Sunday, July 29, 2018

Save The Bay: let's do this at work!

What a great mission to save the San Francisco Bay (wikipedia), such a unique place blessed by mother nature with a dozen of different ecosystems and also the birth place of the renowned Silicon Valley! In this age of industrial and urban development, it takes a lot of leadership, grit, money and time investment to protect natural landscape against real estate speculation and that's what organizations such as Save The Bay or POST (Peninsula Open Space Trust) exemplify in the Bay Area. (Note to IBMers: IBM matches gifts to such environment-protection agencies, that double your generosity!)

Our IBM Silicon Valley Lab (SVL) site leadership brought us an opportunity to literally give a hand to the former with an on-site operation to transplant recently germinated seeds of a native specie into individual pots.

I have to say that, when I was told we were going to plant trees, reading glasses weren't the first tool which came to mind! But I will definitely take them with me next time I do this. Indeed, isolating baby plants which were measuring less than 1/4" and removing ground from the fragile roots with a chop stick, was all about minutia and patience. When we see redwoods in our nearby hills, we certainly forget that they grew from a few original microscopic cells, what a journey life is! Well, the trees we were working on are a species which only exist in the marshes of our South Bay and will only grow up to 1 feet, nothing majestic about them! Except if you are a small mice and thrive under these big trees to their own scale, being protected from predators by the density of these bushes and eating their seeds.

Not any mice, mind you, but another breed which only exists in the Bay Area, nowhere else on the planet!! We are talking about the tiny Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse, so accustomed to our local marsh it evolved and learned how to swim as well as drink salt water!

Another of this local and endangered species is the Ridgway's Rail, which feels so good at home here that it doesn't even migrate!

Between two calls, I was able to transplant 50 plants in about an hour. We had about 5,000 to do overall, so the 100 or so volunteers came very handy!

I've run so many miles at Alviso when working from our North San Jose location at the end of North First Street, this restoration project really stroke a personal cord and I really look forward to follow-up events, especially on or around the Bay Day of Saturday October 6, 2018 (to save the Bay, save the... date! ;-).

In particular, I would like to see how our minuscule plantations have fared when it will be time for them to get to their targeted marsh, in the rainy season (November onwards).

Special thanks to all the people who organized this event, and in particular to the dozen of volunteers from Save The Bay who taught and guided us in this sustainable development effort. And to my IBM colleagues who stepped out of their desk and computers to volunteer their time to support such a great initiative!

Way to make a positive impact, IBM SVL!

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