In Sonoma County, nonprofits, public agencies, and private landowners are also tackling fiscal uncertainty in creative ways. In 2009, Sonoma Land Trust (SLT) acquired the spectacular 5,630-acre Jenner Headlands Preserve on the Sonoma coast with the intention of turning it over to an organization that could manage educational programs and public access. In the past, the preserve might have become a state park, but this time the land trust had to look for another partner. Last spring, Sonoma Land Trust and the Southern California-based Wildlands Conservancy reached an agreement to become joint stewards of the property. Within three years, the Wildlands Conservancy will take over ownership, though SLT will remain active in management, including arranging for public access. This summer, SLT and several other groups are leading hikes on the headlands. Sign up at sonomalandtrust.org.
The diverse habitats of Jenner Headlands provide plenty of food for migrating and resident birds of prey. Since the land was acquired in 2009, raptor enthusiast Larry Broderick, SLT’s Brook Edwards, and a small team of volunteers have launched Hawk Hill North, a research project based on the counting methodology established by the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory on the Marin Headlands. In 2010, the group found an ideal spot to count raptors, where the birds zip by at eye level. The spotters’ best day was on October 1, when they counted a total of 367 birds, including red-tailed hawks, bald eagles, and ferruginous hawks. If you want to participate in this year’s count, contact Larry Broderick at firstname.lastname@example.org.