GGNP Endangered Species Big Year News

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2014 has been a challenging year. On December 20, 2013, Rose Braz—Wild Equity’s Chairperson, my wife, and the person I call “the greatest human I’ve ever met” without reservation—had a seizure. That Christmas Eve she was diagnosed with an invasive and aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma.

It was the scariest moment we’ve ever faced.

Too many days were spent like this in 2014.

Our lives have been transformed. Rose has since had two brain surgeries and endured radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Much of my time has been dedicated to Rose’s care, and searching the literature for treatments that may fight this disease.

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Tonight's the Night: Wild Equity's Anniversary Celebration!

Tonight's the night: Wild Equity's five year anniversary celebration!  A limited number of tickets have been reserved for sale at the door for only $15, so come on by! 

Thursday November 6th, 6pm,

at the Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics 

Thank you from all of us at Wild Equity!

Wild Equity Party

These are not actors: it's an actual scene from Wild Equity's most recent bash!!

Buy Your Ticket Now!

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Nov. 6, 6pm: Five Years Fighting, Wild Equity's Anniversary Celebration!

On November 6th, 6pm, at the Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics Wild Equity will be proudly celebrating our five year anniversary! That’s right, it’s already been Five Years Fighting, and we’ve decided to throw you, the people who’ve made Wild Equity possible, a party!

Please join us for food, drinks, games, goodies, and most importantly good company! We’ll have live music by singer/songwriter Kristin Plater, as well as an outdoor gear raffle and vintage endangered species artwork up for auction at this celebratory end-of-year fundraiser. We’ll also showcase what we’ve accomplished to date, and, of course, show how we intend to keep Wild Equity’s momentum growing!

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Help Us Grow in 2014!!!

“What do you get out of it? Why do you keep trying?”

The reporter’s questions caught me off-guard. I had been expecting to discuss Wild Equity’s role protecting the Franciscan Manzanita—a gorgeous plant presumed extinct in the wild for decades, but now on the verge of reintroduction throughout the City. I hadn’t anticipated the need to defend my life’s purpose.

As my mind considered the questions, I realized that only my heart could answer them. “I get a chance to make the world more equitable, more beautiful,” I replied. “I know the odds are long, but thousands of people have trusted in our ability to make this vision reality. When I’m toiling away late at night, pouring over thousands of pages of government documents or pounding away at another legal brief, I reflect on how grateful I am for their support, and it makes all the sacrifices worthwhile.”

When the SF Weekly article finally came out, it emphasized Wild Equity’s work protecting this miracle plant, and noted that we’ve won “a number of other high-profile lawsuits in the name of conservation, including this summer’s triumph over Sharp Park Golf Course for killing endangered red-legged frogs and garter snakes.”

But it failed to note that these conservation victories aren’t ours alone. Your contributions—your commitment to our vision, your trust in our staff, your donations to our programs—make each victory possible.

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Marin Board of Supervisors Weakens Protections for Salmon

The wild Coho Salmon population found in Marin is about to vanish. In order to prevent this amazing fish from going extinct, we must restore riparian habitat and prevent destructive development. On Oct 29, the Marin Board of Supervisors ignored the plight of the salmon and passed an ordinance that will end a building ban in the San Geronimo Valley. Read more about this “unusual hearing” in the the Marin Independent Journal.

Join Wild Equity, our partners at SPAWN and 28 conservation and fishing organizations to demand stronger protections for Marin’s endangered Coho salmon.

Now Hiring: Big Year Project Coordinator

Part-Time Project Coordinator Position
2014 Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year

Position Summary.

Wild Equity Institute is seeking a Part-Time Project Coordinator for the 2014 Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year competition. The Project Coordinator will be responsible for reviewing participant evaluations and project partner feedback from previous iterations of the project; revising the event structure and prize schedule for the project; and scheduling events that will implement the project throughout 2014.

The Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year (a new project title is under discussion) is a race against time to observe each of the endangered and threatened species found within the Golden Gate National Parks, while taking discrete conservation recovery actions that will prevent these species from going extinct. It is a competitive event: the person who sees and helps the most species during the year will win the competition.

The project enables participants to explore the diverse habitats of the GGNP while helping each of the endangered and threatened species that call the Park home. In the process, we hope participants will discover the humility, compassion, and hope embodied in the legal protections for this land and our imperiled neighbors.

Major Duties and Responsibilities.

