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March 2023 Watershed News

This special edition of the FOSC newsletter features articles and contributions from a

few of our incredibly talented and environmentally active young community members,

as well as outreach and stewardship opportunities designed for youth.

Light patterns in the shallow, flowing water of the creek.

Painting by Zoe Thogersen - Oakland Tech High School senior and

FOSC Native Plant Nursery Volunteer.

Friends of Sausal Creek is a volunteer-based, community organization. We appreciate your support of our education, monitoring, and restoration programs in the

Sausal Creek Watershed. 


Upcoming Event

State of the Watershed 2023

Dimond Park | Saturday, March 18, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Join us on Saturday, March 18, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at the Sequoia picnic area in Dimond Park. We will be sharing future focuses from the headwaters to the estuary through an assortment of mini-tours and interactive experiences including:

Watershed Projects, Rainbow Trout Tour, Creek Daylighting Update, and a Dimond Canyon Trail Hike.

Youth, come on out, too! There’s something for everyone. We’ll have fun games and activities for kids and teens. We will host a kids' table with watershed organism food web activities and coloring books. We'll also hold a trash pick-up competition with a leaderboard and prizes. And of course, there will be free donuts and snacks for all to enjoy. We can't wait to see you there!

—Hattie Bradshaw, FOSC Student Board Member

Welcome New FOSC Executive Director

Lisa Giordano

We are thrilled to welcome Lisa Giordano as the new executive director of Friends of Sausal Creek. Lisa is a strategic and creative environmental advocate with a background in nonprofit leadership, communications outreach, and development. Her commitment to engaging communities in sustainable solutions, building strong partnerships, and centering practices on justice and equity make her an exceptional fit to lead this organization into its next phase of growth.

Lisa graduated from the conservation and resource studies program at U.C. Berkeley's prestigious College of Natural Resources. So this is a sort of homecoming for Lisa, as she returns to the Bay Area after nearly a decade of environmental advocacy and outreach efforts in New York City. Most recently she served as executive director of the Association of Young Americans (AYA)—an advocacy organization for young people which contributed to the inclusion of major climate and clean energy provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, among other federal policy wins related to climate, conservation, and environmental justice. 

“I admire Friends of Sausal Creek’s community-centered approach to the stewardship of Oakland’s Sausal Creek Watershed, and deeply respect its vision to harness the power of education and volunteer work to defend and maintain the watershed, on which communities have depended since the Ohlone,” Lisa shares. “Local resource protection and restoration are critical, not only for an overall healthy climate, but because our local environment plays an essential role in our spiritual and mental health: a community’s well-being depends on its capacity to respect, revere, and care for its resources.”

The board of directors and staff of Friends of Sausal Creek are confident that under Lisa’s competent leadership this organization will flourish and continue to restore, maintain, and protect this precious watershed.

Please join us in welcoming Lisa to the watershed. She is excited to meet community members on Saturday, March 18 at our State of the Watershed 2023 Event in Dimond Park, and can also be reached at lisa@sausalcreek.org.

–Friends of Sausal Creek Board of Directors and Staff

Friend of the Month

Tylor Kingsbury

Tylor Kingsbury is a young Oaklander whose first experiences with Friends of Sausal Creek goes back almost a decade! These days, she's a native plant nursery "regular" who brings her beaming energy and plant curiosity to the potting bench.

I am a 22 year old from Oakland whose passion lies in health and wellness. I am currently on a quest to pursue an education and career in natural medicine and plant sciences. Hiking in nature has drawn me nearer to my love for this. Growing up in the fast-paced city of Oakland, I was never really aware of all the natural beauty surrounding me until I joined a summer program with Youth Employment Partnership (YEP) in 2015. It was on weekly YEP Team Oakland workdays with Friends of Sausal Creek that I started to dive deeper into the land and its resources around me.

I remember every Wednesday, guided by FOSC staff, we would walk trails, identify native plants, and restore habitats. It was so interesting and fun for me! I realized the healing power of nature being out there, and how peaceful it was. I immersed myself in the environment and looked forward to doing it every Wednesday. After multiple years of attending YEP, it was eventually time to move on to higher things. One thing I took with me from that experience was my newfound love for nature. Even today, I love exploring new trails all around the Bay Area. Last year, I started volunteering at the native plant nursery which has further expanded my knowledge about identifying native plants that I might see while going on hike and how to properly nurture them.

I have also learned that many plants—native and nonnative—have medicinal uses, and have been researching some plants that can be incorporated into my wellness journey.

One plant specifically that I have taken a closer look at is common dandelion, also known as Taraxacum officinale. It is a nonnative weed you can find almost anywhere, but I was unaware until recently of its healing power. Not only are the edible leaves packed full of antioxidants, but the flowers and roots can also help aid in liver detoxification, and it can promote appetite and stimulate digestion. Plants are amazing!

–Tylor Kingsbury, Native Plant Nursery Volunteer

Quick reminder that plants should not be harvested from parks, and that some plants can be toxic to humans and animals, so do not consume any part of a plant unless you are quite sure of the species and its properties.

