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GGNP Endangered Species Big Year

In 2014 we will be inviting you to participate in a new and improved endangered species program, currently under development. Be one of the first to find out what we have in store by signing-up for a wildequity.org account today! Check out our current calendar of events for ways to plug-in until then.


Artist: Liam O’Brien

The Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year was a race against time to observe each of the 36 endangered and threatened species found within the Golden Gate National Parks, while taking 36 discrete conservation recovery actions that will prevent these species from going extinct. It was a competitive event: Erica Ely, the person who saw and helped save the most species between January 1, 2012, and December 31, 2012, won the Big Year.

The GGNP Endangered Species Big Year enabled participants to explore the diverse habitats of the GGNP while helping each of the 36 endangered and threatened species that call the Park home. In the process, participants discovered the humility, compassion, and hope embodied in the legal protections for this land and our imperiled neighbors.


Download Your Copy of the 2012 GGNP
Endangered Species Big Year Checklist

Join Wild Equity Today!

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.

This time last year we knew next to nothing about brain cancer. Since then we’ve learned that many researchers now believe there will not be a “silver bullet” cure for glioblastoma. It is much more likely that a cure will be forged from several different treatments, each fighting a different aspect of the disease.

We transformed what we learned into a treatment “cocktail” that seems to be working. Rose’s latest scans are clear, and she’s still fighting fracking throughout California.


Rose rallying thousands just days after treatment.

What is most striking about this seemingly insurmountable challenge is that our struggles and insights parallel Wild Equity’s theory of change.

Wild Equity believes that no one strategy or technique will solve our systemic problems, so we wield a variety of tools—education, public relations, litigation, & grassroots organizing and lobbying—to win campaigns and create a sustainable and just world.

More so than any other Bay Area organization, Wild Equity has the suite of skills needed to wield each of these tools successfully, and we’ve demonstrated our effectiveness in wielding them time and again.

Now more than ever we need you to reinvest in our work: please renew your membership and/or make a tax-deductible contribution to the Wild Equity Institute today.

Even during this exacting year, your support has helped Wild Equity make great strides towards a more just and sustainable community for all:

  • You helped us bring another lawsuit against the endangered species-killing Sharp Park Golf Course. With Save the Frogs! & Sequoia Audubon, Wild Equity is challenging Sharp Park Golf Course’s new attempt to drain critical wetlands for endangered species. With each successful claim we not only help wildlife, we increase the odds that San Francisco will stop wasting funds on this wildlife-killing golf course, and redirect them to San Francisco’s most impoverished neighborhood parks.


Photo © Liam O’Brien

These victories are exceptional; with your support we can accomplish even more in 2015:

Imagine the world we will build together: a more equitable world for people and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth. Thank you for supporting this vision and contributing to our work today!

With deepest gratitude,

Brent Plater, Executive Director

Rose Braz, Chairperson

PS — Don’t forget to buy an “I ‘Bird’ SF” shirt for you and everyone you love! All sizes are currently in stock. Thank you!

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!



 

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!

Tickets are on sale now for only $15! Space is limited, so reserve yours today!
(No one turned away for lack of funds.)

We can’t wait to see you!

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.

Now we are asking you to reinvest in our work: please make a tax-deductible contribution to the Wild Equity Institute today.

As the SF Weekly recognized, we’ve had a remarkable year making a difference against incredible odds:

These victories are remarkable: with your support we can accomplish even more in 2014:

  • Your contribution will create a better public park at Sharp Park, funding advocates who will fight for what you believe in at City Hall and in neighborhoods around the Bay Area.
  • Your contribution can halt other power plants that are polluting our communities and poisoning the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge, retaining experts that will tell the butterfly’s story, before it is too late.
  • Your Contribution will help us run our successful education project, the Endangered Species Big Year, and support our two new Big Year staff: Clay Anderson and Marcela Maldonado, as they build new park advocates people throughout the Bay Area.

Imagine the world we will build together: a more equitable world for people and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth. Thank you for supporting this vision and contributing to our work today!

Thank you from all of us at the Wild Equity Institute,

Brent Plater, Executive Director

with, from left to right:

Amy Zehring, Community Organizer

Marcela Maldonado, Project Coordinator

Clay Anderson, Project Coordinator

Laura Horton, Staff Attorney



P.S.—Consider becoming a monthly donor. For as little as $5 a month, you’ll help us spend less time raising funds and more time wining campaigns for people and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth! You can do this online at the Wild Equity Institute’s website. Thank you!

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.

To apply for this position, please submit a resume, a writing sample, a list of references, and a cover letter describing your interest in our work to info@wildequity.org. The position is available immediately.

This Week’s Big Year Trips

This Week’s Big Year Trips

We’ve got two exciting trips this weekend to help you see and save the GGNP’s endangered species. Hope to see you outside!

  • Mission Blue Butterfly Habitat Restoration. Saturday, January 16, 2010, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.: Enjoy stunning vistas and work-off those holiday calories while removing invasive French Broom from Mission Blue Butterfly habitat in the Marin Headlands. Join Price Sheppy of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy at Alta Avenue, set atop a ridgeline above Sausalito and Marin City. Dress in warm layers, wear sturdy shoes and bring lots of friends! We provide snacks, tools and gloves. Meeting spot is Alta Avenue entrance gate. Group limit is 30 people. RSVP: babethsemail@yahoo.com. A carpool is available from Fort Mason, Building 34 – the third duplex on your left (leaving at 9:15 a.m.). Carpool RSVP required, call Price Sheppy 415-729-8076. Limited supply of T-shirts will be given to paricipants (while supplies last).


Help Restore Habitat for this Beautiful Little Butterfly this Weekend.

Photo © Margo Bors

  • Coho Salmon & Steelhead Trout Walk at Muir Woods. Saturday, January 16, 2010, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Join naturalist and historian David Schmidt on a moderate 3-mile journey and learn about the lives of Coho Salmon and Steelhead Trout as the fish return from the Ocean to spawn in the waters of Redwood Creek. Dress for cold, wet weather and wear boots as trails may be muddy. RSVP required: email info@CaliforniaNatureTours.com. Meet at Muir Woods National Monument south parking lot near the Dipsea Trail Kiosk. Park entrance fees apply, but the hike is free.


Find out what you can do to help Coho Salmon
through the Endangered Species Big Year
.

Big Year Coach’s Corner

The 2010 Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year competition is heating up! The leader board is populated, but even nascent competitors could take the lead with a little effort. To help you out, we are instituting a Coach’s Corner to help you win the Big Year! We’ll have Big Year experts answer your questions and give tips on winning the competition. And you can always send your questions to us and we’ll help you on your way.

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!

Keep an eye out for your chance to win prizes for seeing and saving endangered species in 2014, when we run our next public Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year.

“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.

That’s right folks: our I Bird SF shirt is worth our entire future as a civilization!

Lucky for you we’re giving them away—to members who contribute $60 or more to our end of year membership drive! Either join Wild Equity or renew your membership at the $60 level or more and you’ll get an I Bird SF T-shirt on the house!

Already have plenty of shirts? No problem! You can substitute a Wild Equity branded reusable water bottle made in the USA from 100% recycled aluminum!


The Wild Equity bottle is made of 100% recycled aluminum in the USA.
24oz with twist-off cap. Select green or white.

Want the bottle and the shirt? We’ve got a solution for you too: if you contribute at the $100 level or more, we’ll send you one T-shirt and one water bottle at no extra charge!

Ladies and gentlemen, there hasn’t been a Wild Equity membership deal this good since….well ever! Not only do you get some cool sustainable products, you also get to contribute to our work saving San Francisco’s Natural Areas Program so it can continue stewarding our local plants and wildlife; transforming Sharp Park Golf Course into a new national park everyone can enjoy; and saving the Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly and empowering local communities to end pollution from power plants that destroy the species’ habitat.

So join now and let the world see that you’re part of our movement. Of course, you can always decline the stuff and let all of your contribution go directly to our work: just let us know what you prefer in the notes section of your order! Be sure to specify color for the bottle, and size for the shirt! And thank you for believing in our work!

Sincerely,

Brent Plater
Executive Director

ps—If you already gave this year and earned a shirt and/or a bottle, we’ve got you covered! We’ll contact you when they are ready to ship and take your order. Or contact us anytime and let us know what you want! We expect first shipments to go out in late January.

, , ,

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.

Around the same time I received this note from a student who participated in Wild Equity’s Endangered Species Big Semester, our environmental education project that helps disadvantaged students see and save our local endangered species:

“I got a lot from your program, like great memories and the chance to meet amazing people. I’m so thankful Wild Equity made it possible to help me learn, not only was it educational, but also it was fun and exciting. I absolutely loved all the field trips and would enjoy doing it again.”

We are proud that in just three short years we’ve improved lives and inspired leaders to build a stronger environmental movement for all.

But we can’t do it alone: and that’s why we’re asking you to become a Wild Equity Institute member today.

The Wild Equity Institute believes we can achieve extraordinary environmental victories while building a larger, more resilient environmental movement. We do this by uniting grassroots conservation and environmental justice groups in campaigns that build a more equitable world for people and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth.

At a minimum, this means our work must focus on preventing other species from going extinct, and ensuring that no community is burdened with a disproportionate share of environmentally harmful activities.

In 2012, we implemented this theory of change in several ways:

But we aren’t done yet. In 2013, we will work to save San Francisco’s Natural Areas Program so it can continue stewarding our local plants and wildlife; transform Sharp Park Golf Course into a new national park everyone can enjoy; and save the Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly and empower local communities to end pollution from power plants that destroy the species’ habitat.

In each of these efforts, we build capacity for our movement by engaging new allies and building the power we need to tackle our most pressing environmental problems.

That’s why when you contribute to our work you get a twofer: we achieve measurable environmental gains on the ground, but more importantly, we ensure that our movement grows so that the scale of our efforts can match the size of the threats we face.

But movements are not defined by the effectiveness of organizations. They are defined by the inspiration, the passion, the commitment of the people these organizations serve. This is why we need you to demonstrate your commitment by becoming a Wild Equity member today.

Imagine the world we will build together: a more equitable world for people and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth. Thank you for supporting this vision and for joining us today!

Sincerely,

Brent Plater
Executive Director

P.S.— Consider becoming a monthly donor. For as little as $5 a month, you’ll help us spend less time raising funds and more time wining campaigns for people and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth! You can do this online at the Wild Equity Institute’s website. Thank you!

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.

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!

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.

The Conservation Action Item: Reduce harassment for the Snowy Plover by leashing your dog in plover areas and asking others to do the same.

Unleashed dogs are the biggest threat to the Western Snowy Plover; unleashed dogs tend to chase and disturb this tiny shorebird when they are roosting at the GGNRA’s beaches. Help us protect this endangered species by leashing your dog in sensitive Snowy Plover habitats and asking other people to do that same.

Want to see the Western Snowy Plover in its natural habitat?

Join us on Sunday, November 11, from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm, at Ocean Beach for the Western Snowy Plover Walk-About, led by Plover docent David Schmidt, to search for and help the threatened Western Snowy Plover. Meet at Beach Chalet Restaurant Parking lot. RSVP now.

In December we are giving away a sling bag from Patagonia to the first person who a) completes the conservation action item for the Gowen Cypress, or b) records a sighting and/or action item for the Coho Salmon.


The Gowen Cypress

You will have an opportunity to see the Coho Salmon in December!

