Protect, restore, celebrate

They got her title wrong and gave her credit for some things that should have gone to her coworker, but the Sunday Chronicle’s article on the Bay Trail, BAY TRAIL ADVENTURE / Tramping East Bay to the Bay Bridge, featured some extensive quotations from B:

Out in the grass, Briggs Nisbet and her crew bent to their work.

Nisbet’s job is restoration campaigns manager for Save the Bay. Sheworks to reclaim wetlands and restore them in detail, down to the tiniest plants. Her workforce is almost entirely volunteer, and on this baseball afternoon, she led a group of young people from the national service group AmeriCorps in a saltwater gardening session on the banks of the slough.

The young people carried flats of arrowgrass and marsh gum plant propagated in the nursery that Save the Bay operates with the East Bay Regional Park District at the district’s Martin Luther King Regional Shoreline headquarters nearby.

Playing their part in a regional campaign to nurture native aquatic plants, the young gardeners plugged in the new shoots on the banks of the slough. The effort seemed like a prayer, considering the size of the area that needs reclaiming. But there was a method to it, one that involves thousands of other people.

Nisbet said the restoration effort, which also includes tearing such unwanted flora as ice plants, is attracting enough volunteers to make a difference.

“This is a totally new thing,” she said. “We get 150 volunteers to show up and pull out non-native weeds. That was unheard of five years ago.”

Nisbet has a theory on why people are getting involved.

“I think (this is) a desire for people to do something about the environment that for years they’ve been hearing is a mess,” she said. “It’s the natural human instinct to garden.”