The Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN), an initiative of Turtle Island Restoration Network, was built by volunteers. We continue to see some of the most inspiring people return week after week to help restore the San Geronimo Valley watershed. SPAWN’s bread and butter is habitat restoration, removing invasive plants and planting natives that we have grown from seed. We have dozens of folks from around Marin County and beyond that volunteer each month to help us restore the San Geronimo Valley watershed.

Our volunteers bring a variety of talent and know-how to SPAWN beyond landscape restoration. We think our volunteers are so inspiring that their stories speak for themselves. Once you get to know these people, we hope you will want to become part of our growing community.


Our native plant nursery was started by a group of dedicated volunteers, pioneered by Mel Wright, Bill Teufel, and Nancy Hanson (pictured left to right).

Mel Wright was a teacher for many years and is a very talented carpenter as well as a native plant expert. He built much of the nursery infrastructure and propagated thousands of plants as our volunteer nursery manager for more than a decade. Mel manages to show up to all of our nursery days and restoration events and manages to still finds time to co-lead the Broom Service group which removes invasive Scotch and French Broom from West Marin.

Bill Teufel was a doctor and now he spends his time cracking jokes in the nursery. He always adds cheer to our nursery volunteer days. Here he is reading us his favorite children’s book:

Nancy Hanson is a dedicated SPAWN volunteer. She also leads the Zen Weeding program at Samuel P. Taylor State Park and heads the crew of volunteers that care for the Oval Park in Woodacre. Nancy is a bundle of enthusiasm and we always appreciate her steady attention to detail.


Ken Wu (left) first connected with us as a smolt-monitoring volunteer. He quickly branched out to volunteering with the Broom Service group and the nursery. We appreciate Ken’s keenness to help out in any way he can.

Alexis Fineman (right) travels over the hill from San Anselmo to help out at our volunteer nursery days every Friday and has joined our restoration workshops on the weekends. We love the drive she has to advocate for the protection of existing native habitat gardens in her neighborhood.

Live in or around the North Bay area in California? We hope you’ll volunteer with us soon. Check out our events calendar for upcoming volunteer dates.