Volunteers with our Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN) program have started the year in full force!

In January alone we’ve had over 50 volunteers assist in our native plant nursery and in the field with our restoration events.

These volunteers come from all over the San Francisco Bay Area, from Vallejo, to San Jose, and even as far as Chowchilla. It’s wonderful to see so many people making the trip to West Marin County to get their hands dirty!

We’ve worked on two main restoration projects this year; the garden of a Forest Knolls resident and a section of the former San Geronimo Golf Course.

Our projects are usually located on state park land, so it was a nice change getting to help a Forest Knolls resident restore their property. The homeowner contacted SPAWN and asked if we would be willing to help plant native plant species in her garden. The property is located on a steep hill where rains were constantly washing away soil into the creek. To help stabilize the area volunteers planted over 250 native grasses, perennial flowers, shrubs and trees. Some of the volunteers were even kind enough to bring everyone a delicious potato curry for lunch!

Our work at the former San Geronimo Golf Course has also been going well. Since the Trust for Public Land closed escrow for the course in early January, we have been able to restore areas that we previously didn’t have access to. Areas of the San Geronimo Creek running through the golf course that once had to remain clear now have California coast redwoods growing in them. In the last month, volunteers have planted 58 coastal redwood trees at the golf course, almost doubling the total number we have planted there.

Habitat restoration volunteer.

Pictured: One of our many volunteers planting a coast redwood tree at the San Geronimo Golf Course.

It’s wonderful to see people of all ages getting out and volunteering, whether it’s students helping as part of an environmental science project, or just families coming to spend time outdoors together. Someone even chose to spend their birthday planting redwoods!

“SPAWN has helped me reconnect with Marin County.”

I asked one of our regular volunteers, Ken Wu, what he enjoys about volunteering., “I’ve always been an outdoors person who liked to come to Marin County to bike, hike and paddle,” he said. “Volunteering with SPAWN has added substance and depth to my outdoors experience. SPAWN has helped me reconnect with Marin County.”

“There is always a supportive and family like atmosphere where parents often bring their kids to learn, dig, and plant,” he added. “It’s a fun and enriching experience that I would urge everybody of all ages to come and try out.”

SPAWN volunteer Ken Wu

Pictured: Ken Wu, one of our regular volunteers at SPAWN.

Volunteers truly are the backbone of Turtle Island Restoration Network’s programs. So, here’s to all our volunteers, thank you for everything you do, your generosity is very much appreciated. We hope to see you again soon!