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Walk On The Wild(life) Side And Help Our Regional Parks

Become part of the East Bay Regional Park District Wildlife Volunteer Program and experience nature up close and personal

 

The East Bay Regional Park District sponsors a group called The Wildlife Volunteers who work with district staff to improve the quality of life for birds and wildlife in the East Bay Regional Park District. 

Dave "Doc Quack" Riensche, a wildlife resource analyst and certified wildlife biologist, coordinates the volunteers.


If you are interested in volunteering or learning more about what the group does, you can call him at (510) 544-2319, or e-mail him at docquack@ebparks.org

Important: Due to weather and other unforseen circumstances these events can be subject to change, so if you want to participate you are advised to call two weeks in advance, rather than just show up. You also need to complete an application to join the volunteer organization to participate. (Information about that application process is at the bottom of this article.) 

Below, courtesy of  the district's website, is a descriptive list of 2012 projects in the immediate East Bay in which The Wildlife Volunteers are engaged.

It’s Your Tern - Hayward - March 12

This is an exciting adventure over land and water to help create nesting habitat for the state and federally listed endangered California least tern.  We will pull weeds, place nesting materials, install tern decoys, build a chick fence, and set-up the sound system in anticipation of another exciting tern breeding season. By participating, you’ll earn your “Least Tern Habitat Helper” patch. Space is limited to current Wildlife Volunteers.  Parent participation required. Date: Monday, March 12, 2012.  Time:  9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Location: Hayward Regional Shoreline, Hayward. 

Hole-in-the-tree-Gang & Riparian Re-Leaf- Fremont - March 17 & 24

Here is your opportunity to meet the park’s star cavity nesting critter – the tree swallow, and help other bird buddies!  During this hands-on wildlife habitat restoration effort, we will clean, repair, build and install nest boxes. If time permits we will enhance the plant life found along the marsh.  By participating, you’ll earn your “Wetland Partners” patch.  Parent participation required. Date(s):  Saturday, March 17, 2012. Time: 1:30 to 4:30 pm. Saturday, March 24, 2012. Time: 1:30 to 4:30 pm. Location: Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont

Habitat Helpers - Castro Valley - April 21

During this fun-filled opportunity you’ll discover the “nutty wildlife truths” about oak trees, and help make the world a better place one tree at a time.  For your kind act toward nature, you will receive a “Habitat Helpers” patch.  Parent participation required. Date: Saturday, April 21, 2012  Time: 9:00 am to Noon.
Location: Lake Chabot Regional Park 

Restoration Rangers - Fremont - May 6

Here is your opportunity to help the park’s wildlife by caring for willow, cottonwood, redwood and oak saplings while removing obsolete irrigation lines.  If time permits, we may craft and clean wood duck, tree swallow, and grebe nests.  By participating, you’ll earn your “Restoration Rangers” patch. Parent participation required. Date: Sunday, May 6, 2012. Time: 9:30 am to 3:00 pm.
Location:  Quarry Lakes Regional Park in Fremont.

Least Tern Colony Monitors -Hayward - May 20

Here is your opportunity to become a “Birding-Peeping-Tom” by peering into the family life of terns. You will be helping to record data about their nest distribution, chronology and reproductive success using the Type 2 monitoring method.  In this method, surveys are conducted from a vehicle approximately 25m (75ft.) from the island at various times of day, with the majority of the surveys conducted from 0700 to 1700 hours, seven days a week.  A Cabela’s professional 60mm (2.4 in) spotting scope on a car window mount will be available. Space is limited to current Wildlife Volunteers. Parent participation required. Date:  Sunday, May 20, 2012. Time:  2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Location: Hayward Regional Shoreline, Hayward.

Least Tern Island Clean-up & Gathering -Hayward - August 19

We will pull weeds, place some new nesting materials, remove decoys, and take-down the sound system.  Afterwards the Tern Colony Monitors will celebrate the exciting tern breeding season at one of Doc Quack’s favorite lunch sites.  Also, I will need some “muscle” during the week before hand to haul “free sand” in 3-gallon buckets from Antioch to replenish “tern town”. Space is limited to current Wildlife Volunteers. Parent participation required. Date: Sunday, August 19, 2012 . Time:  9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Location: Hayward Regional Shoreline, Hayward.

