Your monthly update from SPAWN

July Newsletter

Summer is an important season at SPAWN because it is an ideal time to collect seeds! Collecting seeds from locally native plants allows us to grow over 100 different species of hyper-local plants in our nursery. These plants are used to support our habitat restoration projects in the area, providing habitat for endangered wildlife and helping maintain the area's ecological history. If you are interested in joining us on a seed collection hike on Fridays from 2-4pm, please email Audrey at

Long-time Volunteers Build New Soil Bin for Nursery

SPAWN sends a big THANK YOU to long-time volunteers Mel Wright and Al Lubow for building a new soil bin for our native plant nursery. This soil bin will hold 12 cubic yards of soil, which is a big increase in capacity from our last soil bin. Mel and Al also moved the old bin to the back side of the nursery so that we can use it to hold 'used soil'. We're always working to improve nursery hygiene, functionality, and flow, and our new soil bin is a big upgrade!

SPAWN Joins Statewide Effort to Restore Habitat for Western Monarchs

The western population of Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) is experiencing a rapid population decline. As part of a national call to action to help the western monarch population bounce back from its extremely low size, SPAWN is providing Marin County residents with guidelines on how planting native nectar plants can improve habitat for Monarchs. By using plants native to your area, these same tips can be applied to places outside of Marin. To read these guidelines, visit our website or download them here.

Volunteers Needed to Restore Creeks for Coho

SPAWN is looking for volunteers to join local community members at our Lagunitas Creek restoration site this month! Please SPAWN staff and interns every Saturday between 10am and 2pm at our headquarters in Olema. We will be working together to water native plants and remove invasive species, restoring critical habitat for Coho salmon. Please pack something to eat and join us for lunch after we’ve finished working. Tea and coffee will be provided. For additional details, please email Preston at

SPAWN's trail camera on Black Mountain captures a black-tailed deer, left, and a coyote.

Trailcams Show Diurnality of Multiple Species

By monitoring data from SPAWN’s five trail cameras surrounding our office in Olema, we can determine whether our local fauna are diurnal (most active in daytime), nocturnal (most active in nighttime), or crepuscular (most active at dawn/dusk). Over a five-month period, we observed several species including black-tailed deer, bobcat, cattle, coyote, grey fox, grey squirrel, and mouse and used their trail cam presence to determine the timing of their activity.  

SPAWN Director Inducted Into Highly Exclusive Explorers Club

In June, SPAWN Founder and Executive Director Todd Steiner was accepted to an elite group of explorers and scientists that have been involved in many of the world's most prestigious discoveries, known as The Explorers Club. Founded in 1904, The Explorers Club is an American-based international professional society that promotes scientific exploration and field study. Current and historical members include primatologist Jane Goodall, marine scientist Sylvia Earle, President Teddy Roosevelt, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and astronaut Neil Armstrong. “It is an honor to be part of such a meaningful and inspiring community,” Steiner said.

Eagle Scouts Build New Propagation Tables

SPAWN would like to send a huge 'thank you' to Keenan Swanson and Troop 76 from Terra Linda for building five new propagation tables for our Native Plant Nursery! This is Keenan's Eagle Scout project and these benches will hold plants up off the ground and be wrapped with shade cloth to help young plants stay cool. Thank you, Keenan and Troop 76!

Restoring Forests to Fight Climate Change!

A new study suggests that human beings could save themselves from the worst ravages of climate change by planting a forest nearly double the size of the United States. Thanks to our 10,000 Redwoods program, we're already getting the recovery efforts started! SPAWN staff, interns, and volunteers have been taking action on climate change through the simple act of planting trees to sequester carbon, and restoring habitat where ancient redwood forests once grew. You can engage in the climate change challenge and help us plant 10,000 redwoods by adopting a redwood; volunteering in our native plant nursery; helping us plant redwoods; and assisting with our hands-on restoration projects.

FDA Releases New Guidelines for Eating Fish

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), together with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have issued a joint draft of new dietary guidelines encouraging pregnant women to eat up to four times more fish than they do. To make it easier for consumers to make the right decisions for their family, Turtle Island Restoration Network created a Mercury Calculator that tells you how much mercury is in the seafood you are eating. Simply enter your weight, the type of seafood, the amount of seafood that you will consume in the period of one week, and press the button of the calculator.  

To Do This Holiday: Dive With Sharks

Turtle Island Restoration Network is offering $500 off our December Cocos Island Dive Expedition! This holiday, spend 10 days viewing, experiencing, and photographing the incredible marine biodiversity of the Eastern Tropical Pacific, as well as participating in sea turtle and shark migration research. The trip is scheduled for December 10-20, 2019, and is only $530 per day with the discount. As a public charity, payment towards a Turtle Island Restoration Network dive expedition may be tax-deductible. We also offer payment plans!

Photo of the Month: Gray Fox Kit

Our restoration projects throughout Marin County are teeming with wildlife, and we want to share what we've been seeing! Habitat Restoration Intern Savannah Mangold captured this gray fox kit from a trail camera in a dry streambed at one of our restoration sites across from our office. The gray fox is the only member of the family Canidae that can climb trees, and are sometimes called the “tree fox” or the “cat fox.” Gray foxes mate in February or March, and young are born in April or May. For more wildlife shots and updates from our trailcams, follow us on Facebook

Upcoming Events

SPAWN offers many opportunities for individuals and groups to help with protecting endangered Coho salmon in the San Francisco Bay Area. Please join us!

  • Saturday, July 20 & Saturday, July 27: Restoration Volunteer Days. Join local community members, staff, and interns at our Lagunitas Creek restoration site between 10am and 2pm, on Saturday, July 20 and Saturday, July 27! We will be working together to water native plants and remove invasive species, restoring critical habitat for Coho salmon. Please pack something to eat and join us for lunch after we’ve finished working. Tea and coffee will be provided. If you are interested in helping us restore habitat, please RSVP to Preston at​​
  • Every Friday: Nursery Volunteer Day. Join local community members, staff, and interns in our native plant nursery between 10am and 1pm every Friday! We will be working together to grow, tend and care for native plants used to restore Coho salmon habitat in Lagunitas Creek. Please pack something to eat and join us for lunch after we’ve finished working. Tea and coffee will be provided. For questions or to RSVP, contact Audrey at
  • Every Thursday: Broom Service Volunteer Day. Help eradicate the invasive broom in West Marin with the local group Broom Service. All ages and ability welcome. Tools provided but bring appropriate clothes, water, and some snacks. Contact Mel at or (415) 488-5900 for more details and to RSVP.

SPAWN in the News

Join Our Network


Salmon Protection And Watershed Network
A program of Turtle Island Restoration Network
PO Box 370, Forest Knolls, CA 94933

415.663.8590 .