About Alison Hawkes
June 28, 2017 by Alison Hawkes
A small sample of the big ways the president's proposed budget would slash conservation measures around the Bay Area.
March 28, 2017 by Alison Hawkes
Meet Morris the gannet, who's not supposed to be here but seems to have made a home of it.
2017 Youth Engagement Award Winner Uriel Hernandez: Tree-Planting Provides Backdrop for a Deeper Purpose
March 28, 2017 by Alison Hawkes
Uriel Hernandez, a community forestry coordinator at Canopy, helps connect people to their neighborhoods by planting trees.
March 28, 2017 by Alison Hawkes
A Berkeley researcher studies trees that survive what for most is a death sentence
February 21, 2017 by Alison Hawkes
A dam retrofit project reveals a treasure trove from the time when California had a vast inland sea.
December 22, 2016 by Alan Kaplan/Alison Hawkes
For a lesson in food chain dynamics, go ahead and observe a fruiting toyon bush this winter.
December 19, 2016 by Alison Hawkes
With the holidays underway and the kids out of school, now's a good time to curl up with some reads. Why not make them about California?
June 07, 2016 by Alison Hawkes
Residents of the Bay Area’s nine counties have passed a $12-per-year parcel tax to raise $500 million toward wetlands restoration and other Bay shoreline improvements over the next 20 years in what will be a historic influx in funding for the Bay.
April 01, 2016 by Alison Hawkes
The general manager of the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority led the passage of Measure Q.
July 16, 2015 by Alison Hawkes
Phytophthora tentaculata, a new and particularly pernicious strain of dangerous plant pathogens that has been on a federal watch list, was found throughout one of the SFPUC's restoration sites in central Alameda County.
June 29, 2015 by Alison Hawkes
Perhaps the biggest contribution to the fight against phytophthora has been a call to action in the restoration nursery trade.
June 29, 2015 by Alison Hawkes
Phytophthoras, Greek for “plant destroyers,” certainly live up to the name. Once introduced to a location, they can spread undetected in the soil or in water and wreak havoc on crops, nursery stock, and natural ecosystems.
February 25, 2015 by Alison Hawkes
UC Berkeley professor Carolyn Finney explains why environmentalists should support biodiversity — and racial diversity.
January 20, 2015 by Alison Hawkes
State investigators will begin testing a mystery substance that has killed or injured more than 200 seabirds in the San Francisco Bay.
January 15, 2015 by Alison Hawkes
New documentary film series explores how humans and nature are codependent.
December 30, 2014 by Alison Hawkes
Coho salmon need help, but so do people with modest incomes. A new initiative seeks to bridge the two.
November 18, 2014 by Alison Hawkes
A first of its kind study measures the combined impacts of ocean acidity and high temperatures on an intertidal organism.
November 17, 2014 by Alison Hawkes
The City of Oakland is about to make a major decision on the future of one of the Bay Area's last remaining maritime chaparral communities.
November 11, 2014 by Alison Hawkes
The California drought is bad for most species, including the fungal pathogen that kills oaks.
October 08, 2014 by Alison Hawkes
Where does a thirsty bird go when the drought hits hard?
September 13, 2014 by Alison Hawkes
"I hear lion attacks are rare. Why would a mountain lion attack a child in the midst of a large group, as we've seen in the Santa Cruz Mountains last weekend?"
June 19, 2014 by Alison Hawkes
Beavers used to live across most of California before they were trapped out of existence. But could they be a solution to drought and climate change?
May 27, 2014 by Alison Hawkes
Conservation biologists are realizing that farmlands could play an important role in conservation.
April 24, 2014 by Alison Hawkes
Without rainwater, Farallon Islands research station is unable to function.
April 16, 2014 by Alison Hawkes
The tide may be finally turning against the use of drift gillnets off California waters. WARNING: Disturbing images.
March 21, 2014 by Alison Hawkes
Question: Will newts, frogs and salamanders be out in full force in the Bay Area this spring?
March 21, 2014 by Alison Hawkes
Black rails are one of the most secretive of birds. But new research is showing that the scurrying marshland species can pick up and move if it must.
September 20, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Blue-footed boobies are turning up in Point Reyes after straying far from their normal range from the Galapagos Islands to ...
September 12, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
California expected to become first state in nation to ban leaded bullets, which are deadly to wildlife in more ways than one, and more Bay Area nature news.
September 10, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Muir Woods looking into a reservation system for parking, and other Bay Area nature news.
September 05, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Drakes Bay Oyster Co. will likely close now that a federal appeals court ruled against company's request to stay open, and other Bay Area nature news.
