About Alison Hawkes

Alison joined Bay Nature in November, 2011 in a new position designed to boost the institute's web presence and cover ongoing nature issues. She has worked in journalism for more than a decade as a former newspaper reporter turned radio producer turned web editor with each rendition bringing her closer to her dream of covering environmental issues. In 2009 she graduated from the Columbia University School of Journalism with a masters in science journalism and moved to the Bay Area as a freelancer. She co-founded Way Out West, a site dedicated to covering Bay Area environmental news, and following a good year's run closed up shop after seeing the difficulty of monetizing online content. Alison is still dedicated to figuring out the puzzle of funding good journalism. She's an avid hiker and traveler, although her adventures have taken a tamer turn since the birth of her son, Oliver, who she's nevertheless enthusiastically introducing to the natural world, one tree and one bug at a time.

Website: http://baynature.org

Contributions

Should I Plant Milkweed to Save the Monarchs?

March 03, 2015 by Alison Hawkes

The road to hell is paved with good intentions — or sometimes, with milkweed.

8 Comments

Without Racial Diversity, Do Enviros Risk Becoming Marginalized?

February 25, 2015 by Alison Hawkes

UC Berkeley professor Carolyn Finney explains why environmentalists should support biodiversity — and racial diversity.

6 Comments

What’s Killing California’s Native Pigeon?

February 09, 2015 by Alison Hawkes

Scientists are using genetic tests to determine how a nasty parasite is killing off the band-tailed pigeon.

1 Comment

California’s Drought, As Measured From the Sky

January 22, 2015 by Alison Hawkes

Up until recently, there were limited and fairly antiquated options on how to measure California's snowpack.

No Comments

What is the mystery substance that killed East Bay seabirds?

January 20, 2015 by Alison Hawkes

State investigators will begin testing a mystery substance that has killed or injured more than 200 seabirds in the San Francisco Bay.

No Comments

Are Humans Part of Wild Nature? Interview with M. Sanjayan

January 15, 2015 by Alison Hawkes

New documentary film series explores how humans and nature are codependent.

No Comments

A Voice for Native Plants Turns 50

January 07, 2015 by Alison Hawkes

U ntil a few years ago, few people knew about the rare plant communities that persisted quietly in a lightly ...

No Comments

Bill Kortum Leaves Legacy in Conservation

January 05, 2015 by Alison Hawkes

Sonoma County's Bill Kortum, 87, dies leaving much of Sonoma County land preserved for posterity.

1 Comment

A New Twist on Saving Salmon — and Keeping West Marin Affordable

December 30, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

Coho salmon need help, but so do people with modest incomes. A new initiative seeks to bridge the two.

No Comments

High Pressure Ridge Gone at Start of Rainy Season

December 13, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

Is California's drought caused by "natural variability" or was it much more likely to happen under climate change?

No Comments

What To Do When Ladybugs Make Your Home Theirs?

December 04, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

Question: I have a lot of ladybugs in my living room and kitchen. Should I take them outside?

No Comments

A Conservationist’s Take on the Knowland Park Controversy

November 17, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

The City of Oakland is about to make a major decision on the future of one of the Bay Area's last remaining maritime chaparral communities.

10 Comments

Drought Brings Right Conditions to Stem Sudden Oak Death

November 11, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

The California drought is bad for most species, including the fungal pathogen that kills oaks.

2 Comments

Fountain a Watering Hole for Drought-Affected Birds

October 08, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

Where does a thirsty bird go when the drought hits hard?

2 Comments

Putting Nature on the Balance Sheet

September 24, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

Three Bay Area counties —Santa Clara, Sonoma and Santa Cruz — have found a way to put these values of nature onto a balance sheet.

1 Comment

Ask The Naturalist: Why Would A Mountain Lion Attack That Child?

September 13, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

"I hear lion attacks are rare. Why would a mountain lion attack a child in the midst of a large group, as we've seen in the Santa Cruz Mountains last weekend?"

5 Comments

Marin headlands lookouts and Hawk Hill

August 13, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

This hike will take you to the top of one of the most famous lookout spots in the Marin Headlands, ...

No Comments

Beavers Used to Be Almost Everywhere in California

June 19, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

Beavers used to live across most of California before they were trapped out of existence. But could they be a solution to drought and climate change?

14 Comments

A New Paradigm For Conservation: Consider the Countryside

May 27, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

Conservation biologists are realizing that farmlands could play an important role in conservation.

1 Comment

The Drought Could Harm Research At Farallon Islands

April 24, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

Without rainwater, Farallon Islands research station is unable to function.

5 Comments

Could this be the end of California’s drift gillnet fishing?

April 16, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

The tide may be finally turning against the use of drift gillnets off California waters. WARNING: Disturbing images.

3 Comments

How Can You Tell If a Lichen Is Dead?

April 11, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

Lichens by nature are mottled and brittle looking. So how do you know when they are dead?

1 Comment

Some Wildflowers Take Advantage of Drought

April 03, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

Yes, it's been a dry year. But that's not entirely a bad thing for annual natives like wildflowers, which are finding a rare opportunity to restore their seed banks.

1 Comment

Ask The Naturalist: How Will the Drought Impact Amphibians?

March 21, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

Question: Will newts, frogs and salamanders be out in full force in the Bay Area this spring?

