Who I am
I founded the nonprofit Aisha with an Eye 501c3 to be eligible for donations "to rebuild our planet and achieve world peace." I am also the Secretary, Treasurer, and Board Member.
It's first (and, currently, only project) is The Guardian Project, launched in January 2017 to create "Guardians," individuals who focus on saving one non-human species in one area and transparently share their process, resources, and learnings to do so collectively, in one place, starting here.
The first Guardian to create the process and lead the way is me, Aisha, and my project is to save the burrowing owls in Shoreline Park, Mountain View, California.
is to increase and support the population of burrowing owls at Burrowing Owl Billows (a ~4000 square foot area within Shoreline Park).
is to increase the populations of the burrowing owls' diet by fundraising for and recruiting volunteers to plant California native plants near the owls' habitat that better support and attract the bugs and rodents the owls consume. Invasive non-natives can outcompete natives so we must also weed and maintain the area.
I collaborate with the biologist, Phil Higgins, who works for the city of Mountain View conducting various projects to save the owls. Burrowing Owl Billows is on the city's property, within Shoreline Park, and is a protected migratory bird habitat.
What is a "burrowing owl" you ask? Why... let me explain...
Let's get into the WEEDS of what my project does, why, and how it fits in with the City of Mountain View's initiative to save the burrowing owl:
How you can help
Why help my nonprofit over others
So we have more of these!
Their populations are dwindling because of our (human) impact!
In the 1980s, we had 500 adult burrowing owls at 250 locations in Santa Clara County.
Last year, 2020, we only had 33 adult burrowing owls at 4 locations.
But Shoreline Park, which includes Burrowing Owl Billows, had a record high of 35 chicks that summer (2020), the most out of any of Santa Clara County's burrowing owl habitats.
This project has fundraised $13,018.85 and has added 748 native plants and 4 lbs of native seeds (as of 2/2021) to Burrowing Owl Billows since The First Planting in February 2017, when there were 0 owls.
I reveal all this information to you completely transparently. I do not know of any other nonprofits who will tell you exactly how they spend your donations--not specifically like this. Large established nonprofits will give some of their staff a $300,000+ a year salary using your donations while others are poorly managed so your donation gets spent on "paperwork" or "fees" that could otherwise be avoided if they were better organized or using the latest technology or, frankly, smaller, and more ethical, but we all have a role to play here. I may make some mistakes and I may try experiments that fail, but you will always see what I do and how I learn to improve my project. Because I'm an individual, you can better trust that my motivation is pure--to rebuild our planet and achieve world peace--and my focus is narrow--to save the burrowing owl.
Not only will you see where your donation gets spent, but how much more successful my project is as a result. You are welcome to comment anywhere on the spreadsheet if you have questions or suggestions, especially because it will also serve as the template to onboard new Guardians with their new projects.
Become a Guardian
Shreyans Porwal has stepped up to become the Second Guardian of the burrowing owls at Shoreline Park! He is a Life Scout taking on this project, because, upon its successful completion, he'll earn the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America.
Through collaborating with me, Shreyans will learn end-to-end project management and leadership skills not taught in school but essential to virtually every company.
The plan thus far:
Shreyans will set up and launch a GoFundMe to raise $10,000 for the 8th Planting at Burrowing Owl Billows. He will also assist me in throwing a Castro street fundraising block party with the Girl Scouts.
With the money raised, we will purchase 600 California native plants and 4 4' x 250' cardboard mulch sheets to extend Burrowing Owl Billows by 4000 sq ft, essentially doubling the area.
Shreyans will attend and assist in two weedings, the first on Saturday, February 26th, 8am-Noon, the second TBD but in the first week of April, when Shreyans has Springbreak.
He will shadow me for the first day of the planting on April 23rd, 2022, 8am-Noon and then take the lead to manage the second day of the planting on April 30th, 2022, 8am-Noon.
At the end, Shreyans will get the Eagle Scout Service Project Marker installed at Burrowing Owl Billows to commemorate his service.
If you are interested in becoming a Guardian, please email me email@example.com.