Join us on Sunday, December 2, from 11:00 am – 1:30 pm, for the Muir Woods Big Year Salmon Stroll. Meet at Muir Woods National Monument. For more information, and to RSVP, please visit the Big Year calendar.


Searching for spawing salmon.

Join the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year now and start taking action!

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

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.


Searching for the plover and other wildlife.

We had a great time identifying other birds, socializing with friends, and learning about the history of San Francisco’s natural areas. Thanks again to everyone who joined us on this beautiful day!

Keep in mind, we are offering a gift certificate to Sports Basement for the first person who spots and/or takes action to help the Western Snowy Plover. Just be sure to sign-up for the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year to record your sightings and actions.

The Conservation Action Item: Reduce Harassment for the Snowy Plover by leashing your dog in plover areas and asking others to do the same.

It is determined that unleashed dogs are the biggest threat to the Western Snowy Plover; unleashed dogs tend to chase and disturb this tiny shorebird when they are roosting at the GGNRA’s beaches. Help us protect this endangered species by leashing your dog in sensitive Snowy Plover habitats and asking other people to do that same.

Check out the Endangered Species Big Year calendar now to RSVP for future Wild Equity events!

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.

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.

The students even had a chance to be field biologists for the day! Karen Crow, Assistant Professor at San Francisco State University, who studies the Three-spined stickleback for its evolutionary and genetic traits, taught the students useful sampling techniques. The Three-spine stickleback were collected from the lagoon with seines and transported into buckets where the students measured them to determine which ones would be valuable for further research.


Students measuring the Three-spined stickleback.

The students were also presented with the opportunity to engage in critical habitat restoration. They worked with James Cartan, from the National Park Service, removing invasive ice plant along the lagoon shoreline.


Students removing invasive ice plants.

We all had a wonderful time with the students on this trip. It was a great opportunity to learn about the ecology of Rodeo Lagoon, habitat restoration, and receive hands-on experience, which helped create a positive difference for the sensitive species at Rodeo Lagoon.


The Tidewater Goby


Field biologists, and Darren Fong, with the underwater camera.

You can also help create sustainable communities and protect native species by volunteering with us, becoming a member, or donating on-line today!

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!

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!


Pale Male © Lincoln Karim

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 wildnet.org.

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.

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 wildequity.org to earn prizes for protecting our local endangered species!


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

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!

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.

Read about how we are helping Pale Male.

On Sunday we trekked out to Mori Point to search for the San Francisco Garter Snake, the California Red-Legged Frog, and to hear stories about the restoration vision at Sharp Park Golf Course. Many new and familiar faces joined us this morning for one epic hike. As promised, we saw the threatened California Red-legged Frog, and we were lucky enough to see a Coast Gartersnake, dolphins and a Red-shouldered Hawk.


Sharon Handel wins the raffle!

Congratulations to Sharon Handel who won the raffle for a $15 gift certificate to Sports Basement!

Thank you to all who came out to support the work of Wild Equity. Sign-up for a Wild Equity account and join us on future GGNP Big Year trips to see and save endangered species, earn prizes and help us build a sustainable global community for all.

There are many ways you can contribute to the Wild Equity Institute’s campaigns and help us build a stronger environmental movement for all. Become a member, donate or volunteer today!

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!

Dale is now the lucky winner of the REI Flash daypack essential for all his supplies while he’s out saving more endangered species!

You can be the next lucky prizewinner. In October, the first person to spot and record a sighting for any one of the 11 endangered plants found in the GGNP will be the winner of a Patagonia Better Sweater fleece scarf and beanie, perfect for staying warm on hikes and bike rides with Wild Equity.

Make sure you join the fun by signing up for the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year now.

You can also help by becoming a member or donating on-line today!

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

Trip 1, Mori Point:

The first trip of the semester was to Mori Point to see and save the endangered California Red-Legged Frog and the San Francisco Garter Snake. The students had a chance to hike Mori Point and see abundant wildlife including a pod of dolphins, Brown Pelicans, and the California Red-legged Frog! The students drew wonderful pictures of the CRLFs in their field journal and reflected on ways to help.

Congratulations to the first two students who spotted and recorded the California Red-Legged Frog sighting! They will receive a $15 gift certificate to Sports Basement.


Students viewing the California Red-Legged Frogs and journaling.


Searching for the San Francisco Garter Snake.

After hearing all about the restoration vision for Sharp Park and the issues that surround the golf course, the students were inspired to write a letter to Mayor Ed Lee asking him to help save the endangered species by allowing the golf course to be restored into a National Park for all to enjoy.

We had a great time with the students and look forward to more trips soon!


Student writing letters to Mayor Ed Lee.

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.

You can also help us advance our mission by donating on-line or becoming a Wild Equity member today!


Volunteers monitoring the Lessingia at the Lobos Creek Valley dunes.

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:

  • We will expand our challenge to power plants in Antioch while protecting the Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly.
  • We will pass new legislation to protect San Francisco’s natural areas while creating a new National Park at Sharp Park.
  • We will ensure that the Franciscan Manzanita obtains the critical habitat and endangered species protections it deserves.
  • We will host endangered species bike rides, movie nights, and more to build a stronger community for conservation and justice right here in San Francisco.

We can’t do any of this without your support: please join us now and watch our campaigns thrive! Become a member of the Wild Equity Institute today. If you are already a member, consider becoming a monthly donor or making a special contribution to our work.

Thank you for all you do to help us engage and win!

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!

Click on the picture for details about the prize.


The REI Flash pack 18, the GGNP Big Year prize for September.

More events in September:

Twain’s Frog and the Beautiful Serpent:

Sunday, September 16, 2012, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. — Hike Mori Point in search of the two most imperiled species on the San Francisco Peninsula: The San Francisco garter snake and the California red-legged frog.

Presidio Wildlife Run:

Sunday, September 23, from 9:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. — Grab your running shoes and join Wild Equity on a morning jog through the beautiful San Francisco Presidio to see and save threatened and endangered species.

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!

Sign up for the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year now!

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.


Steller Sea Lion


The Humpback Whale


Steelhead Trout

Butterflies, Birds and Black Abalone Make for One Wild Week!

Wild Equity had one exciting week hosting fun-filled events that helped bring awareness about the plight of our imperiled species. Thank you to all who came out last week to support our work and help advance our mission!

Here are the highlights of the week:

On Thursday, we headed out to the Antioch Dunes with the National Park Service and Tatzoo to partake in a Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly count. We were fortunate enough to spot 11 Metalmark Butterflies and several other native species including the Western Pygmy Blue, the world’s smallest butterfly. It was a wonderful time. Thank you to Tatzoo for organizing to save the Metalmark!


Searching for the Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly.


Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly, Photo © Liam O’Brien.

After a full day of hiking and butterfly counting, we joined SF Environment to host a film night where we showed The Big Year, a film inspired by the true story of three avid birders who embark on a yearlong bird-spotting competition. We had a significant turnout, met a lot of new faces, watched a cool movie, and best of all, inspired others to sign-up for the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year.

Don’t miss out on more adventures coming up in September. There are still species to save and prizes to win!


Enjoying refreshments and good conversation before the film starts.

On Saturday, Wild Equity headed out to Fort Funston to scout for endangered sea creatures. Several enthusiastic people excited about seeing some marine life joined us. The fog was thick, but that didn’t stop us from seeing Surf Scoter, Common Murre, Double-crested Cormorant, Red-tailed Hawk, Raven, Whimbrel, Heermann’s Gull and a dolphin!


At Fort Funston searching for marine sea creatures.

On Sunday we trekked over to Muir Woods to help the National Park Service restore riparian habitat for the endangered Steelhead trout and Coho Salmon. We had a blast removing invasive species in Redwood Creek, learning about the area and working with other wildlife enthusiasts. We even had a chance to search for Black Abalone, a species critically declining from overfishing, habitat destruction and withering syndrome.

Fight poaching to save the Black abalone: Ask public officials to fund game wardens and record it as a conservation action item for the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year.


At Redwood Creek restoring habitat for the endangered Steelhead Trout and the Coho Salmon.


Brent Plater searching for Black Abalone.

Thank you to all who joined us this past week to help make a difference in the environment and protect our most precious wildlife.

There are many ways you can contribute to the Wild Equity Institute’s campaigns and help us build a stronger environmental movement for all. Become a member, donate or volunteer today!

Special Status Update: Coho salmon

The GGNRA Inventory and Monitoring Program is more than half way through its monitoring season for Coho salmon. Unfortunately, it appears Coho salmon smolt (young salmon) are not doing well. At Redwood Creek smolt numbers were 25% lower than expected. At Pine Gulch, a stream in western Marin County, there was a total wipeout: no smolts were counted at all.

This is particularly disconcerting because a relatively large number of redds (salmon nests) were observed last season: it appears some in-stream threat is killing Coho before they reach the smolt stage.

The future of the Coho salmon is filled with challenges, but there is hope to save this dwindling population. Join the GGNRA Endangered Species Big Year and you can help save Coho salmon while observing the animals in the wild. Sign-up for your Big Year today!


A pair of Coho salmon

Two Endangered Plants Added to the GGNRA

The GGNRA Acquires New Land and Two Endangered Species:

In December 2011, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area obtained land at Fort Point just south of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA. Along with it came an opportunity to recover the endangered marsh sandwort (Arenaria paludicola).

The marsh sandwort was said to occupy this area in the early 1900’s, but because of human development and other threats, it had been completely wiped out at Fort Point, and only ten individuals were known to exist in the wild.

It was therefore crucial to restore populations to a site where they were once abundant.

With the help of volunteers, a team of biologists, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.C. Santa Cruz, 800 marsh sandworts were recently planted at Fort Point and other wetlands in the GGNRA. The plants will need constant monitoring to measure survival rates to determine if the site is indeed an ideal location for reintroduction.

Another successful land acquisition by the GGNRA aids in the protection of Hickman’s Potentilla (Potentilla hickmanii).

After ten years and a battle with developers, the federally recognized endangered Hickman’s potentilla will be protected and restored at Rancho Corral de Tierra, a newly acquired GGNRA property in San Mateo County.

The Hickman’s potentilla can only be found in two places: Monterey County, CA and in San Mateo County, CA. This yellow wildflower needs coastal habitat to flourish, leaving it constantly pressured by urban developers who aspire to build profit-making high-rises and golf courses.

Thanks to the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST), who fought to keep the land in its natural state, this species and other wildlife can thrive in the GGNRA for many years to come.

Although these two imperiled species are now known to be present in the Golden Gate National Parks, they will not be added to the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year competition until the official threatened & endangered species list for the park is revised.

The National Parks need help to protect and recover the many endangered species that exist in the GGNRA. Sign-up to volunteer or join Wild Equity on a habitat restoration day.

Wild Equity Needs Volunteers for Our Big Year Events!

Hello Folks, Wild Equity is bringing you some exciting GGNP Big Year events in August and we need volunteers to help make them a success!

Join our phone banking party next week! From 8/13/2012 – 8/15/2012, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m., we will be calling all Wild Equity supporters to invite them to our upcoming events. We will have free drinks, dinner and wonderful company on this night!

Our August events include:
Film Night with Wild Equity and SF Environment: Thursday, August 16, 2012, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. — Join Wild Equity and SF Environment to watch a screening of The Big Year in honor of the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year.

