How to Get Started With Stewardship

Over the past century, lots of Bay Area natural spaces have been acquired and protected from development. Now we need to care for these spaces, and it isn’t excessively glamorous work: say, clearing invasive species or wildfire fuel, planting, rebuilding wetlands. But in this new age of stewardship, everyone will need to chip in however they can.

In spring 2024, here are four ways to get started:

Get your hands dirty

The best all-round good place to get started: Bay Nature’s community events calendar. (Try searching “stewardship” or “volunteer.”) Or read some Bay Nature’s past round-ups of stewardship opportunities here, here, here, and here.

Some other places to start:

Stewardship careers or mentorship for young people: 

Get politically informed (and vote!)

In 2024, stewardship-minded voters should get up to speed on the climate bond that could land on November 2024 ballots (state lawmakers have untill June to decide). The $15B bond environmentalists were pushing for has been downsized to a more modest $6B. Water agencies want it to pay for flood and drought protection; environmental groups want the money for nature-based solutions and land conservation, as Ezra David Romero has reported for KQED.

Give money

People seem to get that acquiring land takes big bucks, and have been willing to shell out to protect important natural places. But stewardship has been a harder sell—and yet it’s just as important to fund. We’re journalists, so we’re not going to tell you where to spend your money. But you might consider identifying the organizations that are caring for the places that you care about, and support them—especially in a continuing fashion, since stewardship isn’t a one-and-done cost but an ongoing need.

Support Bay Nature

Bay Nature’s reporters have been covering stewardship, conservation, and all the issues facing our local natural spaces for nearly a quarter-century. You can support that work by becoming a member.

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Ask The Naturalist: Why Are There So Many Birds On the Beach At One Time?

How to Help Bees When It’s Hot Out

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Find a Lot of Bugs When You Clean Your Backyard Swimming Pool? Scientists Want to See Them

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Hunt for San Francisco Bay Shark Killer Zeroes in on a Suspect

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Presumed Extinct, a Wildflower Reappears on Mount Diablo

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The Open Ocean is the Last Frontier In Birding

Where Trump Budget Cuts Could Affect Bay Area Conservation

BayWood Artists Celebrate 20 Years of Painting With Mount Tam Show

San Francisco’s Natural Areas Program Springs to Life

Farewell Letter from Bay Nature Publisher David Loeb

Bay Area Scientists Push Back Against Federal Freeze on Meetings

Sharks Are Dying By the Hundreds in San Francisco Bay

At a Snail’s Place

David Lewis: Climbing Outside the Box to See the Beauty in Nature and People

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The Efficient Beauty of Starfish Larvae

The 2015-2016 El Niño Erased Hundreds of Feet of California’s Beaches

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Rainbow Trout Return to Orinda After Half-Century Away

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An Atlantic Bird Makes a New Home in California — Maybe Because of Melting Arctic Ice

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2017 Conservation Action Award Winner David Lewis: With Ballot Measure Passed, What’s Next for Save the Bay?

2017 Environmental Education Award Winners Alison Young and Rebecca Johnson: Democratizing Science One Observation at a Time

2017 Youth Engagement Award Winner Uriel Hernandez: Tree-Planting Provides Backdrop for a Deeper Purpose

As Rainy Winter Spreads Sudden Oak Death Pathogen, a Scientist Races to Build Resistance

The Boldness of Bewick’s Wrens

A Mountaintop with Panoramic Bay Area Views, Closed to the Public for 59 Years, Opens This Fall

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A Letter from the Publisher About the 2016 Presidential Election

Pilot Project to Remove 350 Creosote-Treated Pilings from San Pablo Bay

Meet Bay Nature’s 2017 Local Heroes

A Ghost Bird Visits Santa Cruz

People Keep Condors Flying in the Pinnacles

Sonoma Parks Asks Voters to Approve Sales Tax

Are Bay Area Bats Threatened With White Nose Syndrome?

Ask the Naturalist: Do I See More Squirrels in Marin?

A Fishing Expedition: On the Hunt for Anglers and Childhood Memories in the East Bay

Q&A: Conservation Photographer Ian Shive on His New Film About the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge

The Burning Question in the East Bay Hills: Eucalyptus Is Flammable Compared to What?