August 21, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Endangered fin whale youngster died near Stinson Beach from undetermined trauma injury, and other Bay Area nature news.
August 15, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Sonoma grape-growers and bee do-gooders creating "bee patches" to combat beepocolypse, and other Bay Area nature news.
August 05, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Seabirds descend by the thousands on Ocean Beach in SF to gobble up a school of fish close to shore, and other Bay Area nature news.
July 31, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
SF really is a crunchy city: AT&T Park gets edible garden behind center field wall, and other Bay Area nature news.
July 29, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
A flamingo has turned up near the Sunnyvale sewage treatment plant, and local zoos say none of theirs is missing, and other Bay Area nature news.
July 22, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Bay Area's sea gull population exploding, and they're munching up endangered species, and other Bay Area nature news.
July 17, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
East Bay Regional Parks releases its plan to potentially acquire 16 new park sites, and other Bay Area nature news.
July 08, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
In summer heat, West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes more active than usual, and other Bay Area nature news.
July 03, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
NOAA concludes Pacific great white shark not in danger of extinction and doesn't warrant extra protection, and other Bay Area nature news.
June 24, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Why would anyone be destroying young, reforested tree in Golden Gate Park? Hundreds have had their tops lopped off. And other Bay Area nature news.
June 19, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Krill bloom brings in crowd of whales, including blues, into Monterey Bay, and more Bay Area nature news.
June 17, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
CA lawmakers consider ban on lead bullets used during hunting to save condors, and other Bay Area nature news.
June 11, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Millbrae mulls bird-feeding ban to prevent airport bird strikes, and other Bay Area nature news.
June 04, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Hayes Valley Farm in SF to be replaced by housing development, but it didn't go down without a last minute fight, and other Bay Area nature news.
May 29, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Time for Wednesday's Bay Area nature news digest.
May 20, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Sonoma locals up in arms about state parks plan to charge for beach parking, and other Bay Area nature news.
May 08, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Bald eagles have returned to nest for a second year in a restricted section of the park.
May 08, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
The bee population is now so low that there may not be enough to pollinate crops, and other Bay Area nature news.
May 02, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
This riparian butterfly species finds suitable habitat in the tall buildings and wide spaces of Market Street. Advocates aim to keep them there.
May 01, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
The very popular Muir Beach closed this summer to drive-ins for habitat restoration work, and other Bay Area nature news.
April 29, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
State Coastal Conservancy out of its $1 billion in bond money with no new funds in sight, and other Bay Area nature news.
April 24, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Only 15 percent of San Jose has trees, according to study using laser tree trackers, and more Bay Area nature news.
April 22, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
The 300- year-old oak tree outside Jack London's former cottage in Glen Ellen to be felled because of fungus, and other Bay Area nature news.
April 17, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Songbirds seem to be disappearing, but crows are everywhere. Is there a connection?
April 17, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Coyotes and humans coexist peacefully in Golden Gate Park -- when dogs aren't part of the picture, and other Bay Area nature news.
April 15, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Marin adds $5.2 million to county parks budget thanks to voter referendum last fall, and other Bay Area nature news.
April 08, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Presidio expanding its parkland with new green space over Doyle Drive tunnels that will connect to Crissy Field, and other Bay Area nature news.
March 25, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
What could have been at Devil's Slide makes you appreciate the tunnels that came to be.
March 21, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Closed visitors centers, fewer programs, brushy trails and dirtier bathrooms -- Washington's deficit battles will hurt the Bay Area's national parklands this summer.
March 20, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Looking to nature for signs of spring is a beloved sport among Bay Area wildlife enthusiasts. What are you noticing out there?
March 14, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Three river otters and a fish head. You fill in the rest.
March 11, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
With creek water drying up, steelhead trout advocates in Palo Alto are worried about whether this year's fish will be able to spawn.
February 21, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Now that it's officially on the national park circuit, Pinnacles may be seeing more visitors as diehard national park goers add the geological wonder to their bucket lists.
February 06, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Sonoma County gets a new park, the largest in decades, at Taylor Mountain, and other Bay Area nature news.
January 30, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
A group of San Francisco nature enthusiasts want to make official every kid's right to climb a tree, see the ocean and ride a bike.
January 23, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
From the journal of Brian Kallen, who describes his journey through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
January 14, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
Apparently fishing in a state marine reserve is no light matter. A commercial crabber gets nabbed lowering 100 traps in a Sonoma County marine reserve.
January 09, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
And suddenly it was gone. The iconic rock arch at Tennessee Beach in Marin unexpectedly gave way, changing the view forever.
January 07, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
The annual Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count, the longest running citizen science survey in the world, has finished up in the Bay Area with some important findings.
