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SFNE Blue Heron Newsletter, January 2008

1. Thank You to Our Volunteers, Donors, and Foundation Partners
2. Endangered Species Big Year Project
3. Upcoming Lectures
4. School Program
5. SFNE in action at the Endangered Species Big Year Kickoff
6. Birding for Everyone
7. Support SFNE

Thank you to our volunteers

Thanks to our dedicated corps of volunteers who have served in classrooms, led school field trips and have served in our public programs. In 2007, we served more than 3,500 people in our programs — connecting our community with nature, our urban parks and open spaces.

Many thanks to our donors and foundation partners

Thank you to our generous donors for your financial support. We rely on your donations to run and grow our programs.

Thanks to our foundation partners for their support:

Adobe Foundation

Bothin Foundation

ERM Foundation

Jiji Foundation

Lee Family Foundation

Leocha Fund

Kimball Foundation

Morris Stulsaft Foundation

San Francisco Parks Trust

We are excited about our new programs in 2008, including science education for underserved fourth- and fifth-grade students and collaborative programs with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area Endangered Species Big Year.

SFNE Executive Director Nancy DeStefanis visits with San Francisco Zoo volunteer John Flynn and Sequoia, a 19-year-old female bald eagle, at the Endangered Species Big Year kickoff.

Endangered Species Big Year Project

In spite of the blustery weather that ushered in the new year, the 2008 Endangered Species Big Year contest got off to a great start this month. About 250 people showed their support for national parks and concern about endangered species by braving the rain and wind to look for the threatened western snowy plover at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach as part of the Big Year kickoff on Sunday, Jan. 6.

The Endangered Species Big Year is a race to be the first in 2008 to view all 33 of the listed species found within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and complete 33 conservation action items to aid the recovery of these important species. A number of groups, including San Francisco Nature Education, are collaborating on this contest as a way to help connect visitors with the unparalleled natural resources the GGNRA offers and participate in their preservation.

San Francisco Nature Education volunteers set up spotting scopes at the Big Year kickoff and helped participants, including a number of children, find plovers on the beach. Special thanks to volunteers Jack Baird, Tina Lui, Judith and Richard Finn, and Tom Prete.

“It was wonderful to see such a strong turnout at the Big Year kickoff,” said SFNE Executive Director Nancy DeStefanis. “We were thrilled to meet so many people and help them start their Big Year checklist by observing snowy plovers right on Ocean Beach.”

GGNRA Superintendent Brian O’Neill spoke at the kickoff event, praising local residents for supporting the park and noting that the Golden Gate National Parks contain more endangered species than any other unit of the National Park System in continental North America. San Francisco Supervisor Sean Elsbernd attended as well.

Watch upcoming issues of SFNE’s Blue Heron Newsletter for announcements of more Big Year field trips and events sponsored by San Francisco Nature Education and other groups.

Upcoming Lectures

January 22, Tuesday, 7:30PM — Free Program

Great Blue Herons of Golden Gate Park with Nancy DeStefanis

Magnificent photos of the Great Blue Heron Colony by James Sullivan, Nature Photographer

Golden Gate Audubon Society Hall of Flowers

San Francisco Botanical Garden, Golden Gate Park

Entrance at Ninth Avenue and Lincoln Way


February 21, Thursday, 7:30-9:00PM — Free Program

Panama Pacific International Exposition of 1915 with Nancy DeStefanis

Lecture/Slideshow and musical performances on ukelele

Learn about the Panama Pacific International Exposition of 1915 in San Francisco’s Marina District.

Only the Palace of Fine Arts remains, and it is now undergoing renovation.

The Hawaii Pavilion at the 1915 Exposition introduced the ukulele and the music of Hawaii to the world.

Ka’ala Carmack, Honolulu-born, is an accomplished musician and singer. He is the founder and instructor of the ukulele and Hawaiian singing ensemble J-Town Hui, and will perform songs with many of his students.

If the audience had been able to squeeze into the Hawaii Pavilion 92 years ago, this is the music they might have heard!

Randall Science Museum, 199 Museum Way, Corona Heights, San Francisco

Ukulele lady Nancy DeStefanis

School Program

We are excited to announce an expansion in our school program to serve fourth- and fifth-graders. We will be conducting science education in the classroom with owl-pellet dissection, and taking the students to Crissy Field to view the wildlife in the lagoon and the bay.

SFNE in action at the Endangered Species Big Year Kickoff

SFNE volunteer Tina Lui helps a young participant spot western snowy plovers at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach at the 2008 GGNRA Endangered Species Big Year kickoff event Sunday, Jan. 6.

Approximately 250 people braved windy and rainy weather to look for western snowy plovers at Ocean Beach, with the help of spotting scopes and SFNE volunteers.

Birding for Everyone

Family Nature Walk

Join us for our guided nature walks on the first Saturday of every month at the San Francisco Botanical Garden, 10 a.m. until noon. Visit our Web site for more details.

Upcoming Dates: Feb. 2 and March 1 (Rain cancels.)

January 5, 2008 Trip Report

Birding for Everyone was cancelled because it was, unfortunately, a rainy and stormy day. We look forward to seeing you on our February and March walks (weather permitting).

Although the bad weather cancelled the January walk, we did get some good publicity from an article in the San Francisco Chronicle’s 96 Hours section. Reporter Paul Kilduff wrote an article on Birding for Everyone, including a link to the SFNE Web site.

A brief excerpt from the article:

“With all the distractions of the great indoors, instilling a sense of wonder about bird life to kids may seem a little far-fetched — that is, unless Nancy DeStefanis has anything to do with it.”

The article is online at:, or


Support San Francisco Nature Education

Your Donations Make a Difference!

Our engaging public and school programs couldn’t exist without generous contributions from people like you.

Would you please send in a contribution today?

Please mail contributions to:

San Francisco Nature Education

3450 Geary Blvd. Suite 208

San Francisco, CA, 94118

Or Donate online at our website!


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San Francisco Nature Education
3450 Geary Blvd.
Suite 208
San Francisco, CA 94118
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