By Guest Blogger & SFBBO Board Member Karan Gathani
My foray into volunteering with the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory was set into motion after attending a docent-led hike by Jan Hintermeister, who was Chair on the SFBBO Board at that time. We spotted a Pied-billed Grebe diving in one of the ponds, which triggered a discussion about identifying birds by their shapes. Long story short, Jan coaxed me to check out SFBBO as an organization I should volunteer with since it overlaps with my interest areas.
While researching the volunteer programs, I was a bit overwhelmed at first, as I wasn’t expecting the diversity of programs one could volunteer with. So, I reached out to Jan to ask him which one I should prioritize since I felt like a kid in a candy shop and was stuck trying to pick a single option. Habitat restoration is a novel opportunity I should probably explore, he suggested. And he was right, habitat restoration is as exciting to me today as it was when I started volunteering four years ago, with new things I learn every day in the field.
The tidal marsh restoration program at SFBBO is part of the larger South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project. This project focuses on restoring an area about three-fifths as big as Disney World in the San Francisco Delta region, which was previously covered in man-made salt ponds, and restore them back to tidal marsh habitat. This project aims to increase tidal marsh habitat as well as the fish and wildlife that depend on it.
Being part of such an ambitious goal is challenging, but also inspiring. Having observed first-hand all the agencies coordinating to make this end goal possible reminds me how crucial it is to educate the public about the impacts of our past, the amendments in the present, and ultimately the hope for the future.
If playing an active role in leaving this planet in a better shape for future generations is something that appeals to you or if you are just curious about what the restored habitats look like, I recommend you join us at one of our upcoming Planting for Pollinators events on May 15th or May 22nd. If you would like do even more to support SFBBO's mission to conserve birds and their habitats through science and outreach, please visit our website or make a donation today. We hope to see you at an SFBBO activity soon!
Wingbeat is a blog where you can find the most recent stories about our science and outreach work. We'll also share guest posts from volunteers, donors, partners, and others in the avian science and conservation world. To be a guest writer, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.