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Volunteer Bruce removing invasive poison hemlock from the Friends of Sausal Creek native plant nursery in Joaquin Miller Park. Photo by Jackie Van Der Hout.
Friends of Sausal Creek (FOSC) is a volunteer-based, community organization. We appreciate your support of our education, monitoring, and restoration programs in the Sausal Creek Watershed. 
April in the Watershed
Earth Month
Here in Oakland, Earth Day (April 22) has been turned into Earth Month during April. This year there is an abundance of ways to get your hands in the dirt and help out in the watershed!
As we continue to follow best health and safety practices, we welcome small groups to gather outdoors for volunteer workdays. Check out our online calendar for a list of volunteer opportunities throughout the month of April. All events are still RSVP only, so please make sure to get in touch with the workday leaders to let them know you will be attending. Don't forget to print and bring your own two waivers, if you can.

Earth Month events in the Sausal Creek Watershed:

  • Events on Saturday, April 17:
  • Creek cleanup up Dimond Canyon - 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., meeting at the Scout Hut in Dimond Park
  • RSVP to nursery@sausalcreek.org
  • FOSC Native Plant Nursery workday 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • RSVP to nursery@sausalcreek.org

  • Every Sunday in April
  • Pollinator Garden Workday at Bridgeview Trailhead - 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
  • RSVP to kathalini123@gmail.com

Additionally, the City of Oakland is celebrating their 27th Earth Day in 2021. Individuals, households, and small groups are invited to clean up neighborhood streets, parks, and waterways with litter removal, habitat restoration, and other beautification projects. For more details on City of Oakland Earth Day events, visit this site.

Walking Waterhoods
Sausal Creek Watershed
Join Wholly H2O and Friends of Sausal Creek (FOSC) on Friday April 9 at 10:00 a.m. in our third livestream in the Walking Waterhoods series about Sausal Creek. These livestreams are designed to connect us to what is happening all around us in the watershed.
In this session, we'll be:
  • visiting the native plant nursery to learn about FOSC's restoration in the watershed as well as making their local native plants available to the public.
  • joining Wendy Tokuda and Mark Rauzon to delve into the fascinating story of pallid manzanitas, and their restoration in the Sausal Creek watershed (and beyond!) and covering what fuel reduction in the east bay hills looks like.
Wendy Tokuda is an award-winning journalist who worked as a primetime anchor in local TV news for almost 40 years, primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area. She volunteers with the Friends of Sausal Creek in the City of Oakland and at Redwood Regional Park. Tokuda is a Registered California Naturalist.
Mark Rauzon is a tenured geography professor at Laney College, Oakland. He is also an ornithologist, specializing in the effects and eradication of invasive animals and plants on tropical seabirds. Mark also spearheaded FOSC’s efforts to save the endangered pallid manzanita, whose tiny colonies in the Oakland hills had dwindled to the point of disappearing.
The two previous Sausal Creek livestreams—one about the mouth of the creek in the estuary and the other about Dimond park—can be viewed on Wholly H20's youtube channel.
Community Talk
Stewardship Reflections
Join us for our virtual April Community talk with Yakuta Poonwalla, the San Francisco Community Programs Manager with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. Yakuta will be facilitating an interactive discussion on environmental stewardship. We will be exploring how can we create a deeper understanding of stewarding the Sausal Creek Watershed. How can we strengthen our relationship with the natural world through culture, traditions, and story sharing? This reflection on stewardship through the lenses of diversity, equity, and inclusion will invite participants to reimagine what stewardship can mean. We hope you will join us on zoom on April 21 and come with a willingness to listen and share! Attendance is by registration only.

Yakuta Poonawalla works for the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, where she leads the San Francisco Community Stewardship Program, which focuses on mindfulness, cultural relevance, and healing. She uses habitat restoration and storytelling to connect communities to the natural world and create a sense of belonging. She hopes to inspire, educate, and cultivate deep love and respect for the environment -- and to ensure that nature and science are accessible to all.