2 Comments

The Elusive Black Rail May Adapt Better Than You’d Think

March 21, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

Black rails are one of the most secretive of birds. But new research is showing that the scurrying marshland species can pick up and move if it must.

3 Comments

Poaching Redwood Burl Affects Tree’s Reproduction

March 12, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

Redwood trees rely on burl growth, more than they do seeds, to repopulate the species.

4 Comments

Rains Lure California Newts Home to Mate (Video)

March 05, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

The rains have sent a strong signal to California newts — time to mate. A graceful, underwater mating dance is the prelude to this season's replenishment of the species. (VIDEO)

7 Comments

Rarely seen blue-footed boobies arrive at Point Reyes

September 20, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Blue-footed boobies are turning up in Point Reyes after straying far from their normal range from the Galapagos Islands to the ...

2 Comments

CA could be first to ban leaded bullets, Pleasanton park expands

September 12, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

California expected to become first state in nation to ban leaded bullets, which are deadly to wildlife in more ways than one, and more Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Footage of Rim Fire from a boat on Tuolumne River

September 10, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

The Tuolumne River Trust released footage of the recent Rim Fire that burned through the Tuolumne River watershed. The group ...

1 Comment

Muir Woods mulls reserved parking, Mt. Diablo fire 45 percent contained

September 10, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Muir Woods looking into a reservation system for parking, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Drakes’ Bay Oysters likely to close, a Bay Area “snake scam”

September 05, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Drakes Bay Oyster Co. will likely close now that a federal appeals court ruled against company's request to stay open, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Santa Cruz cypress delisted as endangered species

September 02, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Another success of the Endangered Species Act. The Santa Cruz cypress, a small evergreen, is doing well thanks to protections.

No Comments

fin whale dies of trauma, Marin says no to fracking

August 21, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Endangered fin whale youngster died near Stinson Beach from undetermined trauma injury, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

A solution to ‘beepocolypse,’ shark fin ban hits legal snag

August 15, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Sonoma grape-growers and bee do-gooders creating "bee patches" to combat beepocolypse, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Seabird feeding frenzy off Ocean Beach, Marin favors hikers over mountain bikers

August 05, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Seabirds descend by the thousands on Ocean Beach in SF to gobble up a school of fish close to shore, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

AT&T Park gets edible garden, who will maintain Transbay garden?

July 31, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

SF really is a crunchy city: AT&T Park gets edible garden behind center field wall, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Flamingo turns up in Sunnyvale, “mollusk matchmaker” coaxes white abalone to spawn

July 29, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

A flamingo has turned up near the Sunnyvale sewage treatment plant, and local zoos say none of theirs is missing, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Bay Area’s sea gull population explodes, Mt. Diablo summit deck still closed

July 22, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Bay Area's sea gull population exploding, and they're munching up endangered species, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

East Bay Parks eyes 16 new park sites, SF curbs environmental review

July 17, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

East Bay Regional Parks releases its plan to potentially acquire 16 new park sites, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Fires in West fueled by global warming, Muir Beach closes today

July 08, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

In summer heat, West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes more active than usual, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Feds conclude great whites not endangered, Oakland has new bird safety standards

July 03, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

NOAA concludes Pacific great white shark not in danger of extinction and doesn't warrant extra protection, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Vandals destroying hundreds trees in Golden Gate Park, what would it mean to de-extinct a species?

June 24, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Why would anyone be destroying young, reforested tree in Golden Gate Park? Hundreds have had their tops lopped off. And other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Whale feeding frenzy in Monterey Bay, Ranch near Mt. Diablo bought for open space

June 19, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Krill bloom brings in crowd of whales, including blues, into Monterey Bay, and more Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Calif. considers lead bullet ban to save condors, Tilden golf course gets green creds

June 17, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

CA lawmakers consider ban on lead bullets used during hunting to save condors, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Millbrae mulls bird feeding ban, Calif. voters say ‘no’ to fracking

June 11, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Millbrae mulls bird-feeding ban to prevent airport bird strikes, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Finding biodiversity in a bucket

June 05, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Famed National Geographic photographer David Liittschwager teams up to bring the power of "one cubic foot" to the masses.

1 Comment

Hayes Valley Farm to be replaced by housing development, Google goes green in new campus

June 04, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Hayes Valley Farm in SF to be replaced by housing development, but it didn't go down without a last minute fight, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Are pot farms poisoning spotted owls, can hatched salmon smell their way home?

May 29, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Time for Wednesday's Bay Area nature news digest.

No Comments

It’s rattlesnake season – beware!

May 22, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Summer is upon us, and the rattlers are out. Or rather, you are. Which makes you much more vulnerable to running into one.

1 Comment

Sonoma locals reject beach parking fees, Big Basin plan short shrifts murrelets

May 20, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Sonoma locals up in arms about state parks plan to charge for beach parking, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

The Bay Area mothers around you

May 11, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Happy Mother's Day. Perhaps we can learn a thing or two from the mothers around you.

No Comments

Butterflies in bloom

May 09, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Have you ever seen a butterfly emerge from its pupa? Now's your chance.

No Comments

Bald eagles have returned to nest at Anthony Chabot

May 08, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Bald eagles have returned to nest for a second year in a restricted section of the park.

