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.

 

Mice and Marshes: Protecting the Bay I Love

Arrowhead Marsh, taken by Jim Moyers
Arrowhead Marsh, taken by Jim Moyers

I have loved salt marshes ever since I first stepped into one during a college wetlands class in Washington. I breathed in earthy scents. I felt mud squish beneath my boots. I watched birds fly low over the water. Now, the Bay wetlands nourish my spirit, and I am truly grateful they are the place I call home.

As the Habitat Restoration Director at Save The Bay, I am proud that my work leading volunteer and education programs can directly benefit nearby wildlife. Our efforts provide critical habitat for endangered species like the salt marsh harvest mouse. But we never lose sight of the big picture.

Restoration staff and volunteers working on the Oro Loma Project
Restoration staff and volunteers working on the Oro Loma Project

Recently, we collaborated with other scientists on the Oro Loma Horizontal Levee Project – an innovative levee that mimics wetland habitats. Our expert restoration team joined more than 5,000 Save The Bay volunteers to construct the site’s giant outdoor nursery and plant more than 70,000 native seedlings.

The potential benefits are profound, since wetland marshes act like sponges, soaking up water as it rises. If replicated, this horizontal levee model could provide extensive flood protection and create thousands of acres of habitat around San Francisco Bay.

Right now, our Bay faces a triple threat of pollution, sea-level rise and habitat loss. Scientists estimate it needs 100,000 acres of wetlands to be healthy and sustainable. Today, only 40,000 acres exist.

With help from our generous supporters, we can continue working with partners to make significant progress toward that 100,000 acre mark.

The Bay is the heart of my home. Together, we can protect this beautiful resource and all that it offers diverse communities, vibrant plants, and countless animals.

With sincere thanks,

Donna Ball
Habitat Restoration Director

Simple Moments, Lifelong Activism: Welcoming Nicole Schmidt to our Education Team

I​ ​am​ excited​ ​to​ ​introduce​ ​myself​ ​as​ ​the​ ​new​ ​Restoration​ ​Education​ ​Specialist​ ​for Save​ ​The​ ​Bay.​ ​I​ ​am​ ​very​ ​grateful​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​part​ ​of​ ​a​ ​passionate​ ​and​ ​talented​ ​team​ ​dedicated​ ​to the​ ​protection​ ​and​ ​restoration​ ​of​ ​the​ ​tidal​ ​marsh​ ​wetlands​ ​of​ ​the​ ​San​ ​Francisco​ ​Bay.

Studying Environmental​ ​Studies​ ​and​ ​Sociology​ was certainly part of the reason I became an environmental​ ​educator​ ​and environmental​ ​justice​ ​activist. My main source of inspiration? Reading​ ​​Last Child​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Woods​ ​by​ ​Richard​ ​Louv​​ ​​. In​ ​his​ ​thought​-provoking​ ​book,​ ​Louv​ ​connects​ ​the​ ​rising​ trends​ ​of childhood ​obesity,​ ​depression​ ​and​ ​attention​ ​disorders​ ​to​ ​a​ ​decrease​ ​in​ ​spending​ ​time outside. I​ ​want​ ​to​ ​inspire​ ​people​ ​of​ ​all​ ​ages​ ​to​ ​unplug,​ ​at​ ​least​ ​for​ ​a​ ​bit​ ​each​ ​day. I want to encourage them to ​slow​ ​down,​ ​be present​, ​and​ ​explore​ ​the outdoors ​with​ ​friends,​ ​family​ ​and​ ​the​ ​surrounding​ ​critters.