Explore the Watershed
Getting to Know Lichens
Lichens are an abundant and widely misunderstood and overlooked part of the Sausal Creek Watershed. Lichens (pronounced “likens”) can be found on every continent on earth. Look closely at the trees, mailboxes, and rocks around you, and you will see lichen growing anywhere it can get a good foothold. Last week, I went on a hike with some old family friends. As we walked through their neighborhood, they told me that they were worried that the trees were getting sick because they were covered in small dangling “plants” that they had not noticed before. We stopped to examine these “plants” at closer range and instead found lichens. Lichens are not like parasitic organisms that grow in tree branches, such as mistletoe, and root into a tree’s branches and take its nutrients without giving anything return. Lichens perch on trees, live off of the air, and take nothing from the host trees. They pose no threat to the trees or rocks that they live on, and in fact provide many benefits for the ecosystems. 

Join Our Team!
We're Hiring!
We are hiring for two positions:

  • Join our team as the Community Outreach and Environmental Justice Coordinator. This is a part-time and temporary position responsible for continuing to engage with the Fruitvale community; assess interest in and support the implementation of community-identified urban greening (e.g. creek parklet, green corridor) and creek and water education projects (e.g. tap water quality testing, storm drain pollution).
When: April through December 31, 2021, with a possibility of extending.
Pay: The rate of pay is $20 to $22 hour, depending on experience.
Hours: The number of hours required is 15-20 hours per week, with a flexible schedule.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled, but applicants are encouraged to apply by April 9, 2021. To apply, please email a cover letter and résumé to jobs@sausalcreek.org

  • Join our team as the Restoration and Stewardship Intern. This internship will support FOSC’s restoration and water quality programs. Internship duties will include leading and supporting habitat restoration workdays, helping with the Native Plant Nursery tasks and workdays, and assisting with the water quality program.

When: May 2021 to October 30, 2021, however an extension of the internship is possible.
Pay: The rate of pay is $ 18.00 an hour.
Hours: The number of hours required is 15-20 per week, with a flexible schedule.

Applications should be received no later than May 10, 2021, with priority given to earlier applications. To apply, please email a cover letter, resume, and two references (name, contact) to FOSC Executive Director Anna Marie Schmidt at jobs@sausalcreek.org.

Community Science Opportunity
Sudden Oak Death BioBlitz
This year's Sudden Oak Death (SOD) Blitz is right around the corner! This annual community science effort led by the U.C. Berkeley Forest Pathology Laboratory is recruiting volunteers for the upcoming East Bay SOD Blitz which runs from May 8 --11.
Go to www.sodblitz.org to find out more about the largest community based data collection. You can review the guidelines, view an online training, and sign up your crew of friends and/or family. The survey informs residents whether SOD is present in their neighborhood. Prevention is the only way to protect oaks, so this knowledge is key to alert people that it is necessary for them to take action.
Oaks/tanoaks infected by SOD are extremely likely to die, but they may fall even before they are dead, hurting people, destroying property and injuring plants . SOD infected oaks can also burn very hot, increasing fire intensity around them. The Blitzes can inform neighbors where preventative oak protection is needed.
The aggressive EU1 strain or variant of the SOD pathogen has been detected for the first time in a single site in California: it is pivotal we know if this variant may be present elsewhere as its presence could worsen the course of the SOD epidemic. All samples collected during the 2021 SOD blitzes will be tested for the presence of this EU1 variant.
Let's come together as a community to help out California's majestic oaks and tanoaks and the animals that depend on them. The UC Berkeley Forest Pathology Laboratory together with our native trees thank you for your time and help!
New research just published by Laura Lee Sims & Matteo Garbelotto, organizers of the SOD blitz: Soil borne pathogen invasions linked to ecological restorations.
FOSC Friend of the Month
Mark Rauzon
On this 25th Year Anniversary of the Friends of Sausal Creek, we want to spotlight the stories of some of the founders and their vision for the future of the watershed. Hear from founder Mark Rauzon about his journey with Friends of Sausal Creek:
At the time of FOSC's formation, I was already involved in restoration work in Hawaii with the removal of invasive red mangrove and prior to that I was involved with feral cat eradication. When I saw what a group of neighbors were undertaking, I knew I had to participate as all along the motto was "Think Globally, Act Locally". I felt responsible for acting in my own watershed with plant removal, but I came with the added experience of knowing the level of commitment it takes to conduct a restoration project where a long-term commitment to succeed in controlling plants was required. Everything was needing to be done; pulling concrete from the creek, cutting ivy from trees, developing the demonstration garden. 
When I think of accomplishments it' s hard to pick one, but recently I had an epiphany when I saw on Google Earth that the Friends of Sausal Creek Nursery is plotted for the world to see. This does set us apart from other creek groups in the area and country; growing thousands of native-to-the-watershed species is the ultimate Acting Locally, throughout the watershed and under biosanitation protocols. Saving pallids and rainbow [trout] is pretty cool too.
One of the struggles was trying to Save the Dimond Oak in 2005, which was like the symbol of the old Oakland forest and heart of FOSC. Now that entire part of the park is transformed into a growing public space in the core of the park, the Scout Hut, where we have launched so many kids into nature. 
Having built a sustainable organization, with a growing endowment, it really shows the creek, the place, and the community were ready for us and we were able to read the land and act. A future challenge is spreading the call to grow the community. Success will not look like weeding or growing rare plants, it will be an educational experience for urban kids in nature. 
Mark Rauzon (pictured above on the right) is a geography professor at Laney College and seabird biologist. He is a founding member of FOSC and emeritus member of the board of directors, who, as a liaison with the pallid manzanita conservation and management efforts, recently reported pallid successes in the State of the Watershed 2021 video clip.
If you would like to nominate a Friend of the Month, contact education@sausalcreek.org.
Event Calendar
Upcoming FOSC Events:

Presented by Wholly H20 and Friends of Sausal Creek
Friday April 9 at 10:00 a.m.
Online event

Earth Month: Creek Cleanup up in Dimond Canyon
Saturday, April 17 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.,
Meeting at the Scout Hut in Dimond Park
RSVP to nursery@sausalcreek.org

Earth Month: Beaconsfield Canyon Workday
Saturday, April 24: from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
RSVP to richard@rkcommunications.com

Earth Month: Weeding in Joaquin Miller Park
Saturday, April 24: from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Meeting at the FOSC Native Plant Nursery
RSVP to education@sausalcreek.org

Earth Month: FOSC Native Plant Nursery workday
Saturday April 24 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
At the FOSC Native Plant Nursery
RSVP to education@sausalcreek.org

Earth Month: Beaconsfield Canyon Workday
Sunday, April 25 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
RSVP to richard@rkcommunications.com

Community Conversation with Yakuta Poonawalla
April 21 at 7:00 p.m.
Online talk - sign up at above link!

Pollinator Garden Workday
Every Sunday in April at 9:00 a.m.
At Bridgeview Trailhead
RSVP to kathalini123@gmail.com

Online Events of Interest from other Organizations:

Presented by CNPS East Bay Chapter
April 3 at 10:00 am
In-person hike in Joaquin Miller Park
Email janetgawthrop47@gmail.com to RSVP

Presented by Sonoma State University and Worth A Dam
April 7 and 9 at 1:00 p.m.
Online conference

Presented by the Alameda Countywide Clean Water Program
April 8 at 4:00 p.m.
Online event

Presented by the California Lichen Society
April 10 at 1:30pm
Tilden Botanic Garden
In-person event: Please RSVP to irene@californialichens.org

Presented by Bringing Back the Natives
April 25 & May 2, 16 and 23 at 10:00 a.m.
Virtual Garden Tours

FOSC is now accepting volunteers for outdoor and distanced workdays on a limited basis. Contact the listed event leader from our events calendar to sign up!
Get Involved
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. 
FOSC needs your support -- 
Amazon Smile purchases donate 0.5% to FOSC --
Connect with us:

Anna Marie Schmidt
Executive Director

Jay Cassianni
Restoration and Nursery Manager
Jackie Van Der Hout
Community Education and Restoration
Photo Credits: Jackie Van Der Hout, Elizabeth Doherty, Ken-ichi Ueda, Mark Rauzon, Matteo Garbelotto, Beth Keer, Tessie Nicholson