Bay Nature

Bay Nature’s Best, Deepest, and Weirdest Reads of 2023

December 13, 2023

Hello, readers—

I love looking back on the year’s stories—right after I get past the “Yowza, that was a lot of work” reaction, and take some deep breaths. It’s how we take stock of where Bay Nature shone the brightest, how we changed, what breadth we achieved. I’m proud that our tiny newsroom dove into data journalism this year; but we also published thoughtful essays, journeys through history, recipes, and one bananas video of a coyote climbing a tree. Here’s what stood out to us, and to you, in 2023.

—Kate Golden, digital editor

P.S. What did you enjoy? What do you want to see more of? Email us at

Birds and Beasts (and Other Living Things)

On the “wow nature, wow, just—wow” beat, here were some stunners from this year. (Plants, fungi and protists also represent.)

To start, a little story that’s really a lesson in nonattachment:

My colleague Beth told me this is the weirdest story she’s ever read in Bay Nature, which to me sounds like a compliment:

The stinkhorn is another contender:

Don’t call them dysfunctional:

Remember Tulare Lake?

An amazing eyewitness account of a special moment in lake history.

And two stories of hope:

Longreads Worth Your Time

After drawing you in with shiny things, as though you were a corvid, I now present to you some of our deeper journalistic dives—that’s one of those secret editor tricks. One big theme of our coverage this year, as we dived into our Wild Billions project: the ways in which people are transforming nature—or trying to—on the scale that climate change requires of us.

This gave us the Barbie-pink Fall 2023 cover that I like to think of as The Portal.

The Dungeness crabbing season was delayed again this year, I’ll note:

How To

Some ways in which we tried to make ourselves useful this year. (Apart from our ever-bountiful community events calendar.)

What goes with acorn bread? Mushrooms.

Bookmark this map for next summer, if you’re a water person.

And if you’re at a small nonprofit or local government agency that needs money (which might be all of them?):

This might be a stretch—but it’s a lesson by analogy.

The Year in Almanacs

Jane Kim—she’s a treasure, right?

One Golden Oldy

This Bay Nature classic made the rounds this summer, when huge moths descended en masse (or at least more than usual) upon the Bay Area.

About the Author

Kate Golden is Bay Nature's digital editor. Her background is in investigative, data-driven, and science journalism, and she has reported from rural Australia to the Bering Sea. She is also an artist, cyclist and sailor. Send tips to kate at, or find her on IG at @meownderthal.

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