Letter from the Publisher: Rethinking Eucalyptus

How the Australian Eucalyptus Came to the East Bay Hills

How to Enjoy a Fall Taste of Bay Laurel

Naturalist’s Notebook: An Illustrated Guide to Watching for Humpback Whales

East Bay Ecological Reserve Welcomes Hikers, Bikers, Birders, and Boaters

How to Forage For and Prepare Bay Nuts

After Decades Away, River Otters Make a Triumphant Return to the Bay Area

A Ribwort Plantain Grows, Four Stories High, in San Francisco

This Animal Has Never Been Seen Away From Lake Merritt — But It’s Not From Oakland

How Do Marine Mammals Sleep?

Malcolm Margolin’s Beautiful Life

A Shakespearian Classic with a California Landscape Twist: Romeo and Juliet Comes Outdoors to the Petaluma Adobe

Ranch Recreation: Camping Out on Working Lands in Western Sonoma

What’s Next for the Redwoods?

Finding Stories in a Few Grains of Northern California Beach Sand

Naturalist’s Notebook: The Enigmatic Clicking Cicada

An Emissary of the Bay’s Forgotten Beaches

A Sea Snail’s Ability to Flee From Predators Is Impaired By More Acidic Water, New Paper Suggests

How Tree ‘Heart Attacks’ Threaten the West’s Dry Forests

Whale Resources

Endangered Bird Songs for the Cello

Re-Coding for Conservation

Into the Realm of Awe

Endangered California Least Terns Thrive On Hayward’s “Tern Island”

Place Shapes the Sonoran Blue, A Contender for Bay Area’s ‘Most Beautiful Butterfly’

Measure AA for a Clean and Healthy Bay

Lessons From An El Niño That Didn’t Go As Planned

Ask the Naturalist: Did Wolves Ever Live in the Bay Area?

Mud Lovers

Architecture, Basketry, and Conservation: The Simple Life of Jorgen Hildebrandt

Bay Nature Publisher David Loeb: Yes on Measure AA

Berryessa Snow Mountain: Northern California’s New National Monument

Bayview: Yes on Measure AA

Gone Forever: What Happens When Time Runs Out On Even Preserved Lives?

Mad as a March Hare

Campsites Opening on Private Lands in the Bay Area

Build a Wetland, Save the Frogs … If You Can Figure Out Where to Build It

Oro Loma: Can Wastewater Save the Bay from Sea Level Rise?

John Muir Laws and the Art of Slowing Down, Sitting Still, and Paying Attention

In the Third Spring After the Morgan Fire, Just Add Water to Mount Diablo for Flowers

Ask the Naturalist: Where are the Flowers on Mount Diablo?

Rekindling The Old Ways

Wild Stories of an Unseen City

Bay Nature 2016 Environmental Education Award Winner: Allen Fish

Bay Nature 2016 Conservation Action Award Winner: Andrea Mackenzie

The Native Plants of the Quiroste Valley

The Purple Storm Snail, an Unusual Visitor to Northern California

New Paradigms for Stewardship

Why Do Ants Enter My House When It’s Warm or Raining?

The Livermore Tarweed Lives Happily Ever After

Bay Nature 2016 Youth Engagement Award Winner: Naftali Moed

Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction

Finding Your Park with GGNRA’s Christine Lehnertz

Point Reyes Elk Test Positive for Disease

15 Years of Bay Nature: A Talk by Publisher David Loeb

What Lurks Beneath

Identifying With Lichen

San Francisco Joins the Water Trail

El Niño Means It’s Warmer Than Usual. Take Away the El Niño? That’s Warmer Than Usual, Too.

A Backup Plan for the Delta Smelt

Sylvia McLaughlin: Champion for San Francisco Bay (1916-2016)

The Disappearing Language of Sparrows

It Hasn’t Been A Textbook El Niño Winter So Far — But That Could Change

Finding New Words for Nature

Mike Vasey: The Magic of Manzanitas

Love Muir Woods? Park Service Asks: Please Stay Away

San Pablo Bay Restoration Means New Kayaking Destinations

Naturalist’s Notebook: Meet the Hammerhead Worm

Save the Smelt (In the Wild)

Trees Capture Fog — So Why Can’t We?

