Every Person Can Do Something!

People everywhere are now realizing that it is up to all of us to save our planet’s biological diversity. Traditional parks and preserves that “spare” nature play extremely important roles, but they are not enough. Agricultural, suburban and urban lands can and must also contribute to the overall goal while satisfying important important human needs such as food and housing. In other words, they can “share” nature. Recent research has found that when they do this, not only do other species benefit, but human health is also improved.

The Marin Biodiversity Corridor Initiative (MBCI) recognizes the important work that public agencies are doing to conserve and enhance biological diversity on park and open space lands. It seeks to improve the contribution that the other lands make – those where most of the population lives and works.

At present, most of these lands are “wildlife food deserts” because they contain so few native plants and other resources for our native insects, birds, and other animals. A recent survey by Bonnie Morse in San Rafael found that the proportion of native plants was less than 1%, while the recommendation for conserving biological diversity is closer to 70%. Fortunately, throughout Marin, people are beginning to change that. Many have found that in addition to producing visible results on the ground, getting involved in making the world better can also help counteract the now widespread anxiety about the future. Here are just a few examples of projects that motivated citizens have started and that MBCI encourages.

Neil Cummins School – Corte Madera

Dedicated teacher Dana Swisher has worked with parents, students and community members to create an amazing biodiversity garden at the school. For this, she recently won an award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Congratulations, Dana!


Bay Model – Sausalito

A collaboration between the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Marin chapter of the California Native Plant Society resulted in this stunning pollinator garden easily accessible to visitors. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC


Pacheco Valle Traffic Median – Novato

Marcia Basalla, in partnership with the Novato Streetscape Committee, has worked for many years to enhance this formerly neglected space. It is now a key resource for much wildlife, including monarch butterflies!


Magnolia Avenue Island – Larkspur

Right in front of the historic Lark Theater, Laura Lovett managed to fit a diverse set of native plants into a challenging space. They benefit wildlife and look beautiful all year long! OPEN TO THE PUBLIC


Home Ground Habitats – Novato

Here Charlotte Torgovitsky has created a truly stunning and diverse garden in one of Marin’s special nurseries. It provides habitat for many native insects and birds.


Dunphy Park, Sausalito

Biodiversity was not one of the original priorities for Dunphy Park in Sausalito. However, when Oscar Lucario joined the staff, he began to seek ways of increasing diversity. He began to plant native species in favorable locations among existing plants and in different combinations. One patch now produces abundant nectar and pollen, while other patches provide other benefits to native insects and birds. A bayside restoration project is being planned. This is a good example of how existing landscapes can slowly be improved by enhancing their diversity.

O. Lucario