4 Comments

Bee population sinks to new lows, Berkeley’s school garden program in jeopardy

May 08, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

The bee population is now so low that there may not be enough to pollinate crops, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

What’s a tiger swallowtail doing in downtown San Francisco?

May 02, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

This riparian butterfly species finds suitable habitat in the tall buildings and wide spaces of Market Street. Advocates aim to keep them there.

3 Comments

Muir Beach closes for summer, semi-finalists picked for museum at Crissy Field

May 01, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

The very popular Muir Beach closed this summer to drive-ins for habitat restoration work, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

State Coastal Conservancy out of money, Point Reyes ranchers demand extended leases

April 29, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

State Coastal Conservancy out of its $1 billion in bond money with no new funds in sight, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Your favorite park along the Bay was once a dump

April 29, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Chances are that your go-to spot on the San Francisco Bay was once a trash dump.

No Comments

San Jose mostly tree-less, Yosemite expands parkland

April 24, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Only 15 percent of San Jose has trees, according to study using laser tree trackers, and more Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

It’s Earth Day! Celebrate with our native species

April 22, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

In time for Earth Day, a reminder of our "wow factor" wildlife. Photo slideshow.

No Comments

Jack London’s oak tree dying, San Franciscans may start drinking local water

April 22, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

The 300- year-old oak tree outside Jack London's former cottage in Glen Ellen to be felled because of fungus, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Bighorn sheep return to Sierras

April 18, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has led a team to reestablish a population of federally endangered Sierra Nevada ...

No Comments

The Exploratorium’s new eyes on the bay

April 18, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

The Exploratorium reopened this week with a new focus on the world right outside its doors: San Francisco Bay.

No Comments

Why are there so fewer songbirds, and so many crows?

April 17, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Songbirds seem to be disappearing, but crows are everywhere. Is there a connection?

No Comments

Coyotes and humans without the dogs do ok, Preservation Ranch deal in the clear

April 17, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Coyotes and humans coexist peacefully in Golden Gate Park -- when dogs aren't part of the picture, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Marin parks get more money, Annadel tamps down “outlaw” trails

April 15, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Marin adds $5.2 million to county parks budget thanks to voter referendum last fall, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Presidio to add green space, CEQA changes politically dead?

April 08, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Presidio expanding its parkland with new green space over Doyle Drive tunnels that will connect to Crissy Field, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Sea lion pups, pot farming and tree-sitters

April 03, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

"Unusual morbidity event" among sea lion pups this year, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Falcon feeding in San Jose

April 03, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Peregrine falcons have returned for season No. 7 of webcasting on top of San Jose City Hall, a testament to how far ...

No Comments

Bees, bee-killing and Marin creeks

April 01, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Hives run out of room, bees swarm. Time to call your friendly, local beekeeper, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Bird of the week: Marshmallicious delicious

March 28, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

It's spring nesting season, but apparently there's a lot of confusion around Easter time about one particular bird.

No Comments

Firefighters, bottled water and an armored beach

March 27, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Even firefighters think California should discontinue flame retardants in furniture, and more Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Devil’s Slide tunnels an environmental success story

March 25, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

What could have been at Devil's Slide makes you appreciate the tunnels that came to be.

No Comments

Deficit battles hurt Bay Area’s national parklands this summer

March 21, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Closed visitors centers, fewer programs, brushy trails and dirtier bathrooms -- Washington's deficit battles will hurt the Bay Area's national parklands this summer.

No Comments

It’s spring! Admire the hound’s tongue, and the rest

March 20, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Looking to nature for signs of spring is a beloved sport among Bay Area wildlife enthusiasts. What are you noticing out there?

No Comments

Steelhead spawning in Palo Alto Creek

March 14, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

An underwater camera captures footage of steelhead salmon spawning in San Francisquito Creek in Palo Alto. The video footage comes ...

1 Comment

Beach access, Devil’s Slide and Oakland’s parks

March 14, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Are landowners required to provide public access to a beach? Martin's Beach debate in San Mateo County goes to court, and more Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

River otters find a fish head in Walnut Creek park

March 14, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Three river otters and a fish head. You fill in the rest.

No Comments

Steelhead trout flopping around in dried up Palo Alto creek

March 11, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

With creek water drying up, steelhead trout advocates in Palo Alto are worried about whether this year's fish will be able to spawn.

3 Comments

Tesla, a mini door and fire

March 11, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

The future of Tesla property in Livermore could be decided by year's end, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

White sharks, Sutro Forest and sniff dogs

March 04, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Great white sharks get full legal protection under CA endangered species act as state considers official listing, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

How can math help solve the climate puzzle?

February 28, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Mathematicians are jumping in to help sort out the underlying equations that make up the Earth's complex, and rapidly changing climate system.

No Comments

Lake Merritt, CEQA and restaurant fish

February 25, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Oakland officials open a channel that will one day reconnect Lake Merritt to the SF Bay, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

More visitors expected as Pinnacles becomes a national park

February 21, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Now that it's officially on the national park circuit, Pinnacles may be seeing more visitors as diehard national park goers add the geological wonder to their bucket lists.

1 Comment

Lead bullets, abalone and nitrogen

February 20, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Groups aim to make California first state to ban bullets made from lead to protect wildlife from poisoning, and more Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Capeweed, a fish kill and taxes

February 13, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Customs officials intercept invasive capeweed at Port of Oakland on flowers shipped from Australia, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

A bike race, Valero and a dog ban

February 11, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

America's top bike race will scale Mount Diablo in May, but it's creating a headache for organizers, and more Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Gulls gone wild

February 11, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

At this time of year, Point Richmond becomes a feeding frenzy as gulls, brown pelicans and ducks feast on schools ...

No Comments

Taylor Mountain, an albatross, and an urban canopy

February 06, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Sonoma County gets a new park, the largest in decades, at Taylor Mountain, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

A treaty, a terrified coyote and ‘dogs run wild’

February 04, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

The San Francisco Bay estuary has been listed as a "wetland of importance" in an international treaty, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

San Francisco group seeks Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights

January 30, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

A group of San Francisco nature enthusiasts want to make official every kid's right to climb a tree, see the ocean and ride a bike.

2 Comments

Oakland Zoo, sneaker waves and redwood logs

January 30, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

The Oakland Zoo is going to take in lead-poisoned California condors for recovery, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Monarch butterfly numbers are down again

January 24, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Monarch butterflies are about half of last year's numbers in the Bay Area. But that's not saying all that much.

5 Comments

Lawns, the 49ers and beachgrass

January 24, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

San Francisco residents pave over front lawns for parking with disregard for need of permeable surfaces, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Give a nesting bird a home

January 23, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Nesting birds are coming back to town. Now's your chance to be a bird box landlord.

No Comments

Planting in memory of MLK

January 23, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

What's native plant restoration have to do with MLK Day? Maybe not a whole lot, unless you spend it on the MLK Regional Shoreline planting seven varieties of wetland species.

1 Comment

What, exactly, is in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

January 23, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

From the journal of Brian Kallen, who describes his journey through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

5 Comments

Was MLK an environmentalist?

January 20, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Martin Luther King, Jr. predated the environmental movement, but his words show he respected the natural world.

2 Comments

Naked in the tidepools

January 17, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

With seasonally low tides, now's the time to head out to see arguably the most colorful critters in the Bay Area -- the nudibranchs that dwell in tidepools along the coast.

No Comments

Why does Half Moon Bay get winter monster waves?

January 16, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

The Mavericks surf contest has been called for Sunday, January 20. As we wait for big kahunas to roll in, we ask why Half Moon Bay gets the legendary waves that become the surfer's delight.

No Comments

Killer whale, salamander tunnels and aquariums

January 16, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Killer whale travels 2,000 miles in 2 weeks from Puget Sound to Point Reyes, and more Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Crabber gets $10,000 fine for setting traps in marine park

January 14, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Apparently fishing in a state marine reserve is no light matter. A commercial crabber gets nabbed lowering 100 traps in a Sonoma County marine reserve.

No Comments

A marvel of magnolias

January 14, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Magnolias may not be native to Northern California. But the SF Botanical Garden has been conserving this endangered flowering tree, and now's the time to see them in full bloom.

2 Comments

Iconic Tennessee Beach arch suddenly falls into sea

January 09, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

And suddenly it was gone. The iconic rock arch at Tennessee Beach in Marin unexpectedly gave way, changing the view forever.

1 Comment

Bay Bridge, an arch and monarchs

January 09, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Bay Bridge exempted from Cosco Busan rules restricting large ships from sailing in fog, and other Bay Area nature news.

1 Comment

Footage of elephant seal pups nursing, and more

January 08, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Nature photographer David Cruz sent in these amazing pics and a video of nursing pups from his recent trip out to Ano Nuevo State Reserve.

No Comments

New records set in Bay Area’s Christmas bird counts

January 07, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

The annual Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count, the longest running citizen science survey in the world, has finished up in the Bay Area with some important findings.

No Comments

‘Bouillabaisse of life’ in San Francisco Bay

January 07, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Paddle the San Francisco Bay with Paul McHugh, a journalist and columnist who's been covering the environment for more than 30 years. VIDEO.

1 Comment

Investigation finds State Parks deliberately hid some funds

January 04, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

The California Attorney General's office releases the results of its investigation into the State Parks Department over its funding fiasco.

No Comments

Winter fog brings quiet beauty to Bay Area parks

January 03, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

With all the cold and moist days we've had lately, it's the perfect time to experience winter's tule fog, a different variety than summer's ocean-borne type.

No Comments

Pinnacles, trash and shipping

January 02, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

SF proceeds with enviro review of shipping trash by rail to Yuba County after groups sue, and more Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Bumblebees like flower diversity, not asphalt

January 02, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Want to help out the bumblebee population? Get rid of asphalt and plant a diversity of flower species. That’s the ...

No Comments

Spotlight on San Luis National Wildlife Refuge

January 01, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

If you find yourself headed through the Central Valley at this time of the year, a nice pit stop off Highway 5 is the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge.

No Comments

Virginia rail peeks through reeds at Lake Merced

December 31, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

A Virginia rail made a surprise year-end appearance at Lake Merced in San Francisco.

No Comments

The Bay Area’s top 10 environmental news of 2012

December 31, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

The Bay Area has had its share of interesting environmental stories in 2012. Here's our pick of some of our favorites.

4 Comments

Celebrate the New Year with Canopus

December 28, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Put yourself in just the right spot at midnight on New Year's Eve and you may be able to see the second brightest star in the sky that's normally invisible in much of the Bay Area -- Canopus.

1 Comment

KeeKee goes home for the holidays

December 26, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

A juvenile California sea lion, KeeKee, went home to the ocean on Christmas Eve at Rodeo Beach in the Marin ...

No Comments

Welcoming in California’s new marine parks

December 20, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Anyone who loves the California coast -- that would be everyone, right? -- should be toasting this week's big news.

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Trees snag Oakland’s first major creek daylighting project

December 20, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

A 250-foot stretch of Sausal Creek would see the light of day. But Oakland's plans to remove 84 trees, many of them coast redwoods, has raised an uproar among Dimond Park users.

No Comments

Owl, a shuttle and Treasure Island

December 19, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

The male in pair of great-horned owls who've long nested in Glen Park died of rat poison, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

A petition, an oil boom and a Douglas fir

December 17, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Wild Emergency Services, an animal aid group, has started a petition to change way California Fish & Game deals with mountain lions in public places after Half Moon Bay cougar cub shooting, and more Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Dolphins pay visit to Golden Gate Bridge

December 13, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Video and images by David Cruz/Natures Lantern A pod of bottlenose dolphins paid a recent visit to the Golden Gate ...

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King Tide, Oakland Zoo and Humboldt squids

December 12, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Thursday will bring highest tides of year. Grab your camera and help document Bay Area’s risk of sea level rise, and more Bay Area nature news.

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Fracking leases, conservatives and a lone wolf

December 10, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

On Wednesday, feds opening 18,000 acres of land for oil and gas leases in Monterey Shale in central California, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

Bay Area’s Top 10 nature gifts for the holidays

December 10, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Hey, Bay Area nature lovers. Still on the hunt for a perfect holiday gift? Bay Nature has assembled a Top 10 list of local nature gifts.

2 Comments

Cougar cubs, oysters and weather stations

December 05, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Widespread criticism over Cal Fish & Game decision to shoot cougar cubs hiding out at Half Moon Bay house, and more Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

A devil, killer whales and a lawsuit

November 28, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Enjoy the start of this week’s “atmospheric river” with a little nature news: Largest concentration of aggressive great-tailed grackles, a.k.a. ...

No Comments

Finding my Charlie Brown perfect at San Pedro Headlands

November 27, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

The San Pedro Headlands offers up the ultimate solution in "sustainable" Christmas trees -- restoring coastal scrubland by removing Monterey pine. My tree was a little short of perfect, but one to remember. (Alison Hawkes)

No Comments

Dunes, the airport and a thank you

November 26, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Landowners trying to develop last of Daly City's historic sand dunes, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

New details discovered about Bay Area’s 750-legged millipede

November 15, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Scientists report new findings on how a 750-legged millipede from the Bay Area - the leggiest animal on Earth -- may have evolved all those legs to thrive in its unique niche under sandstone rocks in moist oak woodlands.

1 Comment

Crab, oysters and a major general

November 14, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Dungeness crab fishermen head out to sea to set crab pots after price with processors agreed at $3 per pound, and more nature news.

No Comments

Mountain Lake, Ken Burns and dog poo

November 12, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

The 1,700 yr-old Mountain Lake in San Francisco is a mess as restoration effort begins to clean up contaminants and remove invasives, and other Bay Area nature news.

No Comments

In age of superstorms, Bay Area prepares for every inch of water

November 08, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

With the Northeast still reeling from the affects of superstorm Sandy, there's been quite a bit of chatter out here on the Pacific about our own vulnerabilities to large tropical storms in the age of climate change.

1 Comment

Election results, sardines and rice

November 07, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

A number of initiatives to fund parks passed, while voters gave the thumbs down to GMO labeling and restoring Hetch Hetchy Valley, and other nature news.

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Election roundup: Bay Area’s green ballot measures

November 05, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Alright. Tuesday's the day, and after penning in their choice for president, Bay Area voters will get to decide how green they're going to go on a number of state and local ballot measures.

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Crabs, French broom and meteors

November 05, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Dungeness crab season looks promising as recreational crabbers get started with their catch, and more nature news.

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West Coast doesn’t have hurricanes, it has the Pineapple Express

November 01, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

A geologist reminds us that a "Pineapple Express" could do just as much damage here as Hurricane Sandy did back East.

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A bathtub, rubber mats and Disney

October 31, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

San Francisco chose to dam Hetch Hetchy because of its "perfect bathtub shape," and other interesting facts in time for Measure F, and more nature news.

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Signs of the Season: Pumpkin spiders on the move

October 31, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

It’s Halloween, and you’ve probably noticed spiders everywhere. And not just the ones in costume. Perhaps the most seasonal of Bay Area spiders is the “pumpkin spider,” which gets it name from its bulbous, rust-colored thorax.

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McClellan Ranch, textbooks and a poaching ring

October 29, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

A new environmental center at McClellan Ranch, the word on recycling in school textbooks, busting a poaching ring and more.

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Migrating hawks break records in sightings

October 25, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

This year has turned out to be an extraordinary one to spot broad-winged hawks, which have been amassing in a way that's suspiciously like their East Coast siblings.

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Taxes, Warriors and groundwater

October 24, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Time for Wednesday’s news digest! Lake County residents to vote on 1/2-cent sales tax increase to make Clear Lake clearer ...

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Resting with the hummingbirds at Mount Umunhum

October 22, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Rising 3,486 feet above Los Gatos in the South Bay, Mount Umunhum is throwing off its cloak of secrecy under the military to become the Bay Area's newest destination peak.

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Hearst Castle, a meteor and SF parks app

October 22, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Hearst Castle waived more than $600,000 in private event entry fees to select groups even as state parks was crushed with budget shortfalls, and more nature news.

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Moscone Center, sandbagging and the Yellow Pages

October 17, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

The Moscone Center achieves LEED status, a SF supervisor wants to change CEQA to avoid "sandbag" tactics, danger ahead for the Yellow Pages ban, and more.

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“Marine vomit,” coho fry and a malicious killing

October 15, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

"Marine vomit" turns up as a new, alarming invasive species in Drakes Estero, and other Monday nature news.

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Can off-roading and nature coexist?

October 15, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

In the hills west of Livermore, off-roaders are hoping to expand their range into an area that land preservationists say is sensitive natural habitat.

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River otter frolicking at Sutro Baths

October 11, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Nature photographer David Cruz captured some candid moments of a sea otter basking in the sun at Sutro Baths in San Francisco.

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Home for wayward plastic bottles

October 10, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Are you a beach trash-collector? Meet Richard James, who's taken the chore to a whole new level and has a request to make of you.

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Eastshore park renamed, Taylor Mountain and an edible schoolyard

October 10, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

"McLaughlin" added to Eastshore State Park in Berkeley to honor Save the Bay co-founder Sylvia McLaughlin

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Following the money on GMO ballot measure

October 08, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

In California's GMO ballot measure, out-of-state agribusiness is outspending supporters by more than 8 to 1 to defeat measure.

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Snatch! The vultures vs. the hawk

October 08, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

In a battle among feathered titans over a delectable carcass, ask yourself: Can you truly feel bad for vultures?

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GMOs, Sonoma parks and beavers

October 08, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

The GMO labeling ballot measure, if passed, could reverberate throughout rest of the country, and more Monday nature news.

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A refund, Lenai and a great white diet

October 03, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

The group now running Henry Coe State Park want their money back after the scandal over hidden funds in State Parks Department, and more news.

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Stamps, plastic bag ban and a hatchery

October 01, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

In Monday's News Digest, San Francisco Bay saltponds are part of the "Earthscape" series on new U.S. postage stamps, and more.

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Mussels, oysters and mosquitos

September 26, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

In your Wednesday Bay Nature News Digest, California Gov. Jerry Brown signs bills to stop the invasion of quagga mussels, and more.

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Badgers pop up around Mount Diablo

September 24, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Head out to Mount Diablo and if you're lucky you may, just may, see a badger these days.

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Chevron, desal plants and parklets

September 24, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

It's time for your Monday News Digest. EPA considers criminal charges against Chevron's Richmond refinery, and more.

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Mercury, pills and school buses

September 19, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Wednesday’s nature news digest has arrived! Who’s the highest mercury polluter in Bay Area? A Cupertino lime mine, which released ...

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Sonoma parks turn to South Africa, elsewhere for funding ideas

September 17, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

What does South Africa and Sonoma County have in common? Both suffer from debilitating shortages of public funds for parks. ...

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Sea otters, coastal cleanup, and a love letter

September 17, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Happy Monday! Here’s your nature news digest. Central coast sea otter population is plateauing. Could it be because of their ...

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The green divide, a mermaid and hantavirus

September 10, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Happy Monday news digest: Rich people have a lot more trees than poor people, according to research into “green” income ...

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Does California manage “game” or “wildlife”?

September 06, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

What’s in a name? A new bill passed today in Sacramento changes the name of California Department Fish & Game ...

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A manzanita, Capitol disappointment and Jenner

September 05, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Your Wednesday news digest: The Franciscan manzanita, discovered in the Doyle Drive project as the last remaining wild specimen of ...

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Lights out – it’s fall migration

September 04, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Work in a tall building? Here’s something you can do this fall for birds. Get your building manager to participate ...

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Blue moon, sandhill cranes and oysters

August 31, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Bringing you a bit of news on Friday. Happy Labor Day! It comes “once in a blue moon” — and ...

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Bobcat kitten, hantavirus and marijuana

August 29, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Your Wednesday news digest. Enjoy! A bobcat kitten may be the most photogenic victim of the fire that’s been raging ...

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Vaux’s swift ‘tornado’ descends on Healdsburg school

August 29, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

What the Vaux swift lacks in size it makes up for in numbers. The smallest species of the swift family ...

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Coyotes, honeybees and a “pole gardener”

August 27, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Good morning! Your top nature news for Monday: Coyotes have been moving into a San Jose community, alarming the neighbors ...

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Water desalination plants on the horizon

August 24, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Water desalination may seem too costly and too riddled with complications to go anywhere fast. But that doesn’t mean water ...

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The Golden Gate, sea otters and hounding

August 24, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Happy Friday! One of the busiest waters off the California coast – the ocean west of the Golden Gate Bridge ...

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Humpbacks, floating islands and Occupiers

August 22, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

No way! This guy went out to photograph birds off the coast of San Luis Obispo, and check out the ...

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Mosquitoes, spiders and hottest rain

August 20, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Time for Monday’s News Digest West Nile-carrying mosquitoes are beginning to swarm. Conta Costa and Santa Clara Counties have begun ...

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Salmon sharks wash up on California coasts

August 20, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Dozens of salmon sharks wash up on California coasts, dead or dying, each year. Often mistaken as white sharks or ...

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Biophonies, radiation, and food labels

August 17, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Nice weekend! Here’s your Friday news digest. As climate change ramps up, scientists are finding it’s not just temperature that ...

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The world needs ‘Zombee’ hunters

August 16, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

‘Zombee’ season is about to peak in September, and zombee researchers are asking for help to track its spread. It’s ...

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Reservoirs, beach cleanup, and sea lions with gunshot wounds

August 15, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Glad to have you at Wednesday’s News Digest: UC Davis is America’s “coolest school,” says Sierra Magazine because of its ...

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Oysters, great whites, and fire

August 13, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Happy Monday! Here’s your Monday Bay Nature news digest. Don’t eat Drakes Bay oysters right now. The public health department ...

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Heat, surf and roadkill

August 10, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Time for Friday’s news digest: It’s cooking this weekend. Get ready for triple-digit temperatures this weekend in some parts of ...

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Hatcheries cause salmon boom and bust

August 08, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

You’ve probably heard about Northern California’s bumper crop of salmon this year. Fishermen are going nuts, hauling in their catch ...

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Phalaropes descend on Rodeo Lagoon

August 07, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Rodeo Lagoon in the Marin Headlands is the place to go right now to watch a rare migratory shorebird that ...

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Summer’s bounty, on land and in water

August 06, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

If you went to the farmer’s market this weekend, as I did, you probably saw the summer bounty in full ...

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Orcas, sanddabs and hungry goats

August 03, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Let this photo of a gray kit fox inspire you to take to the trails this weekend and discover some ...

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Scoring nature in San Francisco

August 03, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

You may have heard of Walk Score, the walkability index that everyone from real estate agents to smart growth advocates ...

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Brown pelicans released at Fort Baker

August 01, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Video by Marinij.com These California brown pelicans were released at Fort Baker near Sausalito on Aug.1 after spending a month ...

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Water, water everywhere

August 01, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

California has been suddenly thrown into one of its perennial water wars, this time with a revived proposal to build ...

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Pelicans, state parks, drought & more

July 23, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Welcome to Bay Nature’s first News Digest post. We’ll be updating you regularly on the top nature news reported in ...

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Save Mount Diablo cofounder dies

July 20, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

The co-founder of the influential nonprofit conservation group Save Mount Diablo,  Arthur D. Bonwell, died at 85 at his home ...

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Richmond closing gaps in SF Bay Trail

July 20, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

The city of Richmond is making progress is closing gaps along the San Francisco Bay Trail that have been practically ...

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Tree trekker breaks records finding ‘extreme’ trees

July 20, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Recent high-school graduate Zane Moore is sitting — or rather towering — with the masters of tall tree finders. This ...

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Can the Bay Area grow in population and be sustainable?

June 21, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

As the Bay Area struggles to meet sustainability goals, double-digit population growth presents a clear challenge to reducing the region’s ecological footprint. Residents must use resources more efficiently to counteract the addition of more than a million new residents. In many ways, it mirrors a challenge the planet is facing. Can population growth in San Francisco and the Bay Area be sustainable?

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An Iron Man for transit advocates

June 18, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

128 miles. 12,000 feet elevation gain. 17-plus hours of exercise. 3 mountain summits. 3 transit agencies. Add to that temperatures well into the triple digits in some places, and you've got the makings of a great story.That's about all you need to know to get an impression of how grueling the event known as Alt. Ride (formerly the Triple Threat) was this year.

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Bird watching — there’s an app for that!

May 29, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

It used to be that you needed guidebooks and an experienced friend to get up to speed on identifying a flash of wing through the trees. These days, however, newbie birders can become instant experts with technological tools like mobile apps. But how does technology change the nature of bird-watching? And what are the ethics pitfalls when finding a bird is so easy?

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Upside to a down economy: less pressure on open space

May 23, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

One of the impacts of the economic recession over the last few years has been less interest in developing the Bay Area’s remaining open space.A new report released on Tuesday by Greenbelt Alliance finds that a down real estate market, combined with public policies to restrict growth, has led to a 20 percent drop in the amount of Bay Area land “at risk” for development, compared to six years ago.An estimated 77,300 acres is no longer in the immediate cross-hairs of developers and suburban planners, according to At Risk: The Bay Area Greenbelt 2012. And some 3 million acres total are now protected.

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Solar spectacle on horizon

May 17, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

A partial solar eclipse will be lighting up Bay Area skies early Sunday evening, and as luck would have it the weather is supposed to cooperate.Between 5:16pm and 7:40 pm, the moon will pass in front of the sun in an alignment not seen in 18 years. During the annular solar eclipse, the moon will form a “black hole” in the center of the sun with sunbeams shooting out from the sides.

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For the love of mom

May 11, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Humans may be the only animals who celebrate Mother's Day. But there's no doubt that babies of other species are just as attached to their mamas, at least until they grow up. I like to think they also get a warm, fuzzy feeling when they think of the female who risked life and limb to bring them into the world and raise them fit enough to prosper. Happy Mother's Day to California mamas of all feathers and fur, fins and ... yes, even those with exoskeletons.

