Our fall 2011 issue includes a landmark foldout map of Bay Area Food Landscapes, along with features about volunteer hawkwatchers.
If it’s a Saturday morning, you’re more than likely to find me doing one of two things: visiting some wild place for nature-related recreation or biking to the Berkeley Farmers’ Market. The melee of colors and the medley of shapes of the fruits and vegetables, the diversity and energy of the shoppers, the opportunity to […]
By Ariel Rubissow Okamoto and Kathleen M. Wong, 2011, UC Press, 352 pages, $24.95 paperback, $65 hardcover. The latest installment of the UC Press Natural History series (number 102!) comes from frequent Bay Nature contributors Ariel Rubissow Okamoto and Kathleen Wong. Like many “guides” in the series, this one is carefully researched, well written, and […]
In this section, we survey the farms and ranches that still make up some 40 percent of the Bay Area’s land mass and grow enough food to feed millions of people.
By Laurence R. Costello, Bruce W. Hagen, and Katherine S. Jones, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu), 2011, 265 pages, $55. As Californians continue moving into woodlands, we are loving our oak trees to death. Many native oaks are killed during construction, and those that survive too often succumb to inappropriate gardening practices. But it […]
In eastern Contra Costa and Alameda counties, an ambitious vision for protecting big pieces of remaining open space is taking shape: From Black Diamond Mines and Mount Diablo to Brushy Peak and Sunol, several major agreements promise to replace ad hoc mitigation projects with a broader canvas of protected and connected habitat.
Pease Press Maps (peasepress.com), 2010, double-sided foldout map, $7.95. Whether you’re looking for a new lunch-break stroll or an all-day weekend hike, this map provides useful information that even a native can appreciate. You may be surprised by the multitude of protected hills and peaks in the city, many giving you million-dollar views. The map […]
Winter is a great time to head out and look at the night sky. In between storms, of course. And the Bay Area has lots of groups ready to help you and your kids get excited about stars!
Kids and Nature
By Tom Courtney, Wilderness Press, 2011, 234 pages, $16.95. Imagine hiking from inn to inn carrying only a day pack, following a beautiful trail with a nice meal and room at its end. The Alps or the south of France? Perhaps. But you could also be in Northern California: Think Point Reyes or Monterey Bay. […]
Bayer Farm brings open space and food security to a section of Santa Rosa that needs more of both. With help from the nonprofit Landpaths, people in the Roseland neighborhood are helping each other plant and harvest food, and community.
Farming and Ranching | Recreation | Uncategorized
In the Sunol Valley, beyond the subdivisions of Pleasanton, Fred Hempel grows tomatoes alongside other farmers growing figs, strawberries, and more. It’s all part of an unusual experiment in micro-farming unfolding under the leadership of Sustainable Agriculture Education on land owned by the San Francisco water department.
Farming and Ranching
This park near downtown Napa has been run by volunteers for decades. A model for cash-strapped parks? Great views and extensive trails make it worth a visit to find out.
Recreation | Stewardship | Uncategorized
For more than a century, Jeanne McCormack’s family has grown grain and raised livestock on a few thousand acres near Rio Vista. But she and her husband Al Medvitz didn’t take a straight line to ranching. Instead, they detoured through Africa and Asia. Now, they’re in it for the long haul.
Farming and Ranching | Stewardship | Uncategorized
Two decades ago, parts of Claremont Canyon burned in one of the largest wildfires the Bay Area has ever seen. Since then, neighbors have steadily worked to make themselves at home in a fire-prone landscape.
Even though foodie culture is an ever-growing phenomenon in the Bay Area, it's still surprising to many that nearly half the land in our region is dedicated to ranching or farming.
Farming and Ranching | Stewardship | Uncategorized
On a stormy winter night in 2004, as the merchant ship Med Taipei plowed southbound off the coast of Monterey in 20- to 30-foot swells, 15 shipping containers slid into the sea. Such occurrences aren't especially newsworthy--an estimated 10,000 containers are lost every year worldwide. But these containers are now part of an important research project.
The Darwin's emerald moth is a neat trick of evolution: The larvae change color depending on what they eat. And they do it visually -- but them in the dark and they fail to match their host plants.
Alameda County is facing tough decisions that have until now been mostly debated in distant desert landscapes. The county is developing new regulations covering large-scale solar. Native plant advocates and farmers and ranchers aim to make sure the policies protect sensitive habitats and high-value ag lands.
The Peninsula Open Space Trust has opened three more miles of the California Coastal Trail, which someday may run the entire 1,200-mile length of the coast. For now, there’s a great hike to be had between ocean cliffs and farm fields south of Half Moon Bay.
A substantial wetlands restoration project over at Hill Slough in Solano County is the latest such effort to clash with federal regulations about power lines and sailboats.
Stewardship | The Bay | Uncategorized
A new report on the state of bird populations shows mixed results for Bay Area populations. People continue to be the biggest threat, with habitat loss and other pressures, and the biggest hope, in the form of major and minor restoration projects all around the Bay.
Would you believe that acorn woodpeckers have the most complex social relationships of any animal with a backbone? One expert says so. Watch the birds for a while, and you just might agree!
Recreation | Uncategorized | Wildlife
Researchers plan to head out this winter looking for micro-plastic in the Bay. Their first-ever trawl last winter turned up concentrations that actually weren’t as bad as some recorded in other waterways. But that might just mean we’re sending more plastic to the Pacific.
By Miles O. Hayes and Jacqueline Michel, Pandion Books, distributed by Heyday, 2010, 352 pages, $29.95. It’s hard to argue with the claim by the South Carolina-based authors of A Coast to Explore that “the shoreline of Central California is without a doubt the most beautiful in all the ‘lower forty-eight’ states.” And with that, […]
By Laure Latham, The Mountaineers Books, 2011, 364 pages, $19.95. Hiking with kids can seem daunting, but Laure Latham is an expert. Her new book is filled with ways to turn what can sometimes feel like a forced march into a fun outing, and every hiker will find inspiration in her lively trail descriptions. She […]
Kids and Nature | Recreation | Uncategorized
The hawk trackers of the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory go way beyond birding: These citizen scientists take to the highways and back roads, following radio-tagged birds that may roam just to the next valley, or all the way to Mexico. Along the way, the hawk trackers have contributed much to our knowledge of these well-traveled birds.
Recreation | Stewardship | Uncategorized | Wildlife
Photos by Stephen Joseph, text by Linda Rimac Colberg, Mount Diablo Interpretive Association, 2010, 266 pages, $50. Photographer Stephen Joseph has amassed a wide-ranging body of work–from a project to photograph Bay Area farms (see his photos in this issue) to images of John Muir’s plant specimens (on display at the Oakland Museum). But the […]