I​ ​am​ ​coming​ ​to​ ​Save​ ​The​ ​Bay​ ​with​ ​over​ ​7​ ​years​ ​of​ ​experience​ ​working​ ​as​ ​an environmental​ ​educator​ ​with​ ​people​ ​of​ ​all​ ​ages​ ​and​ ​backgrounds.​ ​I​ ​have​ ​experience​ ​working with​ ​marine​ ​invertebrates,​ ​teaching​ ​about​ ​marine​ ​ecology​ ​and​ ​inspiring​ ​an​ ​ocean​ ​conservation ethic.​ ​I​ ​also​ ​worked​ ​as​ ​a​ ​Naturalist​ ​teaching​ ​lessons​ ​about​ ​sustainability, ecology,​ ​organic gardening,​ ​alternative​ ​forms​ ​of​ ​energy,​ ​and​ ​natural​ ​history​ ​through​ ​experiential​ ​lessons​ ​hiking​ ​in the​ ​Santa​ ​Cruz​ ​Mountains.​

For​ ​the​ ​past​ ​two​ ​years,​ ​I​ ​had​ ​the​ ​incredible​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​work​ ​with Education​ ​Outside​ ​as​ ​the​ ​instructor​ ​at​ ​Cleveland​ ​Elementary​ ​in​ ​San​ ​Francisco.​ ​I​ ​managed​ ​the school​ ​garden​, as well as​ ​sustainability​ ​programs​ ​on campus ​and throughout the ​community.​  My​ ​favorite​ ​moments​ ​as​ ​an educator​ ​in​ ​these​ ​roles​ ​were​ ​when​ ​students​ ​found​ ​something​ ​that​ ​interested​ ​them,​ ​slowed down,​ ​observed,​ ​asked​ ​questions,​ ​and​ ​remained​ ​in​ ​awe.​ ​They​ ​were​ ​completely​ ​present.​ ​Not worried​ ​about​ ​anything.​ ​Simply​ ​inspired​ ​by​ ​the​ ​beauty​ ​and​ ​wonder​ ​of​ ​nature -​ ​whether​ ​staring at​ ​the ocean,​ ​standing in a redwood​ ​forest,​ or spotting a small​ ​plant​ ​growing​ ​in​ ​the​ ​cracks of a sidewalk.​ ​These are precisely the moments that ​inspire​ ​people​ ​of​ ​all​ ​ages​ ​to become​ ​environmental​ ​stewards.

I​ ​am​ ​so​ ​excited​ ​to​ ​bring​ ​my passion​ ​as​ ​an​ ​educator​ ​to Save​ ​The​ ​Bay.​ ​I​ ​am​ ​looking​ ​forward​ ​to​ ​leading​ education,​ ​public​ ​and​ ​corporate​ ​Restoration Programs​ ​at​ ​our​ ​sites​ ​and​ ​engaging​ ​folks​ ​in​ ​hands​-​on​ ​restoration​ ​work.​ ​I​ ​will​ ​also​ ​be​ ​working​ ​on updating​ ​Save​ ​The​ ​Bay’s​ ​curriculum​ ​to​ ​include​ ​lessons​ ​and​ ​activities​ ​aligned​ ​with​ ​Next​ ​Generation Science​ ​Standards​ ​for​ ​each​ ​grade​ ​level.​ ​I​ ​am​ thrilled that I’ll get to ​develop Climate​ ​Change curriculum​ ​for​ ​middle​ ​and​ ​high​ ​school​ ​students.

How​ ​lucky​ ​are​ ​we​ ​to​ ​live​ ​in​ a​ ​breathtaking urban​ ​area​ that’s so close to ​vibrant wildlife habitats​?​ ​I​ ​am​ ​looking​ ​forward​ ​to​ ​working​ ​on​ ​the​ ​restoration​ ​of​ ​our​ ​tidal​ ​marshes.​ ​I encourage​ ​everyone​ ​to​ ​come​ ​and​ ​volunteer​ ​at​ ​one​ ​of​ ​our​ ​​volunteer​ ​events​​ ​and ​help​ ​the​ ​Bay​ ​Area remain​ ​ecologically​ ​diverse​ ​and​ ​resilient!

See​ ​you​ ​in​ ​the​ ​marsh!

