In the San Francisco Bay Area, slices of nature pop up in the most unexpected places, a testament to the region's wealth in biodiversity and the resilience of its natural systems. Bringing nature to urban areas is not just about ensuring the survival of species, but enhancing people's quality of life through a fulfillment of our innate need to be with nature.

Argiope aurantia

Fall is the Season When Garden Spiders Live Large

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Look in your backyard right now, and there’s a decent chance you’ll see the ornate webs of our local orbweaver spiders. After feeding on insects all spring and summer, banded garden spiders and yellow garden spiders get big and very noticeable in fall, just before they lay their eggs and die.

Perseid Meteor Shower

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In the early hours from moonset to dawn between August 8 and 14, skywatchers in the Bay Area will be able to see the spectacular annual show put on by the Perseid meteor shower. At its peak on August 12, the tiny cast-off comet particles will streak across the sky at rates up to 60 per hour. Stay up late, grab a blanket or a lounge chair, find a spot away from streetlights, and enjoy the show!

Mount Sutro’s Untold Understory

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It’s almost impossible to miss Sutro Tower, the lanky broadcast antenna that looms 977 feet above the summit of one of San Francisco’s tallest hills, itself over 900 feet tall. However, few people know that underneath that landmark sit 61 … Read more

San Francisco Natural Areas Program

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San Francisco’s Natural Areas Program is in the final stages of hammering out a plan to guide the management and improvement of its designated Natural Resource Areas. Of the 3,480 acres managed by the Recreation and Parks Department, 31 sites … Read more

Making Peace with Coyote

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Clementine is a 130-pound great Pyrenees—a white shag carpet of a dog who sleeps through the day out in the rolling hills of West Marin, guarding up to 1,500 head of sheep owned by Bill Jensen. Jensen lives on 240 … Read more

Book Review: New Guardians for the Golden Gate

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New Guardians for the Golden Gate: How America Got a Great National Park, by Amy Meyer with Randolph Delehanty, UC Press, 2006, 338 pages, $29.95 www.ucpress.edu How quickly we forget. Less than 40 years ago, the Presidio was an active … Read more

Unearthing Mountain Lake

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In 2001, bulldozers excavated two immense old army water tanks that long sat at the edge of Mountain Lake, a two-and-a-half-acre lake in San Francisco’s Presidio that’s one of only three natural lakes in the city. That same year, native … Read more

Hunters Point Power Plant Controversy

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On Wednesday, March 15, the San Francisco Public Power Commission voted unanimously to close the aging Hunters Point power plant as early as this April. This might sound like a victory for the Bayview Hunter’s Point community, but they’ve heard … Read more