wilderness – wild near us pg 3


Join us for our 26th annual celebration of the migration through San Francisco Bay of more than 1 million shorebirds and hundreds of thousands of ducks, geese, hawks and other wildlife at the peak of migration. February 5-7, 2021

I frequently think of planning the Flyway Festival somewhat like the burden and responsibility who you are parents must feel, as each Christmastime holiday or child’s birthday nears. These traditions and occasions have a certain permanence in our lives, yet, each year we ask ourselves, “How will we make this one special?” “Where will the money come from for the celebration? What gifts should we get? How will we find the time to fit all the planning and doing in?

These feelings and even, fears, come up for me each year, too, as I try to imagine what this year’s Flyway Festival will offer and the challenges of producing it. Yet, I am reminded that like pandemics and politics, which know no borders, there is something else, in these layers of our lives, that knows no borders, either.

This year, on the first weekend of February, we will celebrate the migration of as many as 1 million shorebirds, a quarter million waterfowl, ducks and geese, and possibly tens of thousands of raptors, hawks and millions of songbirds, to and through San Francisco Bay. These vast collections of mobile wildernesses and wildness, ascend, alight and afloat about us. They appear as fleetingly as angels in flocks in our back yard. They cross the sky above in familiar formation. We hear their voices in the evening fleeting brightness of the Fall setting sun and the muted light of the Winter dusks. We are privileged to live nearby to the center of these gatherings on the waters and in the sky at our national wildlife refuges and state wildlife areas.

For more than 25 years, Mare Island has been our headquarters where we meet together and gather for this celebration of the collision of remnants of history and the vibrancy of migratory wildlife. Simmering together, we have created a delectable brew of passion, profusion and purpose, from which we each sip and savor. Restored and reinvigorated, we return to our lives, renewed in our awe of the wild around us and the wild within us. We are annealed for the journey ahead, seasoned by our time spent in the magic and majesty of this beautiful bay and its tributaries. To live our lives well as companion and with compassion with nature. The nature we are. No matter the vastness of the circumstances we find ourselves in, we are inspired by the smallest elements of nature, from hovering dragonflies, to sleek and fast snakes, flitting tiny birds, the fastest and the most majestic raptors, the wide stretched wings of pelicans and turkey vultures, the diving of ducks and cormorants, the obsessive feeding of shorebirds frantic to refuel for continued flight or to find rest for the winter, on our shores.

So, even with “Stay at home” orders, we’ve been encouraged through a generous sponsorship by the Redwood Chapter of the Sierra Club, to once again, hold our beloved San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival. This year, it will be primarily a Virtual event with the freedom to still get out on your own self-guided, socially distanced hikes and wildlife viewing expeditions.

Throughout the first weekend in February, the 5th, 6th and 7th, we will piece together VIRTUAL Regional and Mare Island outings, as usual.

After decades of questionable power, freezing cold winds blowing through old barns, and porta potties, I’m certain you will agree that just snuggling under your favorite blanket on the couch, could be a fun Flyway Festival! One thing is guaranteed. It’ll be different; life sure can be convoluted. Still, it will be good, won’t it, to come together for our migration celebration once, again.  click to continue

Please make your donation to the Flyway Festival payable to:

Mare Island

Heritage Trust

816 Branciforte St.

Vallejo, CA 94590

Donate online

Photos: Upper, The USS Emory S. Land, Drydock 2, the former Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Myrna Hayes, above center, Myrna Hayes, left, Sallie Evans, rear, Erik Halberstadt, Gordon McMahon, Belinda Seidemann, Dee Araya, Mare Island Heritage Trust Mare Island Preserve volunteer teem, above right sunset over the Mare Island Preserve, Myrna Hayes, tree swallow feeding young, Mare Island Preserve visitor center, Myrna Hayes, tree growing from piling in Mare Island Preserve, Sparrow in olive, Bill George.

Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they

say, but with


So, go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally.

The broken world

waits in darkness

for the light that

is you.

L. R. Knost