Monday, December 22, 2008

Ripples, Reflections and Reading Recommendations

by Adrien Andre, Development Manager

Originally posted on December 3, 2008

A little over two years ago I discovered Save The Bay when searching for a way to get involved with restoring Bay Area open spaces I had spent so many weekends and vacations exploring and falling in love with. As the largest and most defining feature of our region, the Bay seemed like a good place to start. Little did I, self-proclaimed nature nerd, know how much I didn’t know about the Bay; or how one volunteer outing would alter the course of my life.


I signed up to volunteer at MLK Jr. Regional Shoreline out by the Oakland Airport, curious to see what our urban Bay shoreline actually looked like up-close. Upon arrival I discovered a shockingly wild and beautiful shoreline park nestled amongst the super-urban industrial area of Hegenberger Road. There I spent a satisfying Saturday morning working together with volunteers of all ages to pull giant piles of invasive weeds amidst the teenage native plants Save The Bay staff, volunteers and students had carefully grown and planted the previous winter.

First, I learned that water or runoff from almost half of the landmass of California (40%) flows into our Bay watershed, and that we have only 5% of our original Bay wetlands left. I also learned that wetlands are the “lungs” of the Bay and that over 500 species depend on the Bay’s health. Though many other Bay facts were shared that day, I was stuck on those first two numbers that seemed so unmatched, and completely struck by the beauty, the vulnerability, and the importance of the health of the Bay to our quality of life, economy and very own corner of the natural world.

Just three ladies from Berkeley started the movement to save our Bay in 1961. At that time our habitat rich, ocean-flowing Bay was studded with regularly flaming open garbage dumps and raw sewage flowed freely into it on a daily basis. The plans to fill and develop on top of its wetland shoreline and far into its shallow middle threatened to narrow it into a thin urban-flanked trickle. I felt deeply the threats to the Bay and it’s need for all of our support to restore the 100,000 acres of wetlands scientists tell us we need for it to maintain a healthy ecosystem.

Now, as Save The Bay’s Development Associate since September 2006 and primary member services contact, I am here to help others get involved with our work, to answer questions, to provide assistance with membership and donations, and to share information about our educationrestoration and advocacy work.

The health of the Bay has come a long way since the 1960’s with the support of Save The Bay’s members and founders. I’m honored help carry forward the legacy they started and to work every day to ensure our member services are excellent and our membership base is healthy and growing.

Adrien’s Bay Must Reads:

The Ohlone Way, by Malcolm Margolin

Ecology, A Handbook, by Ernest Callenbach

A Natural History of California, Alan Schoenherr

1 comment:

fbmadsen said...

I also recommend reading Save The Bay's report "Greening the Bay: Financing Wetland Restoration in San Francisco Bay." Read it at