Q&A With the Proprietor of the ‘Ladybug Hotel’

Brown Pelicans Show Breeding Failure

Bay Nature Staff Picks: Signs of the Season

Beetlemania: When All the Lady Beetles Come Together Now

Neurotoxin That Closed Crab Fisheries Is Declining — But Slowly

Warm El Niño Water Meets a North Pacific Already Disrupted By The Blob

The Front Line in California’s Mosquito Monitoring: Sentinel Chickens

Phyllis Faber: Bold Ideas, Enduring Legacy

Mount Tam Plant Safaris Try to Produce the First Catalogue of All the Mountain’s Plants

Is That Bright Red-Orange Butterfly Supposed To Be in the Bay Area?

‘Unprecedented’ Toxin Spread That Delayed Crab Season Shines Light on Mysterious Algae

Follow a Trail Through the Ancient Oaks on Russian Ridge in the Santa Cruz Mountains

A Festival of Cranes

Meet Bay Nature’s 2016 Local Heroes

Bay Nature Staff Picks: Signs of the Season

The Guadalupe River Needs Rain

Ask the Naturalist: Where Has “Charlotte” Gone?

Ask the Naturalist: Sea Foam – How Much is Too Much?

On The Trail of the Surprisingly Mysterious Gray Fox

‘Climate Endangered’ Least Terns Thrive In Northern California, But For How Long?

2016 Bay Nature Hero Award Winner

2016 Local Hero Award Winner for Youth Engagement

2016 Local Hero Award Winner for Conservation Action

2016 Local Hero Award Winner for Environmental Education

How Humans, and Dogs, Can Coexist With Coyotes in San Francisco

At Mountain Lake, One Last Chance to See the Turtles Off

Bay Nature Co-Founders Honored at CGF Gala

El Niño Update: It’s Going to Rain (Almost Certainly, Probably)

Letter from the Publisher: Of Volcanoes, Headlands, and Mountains

Do Rattlesnakes Migrate?

Evolution’s Tangled Web

On the Fence

Naturalist’s Notebook: How to Tell a Red-Tailed from a Red-Shouldered Hawk

Harvest of Fire

Learn How to Recognize a Spider By Its Web

Ask the Naturalist: Seabird Feeding Frenzy at Point Montara

Why’s It Called El Niño, and How Did Scientists Figure Out What It Is?

What Flows Beneath Temescal

The Black Oystercatcher Gets ‘Climate Endangered’ Status — But It’s Complicated

Basking Sharks Appear, Briefly, In Monterey Bay — But Don’t Call It a Comeback

Ask the Naturalist: The Secret of the Slender Redwoods

Richardson Bay Sea Otter Likely Died From Parasite, Biotoxin

Today in El Niño Advice: Don’t Worry About The Blob

A Condor Recovery, Fueled By Volunteers, Needs More Help

El Niño’s Here. What Does That Actually Mean?

The Peninsula Watershed: To Open, Or Not To Open?

Q&A: The Unseen Peninsula’s Private Photographer

Ask the Naturalist: Why are Deer Droppings so Tiny?

What’s Living in the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge? Plenty, Still.

In Tough Year for Seals and Sea Lions, Rescue Center Works Overtime

The Lost Birds of Point Reyes

How to Get Along With Coyotes As Pups Venture Out

What Moths Live in the East Bay Hills? On ‘Moth Night,’ A Chance to Find Out

Edges of Extinction

Q&A: San Francisco Public Press Reporter Kevin Stark on Sea Level Rise and Bay Area Preparations

Ask The Naturalist: Why Do Honeybees Clean Themselves?

After Decades Away, Western Pond Turtles Come Home to Mountain Lake

What Is An Atmospheric River, and How Does One Affect California’s Rainfall?

What Could You Do With 13 Acres of Brand-New Parkland In San Francisco’s Presidio?

First Person: Watching the Weather with Daniel Swain

Richardson Bay Sea Otter, First in San Francisco Bay Since 2011, Dies

Killer Plant Pathogen Is Widespread at SFPUC’s Alameda County and Peninsula Restoration Sites

Ride on the Wild Side: Exploring the East Bay Parks by Mountain Bike