by Ariel Cherbowsky Corkidi, Programs Director, SBMW

2017 began as a good year on the mountain should, with the joy of digging in flowery gifts onto grassy hills with the help of many cheerful friends, adding nearly two thousand host and nectar plants to the mountain for the endangered mission blue and callippe silverspot butterflies.

In addition to planting seedlings grown at the Mission Blue Nursery, this year we also had sown seeds; San Bruno Mountain Watch implemented an experiment under the guidance of the San Mateo County Parks (big thanks in particular to Ranger Michele Laskowski!) testing the effectiveness of direct seeding of native wildflowers as an active method of restoring native grassland diversify to areas where attempts are being made to convert woody scrub back into butterfly-friendly grassland habitat. 

The Dune Defenders program had a fantastic year, bringing the total amount of invasive ice plant removed from the dunes to over 2000 square meters. It's great to see the sand open and free, glowing in the sunlight. Just as exciting is that various schools from the western side of the mountain have been involved. 

Class presentations and guided field trips paired with restoration activities transform students into admirers and enthusiastic stewards of the San Bruno Mountain dunes. 3rd graders are truly the most fierce and tireless removers of ice plant I've ever seen! 

Thank you to our community donors who supported the expansion of this education and restoration program in 2017!

Native dune wildflowers have begun to emerge in these liberated and uncovered areas, and we'll be supplementing these with thousands of restoration plantings of dune beginning in January 2018. Join us in the new year and help bring back the bloom of the dunes.

2017 has been a great year for many other efforts to connect youth with San Bruno Mountain. San Bruno Mountain Watch partnered with the City of Brisbane to offer the San Bruno Mountaineers summer camp for the first time, using art, music, and adventurous hikes to get to know different areas of the mountain and different realms of its cultural and natural history. 

Furthermore, we provided class presentations and service-learning field trips to the mountain and to the Mission Blue Nursery for a dozen schools: Notre Dame de Namur University, Skyline College, Westborough Middle School, Green Hills Elementary School, Compass High School, Panorama Elementary School, Lipman Middle School, Susan B. Anthony Elementary School, Burlingame High School, Brisbane Elementary School, San Francisco State University, and the Hilldale School.

The Guadalupe Valley Stewards completed the first year of native plant landscaping along the Crocker Park Recreational Trail, transforming a compacted old roadbed of weeds into a vibrant native plant garden and enhancing the presence of the mountain in its largest urbanized valley.

More planting is happening in early 2018, converting lawns to mountain plants with the help of Lipman Middle School students outside Brisbane's City Hall. 

With so many plants to grow for an abundance of exciting projects, Mission Blue Nursery began a transformation that will be completed in 2018, to increase our capacity to grow more native mountain plants! 

Thanks to the Mission Blue Nursery family of volunteers who make the work we do possible, and who tend to each other and our community as sweetly as they do to our seedlings and demonstration garden. Thanks also to 2017's new staff member, Nursery Technician Carly Feldman, for a fruitful beginning.

The South San Francisco Weed Warriors, organized by volunteer leaders Chuck Heimstadt and Loretta Brooks, continued their relentless efforts to protect the mountain's south side butterfly habitat from the spread of noxious weeds, with the assistance of many hardy volunteers. Loretta and Chuck received Certificates of Appreciation from the San Mateo County Parks in recognition of their devoted efforts!

We enjoyed this year's community events and hope you did as well, including our quarterly plant sales at Mission Blue Nursery (remember the "Groovy Groundcovers" and "Late Bloomers" theme?!) as well as two new events. We hosted a "Mountain Love-In" community get-together to celebrate the mountain open-mic style with the delightful creative energies of mountain lovers, from photography to poetry and more. We also served as the non-profit partner of the first Star City Music Festival!

There were plenty of exciting finds and discoveries (botanical and more) on the mountain this past year; be sure to review Doug Allshouse's and David Nelson's Mountain Journal and Mountain Alerts!