M A Y 2 0 2 0
 Wild ginger,  Asarum canadense, in bloom at the FOSC nursery. Photo by Jay Cassiani.
FOSC is a volunteer-based, community organization. We need donors like you to support FOSC education and restoration programs in the Sausal Creek Watershed. 
Update from FOSC Board President on COVID-19
In these uncertain times, it’s comforting to know that Sausal Creek continues to flow from the hills down to the Bay, supporting the plants and animals along its course. It’s also nourishing the people that are finding refuge in this urban oasis, reminding us of the value of ‘local nature.' Sweeping vistas from awe-inspiring National Parks are priceless, but so, too, is ready access to natural areas right outside our front door during this Shelter in Place period.

Thank you for respecting social distancing guidelines while enjoying the environment our staff, our board, and our volunteers have worked tirelessly to restore and protect.
Jeff Stephens
FOSC Board of Directors President
Parks are an important resource to all of us, especially during this challenging time. Thank you for continuing to make a difference and do your part to keep Bay Area parks a safe and healing place for everyone.  

May Community Read-Along
Nature's Best Hope:
 A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard
Thank you to everyone who joined our first virtual Community Read-Along. As we continue to shelter in place, we invite you to join us for our second FOSC Community Read-Along by reading Nature's Best Hope, renowned author and professor Doug Tallamy's newest release.

This book details a new vision for grassroots conservation where everyone, not just scientists and environmentalists, join together to remove invasives, plant natives, and restore wildlife corridors. His vision includes replacing the dead zones of private properties, which are replete with invasive grasses and ornamentals, with pollinator gardens. Tallamy is a professor of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, and you may recognize his name from he Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour, where he was the keynote speaker.

You can find the e-book and audiobook through your local library, or support your local bookstore by ordering a copy through their website.

Follow the Google hangouts link in the calendar invite above to join the discussion.

For questions reach out to Jackie Van Der Hout at education@sausalcreek.org

Staff Update
Nicki Alexander and Jackie Van Der Hout

Like many of you, FOSC has been adapting to the ongoing changes resulting from the COVID-19 Shelter in Place order and school closures.

Given the premature end of our environmental programming for this school year, we paused our hiring process for the education and outreach coordinator position. We are fortunate that intern Jackie Van Der Hout was able to jump in and provide part-time support to several education and outreach tasks.

Likewise, Nicki Alexander, former education and outreach coordinator, has recently rejoined the FOSC team for a short term stint, working remotely on strengthening our environmental education materials and lower watershed contacts. After being evacuated from her Peace Corps position in Paraguay, Nicki did not make it back to California before the restrictions started and currently finds herself sheltering in place in Atlanta with her parents, partner, and new dog Pablo.

Nicki can be reached at  foscproject@gmail.com
Explore the Watershed
Eating the Invasives
Ever thought about eating an invasive, nonnative plant?

Eating and foraging for wild foods has become an increasingly popular way to connect to the environment and eat nutritious, local, and free food. Foraging is an ancient human activity, and many indigenous and rural communities around the world continue to practice traditional forms of harvesting and using wild plants for food, medicine, and culture.

However, foraging, like many activities, can be either beneficial or harmful to the environment. The popularity of harvesting wild foods and medicines has driven some native plant species to a fragile and fragmented state due to overharvesting. Native plants such as ramps, American ginseng, devil’s club and others have become dangerously overharvested by eager foragers. An ethic of responsible harvesting is a crucial part of foraging for wild foods.

As we continue to work to protect and restore the watershed and its plant diversity, how can we responsibly harvest wild foods? The answer may be the enemy right in front of us – invasive plants. Many of the most nutritious and delicious wild plants are abundant in our landscapes and can be some of the most invasive and harmful to a native ecosystem. Foraging for invasives creates an opportunity to eat wild foods growing all around us while fighting back the onslaught of invasive plants, allowing native plants to continue to grow and recover. 

Kudos Korner
Reporting Pollution in Sausal Creek
This month’s kudos go to FOSC community members Bob Stang, Tom Rose, and Wade Woodfill for their vigilance in reporting pollution in the watershed.

