Bringing the “Mountain” to All

San Bruno Mountain, California

Bringing the “Mountain” to All
BY: ALISON WILSON, Brisbane Chamber Director Marketing / Sales
San Bruno Mountain Watch (SBMW) has a passionate Program Director, Ariel Cherbowsky Corkidi. He is enthusiastic about SBMW’s programs with the vision of bringing “the Mountain” to schools, residents and businesses. Cherbowsky greeted me saying, “San Bruno Mountain is an asset for all of us. I believe the serenity of working or living at the base of San Bruno Mountain inspires us all by connecting us with the beauty of our lives on Earth. It moves us to be better family members, friends, neighbors, workers—better people all around.”
Ariel immigrated from Mexico with his family to San Diego as his mother was pursuing postdoctoral research as a plant ecologist. Ariel came to the Bay Area to earn his Bachelor of Science degree in Conservation and Resource Studies at the University of California, Berkeley with an emphasis on ecological restoration. Upon graduating he worked on the coast of San Mateo County with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.
“One day I found David Schooley’s book of art and poetry about San Bruno Mountain, titled Ravines of the Heart, and was really intrigued. Later, I learned of the opportunity of working to steward the mountain, immediately applied, and began working for San Bruno Mountain Watch in September 2015. It was a dream-come-true to be able to work on behalf of a storied mountain in a grassroots, community-based setting. ”
He spoke with enthusiasm about the joy of bringing people together in appreciation of San Bruno Mountain. “I’m especially grateful for the opportunity to develop mountain education programs for youth and businesses. The mountain holds lessons for every one of us. I enjoy developing programs for students ranging from elementary school through the university level regarding the natural and cultural histories of San Bruno Mountain. Businesses find that time on the mountain really brings their employees together through teamwork and increases their well-being. My goal is to guide people in realizing the power and beauty of communally tending and caring for our local mountain.”
“Adults and students alike can connect with San Bruno Mountain during their everyday life, not just through an occasional hike. It’s all about gratitude for our little corner of the planet—the views of the Bay, canyons, and fog streaming over the peaks bring everyday moments of wonder. When we get up close, we find even more astonishing curiosities—did you know there are plants that evolved here on the mountain found nowhere else on Earth, like the San Bruno Mountain manzanita?” I didn’t.
Ariel spoke about the need to increase the resilience of the mountain through continued stewardship as we all face the challenges of climate change. He said, “Thousands of people experience the beauty of the mountain on their way to work, to the store, or to school. Through restoration and education, we can empower them to get involved and contribute to the legacy of saving and stewarding San Bruno Mountain. It’s more than just weeding and planting. It’s about deeply engaging and looking attentively and lovingly at mountain life, delighting in mountain smells and textures, and sharing its folklore. I love creating zine booklets that delve into different mountain stories and inspire people to continue exploring mountain trails and tales.”
San Bruno Mountain Watch offers engaging programs for businesses and schools. Please contact Ariel for further information on these opportunities. To help offset the cost of providing programs, please visit Donations are tax deductible. I asked why businesses and people should donate. Ariel replied, “We want to bring more people of all ages and backgrounds into a deeper relationship with San Bruno Mountain through expanded education programs and stewardship events. Cultivating communities of people that find joy in experiencing and caring for the mountain makes our cities happier, healthier places to live.”
Please follow San Bruno Mountain Watch on Instagram and Facebook, visit their website, and email questions to or call (415) 467-6631. Don’t forget you can buy native mountain plants at Mission Blue Nursery, open quarterly or by appointment!