Sea Watch for Endangered Sea Creatures: Saturday, August 18, 2012, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. — Join Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute at Fort Funston to learn about the endangered marine mammals that exist within the Golden Gate National Parks.

Steelhead Restoration Day: Sunday, August 19, 2012, 9:30 a.m. –12:30 p.m. — Join the Golden Gate National Parks for a chance to see the endangered Coho Salmon,Central California Coast ESU and the Steelhead Trout, Central California Coast DPS at the Redwood Creek Watershed in Marin, Ca.

We also need volunteers to help us hand out flyers, table at events and phone bank on other nights. Be a part of the Wild Equity team and help us build a more just and fair world.

If you can help volunteer please let us know by contacting us at info@wildequity.org or call (415) 871.3953.

Wild Equity has Endangered Species to Save and Prizes to Give!

Wild Equity has finished scheduling our 2012 Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year events—check out our guided offerings to see and save local endangered species at our events calendar.

In addition to the grand prize winners— those folks who see and save the most species by the end of the year — we are now offering several interim prizes for species sightings and conservation action items every month from now through December!

To qualify for prizes, you must get a free wildequity.org web account and then sign-up to participate in the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year. Once you are signed-up you’ll need to record your sighting or action item on the species’ corresponding Big Year page. It’s that easy!!

While you can always score points on your own, we’ve set up several events to help you climb the leaderboard. Here’s a rundown of what we have in store:

In August, 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 Distinct Population Segment and receive a $25 gift certificate to Sports Basement! Just be sure to sign-up and record your actions.


The Humpback Whale and the Steller Sea Lion

Wild Equity will be offering a chance to see and save these amazing sea creatures on our Sea Watch on August 18, at 10 a.m.

In September, 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 will be the lucky prizewinner for September!


SF Lessingia (left) and the San Mateo Wooly Sunflower (right)

Wild Equity will take a trip on September 1, at 9 a.m. with the GGNP to protect and restore San Francisco Lessingia habitat at Lobos Creek Valley.

In October, the first person to spot and record a sighting for any one of the 11 endangered plants found in the GGNP will be October’s lucky prizewinner!


Myrtle’s Silverspot Butterfly (left), the Presidio Manzanita (center) and the Marbled Murrelet (right)

Join our Big Year Bike Ride on October 20, at 9:30 a.m. for a chance to see and save several endangered species—including some imperiled plants.

In November, see the Western Snowy Plover and protect it from harassment in its last San Francisco habitats. The first person to record a sighting for the Western Snowy Plover and ask a dog owner to leash their dog while visiting the GGNRA will be awarded November’s prize!


The Western Snowy Plover

Join Wild Equity on our Snowy Plover Walk at Crissy Field on November 11, at 11:00 a.m.

In December, the last month for the Big Year, be the first person to report an observation of any of our returning endangered Salmonids and receive a prize!

Remember, December is the last month to get your sightings and action items in for the GGNP Big Year! The grand prizewinner will be determined in January 2013. Sightings always need to be within the legislative boundary of the Golden Gate National Parks — sightings outside this boundary don’t count. Action items can be completed anywhere the instructions allow.

Good Luck!

Wild Equity has a Blast at the Big Year Happy Hour!

Thank you to all who came out to the Big Year Happy Hour last Thursday to enjoy good food, good drinks and great company at the Southern Pacific Brewery. It was a fun-filled night catching up with the Wild Equity folks. We talked about upcoming GGNP Endangered Species Big Year hikes, bike rides, fun runs and film nights, which can all be accessed through the Event Calendar.

Congratulations to two lucky raffle winners; Shawna Casebier, who won a copy of the national bestseller The Last Child In the Woods, and Michael Starkey, who received The Laws Pocket Guide Set to the San Francisco Bay Area. Enjoy your Prizes!


Lucky winners, Michael Starkey and Shawna Casebier, with Brent Plater.

We also toasted a bittersweet good-bye to two wonderful interns, John Bowie and Mike Linder. Thank you for all your help and dedication this summer. We wish you well on your endeavors.


Toasting good-bye and thank you to our summer interns.

We have many more Big Year events coming up very soon. Join us by signing up for the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year now!
Signing up is a two-step process: first join the Wild Equity Institute’s on-line community to become a registered user of this website. An e-mail will be automatically sent to your e-mail account confirming your registration and giving you instructions for the next step. Second, click on the link in the e-mail automatically sent to you, and on the page where you land fill-out the form to become an official registrant in the Big Year Competition.


A big cheers to the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year!

Without member and donors like you, our work could not be possible. Please help us expand our work by joining us on-line today!

July 26, 6pm: Big Year Happy Hour — Note Correct Time & Date!

We accidentally posted the wrong date and time for the Big Year Happy Hour and Summer Intern Goodbye Party in our last edition of “From I to We: News from WEI” Sorry about that! Here is the correct information:

Big Year Happy Hour and Intern Goodbye Party: Thursday, July 26, 2012, 6;00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. — Join Wild Equity Institute for a Big Year Happy Hour! We will enjoy good company, good food and drinks, and get updates on some exciting Big Year events Wild Equity has planned for 2012. We will also bid farewell, for now, to two incredible interns, John Bowie and Mike Linder, who have helped Wild Equity in outstanding ways!

Visit the Happy Hour event page and RSVP now. Hope to see you there!

May 19: Sunflower Hike and Tailgate for Frogs!

The Wild Equity Institute is excited about two events this Saturday, May 19, and we hope you are too!

In the morning we’ll be offering a special trip to view the San Mateo Woolly Sunflower on normally inaccessible San Francisco Public Utilities Commission watershed lands. In the afternoon we’ll be joining Save the Frogs! at a tailgate celebration for endangered species in Sharp Park Golf Course’s parking lot! Join us for both— let us know if you’d like to carpool. Details below:

  • Tailgate & Drum for Endangered Species, Occupy Sharp Park(ing lot)!—Saturday, May 19, 4:30 p.m. — Join Save the Frogs! at Sharp Park Golf Course’s parking lot to tailgate and drum for endangered species and help occupy Sharp Park(ing lot)! That’s right: Save the Frogs! is occupying Sharp Park Golf Course’s parking lot, and we will all eat, drink, be merry, and express our love for endangered species and better public parks—*loudly and clearly so everyone knows that killing endangered species to play a game is wrong.* Bring food and drink to share if you like, and all your friends who stand with the “underfrog”! RSVP today using the Save the Frogs! Google Document or at the Tailgate’s Facebook page. If you can get there early to help organize or want to carpool, contact us and we’ll get you started. Get driving and transit directions to Sharp Park Golf Course here.

Wild Equity Ties Antioch and SF Communities, Conservation Struggles Together

The Wild Equity Institute and the Wilderness Arts & Literacy Collaborative (“WALC”) at Downtown High School recently completed another successful Endangered Species Big Semester by helping students explore the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge, learn how environmental justice victories in San Francisco are linked to a fossil fuel power plant construction boom in Antioch, and take action to help the Refuge’s endangered species recover.


WALC students remove invasive weeds at the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge.
Invasive weed growth is exacerbated by pollution from power plants that ring the Dunes.

Successful environmental justice campaigns in San Francisco led to the closure of two power plants in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill and Bayview-Hunters Point communities since 2006. In part to recoup the power lost when these power plants closed, the California Energy Commission approved five power plants, all ringing the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge. The concentration of power plants in this location threatens community health and three endangered species found at the Refuge. The Wild Equity Institute is bringing environmental justice advocates and grassroots conservation organizations together to challenge this massive power plant expansion.

On WALC’s third and final trip of the Endangered Species Big Semester, students connected our successful struggles for conservation and environmental justice in San Francisco with the new fossil fuel power plants in Antioch, observed endangered species threatened by this proposal, and then took action to help these species recover.


Students learned how to identify the endangered Antioch Dunes evening primrose and the Contra Costa wallflower.

Students were able to meet refuge managers and learn first-hand how the threats facing endangered species can be addressed in ways that build stronger ties to communities that have been traditionally underserved with environmental goods and services. Together, they contributed roughly a weeks-worth of work to the Refuge’s limited staff.


Refuge managers give students an overview of the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge.

Funded in part by the California Wildlands Grassroots Fund of the Tides Foundation & TogetherGreen (a collaboration between National Audubon Society and Toyota), the Endangered Species Big Semester gives students the chance to observe several of the Bay Area’s most imperiled species, and then help these species recover by restoring land, making healthy life style choices, and becoming participants in civic society. Bring the Endangered Species Big Semester to you school by contacting the Wild Equity Institute today.

Mission Blues Flying Now; Log a Sighting & Win a Prize!

Informal reports from several locations suggest that the Mission Blue Butterfly is flying in the GGNRA right now. That means it’s the right time for Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year participants to score points in the year-long competition to see and save the park’s endangered species.

To give you an extra incentive, the Wild Equity Institute is offering a $25 Sports Basement gift certificate to the first person who logs a GGNP sighting of the Mission Blue on our website!


Mission Blue Butterfly, © Margo Bors.

The Mission Blue is a small, quarter-sized butterfly. Males are characterized by dark-bordered, silver blue to violet blue upper wings, while females have brown upper-wings with blue traces. The species flies from March until mid-June, but an adult Mission Blue Butterfly only lives for 6-10 days, so the time for observing any one individual is short. It uses one of three species of perennial lupines as a host plant: the silver lupine (Lupinus albifrons) the Lindley varied lupine (L. variicolor) and the summer lupine (L. formosus). Sometimes the butterfly makes it easy to spot: the species has the unique behavior of actually sitting on its lupine host for a while.

The Mission Blue Butterfly exists within the GGNP at Fort Baker in Marin County, and Milagra Ridge in San Mateo County. Remember, always stay on trail in the park, and always comply with our ethical principles when participating in the Big Year. To log your sighting, you must have a wildequity.org account, sign-up to participate in the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year, and enter your sighting information at the wildequity.org Mission Blue Butterfly species profile.

Wild Equity, Mission Beacon & WALC Tackle Big Year

In 2012, the Wild Equity Institute is partnering with Downtown High School’s Wilderness, Arts, & Literacy Collaborative and the Mission Beacon Center at Everett Middle School to help at-risk youth discover the connections between the plights facing their communities and the plight of our local endangered species.


WALC’s Catherine Salvin helps students with their field journals
during an Endangered Semester trip to Mori Point.


Wild Equity Institute Executive Director Brent Plater helps Mission Beacon
students find Western Snowy Plovers at Ocean Beach.

The joint project is called “Endangered Semester,” an off-shoot of the Wild Equity Institute’s signature education project, the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year. Generously supported by Audubon/Toyota TogetherGreen, the California Wildlands Grassroots Fund of the Tides Foundation, and Patagonia SF, the project provides students from these schools with opportunities to see and help save endangered species in the field, while earning prizes for learning how to communicate with public officials, make sustainable and healthy lifestyle choices, and take ownership of their local green spaces and parks.

To date, students have been able to search for spawning steelhead at Muir Woods, western snowy plovers at Ocean Beach, and California red-legged frogs at Mori Point. On each trip, students participated in activities that helped these species recover, while sharpening skill sets in nature observation, exercising outdoors, and communicating effectively about issues they care most passionately about.


WALC students observed this California red-legged frog at Mori Point
and earned prizes from Patagonia while learning how to write effective letters.