Save The Bay & Facebook: Bringing the Bay Area Closer Together

Facebook Interns Restoring Wetlands
Facebook Interns Service Day at Bair Island

San Francisco Bay is home to more than 7 million people and is the largest, most valuable estuary on the West Coast. Facebook’s headquarters is located right on the Bay’s beautiful shoreline, and the company has shown its commitment to protecting local habitat and ecosystems —from the innovative 9-acre green roof at its Menlo Park campus to its broader efforts in the Bay Area.

By sponsoring Bay Day 2017, Facebook is helping people all around the Bay celebrate its iconic role in our community, and inspiring us all to better protect this shared natural wonder. Bay Day is San Francisco Bay’s new regional Earth Day. This Bay Day – Saturday, October 7th – is an opportunity to inspire positive environmental actions by connecting communities with immersive, Bay-themed educational and recreational activities.

This is not the first time Facebook and Save The Bay have partnered to protect the Bay. This June, 350 enthusiastic Facebook volunteers came out for a massive Intern Service Day at Bair Island, bringing their incredible work ethic to our three-acre Inner Bair Island restoration site. Facebook’s volunteers completed 100 days of restoration work in just one day.

At Save The Bay, Facebook’s platforms are vital to everything we do, from spreading the word about the Bay-spanning events this Bay Day to engaging citizens with our vision of a clean and healthy Bay.

This Saturday, October 7th, Facebook’s sponsorship is supporting volunteer restoration events in Redwood City and Palo Alto, and a total of 70 community events around the Bay. And for people and families who can’t make it to one of these public celebrations – Facebook helped us launch My Bay Day Adventure Guide, an interactive, online guide to experience Bay Day from your mobile device. I love how the My Bay Day experience helps people to discover the Bay in a new way, through each of our senses, and hope you and your family enjoy it too.

Save The Bay is proud of our partnership with Facebook, and we are grateful for all the company does to protect San Francisco Bay and the communities that call the area home.  Together, we can ensure a healthy and resilient Bay for generations to come.

Building a Better Bay Together

Every day, I’m grateful for the privilege of living and working in the Bay Area: its stunning views, natural wonders, vibrant cities and diverse communities. San Francisco Bay connects us all in one way or the other.

While it would be easy to take our surroundings for granted, Bay Day reminds us of the beauty and uniqueness of the San Francisco Bay and the ecological imperative to take action to protect it. That’s why PG&E is excited to celebrate the second annual Bay Day on October 7, and proud to be a lead sponsor – it’s a wonderful event with an important purpose.

Climate change and rising sea levels threaten San Francisco Bay and the communities that call the Bay Area home. As the ecological and economic heart of our region, the Bay’s resiliency in the face of climate change, extreme weather and population pressures must be a priority for us all.

Here at PG&E, we’re committed to leading by example when it comes to climate change. That means adapting our operations and infrastructure to changing climate conditions, as well as supporting efforts at the local level to make the communities we serve more resilient. We’re also leading the way in providing clean energy to our customers, with nearly 70% of our energy derived from sources that don’t emit greenhouse gases.

PG&E Volunteer Day

Just a few weeks ago I was pleased to lead my team on a volunteer restoration event with Save The Bay at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Shoreline in Oakland.  We were welcomed by passionate and knowledgeable Save The Bay staff, and make no mistake, staffers Kenneth and Silas put us right to work!  Not only did PG&E employee volunteers remove nearly 1,300 pounds of invasive plant species in just a few hours, we also learned about the vital role tidal wetlands play in protecting the shoreline from flooding and rising tides.  Our team was energized by our work, and we left the day feeling proud we played a part in protecting and beautifying San Francisco Bay.  A win-win for all involved!

To help everyone enjoy our amazing Bay Area, PG&E has sponsored My Bay Day Adventure Guide: an interactive, online guide that will help you take advantage of all the Bay has to offer.

The more we celebrate our beautiful Bay, the more committed we will collectively be to its healthy future. As a member of the Save The Bay Board of Directors, a Bay Area resident and a fellow advocate for the environment, I invite you to take time on October 7 to celebrate this important day and give back to the region that offers us so much. Together, we can leave a beautiful and resilient San Francisco Bay for generations to come.