The East Bay Chapter of CNPS—and the Bay Area conservation community as a whole—lost a beloved member in late January. Sylvia McLaughlin, a long-time member of EBCNPS, was co-founder of the nonprofit group Save the Bay more than 50 years ago. At the time, McLaughlin saw garbage being dumped on the shoreline, marshlands being filled and raw sewage being emptied into the Bay; a third of the bay had already been filled or diked off, and only 10 percent of the original wetlands remained. Developers were planning to fill in most of what remained of the Bay. Through tireless activism McLaughlin was instrumental in the creation of the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, which placed a moratorium on filling the Bay, and the establishment of the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge.

Passing on her love of native plants on, McLaughlin often brought her grandchildren to Native Here Nursery. At the ripe age of 91 years (!) she took part in the 2007 tree-sitting protest to protect the majestic coast live oaks in front of Memorial Stadium. Charli Danielsen, founder of Native Here, said, “Sylvia McLaughlin is a great example for all of us to keep fighting for what is beautiful in nature and never to give up.”