January 04, 2013 by Alison Hawkes
The California Attorney General's office releases the results of its investigation into the State Parks Department over its funding fiasco.
December 20, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
A 250-foot stretch of Sausal Creek would see the light of day. But Oakland's plans to remove 84 trees, many of them coast redwoods, has raised an uproar among Dimond Park users.
December 17, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
Wild Emergency Services, an animal aid group, has started a petition to change way California Fish & Game deals with mountain lions in public places after Half Moon Bay cougar cub shooting, and more Bay Area nature news.
November 27, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
The San Pedro Headlands offers up the ultimate solution in "sustainable" Christmas trees -- restoring coastal scrubland by removing Monterey pine. My tree was a little short of perfect, but one to remember. (Alison Hawkes)
November 15, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
Scientists report new findings on how a 750-legged millipede from the Bay Area - the leggiest animal on Earth -- may have evolved all those legs to thrive in its unique niche under sandstone rocks in moist oak woodlands.
November 08, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
With the Northeast still reeling from the affects of superstorm Sandy, there's been quite a bit of chatter out here on the Pacific about our own vulnerabilities to large tropical storms in the age of climate change.
November 05, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
Alright. Tuesday's the day, and after penning in their choice for president, Bay Area voters will get to decide how green they're going to go on a number of state and local ballot measures.
November 01, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
A geologist reminds us that a "Pineapple Express" could do just as much damage here as Hurricane Sandy did back East.
October 31, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
It’s Halloween, and you’ve probably noticed spiders everywhere. And not just the ones in costume. Perhaps the most seasonal of Bay Area spiders is the “pumpkin spider,” which gets it name from its bulbous, rust-colored thorax.
October 10, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
"McLaughlin" added to Eastshore State Park in Berkeley to honor Save the Bay co-founder Sylvia McLaughlin
September 17, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
What does South Africa and Sonoma County have in common? Both suffer from debilitating shortages of public funds for parks. ...
August 29, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
What the Vaux swift lacks in size it makes up for in numbers. The smallest species of the swift family ...
August 15, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
Glad to have you at Wednesday’s News Digest: UC Davis is America’s “coolest school,” says Sierra Magazine because of its ...
July 20, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
Recent high-school graduate Zane Moore is sitting — or rather towering — with the masters of tall tree finders. This ...
June 21, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
As the Bay Area struggles to meet sustainability goals, double-digit population growth presents a clear challenge to reducing the region’s ecological footprint. Residents must use resources more efficiently to counteract the addition of more than a million new residents. In many ways, it mirrors a challenge the planet is facing. Can population growth in San Francisco and the Bay Area be sustainable?
June 18, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
128 miles. 12,000 feet elevation gain. 17-plus hours of exercise. 3 mountain summits. 3 transit agencies. Add to that temperatures well into the triple digits in some places, and you've got the makings of a great story.That's about all you need to know to get an impression of how grueling the event known as Alt. Ride (formerly the Triple Threat) was this year.
May 29, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
It used to be that you needed guidebooks and an experienced friend to get up to speed on identifying a flash of wing through the trees. These days, however, newbie birders can become instant experts with technological tools like mobile apps. But how does technology change the nature of bird-watching? And what are the ethics pitfalls when finding a bird is so easy?
May 23, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
One of the impacts of the economic recession over the last few years has been less interest in developing the Bay Area’s remaining open space.A new report released on Tuesday by Greenbelt Alliance finds that a down real estate market, combined with public policies to restrict growth, has led to a 20 percent drop in the amount of Bay Area land “at risk” for development, compared to six years ago.An estimated 77,300 acres is no longer in the immediate cross-hairs of developers and suburban planners, according to At Risk: The Bay Area Greenbelt 2012. And some 3 million acres total are now protected.
May 17, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
A partial solar eclipse will be lighting up Bay Area skies early Sunday evening, and as luck would have it the weather is supposed to cooperate.Between 5:16pm and 7:40 pm, the moon will pass in front of the sun in an alignment not seen in 18 years. During the annular solar eclipse, the moon will form a “black hole” in the center of the sun with sunbeams shooting out from the sides.
May 11, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
Humans may be the only animals who celebrate Mother's Day. But there's no doubt that babies of other species are just as attached to their mamas, at least until they grow up. I like to think they also get a warm, fuzzy feeling when they think of the female who risked life and limb to bring them into the world and raise them fit enough to prosper. Happy Mother's Day to California mamas of all feathers and fur, fins and ... yes, even those with exoskeletons.
