A little standing water is all it takes for mosquitoes to get going, so it’s no wonder they’ve been making evolutionary hay for over 30 million years—and acting as efficient disease transporters along the way, even here in the temperate Bay Area.
This summer, a new exhibit in San Francisco’s Presidio celebrates one of the world’s most diverse urban bird habitats. From July 9 through August 29, “Birds of the Pacific Slope: Sights and Songs” fills the galleries of the Presidio Officers’ Club to highlight the Presidio’s importance as habitat for more than 200 bird species and […]
Where can you find more than 80,000 acres of wildlands with hundreds of miles of trails only 36 miles from San Jose? In Henry W. Coe State Park, the adventurer can hike for days without seeing any signs of urban California, particularly in the remote ridges, creeks, and meadows of the park’s Orestimba Wilderness. But […]
At the sight of a diving juvenile Cooper’s hawk, “the squirrel reared back and opened its mouth with its paws raised in the air in a defensive pose,” notes Jim Brulet while monitoring a nest in the city of Berkeley. The ambush failed, so the young hawk resorted to pecking at something on the pavement. […]
Although solidly rooted in California’s natural and cultural history, our native oaks are disappearing at an alarming rate. The loss of these magnificent trees to urbanization and Sudden Oak Death has been widely publicized, but there is another threat that is only now getting some needed attention. “Several oak species are not regenerating in portions […]
Botany | Stewardship
Hikers and equestrians can find a new swath of accessible open space in the bucolic eastern foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The 2,428-acre Rancho Cañada del Oro was the site of walnut orchards at a time when Silicon Valley, then known as the “Valley of the Heart’s Delight,” was replete with orchards that stretched […]
Purple needlegrass may soon gain recognition as one of California’s official state symbols, like the golden poppy, our state flower since 1903. For native grass advocates, “the hope is that a new state symbol might draw some public attention to these magnificent perennial grasses,” says Lenora Timm, treasurer and secretary for the Quail Ridge Wilderness […]
The classic image of a redwood forest is one of stately tall trees, dense shade, and lots of green. The columnar trunks of the giant trees draw our gaze up to the high canopy, but if we follow them down to the forest floor instead, in summer months we may find unexpected points of brilliant […]
The hills above Oakland once held some of the largest redwoods ever seen, one estimated at 31 feet in diameter. Ten million years ago, such trees towered over much of North America. Nothing in this long history prepared them for the coming of men, armed with axes and saws, who felled all of Oakland's redwoods in just 15 years. But even second- and third-growth redwood forests hold their charms, not to mention the subtle suggestions of the forests they can once again become. And you don't have to go too far from downtown Oakland to find them.
Botany | History
What do you get when you scoop up 250,000 cubic yards of muck from the Petaluma River? Prime shorebird habitat, of course. Unlikely as it may seem, Shollenberger Park is a place where birders have spotted 150 bird species, from nesting avocets and stilts to harriers and egrets. And a new addition to the park will make it one of the largest publicly accessible stretches of wetlands in the Bay Area.
History | Wildlife
Imagine a landmark so prominent that anyone looking south from San Francisco or north from San Jose could spot it. Spanish missionary Padre Pedro Font wrote in his diary in March 1776: “I beheld in the distance a tree of immense stature rising above the plain of oaks like a grand tower.” The colossus was […]
Botany | History | Stewardship