By Sharon Gibbons
(ABOVE LEFT) Nicole Beadle, EBRPD Wildlife Intern, plants new plants at Elsie Roemer. (ABOVE RIGHT) Golden Gate Audubon volunteers clean up trash at Arrowhead Marsh.
Enjoy nature in some beautiful local settings; volunteer to plant native plants, pull weeds, and clean up trash during the week or on weekends. Relax and enjoy the fresh air, while helping sponsoring organizations, such as East Bay Regional Parks Department (EBRPD), Golden Gate Audubon (GGA), Save the Bay, and others, perform habitat restoration around the Bay.
The EBRPD invites you to volunteer at the Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary near Crown Beach in Alameda. “It’s a great opportunity volunteering this spring,” says Nicole Beadle, EBRPD wildlife intern. “They will be planting lots of natives and it will be very satisfying to see the progress.” David Riensche, alias “Doc Quack,” EBRPD wildlife biologist, describes volunteers as “the backbone of the park district’s maintenance and enhancement of habitat for endangered species.” The plantings are done above the tidal marsh wetlands that are normally off limits to people. Come visit and work in this wild and rugged setting with colorful flocks of shorebirds feeding in the mudflats.
By planting native habitats for wildlife, you can help make the Bay more resilient to the effects of climate change, especially sea level rise and flooding. Golden Gate Audubon has weekend volunteers planting and weeding at Arrowhead Marsh in Oakland. “We are being proactive and establishing an upland transit zone with plants that can handle some salt water,” describes GGA Restoration Specialist Kisha Mitchell-Miller. This will provide protective cover and healthy habitat for wildlife retreating from sea level rise. “It’s amazing to have this special area, that is a working ecosystem located between the Oakland airport and the Coliseum, that gets people outside biking and walking,” says Scott Zimmer, GGA restoration intern. “I will come again!” states first-time volunteer and Oakland Firefighter, Maria Sabattivi, during a recent Saturday event, planting and picking up trash.
Volunteers can work on a special project hosted by Save the Bay, called the Oro Loma Horizontal Levee project. This is an outdoor lab combining a wetland basin and an experimental levee or habitat slope to study the the water filtering abilities of soil, subsoil layers and native plants. Scientists are investigating natural solutions to problems of flooding and sea level rise.
“In June, Bay Area voters will have an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate improvements around the Bay that will benefit people and wildlife and make our economy more resilient to climate change. Vote yes on Measure AA for a Clean & Healthy Bay this June. This modest, $12. parcel tax will generate badly needed funding for restoration of San Francisco Bay wetlands, benefiting people, wildlife and the Bay Area economy,” says Monica Canfield-Lenfest, Save the Bay Editor and Outreach Manager.
(ABOVE LEFT) Intern Scott Zimmer shows how to plant natives at Arrowhead Marsh.(ABOVE RIGHT) First-time volunteer and Oakland firefighter, Maria Sabbattivi, plants in the upland transit zone.