My involvement with Mt. Watch started over a decade ago. As a resident of the City of Brisbane ( one of many that flanks San Bruno Mt. ) , I wanted to become involved with this group that had been doing so much to protect and save our mountain. Mt. Watch to many residents of our town was viewed as anti-development, I quikely realized that those that felt that way had special interest towards the mountain, I also had a special interest towards our moutain. After attending my first meeting with Mt. Watch I realized that I could contribute to their efferts even though I didn't know anything about the mountains flora or fauna, what a HCP ( habitat conservation plan ) was or any of the other issues at the time Mt. Watch was involved with, all I knew is that everyone in their own way could make a contribution to its organization, Mt. Watch has shown the entire region what dedication and determination can acheive , what started as one man on a mission, became a mission in of itself to continue the effert to protect San Bruno Mountain, its more about the mission than the man on it.
We moved to Brisbane California because it is an oasis right next to San Francisco. It's beautiful scenery and weather are due to San Bruno Mountain. Over the years, we got involved as volunteers of San Bruno Mountain Watch. They have local programs that are great for adults and children. They also have a regional and national reputation as San Bruno Mountain is home to some rare, endangered butterflies. This is one of the worthiest causes we have found.
Mountain Watch does a terrific job of looking out for the needs of one of the last open spaces on the north peninsula. They have a dedicated leadership who are able to accomplish a good deal of much-needed environmental work on a small budget. Without their efforts, much of this open space would be paved over and covered in condos. They have helped to preserve Native American sites and reclaimed much of the mountain from invasive plants. They provide a necessary opposition voice to the well-financed sector who would develop the entire area.
One of the truly more heroic non-profit, conservation and watchdog organizations that I've been fortunate to have contributed to and been a part of. David Schooley, founder of San Bruno Mountain Watch, is the rare individual who will not compromise his sense of ethics and justice and after 40 plus years of activism, still goes strong. Mountain Watch has been instrumental in galvanizing the local and surrounding communities in the effort to preserve endangered habitats and their dependent species. The organization has been and continues to evolve in it's future planning and strategic direction. Recently, they were able to complete and start up a native plant nursery, specifically supporting flora indigenous to the mountain, and it appears that much needed funds will be generated as well, through sales to the public.
Mountain Watch has a dedicated group of volunteers who offer their time to connect people in very creative, interesting, and informative ways with the natural world. Among them are people involved in Audubon, in the California Native Plant Society, who teach at college, who work in the communities around the mountain, and who care for endangered species and their habitats. They create internships for people who anticipate jobs in environmental fields, and lead groups of school children on the mountain. They take stands that are not always popular, because they place high priority on the well-being of the endangered species on the mountain, and this can conflict with economic or other interests.
They do spend a lot of time trying to educate the public, but unfortunately a great deal of the information they provide is not entirely "true." Much of the information is skewed and a number of their "facts" on their facts page are incorrect or only partially correct. They spend most of their time filing lawsuits and are almost always in direct conflict with State and County Parks, State Department of Fish and Game, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service regarding how habitat and the endangered species on the Mountain should be managed.
This is a hit-piece against this organization. As an effective and low-budget group, Mountain Watch has made enemies among those with an interest in continuing destructive development on the mountain and "Mike's" review is one result.
I've attended events that this organization has put on and volunteered with habitat restoration. Mountain Watch accomplishes an amazing amount of environmental work with few staff and not much $$. They are organizing public opinion, engaging in policy development, doing habitat restoration, and bringing kids and grownups to the mountain to learn about what it is as an open-space and habitat resource right at the foot of San Francisco and the North Peninsula