In mid-April, Wade encountered a carpet cleaner van dumping a large quantity of what appeared to be contaminated water down a storm drain that leads directly to Sausal Creek on Oakmore Road. After talking to the person involved and documenting the incident with photos, Wade contacted FOSC. The milky white and pungent liquid being poured down the drain couldn’t have just been water, Wade noted.

Later in April, Bob Stang contacted FOSC reporting what he believed to be white paint in the creek that had been spilled or dumped in a storm drain at Bona and Fruitvale avenues. After taking photos, Bob and neighbor Tom Rose worked together to contact the City to report the spill. The Oakland Fire Department arrived and called the hazmat team who cleaned up the creek and determined that the paint was a latex paint. We are heartened that multiple agencies -- the EPA, Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Oakland District Attorney’s office -- responded to further investigate. 

If you encounter an active spill or dumping in the creek or storm drain, call 911.

To report o ther creek, park and infrastructure issues (illegal fishing, water or sewage leaks, etc) please see Report Creek Issues on the FOSC website for contact information.

Thank you Bob, Tom, and Wade for your quick responses to these incidents and for protecting the Sausal Creek Watershed. 
FOSC Friends of the Month
Friends of Joaquin Miller Park and the Junior Wildlife Rangers
Friends of Sausal Creek would like to celebrate the work of Friends of Joaquin Miller Park and the Junior Wildlife Ranger program for developing a wonderful new environmental education resource in the watershed.

Dale Risden, FOSC volunteer and a board member of Friends of Joaquin Miller Park, has noticed that the park is being used by city residents now more than ever. “To encourage this, we wanted to give families all over Oakland more ways to experience the park” Dale explained. “Out of the blue we were contacted by a group of young women who had already created a program called Junior Wildlife Rangers ”, and that is how the partnership began.

The Junior Wildlife Ranger Program is the first ongoing, self-guided youth education program in Joaquin Miller Park. The program is free, and kids aged seven and up can complete the program workbook by hiking and learning about the plants, insects, redwoods, and the interconnectedness of the watershed. Participants explore the park, earning learning badges online as they continue their journey. The Wildlife Ranger guide is available online and will be available for free pick up at the JM Park Ranger Station on Sanborn Road once social distancing guidelines have been lifted.

Lynnea Shuck is the Junior Wildlife Rangers project director. The Joaquin Miller Junior Ranger program was created by four Bay Area students and three recent graduates who volunteer because they love our public lands and want to share that love with kids of all communities.

“Seeing the program come alive from an idea to a reality has been so meaningful,” Lynnea noted. The team at Junior Wildlife Ranger worked to create this resource to reconnect all Oakland families with the incredible natural world that lies in their backyard, even during this challenging time of COVID-19. “It is in compliance with social distancing guidelines: Badges are earned by scanning a poster at the kiosk, and every time families revisit, they can upgrade their badge," Lynnea explained, noting how responsible use of the parks can still include great outdoor learning opportunities for kids.

Friends of Joaquin Miller park is thrilled about this new resource. The Junior Wildlife Ranger program allows a family to have a learning experience together while visiting the park. Dale Risden encourages everyone with young children to go online and print their pamphlet.

Junior Wildlife Ranger is a youth-led non-profit that rectifies inequalities in outdoor environmental education for young people. Programs are completely free-of-charge. If you would like to help, consider volunteering or making a tax-deductible contribution to help print Jr. Ranger booklets.”
If you would like to nominate a Friend of the Month, contact education@sausalcreek.org.
Event Calendar

Multiple locations- NEW DATES
May 9 and 10

From your computer!
May 27 at 5:30 p.m.

All other FOSC public events and workdays continue to be postponed, in accordance with the statewide Shelter in Place order.

Please continue to practice safety by maintaining social distance, taking care of yourself, and staying healthy.

We will continue to update our event calendar as we monitor guidance for COVID-19.
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:

Jay Cassianni
Restoration and Nursery Manager
Anna Marie Schmidt
Executive Director

Jackie Van Der Hout
Education and Outreach

Nicki Alexander
Special Projects
Photo Credits : Jay Cassiani, Mark Rauzon, Timber Book Publishing, Nicki Alexander, Bob Stang, Pascal Baudar