impacted by climate change. Most volunteer opportunities are in the North Bay, and include shorebird surveys, education programs, working in their lab, or even contribute just by having fun on their iNaturalist app.

Of course, Save The Bay’s own Restoration Team has entered planting season, so be sure to come on down to the shoreline and help us plant the over 40,000 seedlings our volunteers worked so hard to propagate.

We are blessed in the Bay Area to have a strong legacy of environmental stewardship represented by countless organizations and groups working to make our home a better place to live in.

So give back and learn something new this holiday season!

The organizations I listed above are just a few examples and I encourage everyone to search out your local groups that are organizing their communities to protect and restore our bay.

Do you know any other organizations? Post them in the comments below.