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About Paul Epstein


Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction

March 09, 2016 by Paul Epstein

Noted environmental author Mary Ellen Hannibal was moved to write about large-scale efforts to protect the planet after watching conservation scientists weep as they shared their fears.

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Finding New Words for Nature

January 14, 2016 by Paul Epstein

Northern California naturalist David Lukas' latest book encourages people to "take back" nature by creating a new lexicon for natural phenomena.

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Shaping Ocean Plastic into Awareness

April 23, 2015 by Paul Epstein

Engaging kids in art is second nature to renowned environmental artist and mom Lee Lee, whose collaborative art tiles project, DEBRIS, sprung out of her concern for her newborn son Thatcher's future in a world overrun by single-use plastics.

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Q&A: Point Reyes Photographer Daniel Dietrich and the Ethics of Shooting the Wild

March 26, 2015 by Paul Epstein

Acclaimed Inverness-based wildlife photographer Daniel Dietrich is raising awareness around the shifty practice of owl baiting in the quest for the perfect shot.

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A Sustainable Ocean Harvest

December 18, 2014 by Paul Epstein

Exploring the world of kelp with Rising Tides Sea Vegetables' Larry Knowles.

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Young South Bay habitat hero engages kids in refuge conservation

November 20, 2014 by Paul Epstein

2014 Brower Youth Award winner Lynnea Shuck talks about her Junior Refuge Ranger program.

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Saying “Yes” to Habitat Gardens

October 22, 2014 by Paul Epstein

Award-winning master gardener Kate Frey believes gardens should be for more than just show.


Q&A: Pixar Animator Simon Christen on His Remarkable Time-Lapse of Bay Area Fog

October 09, 2014 by Paul Epstein

Somewhere between animation and photography, Swiss-born Simon Christen has found his happy place: time-lapse photography. His “day job” is as ...

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Singing the Praises of our Local Creeks

June 05, 2014 by Paul Epstein

“I am fortunate to live near Las Gallinas Creek, so I get to see it every day. Its beauty has ...


The Inner Visions of Mark Kitchell

May 07, 2014 by Paul Epstein

“We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then ...

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Swimming for Sharks

March 27, 2014 by Paul Epstein

Emmy-award-winning filmmaker and marine scientist David McGuire has not only swum with sharks, he’s swum FOR them. As founder and ...


Water, Water Everywhere…?

March 13, 2014 by Paul Epstein

In these days of scarce water, the supply of organizations talking about water policy seems to exceed the supply of ...


Jake Sigg: Nature News’ Passionate Pen

November 06, 2013 by Paul Epstein

Anyone interested in Bay Area nature and ecology has likely come across Jake Sigg’s Nature News, an indispensable and idiosyncratic ...


Jake Sigg: Why I Fight for Nature

November 06, 2013 by Paul Epstein

We asked Jake Sigg, the popular and opinionated editor of Nature News, what originally inspired him to become such a ...

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Tales of a Recovered Arachnophobe

October 23, 2013 by Paul Epstein

Gwen Heistand hasn’t always loved spiders: In fact, she used to be deathly afraid of them! As resident biologist at ...


Counting her Chickens

October 10, 2013 by Paul Epstein

Tracy Fasanella, CEO of CarbonCount, Inc., a green accounting firm, lives in two worlds.  When she’s not parsing cap-and-trade regulations ...

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Turning Over a New Leaf

September 26, 2013 by Paul Epstein

“Phenology studies the seasonal cycles in nature, such as when flowers bloom, insects hatch, and birds migrate. In the era ...

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The “Bat Lady” of Yolo Basin

August 29, 2013 by Paul Epstein

Corky Quirk is the founder and executive director of Northern California Bats (aka NorCal Bats), a Sacramento-based nonprofit organization dedicated ...


It’s Fun to Share!

August 28, 2013 by Paul Epstein

San Francisco resident Kelly Jensen is the Interlibrary Loan and Digital Production Assistant at the California Academy of Sciences. One ...

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A Clear-Eyed Vision for Clear Lake

July 30, 2013 by Paul Epstein

Roberta Lyons is a muckraker, though a different sort than her journalist mother.  Lyons herself looks past actual muck –  ...

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How do you pronounce Olompali?

June 20, 2013 by Paul Epstein

Olompali State Historic Park, located just west of Highway 101 between Novato and Petaluma, is rich in both natural and ...

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Beyond Fossil Fuels

May 23, 2013 by Paul Epstein

Ever heard of California’s “Low Carbon Fuel Standard”? UC Berkeley prof Dan Kammen co-wrote it. What about the terms “cap ...

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May 08, 2013 by Paul Epstein

Rick Lewis evokes the phrase, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  Where other people see industry and ugliness, ...

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A Surprise Circle of Redwoods

April 27, 2013 by Paul Epstein

Another father-son geocaching adventure, this time revealing a very tall trees that seem to hide in plain sight.

