From our blogs

Trash clean-up via Litterati an ongoing success at the refuge

San Jose Conservation Corps cleaning up various ponds and levees in the south San Francisco Bay. Credit Olivia Andrus.

San Jose Conservation Corps cleaning up various ponds and levees in the south San Francisco Bay. Credit Olivia Andrus.

by Mary Deschene

The Litterati app-based pollution prevention and trash clean-up, sponsored by the Santa Clara Valley Water District, is an ongoing success at the refuge. With the help of the San Jose Conservation Corps and volunteer groups, we have cleaned up nearly two tons of trash, keeping plastics and small pieces of trash often mistaken for food by wildlife and plastics out of the bay and ocean systems.

Explore the Coast Outreach and Field Trip Interns

by Mary Deschene

Hundreds of low-income school children now have the opportunity to “Explore the Coast” of the Don Edwards Refuge by attending field trips enabled by the California State Coastal Conservancy’s Explore the Coast program.

By funding interns to assist with refuge programs, we are providing environmental education for diverse audiences that open up a world of environmental appreciation and stewardship for future generations and their families.

The Conservancy’s Explore the Coast Grant program encourages all Californian’s to explore and experience our spectacular coast.

There is no minimum grant size but the maximum grant award is $50,000. If funding is available, the Conservancy will offer these grants every year. Since 2013, the Conservancy has awarded over $2.9 million to 109 projects.

Explore the Coast grants fund a wide range of programs that bring people to the coast, increase stewardship of coastal resources, and provide educational opportunities. The grant program prioritizes projects that achieve one or more of these objectives:
* Provide coastal experiences to lower-income or other underserved populations;
* Increase the number of people visiting the coast;
* Improve barrier-free access for persons with disabilities; and/or
* Provide a valuable recreational, environmental, cultural or historic learning experience;
* Increase stewardship of coastal resources; or
* Enhance the public’s coastal experience in a way that does not currently exist.

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

Sign up to receive notification of when Vernal Pool Tours are available. These popular tours to view wildflowers and endangered plants occur in an area normally closed to the public due to the sensitivity of the habitat. Tours are free of charge.

You will learn about the unique features of a vernal pool grassland, 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.

Aerial photography captures the vivid colors of South Bay salt ponds

Rainbow Fields by Colin McRae. Credit Colin McRae.

Rainbow Fields by Colin McRae. Credit Colin McRae.

For the last eight years, Colin McRae has been flying over the San Francisco Bay Area, photographing the vivid and sometimes surreal colors of the salt ponds in the South Bay. His photograph "Rainbow Fields" was recently featured as "Photo of the Day" on a website for photography professionals, giving Bay Area residents an aerial perspective of the salt ponds hugging the southern shores of the San Francisco Bay.

“Exploring Our Baylands” book free with every purchase at our Nature Stores

Please accept a free book Exploring Our Baylands with any purchase at our Nature Stores at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

2 Locations:

Visitor Contact Station, 2 Marshlands Road, Fremont, CA
Normal hours: 11:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Wednesday - Saturday
Call to confirm hours: 510-792-0222, ext. 363

Environmental Education Center Lobby
1751 Grand Blvd, Alviso (San Jose), CA
Usually open 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Saturdays, and some weekdays
Call for hours: 408-262-5513

Christmas Bird Count for Kids • January 21, 2017

Introduce your child to bird watching and learn how the Christmas Bird Count contributes to conservation at Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge and Coyote Hills Regional Park on January 21, 2017 from 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Go with an experienced birdwatcher and count all the birds you see. We will reconvene at the Don Edwards Refuge to tabulate our data and report our findings.

Recommended for ages 8-16. Minors must be accompanied by an adult. Driving to specific birding sites may be necessary. Bring binoculars if you have them, water, and a bag lunch.

Register at

Meet at the Visitor Center in Fremont at 2 Marshlands Rd, Fremont, CA

Get involved in our 30th year celebration!

The 30th anniversary of the San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society is on July 30, 2017. Let us know what type of celebration you would like to see. We would like to know our members! Tell us why you have supported the organization and what your ideas are about its future.

Take our survey or write to Ceal Craig at ceal.craig [at] sfbws [dot] com.

Help San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory raise funds for its 'Protect Our Plovers' campaign

Snowy Plover chicks banded at the leg. Credit Sebastian Kennerknecht Photography for San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory.

Snowy Plover chicks banded at the leg. Credit Sebastian Kennerknecht Photography for San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory.

by Karine Tokatlian, Plover Program Director and 'Protect Our Plovers' campaign organizer for San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory

In 2017, SFBBO will be going into our 14th year of monitoring Western Snowy Plovers in the San Francisco Bay area. But this year is different: we have no funding for research at their most important breeding site, Eden Landing Ecological Reserve. In the current climate of conservation uncertainty, we are turning to you, the scientific and environmental community, for help to continue our research to save these birds from extinction. Our campaign launches today, December 15, 2016. Visit to help us raise $25,000. Even if you are unable to donate, sharing this information with friends and family would be greatly appreciated.

Special thanks to Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Inc. for donation in Q3 2016

We gratefully acknowledge the contribution of Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Inc. who donated $6,000 to the San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society between July 1, 2016 and September 30, 2016.

This gift will help with matching funds for the educational display for our Santa Clara Valley Water District trash clean-up grant for Pollution Prevention.

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

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.

Following a meeting of the Board of Directors on October 19, 2016, Renee Fitzsimons is the new Vice President while Debra King is secretary. Two slots on the Board of Directors remain open.

We are looking for more Board of Director members, in particular people with a legal background and business financial experience. Please contact Cecilia (Ceal) Craig at ceal.craig [@] sfbws [dot] com if you want to chat about these opportunities.