For the Love of Birds + Nature



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Watching flowers and hearing birds gives the Saotome family a sense of normalcy.

Yas and Ichiko Saotome moved here a few years ago seeking a place near water. San Elijo Lagoon felt home. One of their highlights to living near the coastal estuary, says Yas, is “walking to see the seasonal changes in flora and watch and take pictures of birds.”

Long-billed Curlew with a crab | San Elijo Lagoon

They miss the scale of gardening they did back on the East coast. When they read a news story about the restoration of the open space Harbaugh Seaside Trails, and the need for volunteer support, it felt like a great way to get back into the soil.

Ichiko, who loves to photograph birds, adds, “We became interested in learning more about the project and signed up to receive newsletters. We appreciate what Nature Collective does for the community, so becoming a member was a natural decision.”

Last fall, Yas and Ichiko installed native plant species along with hundreds of volunteers during our habitat restoration events at the ocean overlook. It was the community nature workout that made them feel more connected to this land. 

“This volunteering opportunity provided us with planting experience of some of the native species,” reflects Yas. “We now often walk in the Harbaugh Seaside Trails and the best part is, we enjoy seeing the growth of our plants!”

Their monument tile inscription sums up their gratitude: Appreciation of Nature.

Nature is a calming place for them during the pandemic. They share, “Watching flowers and hearing birds give us the sense of normalcy in this difficult time.”

Black-necked Stilts | San Elijo Lagoon

The Saotome family is represented by the beauty of their feathered subjects, and their love for birds. We thank Yas and Ichiko for their support, and for sharing their nature love story. And, we look forward to the return of volunteer events when that is safer to do.

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The Saotome family are nature heroes, and part of our supporters’ voices we share to inspire us all to connect, experience and protect nature. Make a gift. Join today. 

*Photos by Ichiko Saotome: Black-crowned Night Heron (featured photo)

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