Kudos Corner

Youth-led Watershed Weekends

After the winter storms came a great wave of young environmental stewards in the watershed. One mid-February morning in particular, about 30 students from kindergarten through high school age participated in restoration activities in Dimond Park and Dimond Canyon. Big shout out to buildOn, Earth Team-Skyline High School, Bishop O'Dowd High School, Glenview Elementary, Irvington High School, and Scouts for all your efforts! Below, FOSC student board member, Amba Beattie, reflects on her experience leading a crew of kindergarten volunteers in cleaning up their favorite park.

Last month, I had the opportunity to lead a group of kindergarteners from Glenview Elementary and their parents in a trash pickup day at Dimond Park. We started with a discussion about why it was important to keep the parks and creek clean before the kids and their parents spread out in all directions and got to work. Even though it was an early Saturday morning, the kids worked enthusiastically and the time flew by. They were all proudly showing the amount and variety of items they collected in their buckets at the end.

I felt like it was truly magical to see young kids cleaning up their neighborhood park and feeling proud that they were making a difference. They learned that volunteering is fun, and sometimes funny, as they could not stop laughing after finding the highlight of the day—a dumped diaper. After our trash pickup, I led the kindergarten crew to visit the FOSC volunteers in Dimond Canyon who were removing invasive ivy and blackberry, and planting native willow trees. These volunteers were primarily high school students, so the kindergarteners got the chance to hear from other students and see the volunteer work they could be a part of in the future. All in all, it was a wonderful, fun, and educational morning!

—Amba Beattie, FOSC Student Board Member

Student Opportunities

Student Stewardship

Local youth and students have proven to be an incredible force in environmental efforts. Whether for community-service-hour credit, personal interest, or career exploration, we aim to provide them with fun and rewarding experiences in the Sausal Creek Watershed and recognize that these youth are the next generation of stewards!

We are launching a Student Stewardship Summer 2023 Cohort of high school students interested in learning more about the Sausal Creek Watershed and local environmental efforts through hands-on restoration work and mentoring by various site leaders, staff members, and other volunteers. The program will guide students on a survey of watershed sites and learning activities to understand the creek's unique role in Oakland's urban environment. Students make connections with each other, local scientists and restoration leaders, and can put their participation on their college applications and resumés.

If you would like to become a Student Steward, fill out our interest form here and we'll be in touch!

Sign up here

Ecological Experiments at Bridgeview Trail

Are you a student interested in experimenting with natural erosion control methods with moss and ferns? Or how about on-site ivy decomposition with zoo poo? We're looking for a couple of dedicated and enthusiastic college or high school students to take on these experimental projects at the Bridgeview Trail.

For more details about the projects, email site leader Kathleen Harris at kathalini123@gmail.com.

Invasive Species Action Week Statewide Contest

Combine science and artistic expression by researching an invasive species issue important to you!

Check out this art and video contest from our partners over at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). In preparation for Invasive Species Action Week, they invite students to submit art (grades 2-12) and short videos (grades 5-12) on the theme “Think Ahead; Stop the Spread”. The deadline is May 1, 2023.

For more details about how to participate, check out the CDFW website.

Stay Connected

New FOSC Emails and Announcement List

We have discontinued our Listserv, and initiated a new FOSC Watershed News announcement list through Google Groups. We'll use this new channel to communicate information of interest to volunteers, park users, and creekside neighbors. Please also note our staff's new email addresses in the footer of this newsletter.

If you only want to receive our monthly e-newsletter, or if you were already a member of our old Listserv, no action is necessary. Thank you!


Event Calendar

FOSC prioritizes the health and safety of the community, monitoring Alameda County Public Health Department guidance on COVID-19 precautions.

We need volunteers in the watershed now more than ever!

Join us for one of our many workdays this March.

View the FOSC Calendar

Bridgeview Trailhead Workday

*RSVP Required*

Sundays in March, 9-11 a.m.

Bridgeview Pollinator Garden

Marj Saunders Park Cleanup

*RSVP Required*

Monday, March 6, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Marj Saunders Park, Chelton Drive and Ascot Drive

Native Plant Nursery Volunteer Drop-In Hours

*RSVP Required* for groups of four or more

Wednesdays in March, 1-4 p.m.

Saturday, March 18, 1-4 p.m.

Friends of Sausal Creek Native Plant Nursery

State of the Watershed Event

*No RSVP Required* Facebook Event Link

Saturday, March 18, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Sequoia Picnic Area in Dimond Park

Beaconsfield Canyon Restoration Workday

*RSVP Required* for groups of four or more

Saturday, March 26, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Beaconsfield Canyon, Beaconsfield Place off Chelton Drive

Sausal Creek Trail Stewardship Crew

*RSVP Required* 

Sunday, March 26, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Meet at the Scout Hut in Dimond Park.

Pink-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum) along Sausal Creek in Dimond Park. Photo by Andrew Aldrich.

Friends of Sausal Creek is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Our mission is to restore, maintain, and protect the Sausal Creek Watershed. We educate future generations, involve the community in local environmental stewardship, and collaborate with agencies and other nonprofits to have a positive impact on the local ecosystem.

How to get involved:

FOSC Website

Join our Listserv

Event Calendar


Connect With Us:

Facebook  Instagram  Twitter

Photo Credits:

Zoe Thogersen, Tylor Kingsbury, Lisa Giordano, Kate Berlin, Andrew Aldrich


Lisa Giordano

Executive Director


Ella Matsuda

Restoration and Nursery Manager



Kate Berlin

Communications and Operations Manager


Anna Marie Schmidt

Transition Support Staff