Your monthly update from SPAWN
This month SPAWN is prioritizing the health of our volunteers, activists, staff and entire community by cancelling all planned events of any size until March 31. But that doesn't mean we're stopping our fight to protect the environment. Now more than ever, we're forging ahead every day with all-hands-on-deck efforts to give salmon and countless other species their best chance for survival. We hope that you are doing well and would like to extend our sincerest thanks for your ongoing support as we get through this crisis, together.
VICTORY for Coho: Measure D Blocked by Voters
California's most important run of endangered coho salmon received a lifeline this month after voters in Marin County did not approve a ballot measure that would have blocked important salmon habitat restoration work on the former San Geronimo golf course property. This is great news for the coho salmon, ancient redwood trees, red-legged frogs, and playful families of river otters that are threatened by dam-building, vegetation removal, urban encroachment and more. For SPAWN, this is also a major win for our upcoming project to remove the highest priority fish passage obstacle in central California this summer on the former golf course property.
SPAWN Builds Solar Oven to Prevent SOD Spread
To join a multi-state effort to mitigate Sudden Oak Death (SOD), our Habitat Restoration Intern Bryce King designed and constructed a solar oven from scratch! SOD is a tree disease caused by the plant pathogen Phytophthora ramorum that kills some oak species and has had devastating effects on coastal forests in California and Oregon. Preventing further outbreaks is of the utmost importance for plant nurseries in affected areas. Common practice has nurseries washing used pots with chemicals, but we will reduce hazardous waste and deactivate the pathogen by baking used pots in our solar oven to keep this forest pest from spreading.
What's Blooming in the Nursery? Dicentra formosa
Pacific bleeding heart (Dicentra formosa) is a redwood understory plant found throughout the Pacific Northwest from southern British Columbia to California. The name “bleeding heart” comes from the pink, heart-shaped flowers that appear in early spring. The seeds produced by the flowers have a small white elaiosome, an oily appendage that attracts ants. This encourages the ants to carry the seeds back to their nests where they will consume the elaiosome and the seed can then germinate, helping the plant to disperse throughout the forest. Taken as a root tincture, the plant can be used to relieve pain and can also be made into a hot compress to apply to bruises and sprains. This is a particularly delicate plant and can be easily damaged if stepped on, so keep an eye out for this wonderful flower the next time you’re hiking through the redwoods!
New Partner ‘Climate Ride’ Gears up Fundraising
Does the image of biking through coastal redwoods titillate your adventurous spirit? Does the idea of protecting our planet provoke feelings of passion and drive? SPAWN is excited to announce you can quench both these thirsts AND support our cause through Climate Ride, a nonprofit that organizes charitable cycling, hiking, running, and other outdoor events to support sustainable causes! You can get involved in this movement and support SPAWN in two ways: by signing up to participate in one of their various expeditions and choosing SPAWN as your fundraising beneficiary; or by donating to participants currently fundraising for SPAWN. Several folks (including our Watershed Biologist Ayano Hayes and Administration & Advocacy Intern Livia Charles) will be riding for SPAWN this year as "Coho's Angels" and appreciate your support as they merge their passion of physical activity and philanthropic commitment to our blue-green planet.
Helping Homeowners Restore Streamside Property
This summer SPAWN will help protect 500 feet of San Geronimo Creek across four private properties from erosion – that in turn will restore critical habitat for endangered coho salmon and other wildlife – by placing numerous fallen trees, logs, and rootballs in San Geronimo Creek. Large woody debris is often seen as a liability or a hazard, but wood plays a critical role in helping the stream remain stable, providing habitat, holding grade, and preventing incision. The project is also partnering with Lagunitas School District to restore 3,000 square feet of riparian habitat at the school, removing a dilapidated storage shed and sandbox from the banks of Larsen Creek and planting hundreds of native plants and trees with the assistance of students and volunteers.
Volunteers Help Plant a Future Redwood Forest
More than 30 volunteers joined SPAWN to plant redwood trees in Nicasio early March, experiencing the meaningful and radical action of planting some of our most iconic trees and making a difference for our climate and community. A special thanks to UC Berkeley's Environmental Service Fraternity Epsilon Eta, San Domenico School, and many others for joining the planting. The native plants and trees will stabilize soil and provide habitat for a wide range of wildlife! In order to minimize the risk of COVID-19 (coronavirus) transmission, SPAWN has cancelled our upcoming planting events, but will keep our Event Calendar updated with future volunteer opportunities as we continue to monitor the pandemic.
Photo of the Month: Natural Nudibranch
At our UC California Naturalist course last Saturday, we learned about crabs, different species' climate adaptations, and our oceans from our guest lecturer Emily King, a PhD student from UC Berkeley. After the lecture we spent time learning, observing, and sun soaking in the Bolinas tide pools. Harry McGrath, our beloved teacher, meticulous course organizer, and talented nature photographer, captured this photo of a Hilton's Aeolid (Phidiana hiltoni), a species of sea slug. This aolid nudibranch species is considered to be rather aggressive, often biting and fighting with other nudibranchs, including members of its own species.