Mission Beacon students observed these Western snowy plovers at Ocean Beach
while sharpening their observation skills and learning how to coexist with wildlife in urban areas.

Four more trips are schedule for the semester, each to a site that helps students discover the root causes of harm in our communities and our remaining wild areas. In the process, the Endangered Semester helps each of us recognize how interconnected we are to each other and the lands in which we live, and provides inspiration to each of us to work for a more equitable world for people and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth.

Comment on Unleashed Dogs in the GGNRA

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area may finally start enforcing leash laws at the GGNRA: and you will have two opportunities to encourage them to do so in the coming weeks.

Off-leash dogs at the GGNRA negatively impact people, our pets, wildlife, and park resources. Imperiled wildlife like the western snowy plover are frequently harassed by off-leash dogs; guide dog users are regularly interfered with—and occasionally attacked—by off-leash dogs; and perhaps most alarmingly, hundreds of off-leash dogs have been lost, injured, or killed when they fall off cliffs, run into traffic, or otherwise lose their owners.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We can make off-leash dog play areas that are safe for everyone, including our dogs.

The first step is to enforce leash laws in the GGNRA. Already animal welfare groups like the ASPCA, PETA, American Humane Association, Action for Animals, and Dogs Deserve Better have called for leash law enforcement at the GGNRA.

The second step is to design off-leash dog play areas within the park that are safe for everyone. In 2001 the California Department of Parks and Recreation conducted a study on safe off-leash dog play areas and concluded that this means enclosing the area with a physical boundary, so that dogs can’t run away from their owners and get into trouble, and so people can choose to enter these areas on their own terms.

You have two opportunities to help these recommendations become a reality. First, KQED’s Forum is collecting statements about how off-leash dogs impact your user experience while visiting the National Park. Let them know your story and encourage KQED to support leash law enforcement at the GGNRA.

Second, on January 14, 2011 the GGNRA will be releasing its long-awaited Draft Environmental Impact Statement on pet management at the GGNRA. This draft document will contain several alternatives for managing off-leash dogs in the park: and one of them will be labeled the GGNRA’s preferred alternative. Once released, the public will have 90 days to comment on the document. Keep checking wildequity.org for updates and more information as the process moves forward: we’ll provide you with an analysis of the draft document and help you submit your own comments to the park.

March 17, 10am: Search for Twain’s Frog and the Beautiful Serpent

The Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year is off to a rapid start, with students and members of the public competing to see and save our local endangered species. This weekend we’ll search and help save two of the most imperiled species of all: the San Francisco garter snake and the California red-legged frog. Join us for a great hike in a gorgeous place and guaranteed wildlife sightings!

  • Twain’s Frog and the Beautiful Serpent—Saturday, March 17, 2012 10:00 am to 12:00 pm: Join Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute to search for two of the most imperiled vertebrate species on the San Francisco peninsula: the California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake. This will be a leisurely walk to enjoy the restoration work being conducted at Mori Point and to learn about the bold steps being taken to save both species from the brink of extinction. RSVP required: please use this website to RSVP. Meet at the Mori Point Entrance Gate, at the intersection of Bradford Way and Mori Point Road, Pacifica, CA, 94044. Rain or Shine. Part of the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year, a competitive event to help endangered species recover.

Feb. 25, Noon: Life’s a Beach: Searching for Western Snowy Plovers

The GGNP Endangered Species Big Year is in full swing, and we’re helping you compete this weekend by leading a trip to see and help save the diminutive Western Snowy Plover at Ocean Beach! Come join us as we search for these little guys and learn how we can all take part in the species’ recovery. See you outside!

Saturday, February 25, 2012, 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm: Join Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute as we take a leisurely walk from the San Francisco Zoo to Ocean Beach searching for the threatened snowy plovers. Once we reach Ocean Beach we’ll head north observing wildlife and searching for these cryptic birds. RSVP required: please use this website to RSVP. Meet at the San Francisco Zoo Parking Lot Entrance on Sloat Blvd., near the Great Highway, San Francisco 94132. Bring a lunch. Free. Rain Cancels. Part of the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year, a competitive event to help endangered species recover.

hi everyone – I found this photo online of a Snowy Plover and another Plover – guess which one is the Snowy Plover!

WEI Executive Director Brent Plater Awarded Prestigious Conservation Fellowship

Contact:
Elizabeth Sorrell (212) 979-3185
Kaberi Kar Gupta (559) 357-3157
Mira Manickam (609) 356-3908
Brent Plater (415) 572-6989
John C. Robinson (707) 688-2848
Ian Signer (917) 843-2759

Five California Environmentalists Singled Out for Leadership
Honorees Receive Audubon/Toyota TogetherGreen Fellowships

New York, NY, November 16, 2011 – Five California residents are the recipients of a national fellowship that will enable them to help build on conservation work in the state.

Supported by a conservation alliance between Audubon and Toyota, the TogetherGreen Fellowship offers specialized training in conservation planning and execution, the chance to work and share best practices with gifted conservation professionals, and assistance with project outreach and evaluation. Each Fellow receives $10,000 towards a community-focused project to engage local residents in conserving land, water and energy, and contributing to greater environmental health.

Five of this year’s 40 TogetherGreen fellows include:

  • Brent Plater, Executive Director, Wild Equity Institute
    With the help of his TogetherGreen Fellowship, Plater will expand upon the Golden Gate National Parks’ Endangered Species Big Year, a program he founded in 2008 that created a race against time to see and help save each of the 36 endangered and threatened species found within the Parks. This year’s Big Year will teach valuable job and naturalist skills to participants in a group setting, with a focus on underserved youth, a group he is passionate about reaching and with whom he has already seen success in the program.
  • Kaberi Kar Gupta, Board Member Fresno Audubon
    With her TogetherGreen Fellowship, Kaberi Kar Gupta will lead the Fresno Audubon Community Greenscape Program, a collaborative, volunteer-driven, residential landscape transformation process. Building on efforts already in place in Fresno, Kar Gupta will reach out to underrepresented homeowners as well as the urban upper socioeconomic class homeowners, landscape architects, nonprofit organizations, institutional policy makers and other community members to engage them in comprehensive water wise yard landscape management through focus groups, informational workshops and residential greenscaping transformation workday events. Kar Gupta’s goal with the Community Greenscape Program is to build a dynamic and active coalition of local government, low income housing developers, community organizations, educational institutions, and environmental groups helping to create a more sustainable environment. Through this program, she will help homeowners install water conserving native plants in their yards, providing enhanced biodiversity and new habitat for birds.
  • Mira Manickam, Field Science Educator, Headlands Institute
    As a TogetherGreen Fellow, Manickam will launch a program called “Green Team” targeted at-risk youth Oakland who have faced homelessness, addiction, incarceration, unstable homes, or who have few job prospects. In partnership with United Roots, the program will focus on job-skill training and planting projects in the community. Green Team will draw upon the Roots of Success Curriculum developed by the Environmental Literacy Curriculum Project to engage disenfranchised communities in the green economy. Training will also draw upon United Roots strengths in media production, and include workshops with other participants in the center to document through music and video the work of the Green Team. The program will host a yearly community planting celebration showcasing the Green Team’s planting work and media produced at the center around it.
  • John C. Robinson, President, On My Mountain
    Robinson will be utilizing his TogetherGreen Fellowship to continue his quest to share his knowledge and love of nature and birds with inner city youth. Robinson will create an environmental “Starter Kit” that will include, among other items, his book, Birding For Everyone. He will work closely with Audubon Centers and leverage connections with other conservation organizations and agencies to expand awareness and effectiveness of this program. Partners in Flight, which has a proven track record in engaging students in conservation projects, will be a key collaborator in supplying projects, educational materials, and conservation plans for youths to implement. This network, in combination with Robinson’s exposure in the media, could potentially broadcast his environmental message to several million homes.
  • Ian Signer, Associate Education Director, California Institute for Biodiversity
    For his Fellowship Project, Signer will work in his home state, connecting an underserved community to the conservation of habitat for the Lange’s metalmark, a local butterfly on the brink of extinction. He’ll be working close to where he grew up, in Eastern Contra Costa County (East County), an economically depressed region founded on coal mining in the late 1800s. Industries such as PG&E and DOW Chemical continue to be important, where they employ much of the diverse local population. Signer will host an ecology institute in collaboration with the East Bay Regional Park District, Delta Science Center, and California State Parks, focusing on empowering educators to contribute to local conservation through hands-on investigations and citizen science. He’ll focus on providing tools, training, mentorship, and formative evaluation that will help translate sometimes abstract conservation concepts into concrete community action.

“This Fellowship funding will provide Oakland teens with a fresh approach to nature, creating an empowering and enriching experience and a long-lasting, culturally relevant point of reference for years to come.” said Manickam.

“The TogetherGreen fellowship is a perfect match for the Wild Equity Institute’s mission: to unite conservation and justice movements into a powerful force that builds a healthy and sustainable global community for all,” said Brent Plater, Executive Director of the Wild Equity Institute. “The grant will help us connect urban youth to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area’s environmental justice creation story and the biological richness of these lands.”

“California is a clear powerhouse of passionate individuals who want to make a difference in the health of our environment,” said Audubon President David Yarnold. “These Fellows have the passion and the skills to inspire others, exactly the kind of people the environmental community needs to tackle the huge challenges and opportunities confronting us.”

Fellowship recipients were chosen from a large pool of highly qualified individuals. All were required to have at least six years of experience in conservation, environmental education, policy, or related issues; a demonstrated passion for conservation and a proven track record of reaching previously underserved audiences. Applicants also need to express a desire to learn and grow. An advisory committee composed of conservation professionals and experts in environmental education, communications, outreach, and conservation planning made selections.

A complete list of the 2011 TogetherGreen Fellows can be found at www.TogetherGreen.org/fellows.

###

About TogetherGreen
Audubon and Toyota launched the five-year TogetherGreen initiative in 2008 to build the promise of a greener, healthier future through innovation, leadership and volunteerism. For more information, visit www.togethergreen.org.

About Audubon
Now in its second century, Audubon connects people with birds, nature and the environment that supports us all. Our national network of community-based nature centers, chapters, scientific, education, and advocacy programs engages millions of people from all walks of life in conservation action to protect and restore the natural world. Visit Audubon online at www.audubon.org.

About Toyota
Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants, including one under construction. Toyota directly employs nearly 30,000 people in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $18 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design.

Toyota is committed to being a good corporate citizen in the communities where it does business and believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable results. Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, focusing on education, the environment and safety. Since 1991, Toyota has contributed over half a billion dollars to philanthropic programs in the U.S. For more information on Toyota’s commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit http://www.toyota.com/community.

GGNRA Dog Plan Released: WEI Discusses on KQED 1/17

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area has released its long-awaited Dog Management Plan, and will be taking public comment on the proposal for the next 90 days. The Wild Equity Institute’s Executive Director Brent Plater will be a guest on KQED’s Forum (88.5 FM) to discuss the plan Monday, January 17th at 9:00 a.m. You can bring your voice to the debate by calling 866-733-6786 or emailing forum@kqed.org.

Weighing-in at over 2,000 pages and over six years in the making, bystanders might look at the plan and conclude that the GGNRA’s priorities are misplaced. If, for example, the GGNRA tackled more pressing environmental problems like climate adaptation this thoroughly, we might have a carbon neutral park by now.

