By Executive Director, Linda Hunter
As sunlight dances on the water of the San Francisco Bay, a solitary Great Egret stands in the shallow waters waiting for the tide to fall. The gentle lapping of the waves mimics the sound of a heartbeat creating an effect that makes the shoreline itself seem alive. Beneath the surface of the water, however, lies a stunning ecosystem that is just as majestic, one that is essential to the health of the entire bay, but is often ignored and needs our help. Please join us in celebrating the wondrous world of oysters at Bubbles & Bivalves, a fundraising event hosted by The Watershed Project on May 17th at the Aquarium of the Bay. The event will showcase our Living Shoreline Program that actively engages local youth and adults through hands-on experiences, restoration, and education.
Did you know that more than 85% of the world’s native oyster reefs are gone? And that these oysters are the ecosystem engineers of vital habitat for fish and other critters that rely on healthy habitat to survive? Native oyster were once so widespread in San Francisco Bay that the Bay supported the West Coast’s largest oyster industry.
Unfortunately, due to ecosystem degradation in the Bay, the native oyster population rapidly plummeted. By 1939, the last of the native oysters were being commercially harvested. Today, The Watershed Project is excited to help lead an effort to restore native oysters to the San Francisco Bay. Our Living Shoreline Program involves three interconnected approaches: restoration, monitoring, and education.
We work with a group of scientists and educators–the Native Oyster Working Group–at pilot restoration sites along Marin, Contra Costa, and Alameda County shorelines. Native oysters perform essential ecosystem processes and restoring their populations will have significant beneficial impacts on the bay.
Our keynote speaker at Bubbles & Bivalves is Paul Greenberg. Paul is the author of the James Beard Award winning New York Times bestseller Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food and a regular contributor to The New York Times. He has also written for National Geographic Magazine, GQ, The Times (of London), Vogue, and many other publications. Paul explains in his book that we have become such proficient fishermen that the world’s fish catch has quintupled since the end of WWII to the present day. We now remove more wild seafood from the oceans every year than the weight of the entire human population of China. And we’re turning to domestication to keep pace with demand. Paul asks the essential question: do we have to destroy the sea at the same time as we are taming it or can we strike a balance by encouraging the farming of more sustainable fisheries rather than the protein loving, four fish that we have come to expect?
That is where the humble oyster comes in. Oysters have a remarkable propensity for making ecosystems more bountiful. Oysters are filter feeders, meaning they take in murky water, filter out food, and expel clear water. Heightened clarity allows sunlight to reach underwater plants, making them grow and providing habitat for many small creatures called macroinvertebrates. These macroinvertebrates are then eaten by larger fish, and thus continues the web of life.
While we are a long way from being able to eat oysters from San Francisco Bay because of legacy pollutants like mercury and PCBs, the oyster’s amazing ability to create a living reef benefits the entire subtidal ecosystem of our Bay.
Come to our event to learn more!
Bubbles & Bivalves features:
- Farmed local oysters from Tomales Bay and Drakes Bay
- Bite-sized food from the Bay Area’s finest restaurants focused on local, sustainable ingredients
- Libations from local, environmentally-minded vineyards and breweries
- Live music performances from local luminaries
- Compelling Aquarium of the Bay exhibits, including its underwater tunnel surrounded by 20,000 marine mammals
- Silent auction with fantastic event packages and other gifts.
If you are interested in sponsoring our event, please contact Linda Hunter at 415.378.7832 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Bubbles & Bivalves Auction Items:
Two delicious Ferry Building themed gift baskets, value $100 each
Enjoy a true taste of the Bay Area with a delicious gift basket from the historic Ferry Building.
Wine & Cheese Sail Around the Bay, value $350
Tour San Francisco Bay, taking in our finest scenery by sailboat! Enjoy time with friends aboard the comfortable Wianno, a 35-ft racer-cruiser. You can take the helm for a spell or relax and enjoy the view on this four-hour trip for four. Catered wine, cheese, and other nibbles will make this voyage tasty, too.
Ivy Rain Barrel, value $139
Harvest rainwater in your own backyard! The 50 gallon Ivy barrel is made in the USA of 50% recycled HDPE plastic. It features a locking lid, screened inlet and 2 overflow ports. The Ivy barrel also has linking capacity, so you can easily expand your rainwater collection volume.
Pt. Sur Lighthouse Tour, value $40
Pt. Sur lighthouse and its supporting lightstation buildings stand atop a dramatic volcanic rock just off-shore in Big Sur, California. On the National Register of Historic Places and a California landmark, Pt. Sur can be visited by guided walking tours year round. Four passes to any regularly scheduled tour are your ticket to astounding coastal views–including migrating whales, seasonally.
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Gallery Passes value $112
YBCA aims to be a cultural gathering place for this region’s many diverse communities; to be a place of creative excellence, education, exploration and celebration. Experience Yerba Buena Center for the Arts with four tickets to YBCA’s contemporary art galleries.
Two guest passes for San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), value $36
SFMOMA is one of world’s most innovative museums of modern and contemporary art. Whether you’re interested in traditional painting and sculpture, extraordinary photography, visionary architecture and design, or cutting-edge multimedia installations, there’s a world of art to explore at SFMOMA.
Camilla MacFayden “Seaweed Prints” silk scarf, value $45
Gorgeous wearable art from Gloucester, Massachusetts artist Camilla MacFayden. In shimmering green, Camilla’s unique seaweed print graces this unique silk charmeuse scarf.
California Bach Society Subscription, value $100
The California Bach Society is a 25 singer ensemble specializing in Renaissance and Baroque choral music. The 2012-2013 season will consist of four concerts in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Palo Alto. Highlights of the upcoming season include Johann Sebastian Bach’s Mass in B Minor.
Tour & Tasting at Drakes Bay Oyster Company, value $150
Within Point Reyes National Seashore, in pristine Drakes Estero, the Lunny family produces what are recognized as some of the finest oysters in the world. Drakes Bay Oyster Company is also home to California’s last remaining oyster cannery. Enjoy a tour and oyster tasting for 10 at Drakes Bay Oyster Farm. Round out your trip with a hike on Tomales Point, or visit Point Reyes Lighthouse and dine in the charming town of Point Reyes Station. You’ll have a pearl of a day.
Enzyme Bath at Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary, value $85
Discover tranquility and renewal at Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary. Your journey through the spa includes organic tea, an enzyme bath with a unique fermentation treatment, a blanket wrap, and a Metamusic session. Only at Osmosis will you experience this ultimate treatment designed to relax, soothe, and energize your mind, body, and spirit.
Exploratorium Family Membership, value $90
As members of San Francisco’s legendary museum of science, art and human perception, you and your family will enjoy many engaging benefits! One-year family membership entitles two adults and up to four children to attend the museum as often as desired for free, plus receive 20% off at the Exploratorium Store, invitation to special events, priority registration and discounts for year-round day camps, free admission for adults to After Dark events, free or discounted admission to over 300 other science centers worldwide, and much more!
Four “Good For Any Show” Tickets for Slim’s and The Great American Music Hall, value $100
Opened in 1988 by legendary R&B artist Boz Scaggs, Slim’s is a live music nightclub dedicated to providing the public with excellent service, a friendly atmosphere, good food & drinks, and the finest of American Roots Music, Blues, R&B, Cajun/Zydeco, Jazz, Alternative, Metal, Hip-Hop, Pop and more.
Photo credits (from top): Chris Lim; Townsend, 1893; Paul Greenberg