The Secret Garden
There’s a forgotten and overgrown garden in San Francisco, built in the 1850s with rock walls and meandering paths that overlook the Bay waterfront. Help remedy many years of inattention to Black Point Historic Gardens in Fort Mason, and learn the garden’s history. Enlisting a friendly robin’s help to unlock this opportunity is not required: register to show up Thursdays 2 p.m.–5 p.m. or Fridays 9 a.m.–12 p.m., and check the volunteer page at ParksConservancy.org.
We get that it’s a butterfly reference, but Mission Blue is a seriously metal name for a native plant nursery and befitting of the San Bruno Mountain flora this one propagates. Those babies will ultimately sink their roots into the mountain or other open spaces undergoing restoration along the San Francisco Peninsula. Help with propagation, garden tending, and the rare and endangered plants of SBM at Mission Blue Nursery in Brisbane.
Herp to Help
Newts. Yellow-legged frogs. Giant salamanders. Winter is herping season in the Bay Area! Come document amphibians and reptiles with scientists at Pepperwood, a 3,200-acre biological reserve just north of Santa Rosa. Herpetofauna have a lot to tell us about climate change, fire, and the kind of place these species need. Get involved by selecting “community science” in the dropdown menu at PepperwoodPreserve.org.
The Wonderland vibe of Sycamore Grove Park amps up during winter, when the arroyos fill, grasses green, and the sprawling sycamores take a long drink. Set aside your White Rabbit ways and make time to steward this land every third Saturday of the month from 9 a.m.–noon. Look for volunteer opportunities on the Livermore Area Recreation and Park District website, LARPD.org.
King Tides will swamp our shores on January 11 & 12 and February 9. These highest of tides, particularly when they coincide with winter storms, are a glimpse of a future normal, which you can help document. Upload your photos of the tides to the California Coastal Commission’s website, contributing to a long-term sea-level-rise data set.
Looking for more, other, better ideas to help out? The federal government’s Volunteer.gov website—which is pretty slick as far as government websites go, in BN’s HO—can be searched by location, interest, dates, and more for easy connection with National Parks, Fish & Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, and, well, pretty much every federal agency or bureau. Volunteer.gov