Interactive Signage project at the Palo Alto Baylands:

Enhancing visitors’ experience and bringing local communities together through new interactive, multi-sensorial, and bilingual educational signs.

Palo Alto, CA

Environmental Volunteers, the City of Palo Alto, and the Friends of the Baylands announce a project that will design and install innovative and interactive interpretive signs along the two miles of trails between Cooley Landing and the Lucy Evans Nature Center. The panels are being created in partnership with the City of Palo Alto, Friends of the Baylands, and the City of East Palo Alto.

With the support of Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, Bohannon Foundation, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation from the Cosco Busan Oil Spill Fund, and the State of California’s 2002 Resources Bond Act, we hope to inspire visitors to take action to protect the Baylands and help visitors develop an understanding and appreciation of the Baylands ecosystem through the usage of new interpretive panels and exhibits along two miles of multi-use trails and along a new Boardwalk located at the Lucie Stern Nature Interpretive Center.

“We are pleased to be working with the Friends of the Baylands and the Environmental Volunteers, who are both committed to improving interpretation in the Baylands.  This follows the rebuilding of the boardwalk and the completion of improvements to the Lucy Evans Nature Center,” said John Aikin, who oversees interpretive programing for the City of Palo Alto.

“Nature is for everyone,” said Board member for Environmental Volunteers, Diana Garcia, “All people should have the opportunity to connect more with their surroundings, regardless of where they live or their social or economic status. Young people from all backgrounds especially deserve opportunities to learn-in, thrive-in, and appreciate our local nature preserves so they can become informed and engaged champions for nature.”

“This is a great opportunity to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to learn about the Bay and our local Salt Marsh” says Elliott Wright, Executive Director at Environmental Volunteers.  “Everyone deserves the opportunity to enjoy time outdoors and learn about their surroundings, because the more people who connect with nature the more we all benefit. All future visitors will have the opportunity for more meaningful experiences of the Baylands, which will improve everyone’s quality of life, health, and social well-being. In turn, our whole community will become stronger and more sustainable.”

The Baylands Nature Preserve is unique because it is the largest undisturbed tract of salt marsh in the San Francisco Bay Area. Over half the original salt marshes in the United States have vanished due to human development. The Baylands provides an important habitat for migratory shorebirds and is considered one of the best birdwatching spots on the West Coast. It is also home to numerous species of plants and animals including the endangered Ridgeway’s Rail and salt marsh harvest mouse. In addition, salt marshes are productive habitats that sequester carbon and are important to protect against the rising sea level.

The Cooley Landing Education Center, located in and managed by the City of East Palo Alto, opened to the public in July 2012. The Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center, located in and managed by the City of Palo Alto, has been serving Baylands visitors since 1969. The trail from Cooley Landing to the Interpretive Center was completed in early 2019.

The expected benefits of this new partnership and project include: 

  • Increase in visitors’ knowledge and appreciation for the Baylands ecosystems.
  • Increase in visitors’ enjoyment of the Baylands.
  • Increased annual visitation to the Baylands Preserve and Cooley Landing by members of the East Palo Alto Community, as well as those living in Palo Alto and surrounding communities.
  • Increase in visitors’ desire to support and protect the Baylands.

Join us for the first in a series of workshops to gather community input on the proposed designs of the interpretive panels and exhibits along two miles of multi-use trails in the Palo Alto Baylands. This first workshop of the series will present the project and proposed designs and share samples of materials being considered for use. Participants will provide feedback in breakout groups that will be used in further design planning.

Location: Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center
2775 Embarcadero Rd, Palo Alto, CA 94303
Date: Thursday, December 5th, 2019
Time: 1:00pm – 3:00pm

RSVP: For more information or to RSVP, please contact Susan Phung at

Additional workshops will be held during the following time frames: Workshop #2: March 2020-July 2020
Workshop #3: August 2020-November 2020

About the Friends of the Baylands: The Friends of the Baylands (an initiative of the Friends of the Palo Alto Parks) was founded in 2003 as a 501(c)3 for sole the purpose of enriching, enhancing, and beautifying Palo Alto’s parks and open spaces, including the Palo Alto Baylands Preserve.  Over the past 16 years, they have successfully completed 13 park improvement projects.  The Baylands Salt Marsh Trail Enhancement Project will directly serve the ongoing fulfillment of their mission.

About the City of Palo Alto:  The City of Palo Alto owns and manages nearly 4,000 acres of open space preserves including the 1,940-acre Baylands Preserve , one of the largest tracts of undisturbed marshland remaining in the San Francisco Bay. Fifteen miles of multi-use trails provide access to a unique mixture of tidal and fresh water habitats in Palo Alto and East Palo Alto.