  • Review feedback from previous iterations of the project. Consult with project partners and supporters to clarify feedback as needed.
  • Propose structural changes to the event and prize structure of the project for 2014 for adoption by Wild Equity’s Board of Directors.
  • Coordinate project logistics including field outings and other events, prizes, and some fundraising.
  • Communicate with the public about the project through press releases and events, writing newsletters and social media content, and collaborating with organizing staff and volunteers.
  • Track participation and evaluate project events.

Desired Qualifications.

  • An undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies or related field.
  • Strong knowledge of Bay Area plants and wildlife.
  • Demonstrated project and/or event management experience.
  • Excellent writing skills.
  • Keen attention to detail.
  • Ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously while meeting deadlines.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills.
  • Computer skills including Word, PowerPoint, Excel.
  • Flexibility working hours, with ability to work some evenings and weekends.

This job is expected to require 20 hours per week and will be based in Wild Equity’s office in San Francisco’s Mission District. Compensation is commensurate with experience.

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Congratulations to Erica Ely, 2012 Endangered Species Big Year Champ!

Erica Ely, a student at San Francisco State University, was crowned the 2012 Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year champion for seeing and saving the most endangered species during the course of the competition. She is the youngest person to ever win the overall competition.

Erica Ely poses with prizes from the Sports Basement
and Patagonia’s San Francisco store.

Erica won the competition by seeing the largest number of the Golden Gate National Park’s endangered species, and then taking the most actions that help those species recover. As the 2012 champion she earned a $100 gift certificate to the Sports Basement and a backpack and clothing from Patagonia’s San Francisco store.

Congratulation Erica, and thank you for helping us save our imperiled neighbors!

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"This Shirt is Worth the Entire Future of Civilization"

Wild Equity Institute is receiving its first branded products soon, and the buzz is building. For example, a focus group participant at San Francisco State University had this to say about our new “I Bird San Francisco” T-shirt:

“This shirt has value far more important than its price. How much is it worth to promote environmental protection in your community? How much is it worth to use organic clothes? The shirt is worth our entire future as a civilization.”

I Bird SF 100% organic cotton T-shirt. Comes in natural color, sizes S, M, L, & XL.

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Help Move the World: Contribute to Wild Equity Today!

I’m starting this note with two short stories that inspired our work this year. After reading them, I believe you’ll be inspired to become a Wild Equity Institute member, so we can continue our extraordinary work.

Recently I returned from a weekend workshop where I discussed the future of the conservation movement with giants in our field—people like Dr. Michael Soulé, the founder of the field of conservation biology; Dr. Holmes Ralston III, a luminary in the field of environmental ethics; and Terry Tempest Williams, one of our great contemporary environmental writers.

It was an honor to simply be in a room with these incredible people. But as the meeting progressed, I was humbled to see that they found inspiration in the Wild Equity Institute’s work, and are incorporating our theory of change into a new era of environmental protection and conservation.

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Sunday, Dec. 2, 11:00 am: Salmon Stroll at Muir Woods!

Sunday, December 2, 2012, 11:00 am – 1:30 pm – Join us for the last epic GGNP Big Year hike of the year! Brent Plater will lead the hike out to Muir Woods to see and save the threatened Coho Salmon, Central California Coast ESU, and the Steelhead, Central California Coast DPS. Witness the semelparous spawning behavior of the Coho Salmon and take an action to help save these imperiled species. Everyone pays their own $7 entrance into the park. Please RSVP now!

Searching for spawning Coho Salmon.

Thursday, Nov. 15, 6:30 pm: Pale Male Documentary

You don’t want to miss this coming Third Thursday Film Night with SF Environment! We will be showing the moving documentary, Pale Male, the story of a notorious red-tailed hawk who made his home above a 5th Avenue apartment building in New York City. A sensational movement transpired when the building’s co-op board ordered Pale Male’s nest to be removed.

The Pale Male Petition:
On July 24, 2012, the Wild Equity Institute filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ("Service") urging it to change its migratory bird nest policy. The policy encourages destruction of migratory bird nests, which is prohibited by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MTBA). The Service’s policy has led to the destruction of countless bird nests since it was enacted, including one of a famous New York red-tailed hawk.

Please Join us at SF Environment, 11 Grove St., San Francisco, CA. There will be snacks and drinks. RSVP now!

Pale Male

Get your Gift Certificate Now for Helping the Snowy Plover!

During the month of November, participants in Wild Equity’s GGNP Endangered Species Big Year can win a $25 gift certificate to the Sports Basement: if they are the first person who records a sighting for, and/or takes action to help, the Western Snowy Plover.