May 02, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
On a typical spring day in early May at the Gill Tract, UC Berkeley agriculture researchers would be busy preparing for the summer research season.But this year, in a fenced-off field that usually grows experimental crops, a temporary encampment has sprung up. A group of students and others associated with the Occupy movement have rototilled the soil and planted their own vision of the future of farming.
April 27, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
It’s easy to get depressed about the loss of biodiversity when every day, it seems, some new species pops up on a watch list like a death toll. But there are success stories that offer rays of hope in a world beset by climate change and habitat destruction. A new art exhibit opening on May 1 at the Tilden environmental education center in Berkeley showcases species that have made it back from the brink of extinction.
April 20, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
The last remaining specimen of Franciscan manzanita is happily basking in the sun in an undisclosed location in the Presidio, apparently unaware that conservative talk radio has it out for its survival. Fanning the flames on government spending, shock-jocks are calling its 2010 rescue the "untold story of the year."
April 06, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
Springtime is the season for babies. They’re busy emerging into the world by whatever method they come -- by hatch or by birth. With their arrival, some of the youngsters will also need help. The Lindsay Wildlife Museum’s rehabilitation center in Walnut Creek has about 200 babies under its wing right now and expects the number to shoot up even higher in the next couple weeks.
March 19, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
California state parks advocates are hitting the halls of the Capitol on Tuesday to remind lawmakers that they won’t go away, even though many parks are closing come July. There is no savior bill for state parks on the horizon, not in a year when tax hikes and state budget deficits are on the table. Still, the conversation about the future of California’s 279 park system must continue, said Jerry Emory, spokesperson for the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF).
March 09, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
Wind power companies are taking a bird’s eye view in siting new turbines in the Altamont Pass.As a major re-powering effort gets underway to replace 50-year-old windmills with fewer and larger ones, the companies are making use of new techniques in risk mapping to avoid the numbers of raptor deaths that have become part of the political fabric of the Altamont Wind Resource Area.
February 29, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
It’s showtime. What better way to spend a blustery day in early March than to visit the two green film festivals in San Francisco? This year’s line-up features a number of films from Bay Area filmmakers and ones that touch on local topics. Among them is Bay Area filmmaker Jon Shenk's "The Island President" about how the recently ousted leader of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, is trying to save his country from being the first obliterated by sea level rise. In an interview, Shenk explains why all coastal cities -- including Bay Area cities -- should take what's happening in the Maldives to heart.
January 17, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
The cash-strapped city of Benicia has come up with a novel way to keep its local state recreation area open and off the list of California park closures: get the state to foot the bill. The city says it can operate the 500-acre park at less than half the state's budget.
January 05, 2012 by Alison Hawkes
Monarchs may be the most celebrated and regal of the Lepidoptera, and they're hitting record highs in the Bay Area. Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont is estimating their numbers at 4,200, which is 10 times the normal count. Grab your binoculars.
December 14, 2011 by Alison Hawkes
Some say it's a "military style" operation, and surely the level of expertise in the field can be intimidating. But the Christmas Bird Count is also great fun for normally solitary birders and a chance to grow the next generation of naturalists.
December 12, 2011 by Alison Hawkes
After one solar company proposed covering 2,000 acres of open space in eastern Alameda County, county planning officials are preparing a new solar policy that will take into account environmental concerns like the loss of wildlife habitat. The debate is the latest in a series of clashes nationwide between green power and conservation.
December 05, 2011 by Alison Hawkes
When Europeans arrived at what is now Pinnacles National Monument, the land was not exactly a “pristine” or “untouched” vision of nature, but rather a managed ecosystem that itself had become dependent on fires set by the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. Scientists are studying the traditional fire practices to help the ecosystem build greater resilience to major disturbances like climate change.
December 01, 2011 by Alison Hawkes
The Beach Chalet Athletic Fields may not seem like an ecological oasis, but environmentalists are fighting a San Francisco plan to replace natural grass with artificial turf. They say the move would turn foraging grounds into the ecological equivalent of a parking lot. City officials say the fake grass is needed to help it meet growing recreational needs.
November 18, 2011 by Alison Hawkes
Four surfboard-sized vehicles set sail off the coast of the San Francisco Bay on Thursday in an attempt to break world records in ocean exploration and robotics. The “wave gliders” will, if successful, traverse the longest distance of any unmanned ocean craft as they cross the Pacific Ocean.
March 04, 2011 by Alison Hawkes
Environmental groups have filed suit against the city of San Francisco under claims it's violating the Endangered Species Act at Sharp Park Golf Course. The groups say that San Francisco, which owns and operates the 90-year old golf course in Pacifica, is harming two imperiled species: the California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake.