From our blogs

Basic Bird Biology Course offered June 2015 by the National Conservation Training Center

Do you get a lot of questions from the public about birds that stymie you? This may be the course for you! The National Conservation Training Center of the U.S. Fish & Widlife Service would like to announce a course in Basic Bird Biology (CSP 2100) that takes place at Tualatin NWR in Portland, Oregon, from June 1 through 5, 2015.

Course Description

This extensive survey course on bird biology and ecology is designed to provide you with the ability to integrate ecological knowledge and thinking into your daily work process. The goal of the course is to provide you the ecological knowledge to handle basic questions or problems regarding migratory birds. During the course, you will have hands-on learning about bird morphology, behavior, habitat selection, identification, and regulatory protections. You will also work with live and preserved specimens.

Who Should Attend

Individuals who interact with the public and would like to be able to answer basic bird ecology questions; permits specialists, law enforcement, inspectors, administration, park rangers, outdoor recreation planners.

Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour - May 3 2015, 10am -5pm

Registration is now open for the free Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour which will take place Sunday, May 3, 2015 from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm at various locations throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

Participants on the 11th annual, free, self-guided Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour can choose from 30 showcase native plant gardens. Participants will have the opportunity to learn how to select and care for California native plants, lower their water bills, design a low-maintenance garden, attract butterflies, birds, and bees, and garden without using pesticides.

Litterati Art Exhibit Opening Reception

Trash is everywhere. Soda cans, plastic bags, and cigarette butts litter the environment, choke wildlife, and threaten our planet. By combining technology, social awareness and art, the Litterati is tackling this ever-escalating problem one piece of litter at a time.

  • Venue: Environmental Education Center, Alviso
  • Date and Time: Tuesday, April 21 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
  • FREE Admission with complimentary refreshments provided by the San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society.
  • Space is limited, please register at:

This planet we call home is a big place to keep clean. We all need to play our part. Join the Litterati.

Earth Day • April 18 2015, 9am – 12pm

Come and join us! Celebrate Earth Day at Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge on April 18, 2015 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Join us at Ravenswood Point in East Palo Alto for our annual Earth Day Cleanup. Help protect the wildlife and environment while enjoying the beautiful Bay view. Gloves and trash bags provided. Children welcome and must be accompanied by an adult.

RSVP at Contact or call (510) 792-0222 ext. 141 for more information.

13th Annual Going Native Garden Tour • April 18 - 19, 2015, 10am - 4pm

The California Native Plant Society (Santa Clara Valley Chapter) in association with UCCE Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County present the 13th Annual Going Native Garden Tour.

  • Saturday April 18, 2015, 10am - 4pm: Southern Gardens (Cupertino, Santa Clara, Campbell, San Jose and south)
  • Sunday April 19, 2015, 10am - 4pm: Northern Gardens (Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Los Altos, and San Mateo County)
  • Free admission
  • Plant sales and talks at select gardens
  • Register at

Bay Area homeowners are making their gardens aesthetically pleasing, attractive to birds and butterflies, water-wise, and low maintenance by incorporating California native plants. Visit gardens landscaped with native plants on this free annual tour, now in its thirteenth year.

Garden information, maps and directions will become available to registrants the week of April 7. Registrations will be accepted until Sun, Apr 19, 2015, 3:00 pm. For information, visit or email To sponsor or support the tour, contact

Vernal Pool Wildflower Tour • April 17 and 18, 2015

Sign up for a special tour at the Warm Springs Unit to see wildflower blooms in some of the last intact vernal pools in the East Bay. This unit of the Don Edwards Refuge is normally closed to the public.

Visitors will enjoy learning about the unique features of vernal pool grasslands and about the endangered species supported by this habitat.

  • Venue: Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Fremont
  • Dates: April 17 and 18, 2015
  • Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. on both days

Space is extremely limited and reservations are required. Register at or call 510-792-0222 ext. 135 and ask for Scott. Directions will be emailed after registration.

Grebes, Cormorants and Terns, Oh My!

Talk by Carmen Minch at the Mountain View Public Library. Birds of SF Bay NWR.

Come learn about a few of the 227 species of birds you can find at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

About the Refuge

The Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge is truly an "wildlife island in an urban sea." Sprawled over 30,000 acres in 3 counties and nine cities, the nation's first National Wildlife Refuge provides habitat for migratory birds, endangered species, and other wildlife.

It is home to the endangered Ridgway's Rail and Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse. Common birds sited on the refuge are egrets, red-tailed hawks, mallards, teals, and grebes. It is currently involved with the largest tidal wetland restoration west of the Mississippi River.

NOAA expands two national marine sanctuaries off the Bay Area coast

Map of expanded Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries. Credit: NOAA

Map of expanded Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries. Credit: NOAA

- via a press release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones national marine sanctuaries off northern California will both more than double in size following a final rule released today by NOAA. The expansion will help to protect the region's marine and coastal habitats, biological resources and special ecological features.

Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, located 42 miles north of San Francisco, will expand from 529 square miles to 1,286 square miles. Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary will expand from 1,282 square miles to 3,295 square miles of ocean and coastal waters.

"We are thrilled to announce the expansion of two of our sanctuaries in California," said Holly Bamford, Ph.D., acting assistant secretary of conservation and management and NOAA's deputy administrator. "It's important to conserve these special places that encourage partnerships in science, education, technology, management and community."

Volunteer Opportunities: Spring 2015

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Volunteer Opportunities: Spring 2015 at the Environmental Education Center (Alviso, California).

If you have an interest in wildlife and their conservation, enjoy working with people, and are enthusiastic and dependable, the Environmental Education Center’s Volunteer Program is for you! As a volunteer, you’ll receive on-the- job training from staff and other volunteers in the project area you choose. Project areas are: restoration projects, information desk on weekends, interpretive programs, school field trips, and citizen science/community service.

Prior to volunteering at the Environmental Education Center, you must attend a Volunteer Orientation. You can also attend the orientation just to see what opportunities there are, and if it is the right fit for you.

California Senators Introduce Bill to Help Restore San Francisco Bay

- via a press release from the Washington DC office of Dianne Feinstein, United States Senator.

U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (both D-Calif.) today introduced the San Francisco Bay Restoration Act, which seeks to implement wetlands and habitat restoration projects to improve the water quality in the San Francisco Bay, the largest estuary on the west coast.

The bill amends the Clean Water Act and authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to award grant funding for activities and studies such as wetlands restoration projects and habitat improvement initiatives.

"By authorizing the necessary resources, this bill will help restore tidal wetlands and improve the quality of the Bay Area’s water," said Senator Feinstein. "The San Francisco Bay is so important to our state’s economy and ecology that restoration deserves renewed attention."

"San Francisco Bay is so important to the economy and the environment of the whole region," said Senator Boxer. "I am proud to work with Senator Feinstein on this plan to protect and restore the health of the Bay."

The legislation would require EPA to consult with local and state government, the San Francisco Bay Estuary Partnership and other stakeholders to develop an annual priority list for funding restoration projects, all of which will be consistent with the San Francisco Estuary Program’s Comprehensive Conservation and Management Program, the long term plan for bay restoration.