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Laura Hautala is a freelance reporter based in Oakland.


Never Mind the Game; Here’s a Superb Owl in San Jose

January 30, 2015 by Laura Hautala

This is no mere Internet meme: the City of San Jose has a burrowing owl preserve, with hidden cameras, and it is spectacular.


Youth Engagement Award: Sean FitzHoward

May 30, 2012 by Laura Hautala

Sean FitzHoward has a head start on contributing to local conservation. At 16, the high school junior has already completed an internship with The Bay Institute. Now she's volunteering with the California Academy of Sciences. She also founded and runs the Protect the Bay Club at San Francisco's Lowell High School. We caught up with her at Crissy Field to talk about her passion for local environmental action.

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Agreement Opens Way for Quarrying on Apperson Ridge

June 04, 2009 by Laura Hautala

A long-running battle over a quarry proposed for Apperson Ridge adjacent to Sunol Regional Wilderness reached a new chapter last month when two environmental groups struck a deal with the quarry operator. The deal includes major funding for habitat protection and other concessions, but also clears the way for quarrying in an area that's important habitat for tule elk and other species.

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Two Chances for Expansion at Mori Point

April 23, 2009 by Laura Hautala

With a San Francisco Board of Supervisors vote set for April 30 to decide the fate of Sharp Park north of Mori Point, and a developer ready to sell a large property to the south, the rare snakes and frogs that thrive on Mori Point could get a whole lot more elbow room.

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Elephant Seals and Climate Change

March 20, 2009 by Laura Hautala

A new study suggests that warmer ocean temperatures brought on by climate change may permanently skew sex ratios of northern elephant seals, the huge seals that visit a few Bay Area locations to breed.

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Native Species Put the Art in BART

January 29, 2009 by Laura Hautala

On a typical walk through a BART station, it’s hard to ignore the advertisements covering the available wall space. But a few ads are most striking in their mystery: A Steller's jay? A black-tailed deer? Both with nothing but a subtle BART train in the background. No message. No sell. What are these all about?

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Brown Pelicans, Victims of Extreme Weather

January 16, 2009 by Laura Hautala

Recently, people have been finding debilitated, or even dead, brown pelicans up and down the West Coast. Initially baffled, scientists now believe the birds' expanding range clashed with an unusually severe winter storm in December 2008.

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Coyote Valley Crossings

January 01, 2009 by Laura Hautala

Students help document how wildlife cross Coyote Valley, a critical link between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo Range.

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January 01, 2009 by Laura Hautala

Making significant reductions in your household’s energy use becomes a lot easier when people around you are making changes too. ...

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Analy High School

January 01, 2009 by Laura Hautala

Math students at Analy High School in Sonoma County solved a real-life story problem when they came up with a ...

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Berkeley FIRST

January 01, 2009 by Laura Hautala

The high cost of installing solar panels is a major obstacle for Bay Area residents wanting to go solar to ...

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GGNRA Big Year Comes to a Close

December 31, 2008 by Laura Hautala

What brings together professionals and amateur naturalists, butterfly specialists and evolutionary biologists, children and adults, all in the name of endangered species? Try the Golden Gate National Recreation Area's Big Year for Endangered Species.

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Book Review: Introduction to Fire in California

October 01, 2008 by Laura Hautala

by David Carle, UC Press, 2008, 236 pages, $18.95 This year’s record fire season made it undeniable: Fire is a ...

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The Sea Scouts Rise Again

September 11, 2008 by Laura Hautala

A derelict historic building on the Palo Alto waterfront is about to find new life: As the expanded home of the 36-year-old nonprofit Environmental Volunteers, which offers hands-on science learning to thousands of South Bay schoolchildren each year.


Getting to Work on Tennessee Hollow

September 05, 2008 by Laura Hautala

The Presidio's Tennessee Hollow watershed is steeped in history. And it's a magnet for wildlife. Now, the Presidio Trust is embarking on an ambitious restoration project. Find out how you can take part.

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Fall is the Season When Garden Spiders Live Large

August 29, 2008 by Laura Hautala

Look in your backyard right now, and there's a decent chance you'll see the ornate webs of our local orbweaver spiders. After feeding on insects all spring and summer, banded garden spiders and yellow garden spiders get big and very noticeable in fall, just before they lay their eggs and die.


Rebuilding for California Condors

July 23, 2008 by Laura Hautala

The Ventana Wildlife Society, which leads California condor restoration efforts, is looking for public support after Big Sur's massive wildfire wiped out its rearing and release facility.

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New Species Discovered on Lime Ridge

July 21, 2008 by Laura Hautala

Though surrounded by houses, Lime Ridge in Walnut Creek is rich in rare plants, including two new species discovered by an amateur botanist.

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Chasing the West Coast Lady

July 18, 2008 by Laura Hautala

If butterfly watching sounds sedate, perhaps you've never witnessed the excitement of the territorial chase...

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Marine Protected Areas Update

July 01, 2008 by Laura Hautala

Find out the latest on California's effort to establish some of the strongest marine protected areas in the world.

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Callippe Silverspot, a Rare and Endangered Native Butterfly

June 20, 2008 by Laura Hautala

The endangered callippe silverspot butterfly was once common, but now it's found only on San Bruno Mountain, one of the world's hot spots of biodiversity and a spectacular bit of Bay Area wilderness.

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Watching for Blue Bellies

June 12, 2008 by Laura Hautala

We've all seen these plentiful little lizards flitting about our trails. Did you know they're a critical food source and even help protect you from Lyme disease?

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