S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 2
Dr. Rob Leidy captivated the crowd at our August FOSC Community Walk and Talk: Rainbow Trout of Sausal Creek.
Photo by Amaya Griego.
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 Volunteer Events
Creek to Bay Day
This September marks the 27th anniversary of Oakland Creek to Bay Day, held in conjunction with California and International Coastal Cleanup Day, one of the largest organized volunteer days in California, the nation, and 100 other participating countries. For this event, thousands of volunteers come together to remove litter from waterways, shorelines, and upstream areas around the world.

FOSC is excited to participate again in this international event and to partner with Friends of Dimond Park to bring the community together to steward Oakland's green spaces. We hope you'll join us at one of the sites in the Sausal Creek Watershed for restoration and creek cleanup activities.

Check out the FOSC calendar for details and to RSVP (for groups of four or more.) Questions? Please contact us.
Save the Date
FOSC 17th Annual Native Plant Sale
It's almost that time of the year! The 17th Annual FOSC Native Plant Sale and Open House is coming. Save the date for Saturday, October 29, 2022, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. for an in-person sale at the FOSC Native Plant Nursery in Joaquin Miller Park. Stay tuned for more details.

Help us spread the word. This event is an opportunity to fund restoration work in the Sausal Creek Watershed and educational experiences in Oakland’s open spaces and parks for students and youth. Introducing native plants to home gardens also benefits the biodiversity of Oakland—providing essential habitat and food sources for many native species such as monarch butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees.

If you'd like to come out to volunteer at the nursery, we would love to have you! We have changed our Wednesday nursery workday hours in September to 9 a.m.-12 p.m. to beat the heat. On Saturday, September 10 and 24 we'll still meet at 1:30-4:30 p.m. to maintain an afternoon option.
Explore the Watershed
Monarchs and Manzanitas
Monarch butterflies have been listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which helps implement the Endangered Species Act, has listed the monarch as a candidate for the endangered and threatened list since December 2020. Populations of migratory monarchs, a subspecies of the monarch butterfly, have declined between 22 and 72 percent over the past 10 years, according to a new assessment by the IUCN, because of pesticides, herbicides, deforestation, urban development, and agricultural expansion.

The effects of human-caused climate change like drought, wildfire, and extreme temperatures threatens milkweed, the only plant monarch larvae feed on. The western monarch population faces the biggest risk of extinction: Its population has dropped by an estimated 99.9 percent over the past 40 years, from 10 million in the 1980s to 1,914 in 2021.

Experts are concerned that not enough butterflies remain to keep the population alive. Here are photos of a monarch resting on a pallid manzanita, another state endangered and federally threatened species. FOSC cares for both species by nurturing manzanita stands and propagating milkweed. Seeing them together is a ray of hope. 

—Photos and writing by Mark Rauzon. Information from the Smithsonian Magazine News, July 22 by Sarah Kuta.
Restoration Spotlight
Pallid Manzanita Conservation Crew
The Friends of Sausal Creek pallid conservation crew is saving an endangered species. In 2015, there were just three endangered pallid manzanitas remaining on the slope below the Chabot Space and Science Center. Thanks to many hours of work from staff, volunteers, and partners, there are now over 100 in the area, many of which fruited for the first time this year. This site is one of the last remaining strongholds for pallid manzanitas in the world.

A special thanks to Judy Schwartz and Alan Tong for volunteering their time last Friday to remove woody vegetation so that our pallid manzanitas have more space to thrive. The crew will be meeting again on Friday, September 9 and 23, and October 7. 

If you would like to join us on the pallid conservation crew to continue one of FOSC's greatest conservation success stories, email Ella Matsuda at foscnursery@gmail.com.
Friend of the Month
Native Plant Nursery Crew
This month we spotlight the hard work and dedication of the FOSC Native Plant Nursery crew. All year long, these volunteers have shown up ready to get their hands dirty propagating plants, sowing seeds, sanitizing pots, and keeping invasive weeds at bay. In the warm, dry summer months, the volunteers also collect seeds from plants around the nursery to add to the seed bank. In cool, wet, winter months, they plant seedlings they've grown and nurtured out into the demonstration garden outside the nursery or pot them up to go out to many watershed restoration sites—we’re talking about 7,000 plants currently thriving in the nursery as of this writing. They do it all!
If you would like to nominate a Friend of the Month, contact fosceducation@gmail.com.
From the Potting Bench
Sneezeweed — What's in a name?
After several days of transplanting dozens of Helenium puberulum seedlings at the FOSC Native Plant Nursery, I became curious about the common name, sneezeweed. Now that is not a particularly flattering name for a plant with an attractive flower described by some as a golf ball with a skirt. Try to forget that description.
To think of a native plant as a weed might seem demeaning. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word variously as “not wanted” or of “no utility.” But that aside, why “sneeze”? Intuitively, hay fever causing sneezing comes to mind. There are two problems with that. First, the plant is pollinated by insects, not windblown pollen. Second, sneezing associated with the plant is self-induced. How so? It is reported, and repeated endlessly in the literature, that certain indigenous groups would dry and grind the leaves and inhale the powder as a type of snuff.
The purpose was not a tobacco like effect but rather to cause vigorous sneezing to expel evil spirits. So the sneeze in sneezeweed takes on a certain cultural significance over any mundane meaning.

There are other interesting aspects in the names for this plant. Another common name is Helen’s flower taken from the formal genus Helenium. Supposedly the flower is associated with Helen of Troy because it would spring from the ground where Helen’s tears would fall. The plant most associated with Helen is Inula helenium or Elecampane, a native of Eurasia. As our plant is a native to North America, even that poetic mythology must fall to the facts.

At the nursery you will find a full-grown sneezeweed volunteer near the break room. Come say hello and don’t be put off by the name.

—Peter Van der Naillen, FOSC Native Plant Nursery volunteer
Student Opportunities
Student Director and Student Stewardship Positions
Students, we hope you've had a fun summer and that your school year is off to a smooth start. We wanted to highlight some opportunities we have at FOSC for those of you looking for community service hours, leadership experience, or career exploration.

Student Director: FOSC is looking for a high school (11th or 12th grade) or college student who is interested in serving on the FOSC board of directors. Student directors have a voice in organization decisions, make a meaningful impact in the community, cultivate leadership and other skills, and have the opportunity to expand their professional network. This opportunity is ideal for someone who shares our organization's passion and commitment to promoting awareness, appreciation, and stewardship of Oakland’s Sausal Creek Watershed.

Students should submit a letter of interest to coordinator@sausalcreek.org by September 20, 2022.
Student Stewardship: Every year, FOSC sees incredible volunteer support from students of all ages. Whether for community service hour credit, personal interest, or career exploration, we aim to provide students with fun and rewarding experiences in the watershed. The Student Stewardship guiding framework is designed for middle school and 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. Students make connections with 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, email fosceducation@gmail.com.
Free gift with $150 or more donation
25th Anniversary Tee
FOSC has replenished supplies of these locally-designed, soft, 100% cotton tees and we are happy to give one on request as a thank you to anyone who donates $150 or more.

Make your donation, then give us a call at (510) 845-5178 ext. 4 to let us know what size and style you'd like:
  • Traditional crewneck tee: Please specify size in men's, women's, or youth (available in sizes 8,10, or 12.)
  • Scoop-necked tee with a slightly contoured waist.
Supplies are limited, so act soon!
Event Calendar
To keep our community safe, please come prepared to wear a mask and social distance.
Bridgeview Trailhead Workday
Sundays in September, 9-11 a.m.
Bridgeview Pollinator Garden

Native Plant Nursery Volunteer Drop-In Hours
*RSVP Required* for groups of four or more
Wednesdays in September, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 10 and 24, 1:30-4:30 p.m.
Friends of Sausal Creek Native Plant Nursery

Restoration Workday in Dimond Canyon
*RSVP Required* for groups of four or more
Saturday, September 10, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Meet at the Scout Hut in Dimond Park.
Erosion Control Site Maintenance: FOSC maintains several erosion control projects in Dimond Canyon to protect the structure of the canyon and the surrounding homes. Help us remove invasive species from these sites to make way for native plantings this fall. 

Creek to Bay Day - Various Locations and Times
*RSVP Required* for groups of four or more
Saturday, September 17:
  • Dimond Park/Dimond Canyon: 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Fern Ravine (Joaquin Miller Park): 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Josie de la Cruz Park: 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Sunday, September 18:
  • Bienati Overlook Community Garden: 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Marjorie Saunders Park: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Bridgeview Trailhead: 9 a.m.-11 a.m.
Saturday, September 24:
  • Beaconsfield Canyon, Montclair: 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Fire Mitigation Work Party: Help us remove brush to reduce wildfire risk in Beaconsfield Canyon and make more room for native species to be planted in the fall.

Sausal Creek Trail Stewardship Crew
*RSVP Required* for groups of four or more
Sunday,September 25, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
(Above) buildOn Oakland joined FOSC last month for a restoration workday
removing invasive cape ivy in Dimond Canyon. Thank you buildOn!
We need volunteers in the watershed now more than ever!
Join us for one of our many workdays this September.
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. 
Connect with us:

Anna Marie Schmidt
Executive Director

Ella Matsuda
Restoration and Nursery Manager

Amaya Griego
Education and Outreach Manager

Kate Berlin
Communications and Operations Manager
Photo Credits: Amaya Griego, Mark Rauzon, Kate Berlin, Peter Van der Naillen