Below the opaque surface of the calm waters of Richmond and Sausalito Harbors lies an unexpected world of curious forms, brilliant colors, and furious competition for a place to hold on.
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Tom Smith. A simple name. Not so the man. My great-great-grand-father. Father and grandfather and great-grandfather to many Coast Miwok and Pomo people. I’ve told stories about him, stories I have heard, stories others tell: how he performed miracles healing … Read more
Though it’s the most extensive natural habitat in California, chaparral’s brambly ways discourage human visitors. Still, plenty of wildlife finds sanctuary in its tangled, brushy universe, as do the dormant seeds of wildflowers as they await the inevitable next fire, forceful sculptor of this complex landscape.
A shower of magma-heated liquid and steam makes for more than just a pretty Calistoga postcard. It’s a 30-million-year-old lesson in California’s dynamic underground history of sliding plates, volcanic eruptions, and molten rock.
What a seemingly simple, but deceptively complex question! Ultimately, perhaps, the least speculative—but not completely satisfactory—answer is that manzanitas inherited this trait from their ancestors. There is compelling evidence that manzanitas (genus Arctostaphylos) are derived from a group of trees, … Read more
At the intersection of coastal tides and inland rivers there’s a place that’s rich in history and full of life. The Delta has been greatly altered by human hands, but at Big Break Regional Shoreline, its watery charms are accessible to those willing to venture off the beaten path.
Our temperate climate here in the Bay Area means that most inhabitants don’t have to hibernate. Hibernation is a form of adaptive hypothermia, a continuum of responses to climatic variations that allow an animal to save energy by temporarily abandoning … Read more
An increasing number of gray whales have been spotted in San Francisco Bay in recent years. Why are these aquatic giants venturing here now in greater numbers? Are they temporary refugees? Or are they adding a regular stop on their 10,000-mile-long migration route?
When she gets out of the shower in the morning, Sue LaTourrette might find herself standing 10 feet from a great egret. “We live on a creek,” she says, “so we were used to wildlife. But we never had herons … Read more
If not for an unassuming wire fence, you might mistake Judith Larner Lowry’s garden for one of nature’s own. The tall wooden gate resists slightly, then yields, permitting the visitor to step into a quiet community of coastal scrub. Undulating … Read more