Matthew Bettelheim

Matthew Bettelheim is a freelance writer and a wildlife biologist with URS Corporation.

Gone with the Wind

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The old adage says the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, but that’s really just the beginning of the story from the tree’s point of view. The real excitement starts when animals&mdashbirds, deer, people—come along and carry the apples … Read more

Fire Ecology Resources

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Organizations The California Fire Safe Council (CFSC) fosters the creation of local and county Fire Safe councils; they provide information and resources to help protect communities from wildfires. The CFSC also maintains a comprehensive website (www.firesafecouncil.org) that serves as a … Read more

Mount Diablo Resources

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Organizations Several local nonprofit organizations work to protect open space on and around Mount Diablo and to inform the public about the natural and cultural history of the area. Save Mount Diablo Save Mount Diablo (SMD) was founded in 1971 … Read more

What a Grand Sight!

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Beginning in 1860, botanist William H. Brewer accompanied state geologist Josiah Dwight Whitney on an expedition to perform “an accurate and complete Geological Survey” of California’s rocks, fossils, soils, minerals, and botanical and zoological specimens. Brewer’s accounts of his travels, … Read more

Outdoor Summer Camp Resources

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Too much homework? Bully picking on you at school? Perhaps not, but have you stopped to wonder if your children are yearning for a breath of fresh air? Sometimes, even the ol’ backyard isn’t enough backcountry for a cooped-up kid, … Read more

Tafoni Around the Bay

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The tafoni weathering formation featured at El Corte de Madera Creek Preserve is a particularly accessible example of an uncommon phenomenon, but there are several other places to see tafoni in the Bay Area. At Castle Rock State Park west … Read more

Book Review: Exploring a Sense of Place

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Exploring a Sense of Place: How to Create Your Own Local Program for Reconnecting with Nature, by Karen Harwell and Joanna Reynolds. Self-Published, 2006, 92 pages, $25.00 www.exploringsenseofplace.org Ask yourself these questions: On what day are the shadows shortest where … Read more

Left to Burn

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At the turn of the 20th Century, the California Academy of Sciences was the oldest scientific society in the western United States. From its humble beginnings in 1853 as California’s de facto cabinet of curiosities stemming from “the systematic survey … Read more

Hit the Trail and Lend a Hand

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It doesn’t take much to enjoy a well-built trail, but it takes a lot of elbow grease to actually build one. From the logistical nightmares of avoiding washouts, poison oak, and sensitive resources to the deceptively simple question of where … Read more