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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

sand dollars

The West Coast’s Living Sand Dollars

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There’s a lot more to the western sand dollar (Dendraster excentricus) than meets the eye. Most people who spend any time at the beach are familiar with the sand dollar’s skeleton, or test—the rigid, white flattened disk that commonly washes … Read more

A Hardy Californian

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Lester Rowntree (1879-1979) was a self-taught botanist and independent spirit who spent half her life trekking up and down California observing, gathering, and photographing the state’s native flora. Born in England, Rowntree lived in Kansas, Southern California, and on the … Read more

Visiting the Regional Parks Botanic Garden

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The Regional Parks Botanic Garden, in Tilden Regional Park, is a 10-acre landscape of plants native to California. The garden includes ten sections corresponding to ten geographic regions of the state, all woven into a beautiful naturalistic landscape of trees, … Read more

Botanic Magic

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On just ten acres in the Berkeley hills, there’s an enchanting garden that hosts much of California’s vast botanic diversity. The Regional Parks Botanic Garden—Northern California’s only public garden focused on our state’s native plants—is a center for conservation, research, and public education. Rare and endangered plants from around the state have found a refuge here. And thousands of children and adults alike have walked the garden’s paths, under the spell of our native flora.

Duck! It’s Time for Winter Waterfowl

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San Francisco Bay and its surrounding wetlands become a mallard mecca every winter. Mallards come by the thousands to spend the relatively balmy fall and winter months here while their breeding grounds are locked in snow and ice. And they’re … Read more

Bay Area Migrations

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Thanks to our mild climate and productive ecosystems, many species of animals (including people) migrate to and through the Bay Area. Winter is a great time to learn about some of them. In the North Bay, on Mare Island in … Read more

Lead Poisoning in California Condors

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When California condor number 307 saw biologists capturing other condors at Pinnacles National Monument last summer, she apparently spooked and flew northeast to San Luis Reservoir. By the time she returned three days later, biologists were concerned: Of the ten … Read more