From our blogs

Family Story Walk: Betty the Bee

The Story of Betty the Bee

From July 15, 2021 through July 29, 2021, join us in a self-guided Story Walk, featuring the book The Story of Betty the Bee.

Written by San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society staff, the book features a bee named Betty and her life at Don Edwards SF Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

For a more interactive experience, walk along a special Story Walk trail at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Alviso. You will come across a series of numbered stops at some of which, you will have the opportunity to read the story with your family and complete additional activities.

Download the activity packet below. Activities are indicated at specific stops along the Story Walk. Use this activity packet to complete the 5 activities along your journey.

⮇ Click here to download and print the activity booklet (PDF 9 MB) ⮇

To create the booklet

Print the booklet double-sided. Keep it in order as it appears on your screen and fold along the black line. Staple the pages together or tie a string around the center fold.

Family Story Walk: A Home for Salty

A Home for Salty, written by Stephanie Stuve-Boden and illustrated by Diane Adams.

A Home for Salty

From June 17, 2021 through July 1, 2021, join us in a self-guided Story Walk, featuring the book A Home for Salty.

Written by Stephanie Stuve-Boden and illustrated by Diane Adams, the book features the adventures of a salt marsh harvest mouse, an endangered species that lives on the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

For a more interactive experience, walk along a special Story Walk trail at the Refuge in Fremont. You will come across a series of numbered stops at some of which, you will have the opportunity to read the story with your family and complete additional activities.

Download the activity packet below. Activities are indicated at specific stops along the Story Walk. Use this activity packet to complete the 5 activities along your journey.

⮇ Click here to download and print the activity booklet (PDF 2.3 MB) ⮇

To create the booklet

Print the booklet double-sided. Keep it in order as it appears on your screen and fold along the black line. Staple the pages together or tie a string around the center fold.

Online Marsh-In Summer Camp! • August 2-6, 2021

The annual Marsh-In Summer Camp program held at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Environmental Education Center in Alviso is staying online this year!

Join us for our second online summer camp program that combines technology and outdoor activities for a unique learning experience. Camp will be held from Monday, August 2 – Friday, August 6.

Online camp will consist of three live Zoom sessions as well as self-guided activities. Live Zoom sessions are Monday and Wednesday from 10:30 am - 11:30 am, and Friday from 10:30 am - 12:00 pm.

A participant at the online summer camp 2020.

A participant at the online summer camp 2020.

Discover, engage and learn!

Although we cannot host our traditional summer camp program this year, we still want to provide our community with an engaging and interactive learning opportunity. This year’s theme is Endangered Bird Species. We will be highlighting two bird species found at two of our local National Wildlife Refuges. There will be live interactions with Refuge Rangers and Biologists as well as self-guided activities.

Requirements

Campers must be entering grades 1-6 in Fall 2021, have access to the internet via a computer or tablet, and attend all days of camp. All activity materials will be provided in a Camp Kit.

To apply

Please fill out this Google Form (one per family): https://forms.gle/rP3dXdngeAHZzKS56
Applications will be accepted through Wednesday, June 30th. Selections are made by lottery. Acceptance notifications will be sent on July 7th. Must return permission slips by July 14th. Log-on instructions will be sent on July 30th and camp begins on August 2nd.

Please email us at summercamp@sfbws.com or call 408-515-1889 with any questions.

Summer programming is sponsored by the San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society, a generous donation by Cargill, Inc., and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Endangered Species Day: May 21, 2021 - California Tiger Salamander

Celebrate the 16th Annual Endangered Species Day on May 21st, 2021. Every year on the third Friday in May, thousands of people around the world participate in Endangered Species Day by celebrating, learning about, and taking action to protect threatened and endangered species.

In honor of Endangered Species Day, we would like to introduce the adorable California Tiger Salamander! The California Tiger Salamander is a threatened and endangered amphibian species native to California. This spotted salamander enjoys munching on snails, insects, earthworms, and even small fish!