Rail Rescue Rangers - Alameda - Sept. 22 & 29

During this hands-on adventure you’ll help create habitat for the federally and state endangered California clapper rail.  We will remove non-native plants, pick-up trash, and plant wildlife friendly vegetation which will restore the upland areas of the Roemer Bird Sanctuary for rails.  By participating, you’ll earn your “Rail Rescue Ranger” patch. Parent participation is required. Date(s):      Saturday, September 22, 2012         Time:  9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 29, 2012         Time:  9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Location:    Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary/ Crown Memorial State Beach

Habitat Helpers - Castro Valley - November 7

During this fun-filled opportunity you’ll discover the “nutty wildlife truths” about oak trees, and help make the world a better place on tree at a time.  For your kind act toward nature, you will receive a “Habitat Helpers” patch.  Parent participation required. Date: Sunday, November 7th, 2012. Time: 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm  Location:  Lake Chabot Regional Park   

Weekday volunteer opportunities also are available

If you are available on a weekday and are willing to help on any of the projects listed below, please e-mail  docquack@ebparks.org.

Amphibian Ambassadors 

Discover the region’s “moist-skinned” treasures while participating in field research and restoration project to conserve and manage these amazing “tongue zappers”, newts and salamanders.  These are on-going dates that include setting our research plots, netting, monitoring, a vegetation survey and hands-on data entry. Space is limited to current Wildlife Volunteers. Parent participation required.  These are remote and rugged areas that require all participants to be “self-contained resources,” and in most cases vehicle access is by four-wheel drive. We recommend outdoors clothing (long pants), waterproof footwear, hat, water, insect repellant, and sunscreen.Date(s), Time(s) and Location: TBA – call or email if interested. 

Burrowing Owl Buddies 

During this hands-on conservation project you’ll discover the “wild side of life” while helping to build new “owl outposts” for these “flying mouse traps” to raise their young.  Here is your opportunity to watch and record the family life of owls.  By participating, you’ll earn your “Burrowing Owl Buddies” patch. Space is limited to current Wildlife Volunteers. Parent participation required. Date(s): TBA – call or email if interested.  Location: Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline, Oakland

Breeding Bird Biologists 

Here is your opportunity to get “nose to beak” with birds, while “conduckting” real fieldwork, during the early morning hours to help manage our feathered friends.  We will be using the area search method developed by PRBO Conservation Science to estimate breeding bird densities at various sites in the East Bay Hills in support of the Wildfire Hazard Reduction & Resource Management Plan. By participating, you’ll earn your “Breeding Bird Biologists” patch.  Parent participation required. We recommend the following personal protective items for recording breeding bird activity in a wet, muddy, and insect rich environment: Outdoors clothing (long pants), hiking/mud boots (waterproof footwear), gloves, hats, water, insect repellant, and sunscreen.  Desired “Breeding Bird Biologists” are able to follow scientific protocols (20 minute search, identify birds encountered by sight, sound or call) and visit their assigned plots three times throughout the breeding season (April through July). Date(s) & Location:  TBA – call or email if interested.

Forest of the Future

During this fun-filled opportunity you’ll discover the “nutty wildlife truths” about oak trees, and help the world breathe easier by watering and caring for trees.  Each tree helper will receive a “Forest of the Future” patch.  Parent participation required. Date(s) & Time(s) TBA – call or email if interested Location: Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont

Nesting Bird Surveys


During this “scientific safari” you’ll see and record what the
“stork” brought to parent ducks, shorebirds, songbirds and more!  Your
efforts will help with the long-term monitoring and management of this
restored marshland. We will be using a grid-transect method to estimate
the densities of nesting birds. By participating, you’ll earn your
“Breeding Bird Biologists” patch.  Space is limited to current Wildlife
Volunteers.  Parent participation required.We recommend the following personal protective items for recording nesting bird activity in a wet, muddy, and insect rich environment: Outdoors clothing (long pants), hiking/mud boots (waterproof footwear), gloves, hat, water, insect repellant, and sunscreen. Date(s), Time(s) and Location: TBA – call or email if interested. 

Lizard Legionnaire


Discover the beauty, mystery, and magic of the region’s reptiles
while participating in field research to conserve and manage grassland
wildlife.  These are on-going dates that include setting our research
plots, trapping, monitoring, vegetation survey and hands-on data entry. 
By participating, you’ll earn your “Managed Grasslands Research”
patch. Space is limited to current Wildlife Volunteers. Parent participation
required.  These are remote and rugged areas that require all
participants to be “self-contained resources,” and in most cases vehicle
access is by four-wheel drive. Date(s), Time(s) and Location: TBA – call or email if interested. 

How to sign-up to become a volunteer

To become a Wildlife Volunteer, download the volunteer application and return completed application to: Dave "Doc Quack" Riensche, Wildlife Resource Analyst, East Bay Regional Park District, P.O. Box 5381, Oakland, CA 94605-0381.

How to support the program with a donation

Make checks payable to the Regional Parks Foundation in support of a Doc Quack program of your choice and send to the Regional Parks Foundation, P.O. Box 21074, Crestmont Station Oakland, CA 94620. The Regional Parks Foundation's Federal Tax ID # is 23-7011877. Visit the Regional Parks Foundation online.

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