Tell Someone 'Go Take a Hike'

by Allan Berkowitz, Executive Director

Know someone in need of a few hours of relief from these challenging economic times? At the EV we are offering opportunities to offset the burdens that so many are enduring in this economy. We know it is but a small effort, yet we are happy to offer it.

These are very difficult times for the ‘future employed’. And, the stresses of unemployment affect not only the jobseeker, but families as well. We invite the ‘future employed’ to join us on a very fun outdoor experience exploring the local natural world. Three hours won’t solve the problem; but it will provide a brief escape and soothe the soul.

There is no cost for these programs. No donations will be solicited.

Three Opportunities to Enjoy:

Option 1: Take A Break & Take A Hike!

              Join us on a 2-hour nature walk as we explore the local flora and fauna. Easy enough for beginners.

             Fascinating enough to capture your imagination. It will clear your mind and soothe your soul.


Option 2: Take The Family & Take a Hike!

              Weekend excursions for parents with children. Treat your kids to a 2-hour adventure where they can

              taste, touch and smell their way to a nature education. Easy enough for kids. Fun enough for adults to

              act like kids.

Option 3: Giving Back – Volunteer & Make A Difference!

              Looking for an opportunity to give back to community? How about a few hours of volunteer service?

              We organize volunteer work parties. You’ll have fun while doing good.

Upcoming Outings:               April 17 Explore a local nature preserve

                                                May 28 Tide pooling at Half Moon Bay

                                                Contact us for additional dates

Contact Us for more information and for the schedule of these upcoming programs:


Telephone:                              San Jose 408.244.2449              Peninsula 650.961.0545

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EcoCenter Update

Following biological monitoring of the Clapper Rail and finding no nesting birds by the building, we've been given the go-ahead to move forward with construction. New steel beams have been added to the foundation and the building is currently being rolled back to be placed on the foundation. The process of weatherization will start soon. Click here to see a few of the latest pictures - look for “March” in the title.

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Wild Crush 2009 Live Auction Items, Vintners and more


Saturday, April 25, 2009


Quadrus Center

Purchase tickets and learn more about the event

Check out the very cool live auction items just posted on the Wild Crush webpage! You will also find the list of vintners that will pour tastings, and a description of our fantastic raffle prizes. Stay tuned for postings of the fun silent auction items as well. So many chances to win! And you don’t need to be present in order to win the raffle, so go ahead and purchase those tickets regardless of your plans for April 25th.

Please also take note of the generous wineries and other businesses that have donated to the event, support them with your business, and let them know you appreciate their support of the EV!

See you on April 25 for an evening of fun in support of The E.V.!

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Camp News

by Vandy Shrader, Summer Programs Coordinator

S.N.A.K.E. campers discover the natural world through engaging hands-on activities and exciting field trips related to 3 weekly themes.

Now middle school students can EXPLORE! the natural world too, through fun activities and exciting field trips geared toward this older age group.

For more information, click the appropriate logo to the right.

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Who's News: Leni Silberman

by Jan Whitmer

Leni Silberman, a new volunteer, brings a wealth of experience to the Environmental Volunteers. Her diverse work background has always revolved around science, computers, and teaching, which certainly fits with The E.V.! With a degree from New York City’s Queens College in biology-education and a Master’s degree in education (geology minor) from the University of Rochester, Leni taught middle school science in upstate New York for 4 years, then substituted in the Palo Alto schools for 15 years, after the family moved to the Bay Area. She has also taught introductory chemistry labs and taught an intro computer class at Foothill College.

Other education-related jobs Leni has held include her most recent position as manager of Technology Training Services at Stanford University and a job with The Learning Company managing content and documentation development for children’s educational software. She became interested in computers while working in a computer program at Jordan Middle School in Palo Alto. This enrichment program taught computer basics and strived particularly to interest girls in computers. Leni then went on to work at the American Institute for Research, on a project to get women and girls involved with computers in the 80s.

Leni is devoted to her 4 grandchildren and travels quite a bit to visit them. Her daughter Daryl lives in Oregon, and her son Kevin is in Minnesota. It is not surprising, given Leni’s interests, that Daryl and Kevin are both teachers, one of music, the other of geography.

Despite her busy work schedule, Leni has always found time for her passionate avocations--birding and music. She plays baroque flute, recorder, and harpsichord weekly with various groups, and modern flute in a wind quintet. As for birding, Leni always travels with binoculars and a bird guide.

Leni has always thought of herself as an educator rather than a content expert. She prefers to emphasize observation skills and research rather than fact memorization. We will surely benefit from this philosophy, as well as Leni’s experience and commitment.

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Giant Squid

by John Armstrong, Outreach and Communications Coordinator

Even though EV training is wrapping up for the year, we do offer other interesting educational opportunities like our recent squid dissection event.  One of our volunteers was able to get a giant Humboldt Bay Squid and brought it in to The E.V. to be dissected for volunteers and other interested people. We regularly do this with much smaller squid for some of the elementary school kids that we teach and they love it, even though they think it is “yucky!” Click here to see a few pictures – beware; they’re kind of gross!!

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Clap For The California Clapper Rail

By Caroline Chan

A Local Bird Trying To Make A Comeback

Even if you have never had the opportunity to see a California Clapper Rail in the wild, perhaps you have heard one.  Its unmistakable, clattering call (for which it is named) often gives it away.  Once abundant in the salt and brackish marshes along the northern and central California coast, this now endangered, hen-like bird is trying to make a comeback in the fragmented tidal marshes of the San Francisco Bay Area.

When visiting the Bay, look for a 13-19 inch olive-brown bird with a short tail, chestnut colored breast, and a long, slightly down-curved bill. Perhaps you’ll see it at high tide when it moves upland from its preferred habitat of dense cordgrass and pickleweed.  Or maybe you’ll see it feeding on small fish or invertebrates in the tidal channels and mudflats exposed during low tide.

Although the California Clapper Rail can fly short distances, it prefers to stand still or run when frightened.  This tendency to stay near the ground allows for predators such as red foxes, raccoons, skunks, rats and feral cats to find it easy prey.  This is especially so during the breeding and nesting season which spans from mid-February to late-August.

Predation coupled with loss of habitat and unsustainable hunting practices during the Gold Rush days have all contributed to the decline of the California Clapper Rail.  Today, the number of rails is slowly rising as conservationists work hard to protect and enhance the habitat of a bird that has been on the Endangered Species list since 1970.

Perhaps one day you’ll be lucky enough to get a glimpse of the elusive California Clapper Rail.  If not, just keep your ears open for the unmistakable “cac, cac, cac, cac, ca, caha, caha” call of a species which is trying so hard to make a comeback from the brink of extinction.  If you hear it, go ahead and clap…but do so quietly so as not to frighten it!



1.  Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge

2.  SouthBayRestoration.Org


Photo Credits

For EV and student photos:  Leonard Brzezinski, Judy Kramer

For Clapper Rail:

Other pictures provided by subjects

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