The Great Blue Herons of Stow Lake

Last week I was fortunate enough to spend some time with one of Golden Gate Park's  most interesting characters- Nancy DeStefanis. In a former life, Nancy worked with Cesar Chavez and campaigned for women's rights. Now she dedicates her time to the non- profit San Francisco Nature Education where she teaches not only the public, but disadvantaged communities, about nature in the big city. Nancy  DeStefanis counting the Blue Heron chicks at Stow Lake. Photo: Alessandra Bergamin.

I was there to write about the Great Blue Heron colony at Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park of which Nancy was the first to discover some 20 years ago. She now runs Heron Watch- a program designed to educate visitors and school kids about the colony and more so, this majestic bird.

I am relatively new to the environmental journalism world and slowly, I am getting used to writing feature stories where the main character is a place, rather than a person. But this was an instance where the person was as much a character as the place and so I chose to interweave the life of the Blue Heron colony with that of Nancy DeStefanis. As now, when I think about it, it is hard to imagine one without the other.

You can read the story published on Bay Nature here.