Yet in other respects pet management contains the same moral dilemmas as our most pressing environmental problems:

  • Who should bear the burden of activities conducted in National Parks: the individuals taking action or the public as a whole?
  • When should individual entitlement take precedence over public responsibility?
  • Does the Park have a duty to proactively protect park visitors from harm, or should the Park simply facilitate recompense after an injury has occurred?

These are common questions to most environmental problems, yet despite the plan’s length and delay, it still fails to address some basic problems with pet management at the GGNRA.

Off-leash dogs have long been negatively impacting people, our pets, wildlife, and park resources at the GGNRA. Imperiled wildlife like the western snowy plover are frequently harassed by off-leash dogs; guide dog users are regularly interfered with—and occasionally attacked—by off-leash dogs; and perhaps most alarmingly, hundreds of off-leash dogs have been lost, injured, or killed when they fall off cliffs, run into traffic, or otherwise lose their owners.

“The proposed plan contains some improvements, but fails in significant respects to protect people, our pets, wildlife, and park resources,” said Plater. “The first rule of good off-leash dog park design is to make sure our dogs are safe. But the dog play areas proposed by the Park Service do not contain safety barriers, do not require dog owners to certify that their dogs are trained before allowing them off leash, and the plan’s basic structure is to wait for park visitors to be injured before protective measures are put in place. We look forward to working with the Park Service to correct these obvious flaws before the plan is finalized.”

Sensible management measures like enclosing dog play areas with fences or other physical barriers can resolve many of these problems, and give park visitors the opportunity to choose off-leash dog experience on their own terms, rather than having the choice imposed upon them. Already animal welfare groups like the ASPCA, PETA, American Humane Association, Action for Animals, and Dogs Deserve Better have called for leash law enforcement at the GGNRA. Over the next 90 days you’ll have the opportunity to add your voice to theirs by submitting comments in support of leash law enforcement in the Park. Don’t delay: make your comments today!

9/14–Endangered Species Campaigning at CounterPULSE

  • September 14, 2011, 7:30 p.m.—Shaping San Francisco: Endangered Species Campaigning: Shaping San Francisco/CounterPULSE hosts a discussion about endangered species campaigning with Todd Gilens, creator of the Endangered Buses art project; Brent Plater, Executive Director of the Wild Equity Institute; and Jessie Raeder of the Tuolomne River Trust. You’ll learn about some of the most pressing issues facing San Francisco’s local endangered species, and how you can become part of the solution and help these species thrive. RSVP for the event here.


Todd Gilens Endangered Buses Project.

10/10/10: Spotted Owl Work Party to Fight Climate Change


Northern Spotted Owls Nuzzle at Muir Woods on August 10, 2008.
Comments by Ranger Mia Monroe.

Sunday, 10/10/10, 10:10 a.m.: Join the Wild Equity Institute’s Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Muir Woods National Monument as we participate in 350.org’s climate change work party day. We’ll spend the late morning defending the threatened Northern Spotted Owl’s habitat from climate change impacts by reducing man-made stressors and improving habitat conditions for the species inside Muir Woods. Then after a BYO lunch, we’ll take an easy stroll through the Monument to search for this impressive and imperiled owl. Come dressed and prepared for light manual labor and walking in the woods. RSVP Required: please use this website to RSVP. This activity counts towards the $1,000 grand prize for the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year! Meet at the Muir Woods National Monument Entrance Gate, Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, CA, 94941. Please consider walking, biking, carpooling, or taking the West Marin Stage and walking to this event. Additional public transit information is available at 511.org.

Downtown High School Completes Endangered Semester with Wild Equity

In 2011, the Wild Equity Institute partnered with Downtown High School in San Francisco to give students and endangered species a second chance at life. The joint project was called “Endangered Semester,” and it provides students who have not succeeded in traditional classrooms an opportunity to see 10 endangered species in the field, while taking 10 actions that help these species recover. It was a competitive event: as the students see and help save endangered species, they earn prizes that help their class succeed.


Endangered Semester Presentation at Downtown High School

The Endangered Semester was completed in four phases. First, students were provided an in-class description of the project, including specific instructions on how to see endangered species in the field ethically and how to complete actions that help species recover. Next students were taken on three field trips to observe species and conduct recovery actions. Third, students were provided with self-directed opportunities to see endangered species near their homes, and make healthy lifestyle choices that would also benefit conservation. Finally, the students’ scores were tallied and prizes awarded in an end of the semester celebration.

On January 13, 2011, students completed their first trip to help see and save Coho Salmon at Muir Woods National Monument and Muir Beach. Although inclement weather made it difficult to spot salmon, the students marshaled on and planted 120 native plants along creek beds to help improve spawning habitat for the anadromous fish.


Downtown High School Students Celebrate in Muir Woods

On March 11, 2011, Wild Equity led students on a challenging coastal hike to see several endangered species in San Francisco. Over the five-mile journey, students saw several restoration sites in the Presidio, searched for several plants, birds, and marine mammals on the brink of extinction, and learned about the great environmental justice concerns that led to the creation of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.


Wild Equity Institute Executive Director Brent Plater
Leads Downtown High School Students On an Endangered Species Hike in the Presidio

On April 22, 2011, students were taken to the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife refuge to see two endangered plants and take actions that help conserve the endangered Lange’s metalmark butterfly, arguably the rarest Bay Area butterfly. Students were given special access to this refuge, usually closed to visitors, and met with Fish and Wildlife Service staff working desperately to save endangered species near communities impacted by industrial development.


Louiz Terrazas of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Instructs Students
on Plant Identification at the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge

After completing their actions and sightings, the students points were tallied, interim prizes were awarded, and a celebration was held to close out the Endangered Semester. All together, students completed about 100 sightings and action items during the semester: an impressive feat that earned them nature- and education-themed prizes individually and for the class as a whole.


Downtown High School Students Show-off Prizes at the End of Semester Celebration

The Endangered Semester was made possible by a generous gift from the California Wildlands Grassroots Fund of the Tides Foundation. Additional support was provided by REI’s San Francisco store and the Sports Basement. If you are interested in having your school participate in the endangered semester, contact us and we’ll let you know how to get your classroom enrolled.

Thanks for the Warmth, Congrats to our Winners!

Thanks to the 75+ supporters of the Wild Equity Institute and our suite mates, Restore Hetch Hethcy, that helped warm our office and bring the 2010 GGNP Endangered Species Big Year to a close.


Members enjoyed delicious foods and wines generously donated by
Arizmendi Bakery and Muir-Hanna Vineyards

We spent some time honoring our Big Year winners: Steve Price and Liam O’Brien were once again crowned co-champions, while Molly Latimer won a free pair of binoculars from REI’s San Francisco Store for being the top youth competitor. Kate and Gofi Gelles rounded out the top five finishers in the Big Year competition. Congratulations to you all!

And we couldn’t have done it without the support of Barbara Beth, who received special acknowledgement as the Wild Equity Institute’s Volunteer of the Year for 2010!


Barbara Beth and Brent Plater

Thanks to everyone who came out and celebrated with us. Here’s to a big 2011!

This Week’s Big Year Trips

We didn’t get lucky in our search for the Golden Gate Parks’ endangered sea creatures earlier in the month, so we’re heading out to look for them again! We’ll have some of the Bay Area’s greatest naturalists on hand to help you find these endangered species and identify the rest of the rich life around you. Hope to see you outside!

Personalized Coaching for Your Big Year

Wondering how to get started with your Endangered Species Big Year? Need tips on how to win prizes or see or save specific species? We are now offering personalized coaching from endangered species experts from around the Bay! If you join the Wild Equity Institute with a donation of $35 or more, you will receive free coaching and strategy sessions from experts to help you meet your goals for the 2010 Endangered Species Big Year. Sign-up today and we’ll get you started with personalized tips that will get you outside and saving species right away!

And don’t forget about our Coach’s Corner where you can find free tips on how to compete and win prizes in the Big Year from our experts.

First Big Year Winners Announced!

Over a dozen GGNP Endangered Species Big Year competitors won a subscription to Bay Nature magazine last month by entering their first action item or endangered species sighting on the competition’s website. Join the competition and be eligible to win more prizes and compete for the $1,000 grand prize!

This Week’s Big Year Trips

We’ve got three great trips for you this week that will help you see and save our imperiled neighbors:

  • Spotted Owls After Dark. Sunday, February 14, 2010, 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.: After hours at Muir Woods when no one is around, hear the water in the creek, the gentle drops of redwood seeds on tanoak leaves, and learn how protecting nesting northern spotted owl led to the National Park Service’s efforts to preserve the natural soundscape of Muir Woods. Bring a flashlight, dress in layers, and wear sturdy shoes. Heavy rain cancels the trip. Meet at Muir Woods National Monument Visitor Center. Park entrances fees apply, but the trip is free. Reservations required; click here or call 415-388-2596.

Endangered Species, Endangered Buses

Artist Todd Gilens has implemented a fascinating new public art project that highlights the link between how we treat each other, and how we treat other forms of life.

The project is called Endangered Bus. Todd has placed photos of several imperiled species on San Francisco MUNI buses to highlight the similar challenges we face addressing these collective problems: saving endangered species on the one hand, and providing affordable, reliable public transit on the other.


Coho Salmon Endangered Bus


Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse Endangered Bus

You can interact with the project. Whenever you see an Endangered Bus in San Francisco, tweet your sighting with the #endangeredbus tag, or post photos on Flickr with an endangeredbus tag. The buses travel different routs every day, so keep your eyes peeled.

Students, Wildlife Get a Second Chance with WEI

The Wild Equity Institute has partnered with Downtown High School in San Francisco to give students and endangered species a second chance at life.

“We’ve been inspired by the students at Downtown High School and the empathy they’ve shown toward each other and to other forms of life,” said Brent Plater, Executive Director of the Wild Equity Institute. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to help them succeed both in and out of the classroom.”

The joint project is called “Endangered Semester,” and it provides students who have not succeeded in traditional classrooms an opportunity to see 10 endangered species in the field, while taking 10 actions that help these species recover. It is a competitive event: as the students see and help save endangered species, they earn prizes that help their class succeed.


Endangered Semester Presentation at Downtown High School

On January 13, 2011, students completed their first trip to help see and save Coho Salmon at Muir Woods National Monument and Muir Beach. Although inclement weather made it difficult to spot salmon, the students marshaled on and planted 120 native plants along creek beds to help improve spawning habitat for the anadromous fish.


Downtown High School Students Restore Native Plants
Along a Tributary of Redwood Creek

In addition to Muir Woods, students will visit the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge and the Presidio of San Francisco this semester. During each visit students will be given opportunities to see imperiled wildlife, developing nature observation and field skills in the process. Students are also given diverse tasks to help these species recover, including restoring habitat, contacting public officials, and making healthy lifestyle choices.


Downtown High School Students Celebrate Restoration Work for Coho Salmon

The Endangered Semester was made possible by a generous gift from the California Wildlands Grassroots Fund of the Tides Foundation. Visit http://wildequity.org for more information about the project as the semester progresses.

This Week’s Big Year Trips

We’ve got two exciting trips this week to help you see and save the GGNP’s endangered species. Hope to see you outside!