A female California tiger salamander with unfertilized eggs, observed near breeding ponds at Ellicott Slough NWR. Photo Credit: Ashley Spratt / USFWS

A female California tiger salamander with unfertilized eggs, observed near breeding ponds at Ellicott Slough NWR. Photo Credit: Ashley Spratt / USFWS

National Wildflower Week: May 3 - 9, 2021 - Create a Pollinator Garden

The first full week of May is National Wildflower Week, May 3 through 9 this year. It is a time when gardens are blooming with flowers.

Pollinators visit flowers to drink nectar or feed off of pollen and transport pollen grains as they move from spot to spot. Birds, bats, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, wasps, small mammals, and most importantly, bees are pollinators.

Pollinators play a crucial role in flowering plant reproduction and in the production of most fruits and vegetables. Without the assistance of pollinators, most plants cannot produce fruits and seeds. The fruits and seeds of flowering plants are an important food source for people and wildlife.

A wonderful way to support local pollinators is to create a pollinator garden.

Pollinator garden. Photo Credit: Olivia Poulos / SFBWS

Pollinator garden. Photo Credit: Olivia Poulos / SFBWS

National Wildflower Week: May 3 - 9, 2021 - The Value of Native Plants

The first full week of May is National Wildflower Week, May 3 through 9 this year. It is a time when most of the country is ablaze with springtime blossoms.

While taking a walk around your neighborhood or driving along the freeway, a patch of California Poppies, with bright orange petals and lime green foliage, might catch your attention.

California Poppy. Photo Credit: Hope Presley / SFBWS

California Poppy. Photo Credit: Hope Presley / SFBWS

The California Poppy is the state’s designated flower, and it’s a shining example of California’s amazing collection of plants.

California has the highest number of native and endemic plants than any other state. It is estimated that the state is home to 6,500 species, subspecies, and varieties of plants, many are not found anywhere else on the earth! 

Why does California have so many plants? Well, California is actually a global hotspot for biodiversity. The state’s variation in landscape features, latitudinal ranges, minerals, soils, and climate result in a wide range of ecosystems that can support many plants as well as animals. Most of the state lies within the California Floristic Province, a portion of western North America having a Mediterranean- climate (dry summers and mild, wet winters) with high levels of plant diversity. 

East Bay Green Home Tour • June 6 and June 13, 2021, 10am - 1pm

Join the 2021 East Bay Green Home Tour, a free, 2-day, online video tour of 12 East Bay homes.

Learn what neighbors are doing with their homes to combat climate change, improve air quality, generate clean energy, and move towards a safer, healthier, greener future.

Each tour segment consists of a 10-minute video tour followed by a live 10-minute Q&A with the homeowner or tenant. Extras include an induction cooking demonstration and experts talks on heat pumps, air quality, rebates, and more.

Register on EventBrite to attend the East Bay Green Home Tour.

City Nature Challenge 2021: San Francisco Bay Area • April 30 to May 3, 2021

Starting Friday April 30th, the global 2021 City Nature Challenge begins.

A global effort to document the biodiversity in your neighborhood, you can participate by making observations and putting them on iNaturalist.

From April 30 through May 3, document the incredible biodiversity of the Bay Area by making observations of WILD organisms in any of the nine counties that touch the San Francisco Bay.

Join us for upcoming nature events in the San Francisco Bay Area.

  • Virtual BioBlitz at Ogier Ponds: Fri, April 30, 2021 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM PDT

    Ogier Ponds is located along the Coyote Creek Parkway, a 16 mile length of Coyote Creek that is one large Santa Clara County Park. On this virtual outing, Merav Vonshak and Kathleen Tralow will take you on a tour of nature at these ponds, including what lives in the water, and some of the birds and plants that make this area their home. You may see (or hear) hawks, the Botta's pocket gopher, or even a damselfly.