We’ve lead a trip or two to see this cute little puff of feathers within the GGNRA, but now it’s time for participants to conduct the Conservation Action Item for this bird: reduce harassment of the Snowy Plover by leashing your dog in plover areas and/or asking others to do the same.

Off leash dogs are the biggest recreational threat to the Western Snowy Plover at the Golden Gate National Parks. Not because dogs are mean, but because unleashed dogs are much more effective at chasing and disturbing this tiny shorebird than anyone or thing you can find on San Francisco’s beaches. Help this endangered species by leashing your dog in sensitive Snowy Plover habitats and asking other people to do the same.

To claim your prize be sure to sign-up for the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year and record your action items and sightings at our website. If you don’t record it, it didn’t happen, and it doesn’t count!

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Plover Lovers Take a Hike!

Thank you to all who came out this weekend to search for, and help, one of the smallest and rarest shorebirds in San Francisco, the Western Snowy Plover. On Sunday, a group of birders and plover-lovers journeyed out to sunny Ocean Beach for a hike, led by David Schmidt, to find this tiny bird in its natural and protected habitat.

David Schmidt discussing the history of the area.

It was a beautiful day and a perfect time to find the Western Snowy Plover basking in the sun, but they must have been content hiding among the sand dunes, because we did not spot any plovers this day. However, we were lucky enough to see several Sanderlings, another small wader which, from afar, can easily be mistaken for the Snowy Plover.

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It's Time to Win Some Big Year Prizes!

Folks, we have some great prizes to give away during the remaining months of the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year!

In November we are giving one lucky winner a $25 gift certificate to Sports Basement.

Here are the details:

The first person to record a sighting for the Western Snowy Plover and fulfill the conservation action item will be awarded a gift certificate to Sports Basement.

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Downtown High School Heads to Rodeo Lagoon to Help the Tidewater Goby

On Friday, students from Downtown High School joined Wild Equity for a trip to Rodeo Lagoon to see and take action to save the endangered Tidewater Goby. This small aquatic species is listed under the endangered species act because of a significant declined in its population, mainly due to habitat destruction and invasive species. The fish is found in only a small portion of its native habitat; it is unfortunately no longer found in San Francisco.

The students learned about the Tidewater Goby’s fragile state and took action to help protect the species. Darren Fong, Aquatic Ecologist
 for The Golden Gate National Recreation Area, gave a talk about the history of Rodeo Lagoon and showed the students the Tidewater Goby with a special underwater camera.

Darren Fong showing students a seine that will collect fish samples.

Researchers collecting samples with a seine in Rodeo Lagoon.

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Sunday, Nov. 11, 11 am: Snowy Plover Walk-About

This weekend we will be heading out for a leisurely walk, led by David Schmidt, to see the endangered Western Snowy Plover at Ocean Beach. This small shorebird is highly threatened by off-leash dog disturbance and habitat degradation: but you can help it recover. Join us to see this adorable species in its largest remaining refuge in San Francisco, and learn how you can help before it is too late! Meet at Beach Chalet Restaurant parking lot. Please RSVP here.

Sat., Oct. 20, 9:30 a.m. -- Bike Ride for Endangered Species!

This Saturday, October 20, 2012, from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., Join the Wild Equity Institute on a bike ride through some of San Francisco’s last wildlife habitats to search for and help save several endangered species found within the Golden Gate National Parks. The route will offer the opportunity to see the Gowen Cypress, Raven’s Manzanita, Humpback Whale, San Francisco Lessingia, the Western Snowy Plover, and if we are very lucky, the Steller Sea Lion, the Marbled Murrelet, and the Southern Sea Otter! This is a great opportunity to score some points and win prizes during the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year!

We will start and end at Bazaar Cafe, 5927 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94121. RSVP required: please use this website to RSVP. Suggested donation: $5, but no one turned away for lack of funds. We hope to see you on this adventure!

Saturday, Oct. 13, 10 am: WCN Wildlife Expo

Visit the Wild Equity Institute table at the WNC Wildlife Conservation Expo this Saturday, October 13, from 10 am – 5 pm. We will be tabling alongside many wonderful, environmental organizations dedicated to wildlife conservation. There will be several opportunities to meet wonderful organizations from all over the world, and hear stories about conservation efforts from the world’s most dedicated environmentalists.

Tickets to the expo are $60 general admission and $30 for students with ID. For more information, or to find out how you can get a ticket, visit

We hope to see you there!

Thursday, Oct. 11, 8:30 am: Wild Equity Presentation at National Enviro. Ed. Conference

Join the Wild Equity Institute’s Executive Director Brent Plater for a panel discussion about innovative environmental education projects at the 2012 North American Association for Environmental Education Conference. The discussion begins at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 11 in Junior Ballroom 4 at the Marriott City Center, 1001 Broadway, Oakland CA 94607.

