This is one of eight embroidered patches created for the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex via the San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society. These patches are awarded to volunteers as they complete a set number of work hours at each Refuge, and are sold at the Visitor’s Center to help raise money to support volunteer efforts.
Each patch represents key species found in one of the seven Refuges, with an additional patch representing the complex as a whole. I worked closely with Refuge biologists to ensure each species was rendered faithfully within the 10-color limit imposed by the embroidery process.
In the patch representing San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, an endangered California black rail (Laterallus jamaicensis ssp. coturniculus) skirts the edge of a pickleweed patch (Salicornia pacifica). Nestled within, a tiny salt marsh harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys raviventris, also endangered) pokes his head up for a snack.
The marshes in San Pablo Bay have been greatly impacted by human activities. About 85 percent of the historic tidal marshes in the area have been altered, so the Refuge now provides year-round habitat for endangered, threatened, and sensitive species like the California clapper rail, California black rail, salt marsh harvest mouse, San Pablo song sparrow, and Suisun shrew, as well as critical migratory and wintering habitat for shorebirds, waterfowl, and the 11 fish species that swim through San Pablo Bay to reach their freshwater spawning grounds.