San Bruno Mountain Watch’s mission is to “preserve and protect the native ecosystems of San Bruno Mountain, in perpetuity.” We work to preserve the mountain as public open space and protect the remarkable native ecosystems through dedicated stewardship. Our programs connect people to nature near where they live and help local communities learn about the importance of biodiversity as they nurture the landscapes of this unique place.
San Bruno Mountain is a 3,600-acre island of biodiversity surrounded by a sea of urbanization. The mountain is home to 13 rare and endangered plant species and three federally listed endangered butterflies, the Mission Blue, Callippe Silverspot, and San Bruno Elfin. Colorful grasslands, thick woodland canyons, trickling creeks, and scrubby hills grace the mountain's fascinating terrain.
Read more about San Bruno Mountain.
San Bruno Mountain Watch was founded in 1970 by David Schooley, an artist and environmental activist. David grew up and went to college in Berkeley. Not long after graduating, he discovered San Bruno Mountain while driving by on a Greyhound bus. Concerned by plans to build on the mountain, David joined with local residents to stop the destruction of this unique place. The ensuing multi-decade battle resulted in much of the mountain being preserved as public parkland. Read more about our history.
Today, we still work to preserve open space through advocacy and partnerships with landowners and government officials from the surrounding cities and San Mateo County. Furthermore, our organization leads community-based stewardship programs that protect and care for the mountain's diverse habitats and we provide environmental education opportunities for students of all ages. Our 4,000 square foot volunteer-built Mission Blue Nursery provides thousands of plants for restoration efforts on the mountain as well as sustainable landscaping projects in local cities.
Our grassroots organization is closely tied to the surrounding community, with hundreds of volunteers partaking in our stewardship and nursery programs each year. Our dedicated staff includes our Stewardship Coordinator Ariel Cherbowsky. Board Members David Schooley (Founder), Michele Salmon (Chair), Paul Bouscal (Vice Chair), Miranda Sulley (Secretary), Tom Lambert (Treasurer), Del Schembari, Gail Mallimson, and Brian Gaffney play active roles in program planning, community outreach, fundraising, conservation campaigns, and leading hikes.
Since 1970, Mountain Watch has fought many battles to keep San Bruno Mountain from being developed. Much of the mountain is now preserved as public open space, but there are several parcels of land that are still privately owned and eligible to be destroyed. Our organization proactively seeks to preserve these lands, working with landowners and government officials to arrange for donation and/or purchase.
San Bruno Mountain Watch works with volunteers to remove detrimental invasive plants and replant native species. This work is vital to the preservation of native ecosystems and species that have co-evolved over thousands of years. We also maintain a 4,000 square foot native plant nursery, where we cultivate seeds collected from the mountain to replant once grown.
LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM AND THE MISSION BLUE NURSERY.
Many people in the San Francisco Bay Area are unaware of San Bruno Mountain's biological riches, despite it being the closest wilderness to the homes of over one million people. In order to introduce the public to the mountain, we lead regular guided hikes. We also work with local schools to bring students to the mountain. We often table at community events to get the word out about our programs, and our events, such as our annual Pancake Breakfast serve to connect the community to our work.
LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR OUTREACH PROGRAMS OR TAKE A HIKE.