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“Paint slowly and carry a small brush”

April 24, 2013 by Paul Epstein

Internationally acclaimed painter Jeff Long, known primarily for his abstract works, has lately taken up his brush in defense of ...


A Festival with Legs

April 09, 2013 by Paul Epstein

What has more than two thousand legs and is converging on San Francisco’s Corona Heights neighborhood?  A: The parents, children, ...

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Helping Kids Make the Nature Connection

March 26, 2013 by Paul Epstein

For Palo Alto-based Environmental Volunteers, personal exploration of nature is what it’s all about.  By providing school kids with hands-on ...

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Madeline’s Garden

March 13, 2013 by Paul Epstein

A resident of Saratoga, Madeline Morrow sits on the Steering Committee of the 2013 “Going Native” tour, a two-day extravaganza ...

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Keeping Santa Cruz Evergreen

February 28, 2013 by Paul Epstein

Nowadays Reed Holderman dedicates his time to the conservation of trees and their habitats, specifically the Coast Redwood. That’s because ...

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Geocaching Oakland’s Belap Path

February 10, 2013 by Paul Epstein

The East Bay Hills are riddled with hidden paths and staircases.  Providing an athletic training ground for the hard-core runner, ...

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Charting the Geographies of Hope

January 31, 2013 by Paul Epstein

On the very edge of the North American tectonic plate, surrounded by ranches and wetlands and everyone’s favorite  park — ...

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Getting in tune with nature

January 07, 2013 by Paul Epstein

Glen Ellen resident Bernie Krause records sounds in nature to understand a habitat's biodiversity.

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Cut Off from Nature or Take the Right Cut-off?

January 05, 2013 by Paul Epstein

Another father-son geocaching adventure: Learning to love wetlands, even the ones by the highway.

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First Person: How to Make a Frog’s Day

January 01, 2013 by Paul Epstein

In 2008, Kerry Kriger founded Santa Cruz-based Save the Frogs, which he says is the nation’s only public charity dedicated exclusively to amphibian conservation.

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Geocaching in Oakland

December 01, 2012 by Paul Epstein

Follow the geocaching adventures of a father and son, this time in Oakland, underground.

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Documenting the rising tide

November 12, 2012 by Paul Epstein

Since the 1970s, Claire Schoen has been producing environmental documentaries in a variety of formats, from photography to film to ...

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An Outdoor Bill of Rights for Kids

October 18, 2012 by Paul Epstein

Some people work full time on behalf of environmental education. Carol Johnson works double-time. As both the Assistant General Manager ...

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Get started geocaching on EarthCache Day

October 14, 2012 by Paul Epstein

Today, it turns out, is the sixth annual “EarthCache Day.” What the heck is that? It’s a natural-sciences-flavored version of ...

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Inspired by the Natural World

October 11, 2012 by Paul Epstein

An interview with Frans Lanting, an internationally renowned wildlife photographer who moved to Santa Cruz 30 years ago and never looked back.

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Oakland getting more mini-parks

October 01, 2012 by Paul Epstein

Oakland is expanding the number "parklets" to bring more green to urban residents.

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California Coastal Cleanup 2012

September 19, 2012 by Paul Epstein

California’s largest volunteer event has a environmental focus. Coastal Cleanup Day took place on Saturday and preliminary results show that ...

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Planets on the Sand

August 31, 2012 by Paul Epstein

The universe: sparse matter, mostly vacuum. Almost every year since 2004, Dave Grossman and Pat Mundy have installed a temporary ...

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Lines of defense

August 20, 2012 by Paul Epstein

Right after completing his undergraduate degree in biological sciences at UC Davis, Fresno-born Mike Lynes went to work out in ...

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Fearless with Feathers

July 05, 2012 by Paul Epstein

Rich Stallcup is viewed by the ornithological community as a "legend in his own time" for the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and for his commitment to education and conservation. He is one of the founders of Point Reyes Bird Observatory (now PRBO Conservation Science). We spoke with Stallcup about his largely self-taught background in ornithology and about PRBO's work.

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Speaking of Sonoma Mountain

May 25, 2012 by Paul Epstein

Nancy Shelby, director of the theater group Word for Word Performing Arts Company, is taking on the work of Native American storyteller Greg Sarris. In a new piece, they explore the legends and history of Sonoma Mountain. Shelby says theater goes back to the village coming together in an exploration of what it means to be human.

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Paddling to the sea

May 14, 2012 by Paul Epstein

Jessie Raeder was an energetic high school student when a bitter dispute erupted over the use of chemicals to eradicate pike in Lake Davis in favor of native trout. Nowadays she's director of Paddle to the Sea, a month long "paddle-a-thon" that begins in June and runs the 241-mile length the Tuolumne River from the Sierras to the San Francisco Bay. The goal: raise awareness and money for the river's benefactor, the Tuolumne River Trust.