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Occupiers restart debate on future of Gill Tract

May 02, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

On a typical spring day in early May at the Gill Tract, UC Berkeley agriculture researchers would be busy preparing for the summer research season.But this year, in a fenced-off field that usually grows experimental crops, a temporary encampment has sprung up. A group of students and others associated with the Occupy movement have rototilled the soil and planted their own vision of the future of farming.

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Depicting conservation success stories

April 27, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

It’s easy to get depressed about the loss of biodiversity when every day, it seems, some new species pops up on a watch list like a death toll. But there are success stories that offer rays of hope in a world beset by climate change and habitat destruction. A new art exhibit opening on May 1 at the Tilden environmental education center in Berkeley showcases species that have made it back from the brink of extinction.

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Conservatives attack Franciscan manzanita

April 20, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

The last remaining specimen of Franciscan manzanita is happily basking in the sun in an undisclosed location in the Presidio, apparently unaware that conservative talk radio has it out for its survival. Fanning the flames on government spending, shock-jocks are calling its 2010 rescue the "untold story of the year."

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Orphaned babies get helping hand

April 06, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Springtime is the season for babies. They’re busy emerging into the world by whatever method they come -- by hatch or by birth. With their arrival, some of the youngsters will also need help. The Lindsay Wildlife Museum’s rehabilitation center in Walnut Creek has about 200 babies under its wing right now and expects the number to shoot up even higher in the next couple weeks.

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State park advocates hit capitol halls

March 19, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

California state parks advocates are hitting the halls of the Capitol on Tuesday to remind lawmakers that they won’t go away, even though many parks are closing come July. There is no savior bill for state parks on the horizon, not in a year when tax hikes and state budget deficits are on the table. Still, the conversation about the future of California’s 279 park system must continue, said Jerry Emory, spokesperson for the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF).

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A bird’s eye view of new wind turbines in Altamont Pass

March 09, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Wind power companies are taking a bird’s eye view in siting new turbines in the Altamont Pass.As a major re-powering effort gets underway to replace 50-year-old windmills with fewer and larger ones, the companies are making use of new techniques in risk mapping to avoid the numbers of raptor deaths that have become part of the political fabric of the Altamont Wind Resource Area.

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Green film festivals showcase local flavor

February 29, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

It’s showtime. What better way to spend a blustery day in early March than to visit the two green film festivals in San Francisco? This year’s line-up features a number of films from Bay Area filmmakers and ones that touch on local topics. Among them is Bay Area filmmaker Jon Shenk's "The Island President" about how the recently ousted leader of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, is trying to save his country from being the first obliterated by sea level rise. In an interview, Shenk explains why all coastal cities -- including Bay Area cities -- should take what's happening in the Maldives to heart.

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Benicia wants to run state park on California’s dime

January 17, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

The cash-strapped city of Benicia has come up with a novel way to keep its local state recreation area open and off the list of California park closures: get the state to foot the bill. The city says it can operate the 500-acre park at less than half the state's budget.

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Great year to view monarch butterflies

January 05, 2012 by Alison Hawkes

Monarchs may be the most celebrated and regal of the Lepidoptera, and they're hitting record highs in the Bay Area. Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont is estimating their numbers at 4,200, which is 10 times the normal count. Grab your binoculars.

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Christmas Bird Count is serious citizen science

December 14, 2011 by Alison Hawkes

Some say it's a "military style" operation, and surely the level of expertise in the field can be intimidating. But the Christmas Bird Count is also great fun for normally solitary birders and a chance to grow the next generation of naturalists.

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Big solar on ice in Alameda County

December 12, 2011 by Alison Hawkes

After one solar company proposed covering 2,000 acres of open space in eastern Alameda County, county planning officials are preparing a new solar policy that will take into account environmental concerns like the loss of wildlife habitat. The debate is the latest in a series of clashes nationwide between green power and conservation.

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Pinnacles tests out tribe’s fire tradition

December 05, 2011 by Alison Hawkes

When Europeans arrived at what is now Pinnacles National Monument, the land was not exactly a “pristine” or “untouched” vision of nature, but rather a managed ecosystem that itself had become dependent on fires set by the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. Scientists are studying the traditional fire practices to help the ecosystem build greater resilience to major disturbances like climate change.

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Fake grass in Golden Gate Park worries bird advocates

December 01, 2011 by Alison Hawkes

The Beach Chalet Athletic Fields may not seem like an ecological oasis, but environmentalists are fighting a San Francisco plan to replace natural grass with artificial turf. They say the move would turn foraging grounds into the ecological equivalent of a parking lot. City officials say the fake grass is needed to help it meet growing recreational needs.

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High tech robots may launch new era in ocean exploration

November 18, 2011 by Alison Hawkes

Four surfboard-sized vehicles set sail off the coast of the San Francisco Bay on Thursday in an attempt to break world records in ocean exploration and robotics. The “wave gliders” will, if successful, traverse the longest distance of any unmanned ocean craft as they cross the Pacific Ocean.

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Groups Sue SF Over Sharp Park

March 04, 2011 by Alison Hawkes

Environmental groups have filed suit against the city of San Francisco under claims it's violating the Endangered Species Act at Sharp Park Golf Course. The groups say that San Francisco, which owns and operates the 90-year old golf course in Pacifica, is harming two imperiled species: the California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake.

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