This very special tenth-anniversary issue features original work from many of our favorite authors, including Robert Hass, Rebecca Solnit, Greg Sarris, Jon Carroll, Wendy Tokuda, Linda Watanabe McFerrin, and others. We bring you winning photos from our People in Nature photo contest and interview Harold Gilliam, Bay Nature award winner and dean of local environmental journalism.
Cover illustration by Kathleen Lipinsky, emerylipinski.com.
This very special tenth-anniversary issue features original work from many of our favorite authors, including Robert Hass, Rebecca Solnit, Greg Sarris, Jon Carroll, Wendy Tokuda, Linda Watanabe McFerrin, and others.
Here, the sedimentary rocksof the town where I was raisedlift up, the layers of ancient seabed exposed in ridges running left to right, time turned on its side– Eocene, Miocene, Pliocene. At this height, the twilight rises, a tidal shadow deepeningthe cold of the cloudless atmosphere, sharpening the view until it seemsevery level is visible, […]
Art and Design
Learning from Nature in the East Bay Parks
The East Bay Regional Park District is not just the nation's largest and oldest regional park district. It also has what’s likely the largest corps of professional naturalists of any local park agency. For generations of kids, that's meant accessible opportunities for hiking, camping, getting dirty, and--most important--discovering the outdoors and getting to know our plant and animal neighbors.
Kids and Nature
The first thing that is apt to raise your eyesAbove the dove-grey and silvery thicketsOf lupine and coyote bush and artichoke thistleOn the sandy, winding path from the parking lotTo the beach at Abbotts Lagoon is the white flashOf the marsh hawk’s rump as it skims low Over coastal scrub. The white-crowned sparrowsLoud in the […]
Art and Design
In spring 2010, Bay Nature teamed up with Sarber's Cameras on a photo contest featuring images of people in the natural places they love. Dozens of local photographers submitted hundreds of photos. Check out the winners!
Art and Design
Just a thousand yards off the San Mateo coast sits one of the most densely populated places in the Bay Area, with hundreds of residents sharing nine rocky acres, all with great views. But there are no people living here. This is Ano Nuevo Island, a wildlife reserve where four species of seals and sea lions coexist with seven species of seabirds. The only human presence is an occasional visit from a remarkable team of biologists, botanists, and ceramicists.
Art and Design | Wildlife
"Home"--the word evokes many images: memories of your childhood abode or the smell of a home-cooked meal. Animals, too, have different ideas of home--nursery, fortress, or merely a place to rest. Here's a few fun homes you might see in the woods, if you know where to look.
Greg Sarris, currently Chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, grew up in Santa Rosa, left for many years, and has now resettled on Sonoma Mountain. The bluebellies were there in his childhood and are still there now, woven into the landscape and the history of Sarris's people.
History | Wildlife
There is a godwho sits upon the sea’s blue monumentand breathes into the tide.He sits far off, and yet his breath is here. It is a little channel, barely wideenough to have some mud and pickleweed,with bulkheads hemming it on either side: Out of a culvert’s gated moutha creek flows out from underneaththe asphalts of […]
After a one-year hiatus, the organizers behind the popular Geography of Hope conference in Point Reyes Station are back with a new topic. Event organizers honored Wallace Stegner at the inaugural conference in 2008 and celebrated sustainable farming in 2009. This year's theme will be "Reflections on Water."
Art and Design
Author Rebecca Solnit celebrates the quotidian landscape of oaks and grasses of her childhood ramblings on Mount Burdell in Marin County. Has anyone, she asks, written a poem about bunchgrass? Or buckeyes? If no one has yet, someone should.
Botany | History
Every September, people flock to Golden Gate Park's Sharon Meadow to enjoy the arias sung during Opera in the Park. But there is another free concert at the other end of the park: the song of the Nuttall's white-crowned sparrow. A new restoration project aims to help the sparrows sing a bit louder.
Urban Nature | Wildlife
Ninety percent of the world population of 8,000 to 10,000 mountain plovers winter in California after traveling from their breeding grounds in Montana and Colorado. Mountain plovers, now listed as one of California's species of greatest concern, numbered around 300,000 in 1975.
Longtime television anchorwoman Wendy Tokuda now spends many days in the East Bay hills, finding endangered manzanitas and communing with pileated woodpeckers. All because of her obsession with an invasive weed called French broom. And her years of effort are paying off.
Botany | Stewardship
In November, California voters decisively defeated Proposition 23, a measure that would have suspended our landmark law to curb greenhouse gas emissions. That was a genuine victory for the environment, but not an uncomplicated one. For better and worse, it likely means more wind turbines. And that means more dead raptors.
The sugars drop down in the berries,no longer specific. That mangy deersleeps the summer off. You’ve been herethe night away, a body with its bit of local pain. Under the hazel: spotson satyr anglewings [Polygonia satyrus] spaced unevenly. Spikenard bundlespoof up from huge stalks. [“Then took Mary a pound ofointment of spikenard, very costly, […]
Art and Design
State Route 84 twists and turns along Alameda Creek through Niles Canyon between Fremont and Sunol. An effort by Caltrans to make the road safer has hit a roadblock: Environmental groups, local citizens, and the City of Fremont claim that widening and straightening the road will simply encourage drivers to go faster while harming a creek that has been the focus of steelhead trout restoration efforts.
Michael Ellis declares that ringtails register a 9.9 on the cuteness scale, and they were reputed to shack up with miners during the Gold Rush. Yet longtime field biologist Wendy has yet to see one of these small mammals. They are elusive, but not as uncommon as you might think.
Ask the Naturalist | Wildlife
While transplanted New Englanders may complain about the Bay Area's inconspicuous seasons, true Californians prefer February flowers to snow shovels.
Grebes are always fun to watch. Jack Laws helps you tell one from another. If you're especially lucky, you'll see their amazing synchronized courtship dances, where male and female zoom like speedboats across the surface of ponds or lakes.
For San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll, it all happened at Limantour.
Linda Watanabe-McFerrin goes in search of rare butterflies on San Bruno Mountain, an island of native habitat besieged by subdivisions, roads, and invasive weeds.
Bay Nature turns ten!
Harold Gilliam and the Birth of Environmental Journalism
Before Harold Gilliam began his weekly newspaper column in 1960, the category of environmental journalism simply did not exist. For the next 35 years, Gilliam pioneered and perfected the craft of environmental reporting. We talk to him about his career, biggest stories, and how things are different for today's environmental journalists.