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Imaginations from the sky

April 26, 2012 by Paul Epstein

Originally working in packaged design, Robyn Hodess became a landscape painter after a cross country plane ride sparked her imagination. Her landscapes look like they exist, somewhere, but are actually all from her head. She's come to see nature differently: "Before, I was looking at it very closely, 'Oh, look at the bud.' ... Now I'm saying, 'What are the textures in the world? What are the colors in the world?'"

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Caching nature

April 13, 2012 by Paul Epstein

Lee Van Der Bokke is a world-class geocacher - someone who hides, and searches for, "caches"—hidden containers of different sizes that are tagged and located using GPS (global positioning system) or mobile devices. He says they're a great way to get people -- young and old -- exploring nature.

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A blogger’s mission to save state parks

March 28, 2012 by Paul Epstein

It started out as a patriotic effort to show fellow citizens what they didn't know they were missing before it was gone. But in her mission to visit and blog about every California state park on the closure list, Lucy D'Mot also discovered some things about herself. "I feel like maybe I missed my calling earlier in life, to be a little more out in the outdoors," she said.


Charles Kennard: Eclectic Environmentalist

March 15, 2012 by Paul Epstein

From taking photos to weaving ornamental beehives and tule boats, Charles Kennard's art is inspired by nature.

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Weaving Art and Nature: Charles Kennard

March 15, 2012 by Paul Epstein

From weaving handcrafted ornamental beehives to restoring watersheds, Charles Kennard is an eclectic environmentalist who brings his artistic sensibilities to his conservation efforts.

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Circles in the sand

February 13, 2012 by Paul Epstein

Now you see it. Now you don't. Jim Denevan creates art --very large art -- out of the most ephemeral media: patterns in sand which will wash away with the tide, tracings in the earth that will disappear with the first rain, etchings upon icy lakes that must melt with the coming of spring. Beach aficionados know him as "that surfer dude," but his artwork is reminiscent of masters like Christo and Goldsworthy.


Images of activism

January 27, 2012 by Paul Epstein

Petaluma photographer Scott Hess never shied from a debate about conservation. He's hiked, admittedly illicitly, around Lafferty Ranch to reveal the property's hidden beauty, and once snapped pinups of "ecobabes" for a calendar on climate change. In this Q&A, Hess explains how his activism and photography intersect, and the pitfalls of doing what you love most.

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Sustainable Christmas trees sprouting up

December 21, 2011 by Paul Epstein

In the past, a consumer had mainly two choices: real or artificial. Another voice has joined the debate over the “best” Christmas tree. “Sustainable” trees have hit holiday stands to become a viable option for green consumers. But what does the label “sustainable” mean and are these trees worth the premium price?

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Students explore origins of popular Thanksgiving dish

November 23, 2011 by Paul Epstein

Making the most of a popular Thanksgiving dish and Native American agricultural traditions, students at Frank Havens School planted a "Three Sisters" garden. The fifth-graders planted squash, corn and beans together – known as succotash -- in an effort to demonstrate how the plants help each other grow without the need of chemicals and how, when combined, provide complete nutrition.

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Jewish Farm Brings Spirit to the Art of Cultivation

November 10, 2011 by Paul Epstein

Urban Adamah is a one-acre farm and Jewish environmental education center that recently opened in West Berkeley, just a stone’s throw from Interstate 80. Named for the Hebrew word for “earth,” Urban Adamah provides local food banks and community organizations with fresh produce while accommodating 500 visitors a month.

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BayWood Artists Exhibition Benefits Save the Bay

October 28, 2011 by Paul Epstein

The BayWood Artists, a group of plein air painters who often hold art sales to benefit local environmental groups, are dedicating their current show at the Bay Model in Sausalito to Save the Bay, which is celebrating its 50th birthday this year.

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A Muddy Race at Mount Hamilton

October 21, 2011 by Paul Epstein

On October 9, 805 teams of two, 100 individuals, and 220 children, along with hundreds of volunteers from local civic organizations, a crack team of event organizers, and thousands of cheering fans gathered at Joseph D. Grant County Park in the Mount Hamilton area of San Jose. They came to run. They came to bike. They came to get dirty.

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Should National Parks Allow Air Tours?

October 12, 2011 by Paul Epstein

Two air tour operators got a provisional green light for low-flying air tours over the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Point Reyes. Meanwhile, a long-term Air Tour Management Plan is in the works. As the October 21 public comment deadline approaches, some environmentalists say air tours have no place in parks, while tour operators say they offer access to people who might not otherwise see the parks.

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Get in on National Public Lands Day, this Saturday

September 21, 2011 by Paul Epstein

Even before Woodie Guthrie sang "This land is your land...," Americans had a solid history of maintaining and sharing public lands. September 24 brings this value into sharp focus: The annual National Public Lands Day is the largest assembly of volunteer effort on behalf of public lands in history. We'll help you get in on the action!

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