Oct-Dec 2011

Our fall 2011 issue includes a landmark foldout map of Bay Area Food Landscapes, along with features about volunteer hawk trackers, a citizen-run park in Napa, major habitat plans in the East Bay, stargazing with kids, and more! Cover photo by Ralf Burgert.

 

Issue Content

Urban Farm to Open Range

October 01, 2011 by Bay Nature

In this section, we survey the farms and ranches that still make up some 40 percent of the Bay Area’s land mass and grow enough food to feed millions of people.

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Acorn Woodpeckers, So Happy Together

October 14, 2011 by Kate Marianchild

Would you believe that acorn woodpeckers have the most complex social relationships of any animal with a backbone? One expert says so. Watch the birds for a while, and you just might agree!

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Book Review: A Coast to Explore: Coastal Geology and Ecology of Central California

October 01, 2011 by David Loeb

By Miles O. Hayes and Jacqueline Michel, Pandion Books, distributed by Heyday, 2010, 352 pages, $29.95. It’s hard to argue with the claim by the South Carolina-based authors of A Coast to Explore that “the shoreline of Central California is without a doubt the most beautiful in all the ‘lower forty-eight’ states.” And with that, […]

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Book Review: Best Hikes with Kids: San Francisco Bay Area

October 01, 2011 by Jenny Stampp

By Laure Latham, The Mountaineers Books, 2011, 364 pages, $19.95. Hiking with kids can seem daunting, but Laure Latham is an expert. Her new book is filled with ways to turn what can sometimes feel like a forced march into a fun outing, and every hiker will find inspiration in her lively trail descriptions. She […]

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Book Review: Mount Diablo: The Extraordinary Life and Landscapes of a California Treasure

October 01, 2011 by Dan Rademacher

Photos by Stephen Joseph, text by Linda Rimac Colberg, Mount Diablo Interpretive Association, 2010, 266 pages, $50. Photographer Stephen Joseph has amassed a wide-ranging body of work–from a project to photograph Bay Area farms (see his photos in this issue) to images of John Muir’s plant specimens (on display at the Oakland Museum). But the […]

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Book Review: Natural History of San Francisco Bay

October 01, 2011 by Dan Rademacher

By Ariel Rubissow Okamoto and Kathleen M. Wong, 2011, UC Press, 352 pages, $24.95 paperback, $65 hardcover. The latest installment of the UC Press Natural History series (number 102!) comes from frequent Bay Nature contributors Ariel Rubissow Okamoto and Kathleen Wong. Like many “guides” in the series, this one is carefully researched, well written, and […]

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Book Review: Oaks in the Urban Landscape: Selection, Care, and Preservation

October 01, 2011 by Robin Meadows

By Laurence R. Costello, Bruce W. Hagen, and Katherine S. Jones, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu), 2011, 265 pages, $55. As Californians continue moving into woodlands, we are loving our oak trees to death. Many native oaks are killed during construction, and those that survive too often succumb to inappropriate gardening practices. But it […]

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Book Review: The Walker’s Map of San Francisco

October 01, 2011 by Carly Peltier

Pease Press Maps (peasepress.com), 2010, double-sided foldout map, $7.95. Whether you’re looking for a new lunch-break stroll or an all-day weekend hike, this map provides useful information that even a native can appreciate. You may be surprised by the multitude of protected hills and peaks in the city, many giving you million-dollar views. The map […]

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Book Review: Walkabout Northern California: Hiking Inn to Inn

October 01, 2011 by Sue Rosenthal

By Tom Courtney, Wilderness Press, 2011, 234 pages, $16.95. Imagine hiking from inn to inn carrying only a day pack, following a beautiful trail with a nice meal and room at its end. The Alps or the south of France? Perhaps. But you could also be in Northern California: Think Point Reyes or Monterey Bay. […]

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Can bees see more colors than we can?

October 01, 2011 by Michael Ellis

Can bees see colors that people can’t? What about birds? How do scientists figure out what can be seen by other animals, especially small animals like insects?

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Citizens’ Domain in Napa

October 11, 2011 by Greg Retsinas

This park near downtown Napa has been run by volunteers for decades. A model for cash-strapped parks? Great views and extensive trails make it worth a visit to find out.

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Oakland’s Claremont Canyon, 20 Years After the Fire

October 19, 2011 by Daniel McGlynn

Two decades ago, parts of Claremont Canyon burned in one of the largest wildfires the Bay Area has ever seen. Since then, neighbors have steadily worked to make themselves at home in a fire-prone landscape.