    Register on EventBrite to attend the Virtual BioBlitz at Ogier Ponds.

    Supported by Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful , BioBlitz.club, Grassroots Ecology, Open Space Authority, and Santa Clara County Parks.

  • BioBlitz at Hellyer Park: Sat, May 1, 2021 from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM PDT

    Located in the southern part of San Jose, Hellyer Park is a safe haven for many species of plants and animals right along Coyote Creek. Join Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful and BioBlitz.club at the park's Cottonwood Lake Entrance in cataloging and documenting all of the living things that reside there. We will have experts in various fields to help guide participants through all the cool plants and wildlife.

    Register on EventBrite to attend the BioBlitz at Hellyer Park.

    Hosted by Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful, Bioblitz.club, and Grassroots Ecology. Supported by Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority and Santa Clara County Parks.

The Spring 2021 Issue of Tide Rising, our quarterly newsletter, is here

by Ceal Craig

Tide Rising: Volume 2, Issue 3, Spring 2021

Tide Rising: Volume 2, Issue 3, Spring 2021.

The San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society is happy to publish the latest issue of its digital newsletter, Tide Rising: Volume 2, Issue 3, Spring 2021. This issue’s theme is Endangered & Threatened Species.

In this issue:

  • Learn what our Friends group can do to advocate for the endangered and threatened species on our Refuge Complex. Find ideas and read an interview with the President of CORFA (Coalition of Refuge Friends & Advocates).
  • See how the Veterans Affairs (VA) Alameda Point staff and volunteers pivoted during the pandemic supporting the least tern, an endangered species on our Refuge. Not quite business as usual.
  • Discover whether a new species has been found on the Antioch Dunes NWR? Learn more about the evening primrose, Clade X.
  • Volunteers in FY2020: they are the lifeblood of the Refuge Complex. Last year and a pandemic didn’t stop our USFWS volunteers.
  • Take a look at the photographs galore this issue!

Readers' feedback:
Based on readers feedback, you will see a new format for the email version of the newsletter. A short synopsis will be in this email with a photo or two, with an Acrobat .pdf file LINK with the FULL story. This should help you read the whole newsletter in brief, and dive into stories that interest you more easily.

Editors: Ceal Craig, PhD; Renee Fitzsimons
Contributors: Ceal Craig, Mary Deschene, Renee Fitzsimons (SFBWS). Louis Terrezas (USFWS), Meg Marriott (USFWS), Paul Mueller (USFWS), Susan Euing (USFWS).
Photographers: Ambarish Goswami, Ceal Craig, Cindy Roessler, Joanne Ong, Louis Terrazas, Say Zhee Lim, S. Euing, USFWS, USGS.

Thanks for reading!

Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour • April 25, May 2, May 16, May 23, 2021, 10am - 3pm

Join the 2021 Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour free online this year via Zoom and YouTube!

Spend four Sundays in the Gardens — April 25, May 2, May 16 and May 23 — with passionate garden owners and the talented designers of the Bay Area’s most beautiful and inspiring landscapes will show us what’s happening in the garden now, feature their favorite natives, describe their favorite native plant gardening resources, and more.

This year’s Tour features 25 Alameda and Contra Costa county gardens, which can be seen on the Tour’s website. You can view photos of each of these gardens, read a description of the garden and print out its plant list at View the 2021 Gardens. You will be able to meet the homeowners and view about half of these gardens live online through Sundays in the Gardens.

This program will be hosted on Zoom, and live-streamed on YouTube. Registration is required. Click here to register for the online tour. Your registration email will contain links to join the live events.

The exemplary landscapes on the Tour hope to inform, inspire and motivate you to incorporate native plants into your own gardens. They contain at least 60% native plants, are pesticide-free, water-conserving, and provide habitat for wildlife.

Renowned ecologist and best-selling author Douglas Tallamy will open this event on Sunday, April 25, at 10:00, after which each garden owner will host a 25 minute long live visit.

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