Bay Nature Talks

Upcoming Talks:

An Astronomer’s Guide to the City

Date: March 5, 5:30–6:30pm via Zoom
Registration Link:

You may be surprised to learn that a telescope is not a requisite piece of gear for astrophotography. A DSLR camera and lens can be a great foundation. Join Bay Nature and author Jeremy Miller to discuss amateur astronomy, viewing techniques and gear, and astrophotography basics. Attend this interactive community conversation to learn more about the effects of Bay Area light pollution, the characteristics of ideal viewing locations, and recommended experiences building from the Winter 2024 Bay Nature story, “Astronomy in the City.” Bring your sense of awe and wonder! 

Past Talks: Watch recordings

5 Photos with Vishal Subramanyan from Concept to Capture

Improve your outdoor photography skills! We’ll go behind the lens with local rising star wildlife photographer Vishal Subramanyan to learn all the elements of a beautiful image in nature.

Join us online for a Bay Nature Talk as award winning wildlife photographer Vishal Subramanyan shares the stories behind five exemplary images from his portfolio. Hear about his use of natural light, field techniques, and the equipment that helps him capture compelling images. We’ll explore what Vishal hopes to contribute to the field of wildlife photography, the career options available to young photographers, and stories about his most memorable wildlife encounters.

Tarantulas, Gentle Giants of Mount Diablo

Made monstrous in Hollywood movies, tarantulas are truly one of the gentle giants of the animal world. Here in the Bay Area, early fall is tarantula mating season. Let’s get to know these misunderstood spiders during their season of love.

Join us online for a Bay Nature Talk as Mount Diablo Interpretive Association naturalist Michael Marchiano shares a retrospective of learnings, observations, and stories from 50 years tracking tarantulas across the mountain ranges of the San Francisco Bay Area. Come to understand the basic biology of the many species of tarantula living in California, dispel myths and misconceptions about these gentle giants, and hear how climate change is impacting their local habitats. You’ll learn about the lives of tarantulas and their mating habits at this time of year, as well as the best places to discover these spiders in the wild.

The Ribbit of Pacific Chorus Frogs — More than Meets the Ear

A common sound of California’s spring nights is the iconic “ribbit, ribbit” of Pacific chorus frogs. Yet, what is the meaning behind these unassuming sounds, and how does a frog’s environment impact their calls?

Join us online for a Bay Nature Talk with San Francisco State University Assistant Professor of Biology, Dr. Alejandro Vélez Meléndez. This follow up to our 2023 Summer issue cover story, “Scientists Are Decoding the Love Language of Pacific Chorus Frogs,” will bring you into the field to teach you how frogs use sounds to communicate, as well as the importance of communication in their social lives. You’ll learn about several research projects related to Pacific chorus frog communication presently being conducted at study sites from Point Reyes, Stanford, and Orinda.

Wild Billions — Meet BIL and IRA

Embark on a journey with Bay Nature to grok the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, two bills with forgettable names that belie their contents: unprecedented federal funding for environmental justice and climate change projects. With our summer issue, Bay Nature launches a reporting project to examine their impact in the greater Bay Area and Northern California—“Wild Billions.”

Join us online for a Bay Nature Talk with editor in chief Victoria Schlesinger and digital editor Kate Golden. This webinar will take you behind the scenes of their reporting for a fascinating discussion that will illuminate how this historic money is shaping nature in our area.

Coexistence? Humpback Whales and Dungeness Crabbers

Join humpback whale scientist John Calambokidis, commercial fisherman Dick Ogg, and science journalist Anne Marshall-Chalmers for a fascinating discussion building on the Spring 2023 Bay Nature story, “As Whale Populations Grow, Dungeness Crabbers Foresee Their Own Demise.” During this talk, you’ll learn about the conservation successes of the past 50 years that have enabled humpback whale populations to recover. We also discuss the climate effects pushing these same endangered whales towards shore — increasing the potential for conflicts with humans in the form of ship strikes, underwater noise pollution, and, in recent years, a spike in the number of whales entangled in crabbing gear. This has California’s iconic and highly profitable Dungeness crab fishery, which routinely earns crabbers $80 million for a season’s catch, facing an uncertain future.

The Enduring Mystery of Synchronized Acorn Booms

Some years are great for acorns but during some the crop fails entirely. Walt Koenig takes us through an informative and engaging presentation about California’s oaks. During his talk, you’ll learn about the issues that affect the variation and synchrony of acorn production in the trees around us. His presentation draws from data collected for the California Acorn Survey, encompassing more than 1,000 trees at 25 sites spread across California. You’ll gain knowledge about booms and busts in acorn production, as well as the implications for animals that depend on acorns for food in an ever-changing world.

Paleo Valleys

This webinar explores paleo valleys and their potential to help manage California’s flood waters and store it for future droughts. Our conversation is moderated by Bay Nature editor in chief Victoria Schlesinger together with journalist Erica Gies, author of our Winter 2022’s cover story “Capturing the Flood in California’s Ancient Underground Waterways,” and UC Davis professor emeritus of hydrogeology Graham Fogg.

