From our blogs

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 ,, 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 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,, 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.

Teen Environmental Art Show to celebrate Earth Day 2021

The San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society is happy to showcase submissions for the Teen Environmental Art Show held every year to celebrate Earth Day.

The artwork, incorporating the Earth Day 2021 theme, "Restore Our Earth", has been done by teen artists currently attending school in grades 6 through 12 in the San Francisco Bay Area region.

Choked by Ananya Chittibabu, Grade 9

'Choked' by Ananya Chittibabu, Grade 9

Going Native Garden Tour • April 16 and 17, 2021, 10am - 4pm

The California Native Plant Society (Santa Clara Valley Chapter) in association with UCCE Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County present the 2021 Going Native Garden Tour.

  • Friday April 16, 2021, 10am - 4pm
  • Saturday April 17, 2021, 10am - 4pm
  • Free admission
  • 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.

Northern Gardens (Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Los Altos, and San Mateo County)
Southern Gardens (Cupertino, Santa Clara, Campbell, San Jose and south)

Garden information, maps and directions will become available to registrants by email. For online registration, visit or email To sponsor or support the tour, contact

Earth Day • April 22, 2021

Earth Day | April 22, 2021

On April 22 people all over the world will celebrate Earth Day – a day to raise environmental awareness and inspire people to take action in making the planet healthy for this and future generations. Learn more about this special day and how you can join in the celebration.

The theme for Earth Day 2021 is Restore the Earth.

Become an Earth Hero

Our planet is a beautiful place, but it also needs our help to keep it that way! Become your community's new Earth Hero by completing the activity handout below.

⮇ Click here to download the Earth Hero activity handout (PDF 17 MB) ⮇

To continue supporting the Earth, we suggest you only print out pages 4, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15. Don’t forget to scan the QR codes on pages 8, 9 and 11!

This activity handout provides ways that you can help make your community a better place to protect our Earth, its resources, and its people. As Earth Heroes, you can find multiple ways to protect our planet by completing each activity in your classroom or at home. By reducing our waste, recycling properly, and reusing items we help out our fellow National Wildlife Refuge ambassadors the Western Snowy Plover or the California Ridgway's Rail; at the same time, we are saying ‘thank you’ to the Earth.

Celebrate Global Recycling Day: Get started with spring cleaning at-home!

Global Recycling Day

Global Recycling Day is Thursday, March 18, 2021. Get ready for it by doing some Spring Cleaning! Check out our conscious and environmentally-friendly guide!

As springtime approaches, many of us get that inherent itch to purge, dust, de-clutter, and all-around spruce up our homes after the cold and cloudy winter season. This year, it's a great time to refocus and complete those chores in a conscious and eco-friendly way that will help to not only divert usable and recyclable items from landfills but protect our watersheds from harmful chemicals and pollutants.

⮇ Click here to download our conscious spring cleaning how-to guide! (PDF 3 MB) ⮇

Each topic is on it's own page, and is a convenient size for printing and storing in a drawer or in your cleaning supplies cabinet. You could also hole-punch the top left corner and use an index card ring to secure the cards together.

Have any questions, tips of your own to share, or want to let us know which tip or trick you appreciated most?! Email us at

Marsh-In Summer Day Camp Associate 2021

Now Hiring! Summer Camp 2021 Associate needed to assist the Marsh-In Summer Camp Program!

Interested in pursuing a career in environmental education, interpretation, or visitor services? Join our team for the annual Marsh-In Summer Camp program for Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge! The Summer Camp Associate is responsible for developing and coordinating the camp program, which is expected to be online again for 2021 with possible on-Refuge opportunities.

Please see below for more details and how to apply. Application deadline is Wednesday, April 7, 2021!

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 2021 Marsh-In Summer Camp Program. The Associate will be working under the Watershed Watchers Program Coordinator, while also being advised by other education staff members.

Marsh-In Summer Camp is a free camp for students entering grades 1-6 with activities focused on local wildlife species and habitats at the Refuge. In 2020, camp was offered in an online format for the first time. It was a huge success and this year plans are being made for another online camp with opportunities for on-Refuge activities. Summer camp wouldn’t be possible without our team of young volunteers. Habitat Heroes assist with camp by leading camper groups in activities and discussions. Marsh-In Summer Camp participants are chosen via a lottery, and we accept approximately 50-65 students depending on the format.

Associate will also have other opportunities to assist and lead Environmental Education programs, such as public and community group programs.