Monday, January 12, 2009

Connecting People to the Bay in their Backyard

by Alicia Moore, School Programs Manager

One of the many strengths of Save The Bay’s Watershed Education Programs is that we connect people to the Bay within their own community. Back in 1961, when Save The Bay was founded, there were only about six miles of public Bay shoreline access. Since then, Save The Bay and many other organizations have worked to increase access and now more than half of the Bay is ringed with public trails, linking a necklace of shoreline parks.

We take advantage of this increased access by working with site partners to get adults and students out on the Bay—to learn about it and to protect, restore, and celebrate it. We use place-based education to connect the human communities around the Bay to the ecological communities in the Bay.

As our lives and surroundings become more urban, we begin to think of nature as a place we have to visit--a place apart from our city and our normal existence. Getting connected with the vast ecosystem of San Francisco Bay recontextualizes all of that. Realizing that you can easily hop a bus, ride your bike, walk or drive to the Bay reframes your life. Nature is no longer somewhere other than where we live; nature is now the uniting entity that gives our unique and beautiful home its very name: the Bay Area.

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