Life at the EcoCenter...Expect the Unexpected
by Allan Berkowitz, Executive Director

It has been 3 months since we moved into our new home. We’ve settled in, the place is set up and functioning, and every day is a reminder of how fortunate we are to frequent this beautiful setting. Much has been said and written about the EcoCenter restoration and how beautiful the building is. If you have had the opportunity to visit us then you know what I’m talking about. And if you have not yet visited, you have no doubt seen the pictures.

After 3 months here is what we’ve learned: life in a preserve and operating a building that is a major attraction to the general public brings with it the unexpected. Allow me to share – with a degree of randomness and whimsy – some tales from the EcoCenter in just the first 3 months.

  • Swallows Part 1: They are amazing engineers who build fascinating nests using defined construction principles. They are nesting off the edges of our lower deck in case you want to observe them up close.
  • Swallows Part 2: They are inadequate parents who abandon the nest when someone walks by.
  • Picture this: Team Loft (our staff who work in the loft) is hard at work. The door to the Bridge Deck is open and offers a gentle breeze and a wonderful view of the marsh.  All is calm, peaceful, blissful until….Thump! A raptor deposits the remains of his duck lunch on the upper deck. Let's just say that identifiable duck parts were now our problem.
  • Nature is spiritual for many of us. The marsh and the relative privacy of our front deck provided the setting for a Muslim gentleman who found it was time for his afternoon prayers. The loud spiritual chanting alerted us.
  • Air Traffic Out-of-Control: Since February the tally is: one airplane in the water at the north end of the preserve near the Dumbarton Bridge and one helicopter in the marsh off of East Bayshore. (And one boater stuck at low tide and rescued from the mud).
  • To paraphrase Frank Sinatra, “Egrets We’ve Had a Few…” Actually we have more than a few, and herons, too. They have filled the eucalyptus trees next to the EcoCenter. Problem is that we have walk under the trees to and from our cars. Have you ever heard a nesting egret when it is disturbed? Have you ever heard 10 of them?
  • We all know that birds poop. Sometimes they poop on adorable 3-year olds who visit the preserve…and our restroom.
  • What happens when a seagull has a piece of bread? A crow harasses it until it drops it. Crow 1 Seagull 0. What happens next? The same seagull sees a duck with a piece of bread and harasses it until it drops it. Seagull 1 Duck 0. What happens next? I don’t know but it might explain the adorable 3-year old and the bird poop.


Want to experience the beauty, the serenity, and these unexpected antics of the EcoCenter? Join us Sunday July 22 1-5pm for our official grand opening to the public. Stop in, celebrate with us, experience the new touchscreen educational displays that will be launched that day.