From our blogs

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 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.

San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society negatively impacted by partial US government shutdown since December 22, 2018

by Ceal Craig

As I write this our Refuge Complex, the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, has been shutdown for almost three weeks. What does that really mean? The Refuges are “open,” aren’t they? To public visitation on the trails, yes. But other outcomes are happening:

  • On Saturday, January 12th, three different programs were scheduled that would have reached 60-70 people, including a group of 20 local high school students; those had to be cancelled. These programs are essential to our local community and connect new and diverse audiences with their local natural resources.
  • Restoration work is extremely important to keeping our habitats sustainable for native wildlife and has not been done since the shutdown began.
  • Invasive plant species are mostly likely starting to sprout at this time, growing quickly and overtaking critical native species since they cannot be pulled by volunteers.
  • Nature Store sales are conducted Tuesday – Saturday, providing visitors with educational items and profits that directly benefit the Refuge Complex.
  • The Environmental Education program for the Refuge Complex has also been affected. Many field trip programs at Don Edwards SFBNWR have been cancelled.
  • Practically all USFWS staff have been on furlough.

This situation is negatively impacting our Refuges, the programs we deliver, and commitments we’ve made to the public our grantors and donors.

US National Park Service former director says keeping parks open during the shutdown is a terrible mistake

Jonathan B. Jarvis, a former director of the US National Park Service, says that keeping national parks open during the current partial federal government shutdown is a terrible mistake. He writes in today's Guardian:

Leaving the parks open without these essential staff is equivalent to leaving the Smithsonian museums open without any staff to protect the priceless artefacts. Yet as a result of the government shutdown, which furloughed most park staff, this is what has happened. It is a violation of the stewardship mandate, motivated only by politics. While the majority of the public will be respectful, there will always be a few who take advantage of the opportunity to do lasting damage.

Jonathan B. Jarvis was the 18th director of the US National Park Service. He is now the executive director for the Institute for Parks, People and Biodiversity at the University of California, Berkeley.

KPIX 5 gives viewers a rare tour of Drawbridge

Devin Fehely of KPIX 5 got special permission from the federal government to give viewers a rare tour of Drawbridge, a place that few people know exist. It's the Bay Area's only ghost town, located in the middle of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Enjoy the 5 minute video that also features San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society's Ceal Craig:

US Department of Interior impacted by partial federal government shutdown

The United States Department of Interior has been impacted by the partial federal government shutdown that went into effect early Saturday December 22, 2018. Funding for about a quarter of the federal government has expired and some 800,000 employees from nine key federal departments and dozens of federal agencies have been furloughed or are working without pay. The departments impacted are Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, Interior, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Housing and Urban Development. This is the third federal government shutdown this year.

Among the federal employees furloughed at the Department of Interior (DOI) are most of workers at the National Park Service (NPS) and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). DOI websites and social media accounts will not be updated.

Under the contingency plan of the National Park Service, no national parks will be open and no visitor services — including restrooms, facility and road maintenance, snow plowing, and trash collection — will be provided. Scheduled programs will be canceled, visitor centers will be closed and campgrounds will be unstaffed. Visitors are requested to practice "leave no trace" principles to avoid fouling up the national parks when no visitor services are available.

Support us with your charitable donation this holiday season

Happy Holidays!

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

Help us in our mission to promote public awareness and appreciation of the San Francisco Bay and its natural history, and to conserve and preserve the remaining bay lands as essential wildlife habitat.

Your support of our education, interpretation, and research activities is more important than ever. Any amount you’re willing to donate this holiday season will be greatly appreciated! Donations may be fully tax-deductible.

Click here to support us with your charitable donation this holiday season.