Brent Plater, Wild Equity Institute’s Executive Director

In 2011 Brent Plater and the Wild Equity Institute received a TogetherGreen Fellowship to expand the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year into Bay Area classrooms. TogetherGreen is a five-year partnership between Audubon and Toyota that builds conservation leadership and promote environmental action projects. This panel will discuss remarkable case studies from several TogetherGreen fellows and grantees who have successfully involve diverse audiences in conservation action. In addition to Mr. Plater, National Audubon Society’s Luisa Arnedo & Melissa Hopkins, The Ocean Project’s Wei Ying Wong, and On My Mountain’s John Robinson will discuss their work.

POSTPONED: Thursday, Oct. 11, 6 pm: Movie Night: Pale Male

This event has been postponed. Please stay tuned for the new date and time.

Join us Thursday, October 11, 6 pm – 8 pm at Sports Basement on Bryant St. We will be showing the moving documentary, Pale Male, the story of a notorious red-tailed hawk who made his home above a 5th Avenue apartment building in New York City. A sensational movement transpired when the building’s co-op board ordered Pale Male’s nest to be removed.

The Pale Male Petition:

On July 24, 2012, the Wild Equity Institute filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ("Service") urging it to change its migratory bird nest policy. The policy encourages destruction of migratory bird nests, which is prohibited by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MTBA). The Service’s policy has led to the destruction of countless bird nests since it was enacted, including one of a famous New York red-tailed hawk.

Join us at Sports Basement, 1590 Bryant St. to see this inspiring film, enjoy good company, snacks and drinks!

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Humpbacks Spotted: Go Forth and Score Points!

On Sunday, September 23rd around 1pm, Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year stalwart Matt Zlatunich observed several Humpback Whales from the Cliff House, well within the legislative boundary of the Golden Gate National Parks! From Matt:

The leviathons were easily observable spouting and frolicking about. There was seemingly an abundance of food in the area as the seabirds, shearwaters, terns, jaegers, and cormorants, were putting on a good show.

So don’t delay—sign up for your GGNP Endangered Species Big Year, get outside, spot some whales, and then record your observations at to earn prizes for protecting our local endangered species!

Bring friends on your sea watch—the more eyeballs scanning the waves the better.

Dale Wins the September GGNP Big Year Prize!

Congratulations to Dale Danley for being the first person to fulfill September’s GGNP Big Year conservation action item.

On September 1st, he joined the National Park Service and Wild Equity to restore habitat for the endangered San Francisco Lessingia. He helped clear away dead debris and invasive Eucalyptus trees at Lobos Creek Valley. Thanks Dale, the Lessingia is lucky to have you!

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Flying Frogs and Slithering Snakes!

This past weekend Wild Equity went frog wild! Thank you to everyone who came out to the film night and to those who hiked with us at Mori Point. We had a great time meeting new people, searching for endangered species, and hiking the beautiful outdoors.

On Friday Wild Equity joined Sports Basement for Film Night. We watched people compete for a chance at the Hop of Fame in JUMP, a frogumentary by Justin Bookey, a film about an unusual Mark Twain-inspired tradition. In the film competitors gather to prepare for the competition of a lifetime, to see who has the farthest jumping frog in all of Calaveras County. The film was effective at depicting the passion and determination of each participant in a comical and lively way. We definitely enjoyed the laughs!

We hope to see you all at our next movie night, October 11, 2012 at Sports Basement on Bryant St from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. We will be showing Pale Male, a documentary about the story of a beloved red-tailed hawk that inspired a sensational movement in New York City.

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Sunday, Sept. 23, 9 am: Endangered Species Fun Run

Grab your running shoes and join Wild Equity on a morning jog through San Francisco’s beautiful Presidio Trust to see and save threatened and endangered species.

The route will take us on an adventure to see the Gowen Cypress, the Western Snowy Plover, past the California Seablite’s restoration site, and near the Raven’s Manzanita last surviving plant. Along the way you’ll hear incredible stories about the many endangered species in the Golden Gate National Parks!

We will meet at Sports Basement in the Presidio, 610 Old Mason St., San Francisco, CA 94129. Sports Basement will also provide snacks and drinks at the end of the run! Please RSVP at this website.

This is also a perfect time to get your shopping on! On this day, customers will receive a 10% discount on purchases made at Sports Basement Presidio and 10% will be donated to support Wild Equity!

