Laura Hautala

Laura Hautala is a freelance reporter based in Oakland.

Youth Engagement Award: Sean FitzHoward

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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.

Agreement Opens Way for Quarrying on Apperson Ridge

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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.

Two Chances for Expansion at Mori Point

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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.

Elephant Seals and Climate Change

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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.

Native Species Put the Art in BART

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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?

Brown Pelicans, Victims of Extreme Weather

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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.

Coyote Valley Crossings

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

ACTerraGreen

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Making significant reductions in your household’s energy use becomes a lot easier when people around you are making changes too. The Palo Alto-based nonprofit Acterra has developed a program that takes this into account: ACTerraGreen aims to reduce people’s carbon … Read more

Analy High School

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Math students at Analy High School in Sonoma County solved a real-life story problem when they came up with a plan to reduce carbon emissions from their schoolmates’ daily commute. It started in 2006 when teacher David Casey’s advanced-placement statistics … Read more