Jan-Mar 2012

In this issue, you’ll find out how volunteers are helping save state parks, from Jack London to Henry Coe. You can take a trip through the new fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel for a once-in-a-lifetime view of East Bay geology. Then head over to Hidden Villa for lessons in farming, education, and social justice. And more! Cover photo: Jeff Swanson, interfacingnature.com.

 

Issue Content

A Little Help from Our Friends

January 01, 2012 by Joan Hamilton

In spring 2011, the bad news about California’s state parks hit: 70 parks were slated for closure by July 2012, including 18 in the Bay Area. Since then, volunteers, nonprofits, and public agencies have mobilized to contain the damage. At Henry Coe State Park, donations will keep the park running with existing staff. In Sonoma, closure loomed for five parks and groups have joined forces to create new models of park operation.

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A Nature Quest on Corona Heights

January 18, 2012 by Robin Meadows

Next time you and your kids head outdoors, you can combine fun, games, and learning to make that hike into a kid-centric adventure! We give it a try in San Francisco.

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Back to the Land at Hidden Villa

February 21, 2012 by Lisa M. Krieger

Whether you’re looking for lessons in seed saving or hikes in nature, you’ll find them in the hills above Los Altos at Hidden Villa, which was home to the region’s first youth hostel and interracial summer camp.

1 Comment

Blitzers Search for SOD

March 08, 2012 by Sue Rosenthal

A project out of UC Berkeley recruits citizen scientists to help track the spread of sudden oak death. They do it every spring, and the more people take part, the better the chance we can protect precious oaks from a deadly pathogen.

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Cool as a Cucumber

February 06, 2012 by Jake Sigg

What’s cool as a cucumber, bitter as the biblical waters of Marah, and so well-rooted in the Bay Area that pulling it up is futile?

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Bay Area Conservancy Turns 15, but Running Out of Funds

January 01, 2012 by Aleta George

The Bay Area program of the California Coastal Conservancy has been protecting critical open space landscapes and wetlands around the region for 15 years now. However, the program’s anniversary is bittersweet: The sense of accomplishment from having played a central role in conserving 80,500 acres of valuable habitats and recreational open space is tempered by the knowledge that the program could soon run out of money.

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Containing an Invasive Weed at Thornewood Preserve

January 01, 2012 by Aleta George

Thornewood Open Space Preserve above the town of Woodside isn’t easy to find–unless you’re a weed. This area is the only site in California where the plant has been found, but this invasive perennial bunchgrass native to Eurasia and North Africa has infested 10,000 acres in Oregon. A project from the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District aims to make sure that doesn’t happen here.

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Deadline Looms for Solano’s Rockville Trails

January 10, 2012 by Aleta George

With the clock ticking toward a February deadline, the nonprofit Solano Land Trust is working to purchase 1,500 acres of land known as Rockville Trails in Solano County. Recently, a lawsuit put a stop to development plans and allowed the land trust to buy 330 acres of the property, with an option to purchase the remaining 1,170 acres for $15.5 million by February 28, 2012.

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Killer Algae on Sonoma Coast

January 01, 2012 by Aleta George

In late August, environmental scientist Laura Rogers-Bennett was driving back to Bodega Bay after conducting ocean surveys in Mendocino when she saw “dark-coffee-colored water” north of Salt Point State Park. Within days, dead sea stars, abalones, urchins, and chitons were piling up on area beaches.

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Remembering David Yearsley, Champion of the Petaluma River

January 01, 2012 by Aleta George

Bay Nature mourns the untimely passing of David Yearsley, the founder and executive director of the Friends of the Petaluma River, in September 2011.

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Taking Care of Baby Salmon

January 23, 2012 by Aleta George

Proponents of the Yolo Bypass Floodplain Fishery Enhancement Project are starting small but thinking big. During the first year of the pilot project, scientists will test whether raising juvenile chinook salmon on flooded rice fields in the Yolo Bypass will help the fish get stronger and bigger before being flushed down to San Francisco Bay and out to the Pacific.

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From the Inside Out

January 06, 2012 by Horst Rademacher

Workers digging the new fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel are getting a once-in-a-lifetime view of one of the defining features of the East Bay: the range of hills that runs from San Pablo Bay south to Fremont. By visiting just a few accessible sites aboveground, you can find clues that tell the story of how these hills rose from their humble origins as deep ocean sediments and volcanic flows to the iconic fault-riddled hillsides of today.

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Hidden Villa Memories

January 01, 2012 by Jean Rusmore

Jean Rusmore first visited Hidden Villa as a college student in 1942, and she’s been going ever since.

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Keeping Clapper Rails High and Dry

February 16, 2012 by Juliet Grable

New artificial islands at Oakland’s Arrowhead Marsh provide some welcome refuge for endangered clapper rails. But can they be expanded into enough other habitats to keep the birds safe from rising sea levels?

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Letter from the Publisher

January 01, 2012 by David Loeb

As I write this on Thanksgiving weekend, I have many things to be grateful for. For example: On Thanksgiving morning, I watched a huge raft of cormorants take off from the surface of the Bay in front of Angel Island. But behind such moments and places of great beauty, several dark clouds are gathering.

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Rice in Winter: The Pacific Flyway Treat

January 02, 2012 by John Muir Laws

Artist Jack Laws headed out for some great birdwatching among the rice fields of the Sacramento Valley — and you can too!

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Taking the Measure of Climate Change At Corte Madera Marsh

January 12, 2012 by Ariel Rubissow Okamoto

To launch our new series on climate change in the Bay Area, we follow a group of researchers as they scan the bottom, poke the mud, and gauge the tides at Marin’s Corte Madera Marsh, in the first comprehensive, interdisciplinary effort to understand how the Bay Area’s tidal wetlands will respond to rising sea levels.

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What’s the secret of nectar?

January 01, 2012 by Michael Ellis

Q: When I see bees and hummingbirds feasting on even tiny flowers, I wonder if each flower replenishes the nectar supply, or is it a one-time offering?

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