A Year with the Urban Gray Fox

Join the Fox Guy, Bill Leikam, as he takes us through an informative and engaging presentation about the gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus). Although gray foxes are frequently spotted in the Bay Area, very little is known about them, especially their behavior. His presentation will begin with an overview of the gray fox’s general ecology, then will weave the science with personal stories about the foxes he studied over the course of five years.

Nature Journaling with John Muir Laws

Join artist, author, and educator John Muir Laws for a virtual walk in the woods to explore how to observe with the eyes of a naturalist, discovering and celebrating the signs of the Bay Area season in a nature journal.

Join us for a deep dive on mushrooms and enjoy just watching or pick up your pencil to sketch!

Living on Public Lands

Join us for a conversation about public lands and their increasing role as a refuge for the unhoused during California’s affordable housing crisis. It’s indisputable that more people are living both legally and illegally on public lands and that it’s an issue communities and agencies are already facing. Who is living on public lands? Why are they living there? And what is the impact on the land?

Q&A on don’t feed the coyotes

After a century of extirpation, coyotes returned to the green spaces of San Francisco in the early 2000s. Twenty years later, a thriving population of Canis latrans resides in the city’s parks and forests. The documentary don’t feed the coyotes observes several years in the intertwined lives of these urban animals. It centers around a three-year-old coyote, fondly named Scout, and her territorial challenger, the scientifically dubbed 15F. Chronicling their lives through two starkly different researchers observing them, it’s about humans, the natural world, and the lines we’ve drawn between the two. And of course, not feeding the coyotes.

Bay Nature hosted an advanced screening of the film don’t feed the coyotes which can be viewed at Following the screening of the film, Bay Nature hosted a Q&A with filmmaker Nick Stone Schearer alongside Bay Area self-taught naturalist, Janet Kessler, and wildlife ecologist with Presidio Trust, Jonathan Young.

Tales of Urban Whales

Learn about the whales, dolphins, and porpoises of the San Francisco Bay Area! Join marine mammal biologist Bill Keener as he presents the results of The Marine Mammal Center’s latest studies. This is a story of environmental change in the bay, as these fascinating animals have adapted to life in our urban waters. Here’s your chance to learn from a local scientist about the lives of whales, the difference between porpoises and dolphins, where to see them, and what you can do to help in the research.

An Inside Look at Bay Area Bobcats

Join conservation photographer Sarah Killingsworth, a Marin County-based California Naturalist, for an intimate look at bobcats in the Bay Area. In this webinar you will learn more about this elusive species as well as how to ethically approach bobcat photography, what gear Sarah uses, the zen of wildlife photography and tips for coexisting with bobcats in your neighborhood (yes, in the Bay Area, you probably have them).

People, Science, and Nature at One Tam

Join One Tam’s Community Science Program Manager Lisette Arellano in conversation with author and science journalist Mary Ellen Hannibal about how community science is fueling conservation on Mount Tamalpais. Hear from Lisette about three of One Tam’s community science programs: the Marin Wildlife Picture Index Project, the Bioblitz series, and the Tamalpais Bee Lab. Mary Ellen explores the connection between individual action and regional, state-wide, and global efforts.

Chaparral Fire Ecology & the Fire Following Plants Around us

In this timely Bay Nature Talk, senior botanist Heath Bartosh delves into chaparral fire ecology, including fire return intervals and climate concerns. Learn how California’s chaparral ecosystems recover from fire, meet some common fire-following plants, and find out where to see fire followers this spring! Heath is joined by ecological engineer and senior scientist Christina Toms who leads a Q&A following the presentation.

Nature Journaling with John Muir Laws

Artist, author, and educator John Muir Laws helps us observe with the eyes of a naturalist, discovering and celebrating the signs of the Bay Area season in a nature journal. Learn how to sketch and document mushrooms, seasonal birds, raindrops, and a misty winter landscape. For lots of free nature journaling resources, visit

Tennessee Hollow Watershed Restoration

For twenty years planners in the Presidio of San Francisco have been restoring the buried-and-forgotten watershed of the former Army Base. Much of the project is already completed, and the next phase opens to the public in December. Watch this webinar with Presidio Trust ecologist and Associate Director of Natural Resources Lew Stringer to find out how they did it!

Infectious Disease & the Environment

In this Bay Nature Talks webinar, editor in chief Victoria Schlesinger discusses the history of plague and wildlife in the West with Elena Conis and Daniel Roman. Check out Elena and Daniel’s Bay Nature article here.

River Otters

Join Megan Isadore, co-founder and executive director of River Otter Ecology Project, for an inspiring presentation about the important role that community science played in changing the range map for river otters in California.


Cal Academy’s Rebecca Johnson and Alison Young and Bay Nature’s Eric Simons share their knowledge, tips, and tricks so you can get the most out of your next tidepooling experience. Where and when can you find the best pools? What are some common species you might see? How can you help provide critical data for science and management on your tidepooling trip?

The Journeys of Trees

Science writer and author of the new book The Journeys of Trees, Zach St. George has traveled the globe talking to ecologists, foresters, and activists about the future of forests and how they will or won’t persist. In this Zoom webinar with Bay Nature editor in chief Victoria Schlesinger, St. George will discuss his new book, as well as his latest Bay Nature story focusing on the California species Monterey pine.