Current Projects


The Friends conceived the osprey live nest camera project as a way to bring nature directly to people’s computers and the classroom. We have been fortunate to partner with Island Energy who installed the nest platform and camera equipment that was funded by Ducks Unlimited and Cargill to bring life in an osprey nest onto the web. We’ve included a Resources for Teachers as support. Read More

Benson Center Shade Structures for Educational and Volunteer Activities

Fundraising Goal: $100,000

Welcoming school age children to the Refuge can be a challenge, especially on hot sunny days. Schoolchildren in the area come to the Refuge for Summer Camps and during the year for planting and stewardship projects. Creating a safer more protected environment for them will enhance their experiences. This high – priority fund raising project includes construction of shade structures to increase these education and recreational opportunities. The photo above is a rendition of one of the proposed shade structures adjacent to the Benson Center.

In addition to the two structures, the project includes construction of a seating area, and a public access information kiosk . Adding these features to the Refuge headquarters will provide an opportunity to share information about the importance of the wetlands for wildlife , and about the recreational amenities at the refuge, including trails, observation platforms, kayaking, birding, fishing and hunting opportunities.

Sonoma Land Trust Support Letter

USFWS Support Letter  

Selected Past Projects

Sonoma Baylands Unit - Dickson Ranch Sign Installation

An example of the type of work we do to support the refuge: A small, but dedicated, group of volunteers and Friends board members gathered to install trail signs for the Sears Point and Eliot hiking trails at the recently restored Dixon Unit. We encourage anyone who is an active user of the refuge to give back to the refuge by volunteering or donating. 

The Friends Endangered Species Books

The Friends of San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge have published two children’s books about endangered species

A Home for Salty

“A Home for Salty” about the indomitable Salty, a little salt marsh harvest mouse wandering through the salt marsh searching for the perfect place to live.

This delightful children’s book is about the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse’s whimsical search for a safe home in the marshes along our Bay where she can find the food she likes. This book came out of an activity created by the environmental educational staff of the SFBNWR field trip program. This is the introductory activity for the students before their small group, hands-on station rotations. The large size booklet’s each page has a hole for a mouse finger puppet for telling the story to students as she went on her search for the right habitat.

In 2006, Fran McTamaney, Education Coordinator for the Refuge Complex and Christy Smith, Refuge Manager of SPBNWR decided this would make a wonderful children’s book for the Friend’s group to publish about our most famous endangered species of the greater San Francisco Bay Area. The book was written by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen and illustrated by Diane Adams. The author took this Field trip activity as a guide to write the book. The illustrator created its unique look by using collage with multi-colored paper backgrounds.

The 40 page book includes educational information about animals of the bay;

  •     Thumbnail descriptions of all the animals Salty meets on her journey.
  •     Mini-section entitled “About Endangered Species” that suggest ways to help protect these species.
  •     Bay area map highlighting the marshes where Salty lives.
  •     A bookmark with “Cool Facts” about Salty.

First published in 2007 with donations from Conoco Phillips, Valero Energy Corp., and Westin Solutions and reprinted in 2012 through sales of 1st edition and a financial contribution from the Friends of SPBNWR. For each edition, about 1000 free copies were given to schools in the North and South Bay for their libraries and 3rd grade teachers. The Friends group received many handwritten thank you booklets and letters from students and teachers expressing the books contribution to their Science programs. Over the years, many of the surrounding Environmental agencies have sold this book in their visitor center bookstores.

Sardis and Stamm

“Sardis and Stamm” is about the beautiful Langes metalmark butterfly helped by Sardis, a girl riding her bike through sand dune habitat.  The main characters in each book are surrounded by beautifully described supporting cast of ecologically suited species.  

From “Storyboard to Storybook” describes the making of “Sardis and Stamm” named for the two original parcels comprising Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge; the first national wildlife refuge established to sustain an endangered insect and its habitat. Antioch Dunes are located in Antioch California, deposited by ancient glaciers and decimated by brick makers in the end of the 1800’s.  The habitat hosts many unique species, including the delicate Contra Costa wildflower and Antioch evening primrose, and naked buckwheat that the butterfly lays its eggs on

Marin Islands Habitat Restoration Project

This group of volunteers on an August Saturday embarked from San Rafael to the larger East Marin Island. Their mission was to help make the habitat more inviting for the colonies of birds on the west island by removing invasive nonnative plants.

The East Marin Island had been a vacation resort, but now is undergoing restoration to become more friendly for migrating birds. Nearby, West Marin Island holds the largest heron and egret rookery in the San Francisco Bay area. The Marin Islands National Wildlife Refuge are normally off limits and closed to the rest of the world making our wildlife helpers castaways for a short time.

Administration of Guadalcanal Funds

As part of a mitigation settlement for work on Highway 37, Caltrans restored Guadalcanal Village to a tidal wetland. The property was previously used for military housing for Mare Island Naval Shipyard during its expansion in World War II. The Friends manages an endowment to provide funding for maintenance and monitoring of the Guadalcanal property, visible from the Highway 37 bridge over the Napa River.

Planting Native Species

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