From our blogs

Bird language in the field

by Ceal Craig

As a persistent birder, but no expert, I am always trying to learn more about these enchanting species. San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory offered a workshop in February, Listen and Decipher: Bird Language in the Field, led by Jeff Caplan. If you ever can take this workshop, it’s quite enjoyable.

2019 Marsh-In Summer Day Camp • July 29 - August 2, 2019

A FREE summer camp filled with fun activities, games, crafts, and adventures.

Date and Time
  • July 29 - August 2, 2019
  • Grades 1-6: Monday - Wednesday 9:15 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
    • Monday - Bird Day
    • Tuesday - Fish Day
    • Wednesday - Mammal Day
  • Grades 4-6 only: Overnight 6:00 p.m. Thursday - 9:30 a.m. Friday
    • Overnight - Night hikes, star gazing, sleeping under the stars and ice cream making!
Location

Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Environmental Education Center
1751 Grand Blvd, Alviso, CA 95002

Tideline quarterly newsletter going digital

by Anne Morkill, Refuge Manager, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Summer 2019 issue of the Tideline quarterly newsletter is our last in print format. Following trends in the business community and across government, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service transitioned from print to digital newsletters and reports several years ago. We have been a bit slower in this transition, but we now find ourselves at a crossroads and decided to follow a new path. The reasons are various, ranging from staff changes and realigned priorities, to new technologies and ever-present budget challenges.

Going digital is not free, but it is less expensive than print. The savings on printing and postage are substantial, and we’d rather re-allocate those funds toward a more multi-faceted communications strategy, as well as on-the-ground resource conservation and public engagement projects. I want to especially recognize the support of the San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society for funding the layout and printing of Tideline for many years. We will continue to collaborate with the Society on developing and distributing the next generation of the publication.

Seeking legal, business and finance skills on the SFBWS Board of Directors and Committees

by Ceal Craig

The San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) Friends Group for the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex, authorized by Congress to support the education, interpretation, and research activities of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society seeks to nurture in the public a sense of understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuges, their natural and cultural history, and to support the conservation, preservation, and restoration of the bay lands as essential wildlife habitat.

We envision wildlife and its habitat thriving in a healthier San Francisco Bay area as a result of increased citizen stewardship of the environment.

Governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, the Society is supported by over 2,000 individual members and by donations and grants from corporations & foundations. The Wildlife Society operates bookstores at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay Refuge Visitor Center in Fremont and the Environmental Education Center in Alviso.

We are accepting new Board of Director members. Those with legal backgrounds and business financial experience are particularly needed.

On the trail at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge, Washington

by Ceal Craig

In December 2018, I visited Turnbull Refuge. A retired Project Leader, now a Friends BOD member, and the President of their Friends group took the time to drive me around this unique Refuge, with its rock formations, ponderosa pines, marshes, wetlands, and lakes all within 18,000-acres.

While we did not see any elk, the drive through quiet forests with still falling snow was a sharp contract to our own Refuge Complex. A half-hour’s drive southwest of Spokane, Turnbull is in the northeastern Washington Scablands created over 15,000 years ago after incredible ice age floods created a maze of channels and depressions.

Also, quite impressive was the Friends of Turnbull’s large Nature Store and the renovated Environmental Education Building, retrofitted primarily by loving volunteer hands and donated materials: shelving, murals, education materials, and construction.

Every year, over 18,000 students participate in programs and learn about Refuge plants and wildlife, who make their home in the scablands at Turnbull.

Wheels and Wildlife at the Don Edwards SF Bay National Wildlife Refuge • April 6, 2019

Wheels and Wildlife at the Don Edwards SF Bay National Wildlife Refuge • April 6, 2019

Did you know you could ride your bike on the Refuge trails in Alviso? Join us for a bicycle tour around the levee! We will stop along the way to learn about the Refuge, the wildlife and habitats they use, the importance of Coyote Creek watershed, and the history of the area!

The ride is 4.5 miles on a level trail, and there is no shade along the way. Must provide your own bikes, gear, and water bottles. Helmets are required for children. Water and snacks will be provided at a stop. Children ages 10+ recommended, please use your best judgement on skill level for the distance.

Date and Time: Sat, April 6, 2019 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM PDT

Location: Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Environmental Education Center
1751 Grand Boulevard, San Jose, CA 95002

Summer Camp Associate 2019

General Description

Associate position needed to assist San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society at the Don Edwards SF Bay National Wildlife Refuge Environmental Education Center (EEC). This position will be from May – August, and responsible for the planning and organizing of the 2019 Marsh-In Summer Camp Program. The Associate will be working under the Watershed Watchers Program Coordinator, while also being advised by other EEC Staff members.

Marsh-In Summer Camp is a free camp for students entering grades 1-6. Each day of camp has a theme: Bird Day, Fish Day, Mammal Day, and Nocturnal Night. There is one overnight for older campers entering grades 4-6 where we sleep outside! Habitat Heroes is a training week for students entering grades 7-12. Habitat Heroes assist with camp by leading camper groups and various activities throughout the day. Marsh-In Summer Camp participants are chosen via a lottery, and we accept approximately 65 students.

Vernal Pool Tours at Warm Springs Unit on Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Are you interested in seeing the flower blooms around some of the last intact vernal pools in the East Bay? You will learn about the unique features of vernal pool grasslands, and hopefully observe the pools in what will likely be a good rain year! Participants will see endangered Contra Costa goldfields (Lasthenia conjugens), Downingia pulchella, several Plagiobothrys, and other native vernal pool and upland species.

Tours will occur at the Warm Springs Unit of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in south Fremont. These walking tours are typically in April and will be conducted on a Saturday and a weekday with two tours each. The tour will last 1.5-2 hours. Total walking distance will not exceed one mile, but terrain is uneven. Participants also must climb up and down a short step ladder to cross over fencing. Please wear sturdy shoes and dress according to the weather. Heavy rain will cancel.

Rather than trying to predict peak bloom times in the winter, we will be creating a notification list of interested people at this time. Please email us to get on the list! We will contact the notification list in March to provide the final tour dates. Typically these tours are in April and will be conducted on both weekend and weekday dates. Once dates and times are released, you will need to sign up to reserve a spot (sign up information will be sent with the final dates). Tours are limited to approximately 20 people each due to the sensitivity of the vernal pool ecosystem.

Great Backyard Bird Count • February 15 — 18, 2019

Join people from around the world count wild birds on the February 15 to 18 weekend and then submit your data online for scientists to use in their research. The kid-friendly event is run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, plus other sponsors and international partners.

Whether you’re a sage expert or a first-time birder, you can help create a snapshot of avian populations and provide critical information for future conservation efforts just by reporting what you see and hear. Every observation you submit gives scientists more insight into research areas such as how birds are adapting to suburban sprawl, West Nile Virus, and climate change. It’s free, it’s fun, and it makes a difference.

So how do you take part? Read on at audubon.org to learn the ins and outs of running your own count.

John Dingell (1926 — 2019)

Former US Representative John Dingell of Michigan

Former US Representative John Dingell of Michigan. Photo courtesy Wikipedia via United States Congress.

Former US Representative John David Dingell Jr. of Michigan, an architect of some of the most important wildlife conservation laws in the nation, died February 7, 2019 in Dearborn, Michigan. He was 92.

During his 59 years in Congress spanning 1955 to 2014, the longest Congressional tenure in U.S. history, Mr. Dingell served as the main architect on the Clean Water Act of 1972, and authored several laws advocating for wildlife conservation: the Water Quality Act of 1965, the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and the the Clean Air Act of 1990. He sponsored the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997. He also established the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge in 2001 — the only international wildlife refuge in the nation and managed jointly by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Canadian Wildlife Service. He was a member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission from 1969 until his retirement in 2014.

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