Good Time for Coho and Steelhead Sightings

With the rains coming this week, it is a good time to go out and search for spawning Coho Salmon and Steelhead in the Golden Gate National Parks. But even if you don’t find any spawning fish, you’ll likely see a few young fish in the streams. Here is a photo from Paola Bouley of SPAWN showing the differences between the two species:


A young Coho Salmon on the left, and a young Steelhead on the right. Notice the overall color, the roundish lateral spots, and the dark spots on the dorsal fin.

Special Big Year Incentives for the Month of January Announced

Special Incentives for January!

The Wild Equity Institute is proud to announce a special Big Year prize for the month of January, specifically for competitors new to the Endangered Species Big Year. For a limited time, new competitors entering their first sighting or action item on the Wild Equity Institute’s Big year website will win a free subscription to Bay Nature magazine!

This prize is only available to new Big Year competitors: if you competed in 2008 you are not eligible for this prize. New competitors must enter their first action item or sighting on-line before midnight on January 31, 2010 to be eligible. Review and download your copy of the Big Year checklist to find one of the 36 sightings or 36 action items you will complete to win this prize!

Record A Sighting or Action Item On-line . . .

and Win a Subscription to Bay Nature Magazine!

More Ways to Help Coho Salmon

Coho Population Collapse: More Ways to Help

The Coho Salmon found in the Golden Gate National Parks are on the brink of extinction, according to this article in the Marin Independent Journal.

The Wild Equity Institute’s Endangered Species Big Year program is sponsoring several recovery expeditions and park explorations to help people see and help save these amazing fish, and not a moment too soon. In the meantime, please take action with our parters at SPAWN in Marin by taking four simple steps to save Coho Salmon.

Big Year Kick-off a Success!

GGNP Endangered Species Big Year’s Kick-off a Success!

The 2010 Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year began with a wonderful bike ride this past weekend in partnership with the San Francisco Bike Coalition. As we rolled out to begin the ride, a Peregrine Falcon, one of the Endangered Species Act’s greatest success stories, flew over head, hunting doves! Around 40 cyclists then searched for Marbled Murrelets, Humpback Whales, Sea Otters, and Steller Sea Lions along the coast, and then found and saw a rare little wildflower, the San Francisco Lessingia!


Big Year Bike Ride Participants Search for Endangered Sea Creatures Near Land’s End.

A hearty thank you to some of the Bay Area’s greatest naturalists for helping identify plants and animals along the route, including Josiah Clark of Habitat Potential, Jeff Miller of the Alameda Creek Alliance, Casey Allen of SF Landscapes, Matt Zlatunich of Golden Gate Audubon, and David Schmidt of California Nature Tours.

Following the ride, around 80 Big Year participants celebrated the 2010 GGNP Endangered Species Big Year at the Sports Basement in the Presidio. After enjoying complimentary snacks from Arizmendi Bakery, participants met a live San Francisco Garter Snake courtesy of the San Francisco Zoo.

We then took a short hike to search for the Western Snowy Plover at the Crissy Field Wildlife Protection Area. We weren’t able to find the little shorebirds this day. This may be due in part to legal actions threatened by anti-leash advocacy groups: last month they challenged the GGNP after the Park erected a fence to protect the Western Snowy Plover’s habitats, and the Park Service moved the fence into the Snowy Plover’s habitat in response. The birds haven’t been seen at Crissy Field since.

There are thousands of feet of shoreline at Crissy Field where dogs are roaming off-leash, but only a few hundred where the Snowy Plovers regularly roost. Complete your action item for the Western Snowy Plover by leashing your dog when you come to the GGNRA, and/or asking others to do so, regardless of where the fence posts are ultimately placed.


Wild Equity Institute Executive Director Brent Plater Searches for Snowy Plovers at Crissy field.

A special thank you to the Sports Basement for hosting the event, and our eternal gratitude to the Wild Equity Institute’s indefatigable Barbara Beth for organizing a wonderful event!

Join Us for the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year Bike Ride & Kick-off Celebration!

The 2010 Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year has begun! Celebrate the incredible diversity of life around you by participating in the 2010 GGNP Endangered Species Big Year Kick-off Celebration on January 9, 2010 at 1pm at the Sports Basement in the Presidio.

We’ll present a short description of the competition, enjoy some complimentary Arizmendi pizza and snacks, see a live San Francisco garter snake courtesy of the San Francisco Zoo, and then take a short hike to search for the Western Snowy Plover at the Crissy Field Wildlife Protection Area. The Sports Basement is also giving Big Year participants 10% off on items purchased at the store this day, and donating another 10% to the Wild Equity Institute!


Download Your Copy of the 2010 GGNP
Endangered Species Big Year Checklist
.

And don’t forget about our morning bike ride to see even more of the Park’s endangered flora and fauna! This ride will travel to a few locations and search for a variety of imperiled birds, mammals, and plants before ending at the Sports Basement in the Presidio to join the kick-off party for the 2010 Endangered Species Big Year. Rain cancels the bike ride, but not the kick-off party! The ride begins at 9:30am on January 9 at the Bazaar Cafe on California St. at 21st Ave.

Coho Population Collapse Continues

The Coho Salmon found in the Golden Gate National Parks have suffered a third consecutive year of low reproductive success, and federal biologists are now restructuring the species’ recovery plan into an extinction prevention plan, according to an article in the Marin Independent Journal.


Find out what you can do to help Coho Salmon
through the Endangered Species Big Year
.

The Wild Equity Institute’s Endangered Species Big Year program is sponsoring several recovery expeditions and park explorations to help people see and help save these amazing fish. There may not be a more critical time for you to act.

Endangered Species Big Year Kick-off Celebration Just Days Away!

The 2010 Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year begins January 1, 2010! Celebrate the incredible diversity of life around you by participating in the 2010 GGNP Endangered Species Big Year Kick-off Celebration on January 9, 2010 at 1pm at the Sports Basement in the Presidio.

We’ll present a short description of the competition, enjoy some complimentary Arizmendi pizza and snacks, see a live San Francisco garter snake courtesy of the San Francisco Zoo, and then take a short hike to search for the Western Snowy Plover at the Crissy Field Wildlife Protection Area. The Sports Basement is also giving Big Year participants 10% off on items purchased at the store this day, and donating another 10% to the Wild Equity Institute!


Download Your Copy of the 2010 GGNP
Endangered Species Big Year Checklist

And if you want to make a day of it, join us for a morning bike ride with the San Francisco Bike Coalition to see even more of the Park’s endangered flora and fauna! This ride will travel to a few locations and check in on a variety of imperiled birds, mammals, and plants before ending at the Sports Basement in the Presidio to join the kick-off party for the 2010 Endangered Species Big Year. Rain cancels the bike ride, but not the kick-off party! The ride begins at 9:30am at the Bazaar Cafe on California St. at 21st Ave.

Big Year Kicks-Off; Big Victory at Sharp Park!

Folks,

Mark your calendars! The 2010 Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year kick-off celebration will begin January 9, 2010, 1pm at the Sports Basement in the Presidio, San Francisco. The GGNP has more endangered species than any other National Park in continental North America. The Endangered Species Big Year is a race against time to see and save each of these endangered species, with guided recovery expeditions and park explorations all year long! At the kick-off celebration, we’ll have free prizes, drinks and snacks, a short presentation about the GGNP’s endangered species, and then we’ll head outside to search for the Western Snowy Plover, an imperiled shorebird clinging to existence at Crissy Field. At the end of 2010, the person who has seen and helped save the most endangered species will win the Big Year and a cash prize!

Victory for Sharp Park! Thank you to everyone who wrote messages and attended the Recreation and Park Commission hearing last Thursday. About 60% of the numerous speakers came to support a new national park at Sharp Park, and we convinced the Commission to table Phil Ginsburg’s preposterous and unjust all-golf alternative: for now. We also successfully demanded that a scientific peer review be conducted on Ginsburg’s alternative. This was a major step forward in creating a better public park at Sharp Park, a park that protects the environment, protects our communities from climate change, and provides recreational opportunities everyone can enjoy. If you haven’t taken action yet, you can do so here.

Thanks and see you outside,

Brent Plater
Executive Director
Wild Equity Institute

IUCN Puts Endangered Species Big Year in the Mix for Best Conservation Idea of the Year!

The United Nations has declared 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity, and now the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year as one of the best conservation ideas of the year!

Now you can vote online to put the Big Year at the top of the list. Click here to make the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year the number one international conservation project of 2010!

The IUCN’s Countdown 2010 project aims to raise public awareness about biodiversity loss while empowering governments and citizen groups to halt the extinction crisis by achieving goals set forth in existing international treaties and agreements. As part of the project, the IUCN is highlighting innovative conservation ideas to inspire others to reconnect with nature and halt biodiversity loss.

Over 1,000 partners across the globe, including the Wild Equity Institute, have become a part of Countdown 2010, but only a limited number have projects listed among the best conservation ideas of the year. Vote now for the Big Year to put us at the top of the list!

All in April: Threatened Owls, Endangered Butterflies, Secret Ridges

The Wild Equity Institute has some great GGNP Endangered Species Big Year trips scheduled in April. Come check them out for your chance to win the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year!

Restoring Northern Spotted Owl Habitat.

  • Thursday, April 15, 2010, 9:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.: Join Michael Chasse and Ellen Hamingson, ecologists and local botanical experts from the National Park Service, at Nicasio Ridge for a day monitoring rare and endangered plants, including the Tiburon Paintbrush and the Marin Dwarf-flax. Nicasio Ridge is usually closed to public access, so this is a rare chance to visit one the most spectacular habitats in the Golden Gate National Parks! Note: monitoring does not satisfy the Big Year action item, but can count as a sighting. Meet at the beginning of Laurel Canyon Road at the intersection of Point Reyes-Petaluma Road, Marin, CA 94956, NW of the Nicasio Reservoir. Parking area is on the north side of Point Reyes-Petaluma Road near Laurel Canyon Road. Participants will carpool up to the ridge. Due to the sensitivity of the habitat, and the requirement to coordinate with private Landowners for access to the ridge, the trip is limited to 20 participants only. Must RSVP: call 415-561-2857 or email Michael Chasse.”

Searching for Endangered Wildflowers at Nicasio Ridge.

The Endangered Mission Blue Butterfly.

Big Year Travels to Kids Near You

The Wild Equity Institute is proud to announce new Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year programming that can travel to kids near you!

WEI has developed endangered species-themed puzzles and games for elementary school children, and we can bring these materials to your school or event to introduce children to our local endangered species and what we all can do to help them recover.

Kids Enjoying WEI’s Endangered Species Games

The games include an endangered species jigsaw puzzle and a game to match pictures of endangered species to their common names. We have accompanying materials to distribute with information about the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year and how kids can be involved in the project.

If you’d like to find out more or schedule an event, send an e-mail message to info@wildequity.org.

Strange and Sorrowful: Golf Ball, Other Ocean Debris Found in Dead Gray Whale

The Cascadia Research Collective reports that a dead Gray Whale stranded in Puget Sound this week contained a large amount of ocean debris in its stomach when it died: including a golf ball.

This is the fifth Gray Whale stranding in Puget Sound this season. Although the whale’s cause of death can’t be declared definitively, researchers called the debris in the whale’s stomach a sign of our poor ocean stewardship.

Gray Whales are no longer protected under the Endangered Species Act, but still face many threats. The Wild Equity Institute’s staff and board have partnered with the Cascadia Research Collective’s scientists to protect whales on many occasions in the past.

