You can also support our open spaces and natural resources when you vote this November. Residents in Alameda and Contra Costa counties are being asked to approve Measure WW, an extension of a 1988 bond issue that has funded regional park acquisition, habitat preservation, and contributions to city parks. The new bond measure, which requires […]
Now there’s a new way to support wildlife habitat, farmland, and public recreation in the Bay Area. The Nature Within Reach license plate will generate funds for Bay Area open space, just as whale-tail plates raise money for statewide coastal programs. The San Francisco Bay Area Conservancy, an arm of the state Coastal Conservancy, hopes […]
In West Marin, the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) has purchased an agricultural conservation easement on the 585-acre Dolcini Ranch, a property the land trust has been seeking to protect for over a decade. Located eight miles south of Petaluma, the farm has been in the same family for nearly a century and currently supports […]
Farming and Ranching | Stewardship
On the Ridge Trail at Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve near La Honda, face east and you can see from Mount Hamilton to Mount Diablo. Face west and the most prominent feature amid thousands of acres of grasslands and woodlands is a curious-looking hump called Mindego Hill. The half-bald summit looks like an inviting destination […]
Scientists and fire ecologists will be studying the cause and effects of these fires for years, and that includes taking a close look at fungi in the soil. As reported in Bay Nature‘s July-September 2005 issue, UC Berkeley microbiologist Tom Bruns discovered that a different species of mycorrhizal fungi moved in to support the growth […]
Fire | Fungi | Stewardship
On the first day of summer, a thunderstorm crackled across much of California. Eight thousand lightning strikes ignited over 2,000 fires that burned more than 1.1 million acres by late July. California ecosystems have evolved with lightning-induced fires, but the event firefighters are calling “the 2008 siege” was unusual. Firefighters don’t usually worry about large […]
Climate Change | Fire | Wildlife
The dramatic fall silhouette of the California buckeye shows off its giant seeds, that largest of any of our native plants.
by William G. Bousman, Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, 2007, 547 pages, $40.00. Available at www.scvas.org. Part natural/regional history guide, part atlas, part everything-but-the-kitchen-sink, Bousman’s Atlas is a compendious guide to all things feathered in Santa Clara County. The size of a college textbook, this isn’t something you’ll be tucking in your back pocket. Instead, […]
Archive | Wildlife
by Richard A Minnich, University of California Press, 2008, 344 pages, $49.95. This scholarly book by a UC professor of earth sciences surveys historical observations of California flora and compares theories about the original pre-European vegetation and how it has changed through the increase of exotic invasive plants and the “fading” of native plants. There […]
by David Carle, UC Press, 2008, 236 pages, $18.95 This year’s record fire season made it undeniable: Fire is a fact of life in California. Ever wonder why some residential areas in California are susceptible to wildfires? Perhaps you’d like to know what starts these fires and what’s being done to prevent them. If you […]
Archive | Fire
Springtime certainly has its charms–the hills turn green, wildflowers emerge, the days get longer. And summer is the traditional time to get outside. But fall is the season I look forward to most. True, the days are shorter, and the rain begins (we hope!); but at the same time, the fog retreats, wintering and migrating […]
The Ocean | Wildlife
by Jules G. Evens. University of California Press, 2008, 384 pages, $24.95. This is a wonderful book for getting an overview of the Point Reyes peninsula, whether you’re a first time or repeat visitor to the area. I loved learning why it has been called an “island in time” and how the area has changed […]
The Natural History of the UC Santa Cruz Campus (Second Edition), edited by Tonya M. Haff, Martha T. Brown, and W. Breck Tyler. Bay Tree Bookstore, 2008, 361 pages, $12.95 “UC Santa Cruz may be the best campus in the nation for observing wildlife,” begins one chapter of the second edition of “The Natural History […]
Redwood City's Bair Island is the domino that that didn't fall to development, and now an unusual team of activists, business leaders, and government officials is leading the way toward restoration.
by Bonnie J. Gisel with images by Stephen J. Joseph, Heyday Books, November 2008, 256 pages, $45.00 John Muir is best known as a mountaineer and wilderness advocate, but he was also a serious scientist who studied the geology, zoology, and botany of the many places he lived and visited. He was most passionate about […]
Archive | Botany
Ranches & Rolling Hills: Art of West Marin–A Land in Trust, by Elisabeth Ptak and the Marin Agricultural Land Trust, Windgate Press, 2008, 160 pages, $50.00 The Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT), which preserves West Marin farmland, has created a legacy not only of conservation but also of art. Since 1998, MALT has hosted an […]
Archive | Farming and Ranching | History
by Margaret Dubin and Sara-Larus Tolley, Heyday Books, 2008, 144 pages, $21.95 Less a cookbook than a cultural anthropological study, Seaweed, Salmon, and Manzanita Cider is a fascinating look at food and the relationship between California Indian tribes and the lands and ecosystems of Northern California. Family anecdotes and cooking methods give the reader insights […]
Archive | History
It’s easy to forget how much of the Bay Area was once a working landscape. Row crops, orchards, and pastures held sway in places now covered by freeways and houses. But a surprising amount of that working land endures in our parks and preserves. In the East Bay, ranchers still run cattle on thousands of acres of land, both public and private. And in a few places, thanks to the East Bay Regional Park District, kids and adults can learn firsthand about skills people once took for granted: how to plant a seed, plow a field, grind grain into flour, or spin wool into yarn.
Farming and Ranching | History
Go looking for a hiking guide to the Napa area, and you’re immediately faced with the choice between two books with almost identical titles. With very similar photos on their covers. Even the authors’ names are somewhat similar. The first, Great Day Hikes in and around Napa Valley, by Ken Stanton [Bored Feet Press, revised […]
by Elin Kelsey, UC Press, December 2008, 304 pages, $24.95 Long-lived, slow to reproduce, and often hidden beneath ocean waves, whales and dolphins have remained elusive subjects for scientific study, though they have fascinated humans for centuries. In her book Watching Giants: The Secret Lives of Whales, Elin Kelsey gives an intimate view of these […]
Archive | The Ocean | Wildlife
It was 140 years ago, in October 1868, that the Hayward Fault unleashed the magnitude 6.8 temblor that put the fault on the map. The quake shook the entire region and virtually leveled the then-small hamlets of Hayward and San Leandro. Now, the land along the fault line is among the most densely populated in the region, a sobering situation given the likelihood of a repeat performance in the near future. But despite their destructive potential, the Hayward and the Bay Area’s other faults are the driving force behind our region’s varied and beautiful topography. Understanding how they work is key both to understanding our local landscapes and to preparing for the next Big One.