Jan-Mar 2008

 

Issue Content

A Big Year for Rare Species

January 01, 2008 by David Carroll

From Mori Point in Pacifica to Lands End in San Francisco and all the way up to Tomales Bay, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) forms a patchwork of wild lands and historic sites in a region that is home to millions of people. That patchwork is also home to 33 species listed under […]

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Birds of a Different Feather, Flocking Together

January 01, 2008 by David Lukas

Meander through an oak woodland, or even a wooded suburban area, on a winter day, and you’re likely to experience something strange about our winter woodland songbirds: You may not see them at all. Then suddenly the trees come alive with dozens of birds of several species.

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Allen’s Hummingbirds in Town

January 01, 2008 by Aleta George

Starting in February in coastal areas, keep an eye out for a change in your local hummingbirds. Our resident Anna’s will be sharing the stage with the Allen’s flying in from Mexico and Southern California. Who needs Cirque du Soleil when you can watch the springtime aerial displays of the male Allen’s hummingbird? After these […]

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Martinez Beavers

January 01, 2008 by Aleta George

Standing in the first light of dawn at the corner of Castro and Escobar streets in downtown Martinez, I searched the dark water for the town’s newest celebrities: four members of a beaver family living in Alhambra Creek. My guide was beaver enthusiast Heidi Perryman, a Martinez resident who has made short films featuring the […]

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Plastics in the Ocean

January 01, 2008 by Aleta George

Nurdles bobble but they don’t go down. Nurdles are industrial-grade plastic pellets that get melted to make all manner of plastic products, but in the process of packaging and transportation, the nurdles often escape and make their way through storm drains to the ocean. Nurdles may sound like they belong in a Dr. Seuss story, […]

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River of Words, 2008

January 01, 2008 by Aleta George

When teacher Linda Cover walks into a classroom, she steps onto fertile soil, knowing that her students have a cumulative knowledge of their watershed. As a Spectra Arts teacher with the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz, she works with kids year after year in Santa Cruz County to teach them about local watersheds through poetry, […]

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Sudden Oak Death Still With Us

January 01, 2008 by Aleta George

A mountain biker flew down Patrick Ridge in Marin County’s China Camp State Park. He was focusing on the rocky fire trail and an upcoming sharp left turn, so it’s unlikely he noticed the dying trees that line the trail. These coast live oaks are victims of sudden oak death (SOD), a disease caused by […]

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Forgotten Foundation

January 01, 2008 by Gray Brechin

On a trail at Mount Tamalpais or Diablo, perfectly set stone steps make an ascent easier; farther along, a massive log bridge crosses a rugged ravine. It’s common to pass by and take these structures, and those who made them, for granted. This spring marks the 75th anniversary of the inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose epic New Deal work projects brought us not only dams and bay fill but also enduring public trails and other park infrastructure that thousands of people use today with little knowledge of their origins and the great nationwide social experiment that built them.

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Letter from the Publisher

January 01, 2008 by David Loeb

On the Sunday following the November 7 container ship accident that dumped 58,000 gallons of bunker oil into San Francisco Bay, I biked down to the Berkeley Marina to see if there was anything I could do to help out. Even if volunteers were being turned away, I wanted to see conditions along the shore […]

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Lord of the Burrows

January 01, 2008 by Kathleen M. Wong

Ask most people to name the most important species of our grassland habitats, and they’ll probably pick coyotes, golden eagles, or even rattlesnakes. But experts say that the strongest contender of all is the animal eaten by all those other ones: the lowly California ground squirrel, a true keystone of local grasslands. Belowground, the squirrels’ lengthy burrows harbor insects, snakes, owls, and even frogs and salamanders that couldn’t live in such a dry landscape without the squirrels’ help. And above-ground, they’ve evolved some unusual defenses that allow them to thrive, even as they feed so many others.

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My Hill

January 01, 2008 by Ariel Rubissow Okamoto

Everyone has a hill. A line of land up and down that makes your heart leap. A small fold in the planet that signifies your place, your familiar ground. The thing that catches your eye when you get home, or drive up to the gate, or return from years in other landscapes. It doesn’t have […]

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The Herd Shot Round the Bay

January 01, 2008 by John Muir Laws

In a few spots in the Bay Area, you can get a glimpse of our state’s signature grazer: the tule elk.

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Patience Rewarded

January 01, 2008 by Joe Eaton

You might be taken by surprise at this marshland wildlife area, with its plethora of wandering elk, playful otters, acrobatic owls, and diverse waterfowl. Just be sure it’s not hunting season when you go.

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The Frog Days of Winter

January 01, 2008 by Mike Koslosky

On rainy days, wildlife watching outdoors is probably not at the top of your list, but there is one group of animals that reigns supreme during this season: amphibians. Salamanders, newts, frogs, and toads are now at their peak of activity, feeding and breeding in swollen creeks, streams, and ponds, and in woodlands and grasslands […]

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What native land snails live in the Bay Area?

January 01, 2008 by Michael Ellis

Q: What native land snails live in the Bay Area? Where do the common garden snails come from, and what’s the status of our native snail populations? [Erica, Mountain View] A: If you are a gardener like me, you eventually come to despise snails with a passion, even if you’re a kind, gentle, loving person. […]

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