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December 17, 2013 > Get Involved! Become a Citizen Scientist

Get Involved! Become a Citizen Scientist

Submitted By Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge

Does science fascinate you? Do you want to make a difference and assist scientists, land managers and policy makers in decision making? Consider becoming a citizen scientist. The Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge has three projects you can get involved with, ranging from recording bird use on a re-vegetated trail, uploading photographs of King Tide events, to helping document effects of climate change. These projects are ideal for individuals who come to the refuge regularly to hike, and for families and school groups who want to make a difference and take part in the scientific process. Join in one, or all of the projects listed below. No experience necessary.

Science of the Seasons

Phenology is the term used to study seasons. At the Don Edwards Refuge, two monitoring areas (Alviso and Fremont) have been chosen for those interested in observing plants and documenting how climate change may affect them. The timing of when plants leaf out, flower, and form fruit may have consequences for wildlife migrating through the area. Recording these changes over time can help refuge managers and others manage lands in a more effective manner. Training will be provided.

Training in Fremont
In Fremont, see a presentation about the importance of phenology, the plants chosen for data collection, and how to up-load your findings onto NatureÕs Notebook on-line. Training is scheduled for Saturday, December 21 from 11:00 a.m. Ð 12:30 p.m. Please go to to register, or call 510-792-0222 ext. 362.

Training in Alviso
In Alviso, coupled with the training, you will also help restore habitat! Bring your own gloves or borrow a pair of ours Ð tools are provided. Dress in layers and bring water and sunscreen. Be prepared to get dirty! This is geared toward ages 9 and up. Participants under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Contact Julie Kahrnoff at 408-262-5513 ext. 104 or for more information. Scheduled dates are: December 7; December 21; January 11; January 25; February 8; and February 22. All trainings and community service work are 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Bird Use Monitoring at the Environmental Education Center in Alviso

In 2008, the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge received several grants to restore the upland areas along the Marsh View Trail at the Environmental Education Center in Alviso. The restoration project involved hundreds of hours of non-native vegetation removal by staff and volunteers, and the planting of native grasses and forbs. We would like to gather data on what birds use this habitat.

The data collected will provide managers with valuable information on what species use this restored habitat. The data could also show changes in bird use over time, and may provide insight into why this may be the case. The San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory has developed a bird monitoring protocol for the data collection.

Individuals will submit their observations on-line to from home. Or, if you have a smart phone, you can enter the data from the refuge by using the Wi-Fi service offered by the San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society. Directions on where and how to make your observations, and instructions on how to upload the information can be picked up at the Environmental Education Center , or downloaded from our website at

California King Tides Initiative

This initiative encourages the public to take and upload photos of coastal areas during king tide events. In the simplest terms, king tides are the highest tides of the season. Photographs can help planners and coastal managers identify at-risk areas of flooding and aid them in future planning. For the national wildlife refuges, this can help with wetland restoration planning. Upcoming dates for King Tides are December 30-31, January 1-2, and January 29-31. Take a photograph of refuge lands on the Tidelands Trail overlooking Newark Slough in Fremont or on top of the hill at Bedwell Bayfront Park in the City of Menlo Park overlooking the Don Edwards RefugeÕs Greco Island.

Upload your photographs through the California King Tides Initiative website at You can also email them, with the date and time, to Take your pictures from these coordinates:

Tidelands Trail Coordinates from Google Earth: 37o 31Õ54.04N, 122o 4Õ27.40W
Bedwell Bayfront Park Coordinates from Google Earth: 37o 29Õ42.11N, 122o 10Õ8.70W

Science of the seasons
Saturday, Dec 21
11:30 a.m. Ð 12:30 p.m.
Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge
1 Marshland Rd., Fremont
(510) 792-0222 ext. 362

Saturdays: Dec 21; Jan 11; Jan 25; Feb 8; and Feb 22
10 a.m. Ð 1 p.m.
Don Edwards Environmental Education Center
1751 Grand Ave., Alviso
(408) 262-5513 ext. 104

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