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A Container Caper in Monterey Bay

October 01, 2011 by Aleta George

On a stormy winter night in 2004, as the merchant ship Med Taipei plowed southbound off the coast of Monterey in 20- to 30-foot swells, 15 shipping containers slid into the sea. Such occurrences aren’t especially newsworthy–an estimated 10,000 containers are lost every year worldwide. But these containers are now part of an important research project.

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Big Solar Coming to East Bay?

October 01, 2011 by Aleta George

Alameda County is facing tough decisions that have until now been mostly debated in distant desert landscapes. The county is developing new regulations covering large-scale solar. Native plant advocates and farmers and ranchers aim to make sure the policies protect sensitive habitats and high-value ag lands.

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In Half Moon Bay, Three More Miles for Coastal Trail

October 01, 2011 by Aleta George

The Peninsula Open Space Trust has opened three more miles of the California Coastal Trail, which someday may run the entire 1,200-mile length of the coast. For now, there’s a great hike to be had between ocean cliffs and farm fields south of Half Moon Bay.

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Marsh Restoration Running Aground Under Power Lines

October 01, 2011 by Aleta George

A substantial wetlands restoration project over at Hill Slough in Solano County is the latest such effort to clash with federal regulations about power lines and sailboats.

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State of the Birds: People Are a Threat, and Promise

October 01, 2011 by Aleta George

A new report on the state of bird populations shows mixed results for Bay Area populations. People continue to be the biggest threat, with habitat loss and other pressures, and the biggest hope, in the form of major and minor restoration projects all around the Bay.

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Trawling for Plastic in SF Bay

October 01, 2011 by Aleta George

Researchers plan to head out this winter looking for micro-plastic in the Bay. Their first-ever trawl last winter turned up concentrations that actually weren’t as bad as some recorded in other waterways. But that might just mean we’re sending more plastic to the Pacific.

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Tag, You’re It!

October 04, 2011 by Erik Vance

The hawk trackers of the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory go way beyond birding: These citizen scientists take to the highways and back roads, following radio-tagged birds that may roam just to the next valley, or all the way to Mexico. Along the way, the hawk trackers have contributed much to our knowledge of these well-traveled birds.

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Letter from the Publisher

October 01, 2011 by David Loeb

If it’s a Saturday morning, you’re more than likely to find me doing one of two things: visiting some wild place for nature-related recreation or biking to the Berkeley Farmers’ Market. The melee of colors and the medley of shapes of the fruits and vegetables, the diversity and energy of the shoppers, the opportunity to […]

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Planned Wilderness

October 06, 2011 by John Hart

In eastern Contra Costa and Alameda counties, an ambitious vision for protecting big pieces of remaining open space is taking shape: From Black Diamond Mines and Mount Diablo to Brushy Peak and Sunol, several major agreements promise to replace ad hoc mitigation projects with a broader canvas of protected and connected habitat.

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Twinkle, Twinkle, Winter Star

October 21, 2011 by Alan Kaplan

Winter is a great time to head out and look at the night sky. In between storms, of course. And the Bay Area has lots of groups ready to help you and your kids get excited about stars!

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Cultivating Community in Santa Rosa

October 01, 2011 by Jacoba Charles

Bayer Farm brings open space and food security to a section of Santa Rosa that needs more of both. With help from the nonprofit Landpaths, people in the Roseland neighborhood are helping each other plant and harvest food, and community.

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Getting to Market in Sunol

October 01, 2011 by Jacoba Charles

In the Sunol Valley, beyond the subdivisions of Pleasanton, Fred Hempel grows tomatoes alongside other farmers growing figs, strawberries, and more. It’s all part of an unusual experiment in micro-farming unfolding under the leadership of Sustainable Agriculture Education on land owned by the San Francisco water department.

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Keeping it in the Family in Rio Vista

October 01, 2011 by Jacoba Charles

For more than a century, Jeanne McCormack’s family has grown grain and raised livestock on a few thousand acres near Rio Vista. But she and her husband Al Medvitz didn’t take a straight line to ranching. Instead, they detoured through Africa and Asia. Now, they’re in it for the long haul.

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Urban Farms to Open Range

October 01, 2011 by Sibella Kraus

Even though foodie culture is an ever-growing phenomenon in the Bay Area, it’s still surprising to many that nearly half the land in our region is dedicated to ranching or farming.

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You Are What You Eat

October 01, 2011 by John Muir Laws

The Darwin’s emerald moth is a neat trick of evolution: The larvae change color depending on what they eat. And they do it visually — but them in the dark and they fail to match their host plants.

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