WEI Collaborators in the News

At the Wild Equity Institute we are fortunate to collaborate with some of the most accomplished environmentalists on Earth, and many of them have been making wonderful news recently.

Dr. Peter Baye was recently featured in this article about the California Seablite, a GGNP Endangered Species Big Year species. Dr. Baye is a preeminent coastal ecologist who has prepared the scientific rationale for sustainable restoration options at Sharp Park. You can watch him in action here:

John Muir Laws, one of the great artist and illustrators of the natural world, helped WEI highlight the fate of the San Francisco Lessingia in 2008 with a field sketching class using wild Lessingia as the model. Now he’s produced these foldout guides of local flora and fauna. They should be outstanding aids to help people see and care for the planet.

John Muir Laws Field Sketching Class

Congratulations and thank you to Dr. Peter Baye and John Muir Laws!

REI Loves WEI, Heats Up Big Year


Download Your Big Year Checklist
and Start Seeing and Saving Endangered Species

REI’s San Francisco Store is partnering with the Wild Equity Institute’s GGNP Endangered Species Big Year by providing a slew of interim prizes for competitors with a knack for seeing and saving endangered species.

The prizes, which include books, field guides, binoculars, backpacks, and other tools to explore the Golden Gate National Parks, will be offered in the coming weeks to Big Year competitors that reach interim competition milestones.

Details about the interim competitions will be announced shortly. Check the WEI website here for announcements about the interim competitions. Some restrictions will apply, so be sure to read the rules carefully.

So far this year 137 competitors have completed 121 actions to help species recover and reported 75 sightings of endangered species in the Golden Gate National Parks. To make sure you don’t miss out on the interim prizes, be sure to join these competitors by signing-up for the Endangered Species Big Year.

5/22 Tidewater Goby Trip Cancelled–by Oil Spill

As the Gulf Oil Spill crisis enters its second month, the scale of the oil spill is requiring more hands on the ground then ever.

This week our local Tidewater Goby expert, the National Park Service’s Darren Fong, was called to Mobile, AL to help with oil spill clean-up efforts.

Among the other unfortunate things that this prefaces, this weekend’s Go-Go Gobies! trip must also be cancelled: at least until Darren returns.

Good luck Darren, and thanks for all you do to deal with crises on our coasts.

Win Prizes on the Tiburon Paintbrush Conservation Trip May 29!

Just in time to help you win Jack Laws’ Pocket Guide to the Bay Area, the Wild Equity Institute is organizing a trip to help save the Tiburon Paintbrush. Remember, the first four 2010 Endangered Species Big Year competitors to complete this action for the Tiburon Paintbrush will win a copy of the pocket guide, so sign up for your Big Year and come on this special trip!

Tiburon Paintbrush      Laws Guide to SF Bay
   

June 2: Hump Day Habitat Restoration

Can you think of a better way to get over the mid-week blues than by helping save the diminutive wildflowers endemic to San Francisco? Neither can Michael Chasse of the National Park Service or the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year: and that’s why we’ll be out in the beautifully restored Lobos Creek Valley to save this charming little wildflower!

San Francisco Lessingia

June 12: The Fantastic Fountain Thistle

This week the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year is heading to San Mateo County to see and help save the Fountain Thistle, a beautiful plant on the brink. See you outside!

The Fantastic Fountain Thistle—Saturday, June 12, 2010, 10:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.: Join Ken Himes and Jake Sigg for a stroll into the usually inaccessible Crystal Springs Watershed to search for the endangered Fountain Thistle. Afterward, join a restoration work party on nearby Caltrans land to remove exotic plants invading the species’ habitat. Meet at the Lexington Avenue Gate at the South end of Lexington Avenue, San Mateo, CA 94402. RSVP required:e-mail Jake Sigg.

Sign-up for your Endangered Species Big Year here.

July 7 & 10 Big Year Trips

This week the Wild Equity Institute helps you explore the Presidio, restore habitat for two imperiled plants, and earn points towards the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year grand prize! Join us on either or both trips:

San Francisco Lessingia Restoration at Lobos Dunes, Presidio


  • No More Blues for the Blite — Saturday, July 10, 2010, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.:  Join Michael Chassé of the National Park Service at Crissy Field Marsh and restore a reintroduction site for the endangered California Seablite. This satisfies the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year conservation action item for the species. Meet at the Presidio Transit Center, 215 Lincoln Blvd @ Graham St., San Francisco, CA 94129. RSVP: Call 415-561-2857 or email Michael Chassé.

Crissy Field Marsh Restoration

You can sign-up for your GGNP Endangered Species Big Year here.

Become a Monthly Donor to the Wild Equity Institute

We’ve recently updated our donations page to accept automatic monthly donations. This is an easy way for you to provide sustained support for our campaigns. $5 per month provides significant support: it funds materials for 120 kids to participate in the GGNP Endangered Species Big Year.

And if you donate $166.67 per month you’ll become a founding member of WEI!

We can’t do what we do without your support, and we are grateful for it. Thanks so much for all you do to protect people and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth!

Check out our new donations page here.

Find Four Frogs in this Photo

We had great luck searching for the California red-legged frog at Mori Point this past weekend. But they aren’t always easy to see.

Can you find four frogs in this photo? If you can, it’s about time you got started on your GGNP Endangered Species Big Year: you’ve got what it takes to compete for the $1,000 grand prize!

Gowen, Gowen, Gone and Twain’s Frog & the Beautiful Serpent This Weekend

We’ve got two great Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year trips this weekend to see some of the rarest species on the San Francisco Peninsula. Join us for some time outside, good conversation, and opportunities to build a healthy and sustainable community for people and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth!

Gowen Cypress in the Presidio

  • Twain’s Frog & the Beautiful Serpent. Sunday, August 29, 2010, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Join Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute to search for two of the most imperiled vertebrate species on the San Francisco peninsula: the California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake. This will be a leisurely walk to enjoy the restoration work being conducted at Mori Point and to learn about the bold steps being taken to save both species from the brink of extinction. RSVP Required: please use this website to RSVP. Rain or Shine. Meet at the Mori Point Trailhead, Pacifica, CA, 94044. Take the Sharp Park exit off Hwy. 1 and continue south on Bradford Way about 0.5 mile to the gate/trailhead at Mori Point Rd. Roadside parking is limited; carpooling is encouraged. Samtrans buses #110 and #112 stop nearby.

Can you find four California red-legged frogs in this photo?

Twain’s Frog & the Beautiful Serpent, Sept. 19, 10am

Sunday, September 19, 2010, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Join Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute to search for two of the most imperiled vertebrate species on the San Francisco peninsula: the California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake. This will be a leisurely walk to enjoy the restoration work being conducted at Mori Point and to learn about the bold steps being taken to save both species from the brink of extinction. RSVP Required: please use this website to RSVP. Rain or Shine. Meet at the Mori Point Trailhead, Pacifica, CA, 94044. Take the Sharp Park exit off Hwy. 1 and continue south on Bradford Way about 0.5 mile to the gate/trailhead at Mori Point Rd. Roadside parking is limited; carpooling is encouraged. Samtrans buses #110 and #112 stop nearby.

California red-legged frog

Loneliest Plant on the Planet Wants Your Company Saturday, 10/9

Looking for company this weekend? So is the loneliest plant on the planet: the Presidio or Raven’s Manzanita. There’s only one individual left on Earth, and we want you to meet her this Saturday and hear how heroic biologists are bringing the species back from the brink of extinction.

Saturday, October 9, 2010, 10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.: Join Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute and Michele Laskowski and Chelsea Dicksion of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy to hear the story of the last wild Presidio (a.k.a. Raven’s) Manzanita (Arctostaphylos hookeri ssp. ravenii ) and view the seeds and pictures of the plant. Learn how the last individual was discovered and the heroic efforts biologists are taking to germinate the Manzanita’s seeds to continue the lineage. Part of the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year, a race against time to see and save each of the GGNP’s endangered species, with a $1,000 grand prize. Meet at the Presidio Native Plant Nursery, 1244 Appleton Street at Ruckman Avenue, San Francisco, 94129, in the Presidio. RSVP required: click here to reserve your spot.

Vote Now and help WEI, Big Year win Most Effective Awareness Campaign” Award”

The Wild Equity Institute’s Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year is a finalist for Stayclassy.org’s Most Effective Awareness Campaign award for San Francisco. WEI is the only San Francisco Bay Area environmental organization nominated for any of Stayclassy.org’s awards this year.

You can help WEI win the award by voting at Stayclassy.org’s website. Voting is easy: just click on the Wild Equity Institute’s logo, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click submit. After enter verification information (some of which you can skip) your vote will be tabulated.

Thanks for your support! And it’s not too late to sign-up for your Big Year and compete for the $1,000 grand prize: click here to join.

10/10/10 Work Day for Spotted Owl Brings Out the Best in Us All

Over 30 friends and members of the Wild Equity Institute spent 10/10/10, the global work party day to arrest climate change, improving habitat conditions for the Northern Spotted Owl in Muir Woods National Monument.

Our task: collect mulch and other debris from soon-to-be-removed hardspaces at Muir Woods and repurpose the debris into Dusky Footed Wood Rat homes. The Wood Rat just happens to be the preferred food of the threatened Northern Spotted Owl!

After spending time gathering raw materials for this habitat project, we spent some time searching for the Owl in Muir Woods. Although we weren’t fortunate enough to see the species this time, we had a wonderful day hiking in the Monument and working in solidarity to arrest climate change with people from around the globe. You can read more about the global work party at 350.org’s website.

11/14: Big Year Takes Least Tern to Great Rewards

This weekend the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year is taking to the streets to help save the California Least Tern!

Well, actually we’re heading to a former airstrip in Alameda where the species nests: and helping out with one of the most unusual restoration actions in the Bay Area.

It turns out the ground-nesting California Least Tern lays eggs on bare areas so its light-colored young can avoid predators. So a dedicated crew from Friends of the Alameda Wildlife Refuge is working to make sure this substrate is maintained on the site. Join us, help the great Least Tern, and earn a point toward the Big Year grand prize!

Sunday, November 14, 2010, 9:00am – 12:00pm — Help the Wild Equity Institute prepare habitat for the California Least Tern nesting season with Friends of the Alameda Wildlife Refuge. Meet at the main refuge gate at the northwest corner of the former Alameda Naval Air Station, Alameda. Part of the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year, a competition to see and save endangered species. RSVP Required: use this website to RSVP.

New Binocs Up For Grabs For Big Year Kid Competitors!

Thanks to our generous partnership with REI, the Wild Equity Institute is excited to offer a new Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year prize. But this one is just for kids!

If you are under 18 years of age, you are eligible to win a pair of REI’s XR 8 × 25 waterproof binoculars simply by searching the Golden Gate National Parks for endangered species and helping them recover. That’s an $80 retail value: but more importantly, it’s a tool that will give you a leg-up on the competition for the next Endangered Species Big Year!

The eligible person who scores the most points overall in the competition will take home this prize. There is only one pair available, so don’t settle for second place!


Download Your Big Year Checklist
and Start Seeing and Saving Endangered Species

Get out in the Golden Gate National Parks and score points finding endangered species, and then score more by helping them recover. There are 72 total points available, one point for each of the 36 endangered species you see in the park, and another point for each of the 36 endangered species you help recover.

Remember, to be eligible for this prize you must be under 18 years of age. To record your sightings and recovery actions, sign-up for the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year and enter your data on this website.

The Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year competition is over at midnight on December 31st, 2010, so get out there and start helping species recover!

12/4: Sea Watch for Endangered Sea Creatures

As we close out the 2010 Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year, we’re doing a big push to try and find the more elusive endangered species that call the park home. Join us and you just might score some of the more difficult points towards the $1,000 Big Year grand prize!

Saturday, December 4, 2010, 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.— Join Wild Equity Institute Executive Director Brent Plater for a relaxing sea watch at Fort Funston, which has some of the wildest coastal views in San Francisco. We’ll be searching for some of the more elusive sea creatures that call the GGNRA home: Humpback Whale, Steller Sea Lion, and Southern Sea Otters! You never know: might throw in a Marbled Murrelet while we are there. RSVP required: please use the RSVP tool on this website to let us know you’ll attend. Bring spotting scopes and binoculars if you have them; also bring water and snacks to munch on. Meet at the Fort Funston Observation Deck, San Francisco, CA. Part of the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year, a competitive event to see and help save the Parks’ endangered species.

Get Your Spawn On: Muir Woods Salmon Hike 12/11

This weekend we’ll be heading to Muir Woods to search for endangered salmonids returning to spawn in their natal creeks. The population has been struggling the last few years, but we should at least get to see some small fry in the streams—and if we’re lucky, a few large adults swimming upstream to spawn!

Saturday, December 11, 2010, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Join Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute as we take an easy stroll through Muir Woods National Monument to search for endangered salmonids in Redwood Creek. We’ll learn about the lives of Coho Salmon and Steelhead as the fish return from the Ocean, and discuss what we all can do to help them recover. Part of the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year, a competition to see and help save the Park’s endangered species. The trip goes rain or shine: dress for cold, wet weather and wear boots as trails may be muddy. RSVP required: please use this website to RSVP. Meet at the Dipsea Trail Trailhead: the trailhead is within the auxiliary/south parking lot for Muir Woods. Park entrance fees apply, but the hike is free.

Big Year Helps Least Tern, Sunday 12/12

Sunday, December 12, 2010, 9:00am – 12:00pm — Help the Wild Equity Institute prepare habitat for the California Least Tern nesting season with Friends of the Alameda Wildlife Refuge. Meet at the main refuge gate at the northwest corner of the former Alameda Naval Air Station, Alameda. Part of the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year, a competition to see and save endangered species. RSVP Required: use this website to RSVP.

Last Big Year Trip of the Year: Dec. 26, Get Your Spawn On!

We’ll be heading to Muir Woods to close our the 2010 Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year with a trip to search for spawning Coho Salmon and Steelhead. The fish have been returning in larger numbers than we’ve seen in the past two years, but they are still critically low. We will almost certainly see some young fry in the streams: but we’ll really be looking for the big spawners swimming up stream. Rain or shine: so see you outside!

Get Your Spawn On: Searching for Endangered Salmon in Muir Woods — Sunday, December 26, 2010, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Join Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute as we take an easy stroll through Muir Woods National Monument to search for endangered salmonids in Redwood Creek. We’ll learn about the lives of Coho Salmon and Steelhead as the fish return from the Ocean, and discuss what we all can do to help them recover. Part of the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year, a competition to see and help save the Park’s endangered species. Trip goes rain or shine: dress for cold, wet weather and wear boots as trails may be muddy. RSVP required: please use the RSVP tool on this website to RSVP. Meet at the Dipsea Trail Trailhead: the trailhead is within the auxiliary/south parking lot for Muir Woods. Park entrance fees apply, but the hike is free.

Big Year Finds Endangered Coho Spawners in Muir Woods

On December 26, 2010, a dozen Golden Gate National Park Endangered Species Big Year participants found the first endangered Coho Salmon spawning in Muir Woods National Monument this spawning season.

“Santa came a day late, but he brought quite a gift,” said Brent Plater, Executive Director of the Wild Equity Institute. “The numbers are still critically low, but anytime salmon spawn it is reason to celebrate.”

The sighting was reported to the National Park Service, which sent out an emergency survey team. The team discovered 5 adult Coho salmon and 2 redds (which are essentially salmon nests) in Muir Woods. Additional surveys are now planned for later in the season.

Endangered Species Big Year Participants Observe Coho Salmon in Muir Woods.

Coho Salmon have been declining at an alarming rate in West Marin for several years. 2008-09 was the worst salmon run in four generations, and in Redwood Creek only four individual spawners and two redds were seen all year. Overall, Redwood Creek had an 83% decline compared to the previous return for this class of Coho.

The 2009-10 year was a bit better than the previous year, but the population numbers are still far below recent spawning runs, causing federal biologists to declare this Coho ESU in an extinction crisis. Some biologists have estimated that the population today is less than 1% of its historic size.

“Although the December 26 sighting is a hopeful sign, the future of the population is uncertain,” said Plater. “It will take a collective effort to bring back Coho from the brink of extinction, but with the help of the Endangered Species Act and the National Park Service, the Bay Area will find the fortitude to do it.”

This Weekend: Big Year Bike Ride in SF, Twain’s Frog in Pacifica

The 2010 Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year is getting frenetic as we close out this year’s competition. This weekend we’re offering two trips to see and save endangered species: one by bike, the other on foot. Hope to see you at either or both!

Life on Edge, Twain’s Frog Trips This Weekend

We’re offering two great GGNP Endangered Species Big Year trips this weekend. hope to see you outside exploring our parks!

Life on Edge: Seeing San Francisco’s Endangered SpeciesSaturday, November 20, 2010, 10:00am to 3:00pm — Join local naturalist Matt Zlatunich on a 5-mile hike along the edge of the North American continent. We’ll discover San Francisco’s beautiful habitats and learn about the endangered species that call the area home.  We’ll search for Marbled Murrelet, Western Snowy Plover, San Francisco Lessingia, Humpback Whale and Southern Sea Otter. Bring food and water. Part of the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year, a competition to win $1,000 while seeing and saving the Park’s endangered species. RSVP required: use this website to RSVP. Meet at the Baker Beach north parking lot.

Twain’s Frog and the Beautiful SerpentSunday, November 21, 2010, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Join Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute to search for two of the most imperiled vertebrate species on the San Francisco peninsula: the California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake. This will be a leisurely walk to enjoy the restoration work being conducted at Mori Point and to learn about the bold steps being taken to save both species from the brink of extinction. RSVP Required: please use this website to RSVP. Rain or Shine. Meet at the Mori Point Entrance Gate, Pacifica, CA, 94044. Part of the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year, a competitive event to help endangered species recover.

Making the Golden Gate National Parks Accessible

The Golden Gate National Parks are currently undergoing an accessibility study to improve access for people with disabilities. Today, the Wild Equity Institute submitted these comments to the Golden Gate National Parks requesting that the park improve its off-leash dog management as part of its accessibility plan.

Off-leash dogs are one of the key accessibility problems at the Golden Gate National Parks. A 2003 survey conducted by a national guide dog user group indicates that 89% of guide dog users have had their dogs interfered with by off-leash dogs, and 42% of guide dog users have had their guide dogs attacked by off-leash dogs. At best, this can be disorienting for guide dog users. In the worst cases, service dogs have been killed or injured in ways that make them incapable of providing the services the dog was trained for.

Because of this, organizations such as Guide Dogs for the Blind recommend that their graduates avoid any place where off-leash dogs are known to roam. Since off-leash dogs are permitted to roam in nearly every National Park unit in San Francisco, the off-leash policy is a de facto exclusion for guide dog users: in the very park Congress created to make National Park values more accessible to people.

There is a simple solution to this problem: ensure off-leash dog areas are safe by enclosing them with a physical barrier. This is the recommendation of many dog advocates, and has been adopted by the California State Parks in their 2001 pilot program for off-leash dogs. Physical barriers protect our pets from running into harm’s way; they allow park users to choose to enter the area, rather than having off-leash dogs imposed upon their recreational choices; they ensure that people and wildlife remain free from interference and disturbance; and they clearly demarcate the off-leash area, enabling people to easily comply with park regulations.

If you would also like to encourage the GGNRA to implement safe off-leash dog areas while keeping the park accessible, you may submit comments on this web form.

Another Whale Killed: Demand Speed Limits in Marine Sanctuaries Today

The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that another large, baleen whale has been killed by a container ship traveling through California’s marine sanctuaries while traveling to the Port of Oakland.

A representative from the National Marine Fisheries Service has concluded that the animal was alive when struck: he also stated that “[i]f ships hit whales at 10 knots or less, there’s a greater chance there won’t be any injury. It’s very difficult for the vessels to do that because time is money.”

That’s where you come in: as part of the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year we’ve been empowering people to see and help save the endangered Humpback Whale throughout 2010 by calling on our marine sanctuaries to impose speed limits whenever whales are present.

Contact the Gulf of the Farallones, Cordell Banks, and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaries today and ask them to implement a speed limit for large vessels when whales are present.

To Contact the Marine Sanctuaries:

Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary
Superintendent Dan Howard
PH:(415) 663-0314 × 102
Email: dan.howard@noaa.gov

Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary
Superintendent Maria Brown
PH: (415) 561 6622 × 301
Email: maria.brown@noaa.gov

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Superintendent Paul Michel
PH: (831) 647-4201
Email: paul.michel@noaa.gov

We can afford to ensure whales aren’t killed by ships: we just need the political will to do so. Please make your calls today and help make sure these senseless deaths end.

Sea Watch for Endangered Sea Creatures 8/21

Come on out for another Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year event for your chance to see endangered species and win prizes while you are at it! This week we’re heading to Fort Funston for a chance to see some of the Parks’ more elusive endangered species. See you there!

Sea Watch for Endangered Sea Creatures, August 21, 2010, 3:30 p.m. -5:00 p.m.— Join local naturalist Matt Zlatunich for a relaxing sea watch at Fort Funston, which has some of the wildest coastal views in San Francisco. We’ll be searching for some of the more elusive sea creatures that call the GGNRA home: Humpback Whale, Steller Sea Lion, and Southern Sea Otters! You never know: we might throw in a Marbled Murrelet while we are there. RSVP required: please use this website to RSVP. Bring spotting scopes and binoculars if you have them; also bring water and snacks to munch on. Meet at the Fort Funston Observation Deck.

Humpback Hit & Run: Time for Speed Limits in Marine Sanctuaries

Whales are congregating in large numbers off the coast of Northern California right now, but the exciting news has been tempered by reports that a young Humpback Whale was found dead near the Farallon Islands with slashes on its body consistent with being struck by a ship propeller.


Humpback Whale

This is no isolated incident: whales are killed by ship strikes every year. You can help address this problem by participating in the Wild Equity Institute’s Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year. Humpback Whales are protected under the Endangered Species Act, and are one of the 36 endangered species you can see and help save in the Golden Gate National Parks. The prescient action item for the Humpback Whale is to call our local marine sanctuaries and demand that they impose speed limits to protect whales from ship collisions. You can find out how to contact our local marine sanctuaries here.

Whales are frequently struck by ships as large cargo tankers and other boats come in and out of our busiest ports. Part of the problem is that shipping corridors often run right through marine sanctuaries, where whales may be resting and feeding. Some of these large ships carry too much momentum to avoid whales: unless they slow down so that the ship can redirect its course rapidly. That’s why ocean speed limits are essential, and our marine sanctuaries are the perfect place to implement them. Please make your calls today.