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This Weekend: Frog Film Friday, See Snakes Sunday!

This weekend Wild Equity is celebrating two endangered creatures close to our heart: the California Red-legged Frog & the San Francisco Gartersnake. Friday we’ve got a film to screen and Sunday we’ve got a hike to lead: and both will be more fun with you there!

So join us in the festivities this weekend: don’t forget to RSVP for each event!

  • JUMP: A Frogumentary—Friday, September 14, 2012, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.: Join Wild Equity to see JUMP: A Frogumentary by Justin Bookey. Every year in Calaveras County thousands of people compete in a frog jumping competition, an unusual tradition that historically starred the California Red-legged Frog and was made famous by Mark Twain’s short story The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calevaras County. The film follows three teams working non-stop to compete for a chance at the Hop of Fame. The frogumentary will be shown at the Sports Basement on Bryant St., 5th floor. Snacks and drinks will be served! Seating is limited so please RSVP here.

The California Red-legged Frog at Mori Point.

The San Francisco Gartersnake.

WALC in the Wild!

Wild Equity is collaborating with Downtown High School’s WALC (Wilderness Arts and Literacy Collaborative) program once again for another “Endangered Semester” where the students compete in their very own mini-Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year.

WALC links outdoor learning and environmental education with math, art, technology and science, giving students the opportunity to learn about environmental issues, endangered species and motivates with ways they can help.

This semester, the students in WALC will have an opportunity to take multiple trips to see and save endangered species, like the Tidewater Goby and the Black Abalone, win points and prizes for their team, learn tactics for environmental activism and make sustainable and ethical life choices.

Downtown High School’s WALC students

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The Lessingia Blooms in Lobos Creek Dunes

Thank you to everyone who joined us on Saturday as we set out to help the National Park Service monitor and restore critical habitat for the San Francisco Lessingia. This rare plant was once abundant along the vast San Francisco dunes, but due to years of damaging threats, habitat loss and invasive species, it is now critically endangered.

The rare SF Lessingia at Lobos Creek Valley.

We helped out at Lobos Creek Valley pulling invasive Ice plant (Carpobrotus edulis), clearing dead debris from the sand dunes and monitoring the species’ progress. With the help of dedicated volunteers we counted over 1,000 Lessingia plants indicating that the species is doing well at this site!

After several years of extensive restoration efforts from the NPS, volunteers and interns, the Lessingia numbers continue to rise. This is hopeful news, but because of its exclusive habitat and vulnerability to natural disasters, the Lessingia still needs much more support. Join the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year today and find out how you can help save the SF Lessingia.

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We Want You: To Become a Wild Equity Member!

So far, 2012 has been extremely productive for the Wild Equity Institute. But we need you to become a Wild Equity Institute member for us to advance our mission. Take a look at what we’ve already accomplished:

And this is just the beginning of what we can accomplish. We’ve got more ideas to build a sustainable and just world than we can implement by the end of the year!

But if you join the Wild Equity Institute today you can help us expand our work, engage new allies, and build a healthy and sustainable community for people and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth. By joining us today you will help us close out 2012 with a bang:

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Clear Your Calendars: We Are Gearing Up for More Adventures!

Wild Equity is leading more adventures this coming September. The GGNP Endangered Species Big Year schedule is set to explore some interesting areas, and save species.

Join us on Saturday, September 1 from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. — We will be working with the National Park Service to restore habitat for the endangered San Francisco Lessingia. Due to habitat loss and invasive species, the SF Lessingia is in critical condition. Wild Equity and the Golden Gate National Parks will help to restore and protect one of only two populations left in the world.

We will also be giving one lucky winner a REI Flash Pack 18 for helping to recover two endangered species in the GGNRA!

All you have to do is: Be the first person to either (a) help the San Francisco Lessingia by protecting and restoring one of its last two habitats, or (b) tell five people about the rare San Mateo Wooly Sunflower and its plight and be the lucky prizewinner for September!

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Time's Almost Out to Claim your August Big Year Prize!

Only one week left to claim the $25 Gift Certificate to Sports Basement. Be the first to fulfill the species requests for the month of August, record your action, and the prize is yours!

Here are the details:

In August, there are several chances to win! Be the first person to either (a) Use a reusable bag when you shop and then sign the California Plastic Bag Ban petition for the Steller Sea Lion, or (b) Ask public officials to implement a speed limit for large vessels when whales are present for the Humpback Whale, or (c ) Volunteer in the GGNP restoring riparian areas for the Central California Coast Steelhead DPS.

You must sign-up for the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year in order to be eligible to win.

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