Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 4, 2016

What You Can Do To Protect Public Lands

Click Read More to see ways you can support environmental, endangered species and public lands protections

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 10, 2016

Borrego Palm Canyon For Free

The Anza Borrego Foundation announced

New park visitors are invited to bring their friends and family to explore Borrego Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park’s most popular hiking trail. Anza-Borrego Foundation is sponsoring free day-use admission to this area one weekend per month from October 2016 to March 2017. Only one ticket is needed per vehicle. Once you have selected your weekend and registered, simply show your printed ticket (or image on your phone) to the staff at the Borrego Palm Canyon entry kiosk, and you’re in!

BPC for Free Schedule:

  • October 22-23, 2016
  • November 19-20, 2016
  • December 17-18, 2016
  • January 21-22, 2017
  • February 11-12, 2017
  • March 25-26, 2017

Use your ticket on either Saturday or Sunday of the designated weekend for free entry into Borrego Palm Canyon. Borrego Palm Canyon offers a 3-mile roundtrip hike to a native palm grove and seasonal stream. 100 free passes are available for each weekend.

For more information and to get a ticket go to Borrego Palm Canyon for free


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 10, 2016

Oil From Deepwater Horizon Found In Birds

The Sierra Club reports

Research shows that oil from the big spill affected more than marine species. It also made it into the terrestrial food web.

Looking out over Louisiana’s salt marshes today, there’s little evidence that six years ago large stretches of the coastline were washed in black, sticky oil. Since then, the vegetation has crept back, the birds are singing, and only a trained eye can find signs that the largest oil spill in U.S. history recently devastated the wetlands. But the effects linger—oil and other compounds are locked in the sediment. They are in fish, crabs, and other marine species. Researchers have recently discovered the oil even made it into the tissue of at least one terrestrial species as well, showing for the first time that marine oil spills may impact more than just the oceans.

Read full story at Oil From Deepwater Horizon is Found in Birds

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 9, 2016

Public Lands & Endangered Species Foe, Expected To Head Interior

Center for Biological Diversity News Release

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Public Lands and Endangered Species Foe,
Expected Pick to Head Interior Department

WASHINGTON— The Trump transition team is expected to announce the nomination of Cathy McMorris Rodgers, current representative of Washington state’s 5th District, today as secretary of the Interior Department, the federal agency that oversees the majority of America’s public lands, waters and endangered species.

If confirmed by the Senate, McMorris Rodgers would lead federal departments responsible for protecting endangered species and managing more than half a billion acres of America’s public lands, including the national park system and the national wildlife refuge system. She would direct policy and make major decisions on oil, gas, coal and other extraction activities on public lands and oceans, controlling the U.S. Geological Survey (the federal government’s premiere natural and earth sciences agency) and upholding the U.S.’s responsibilities to tribal nations.

“McMorris Rodgers will put fossil fuels and logging ahead of the public lands and endangered species we all cherish,” said Randi Spivak, public lands program director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Under McMorris Rodgers corporate polluters will have free rein. Endangered wolves and salmon, wild rivers, whales and our climate will all lose under this long-time servant of the oil, gas and timber industries. Senators who care about America’s beautiful wild places and our planet’s future should fight like hell to block this outrageous nomination.”

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 9, 2016

Anza-Borrego Desert Early Wildflowers 12/6/16

Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History has a report for a few wildflowers found on a hike along Wind Caves to Gypsum Peak

A hike in Fishcreek along the Windcaves up to the Gypsum peak.
On of the goals was to check how many of the very rare Narrow leaf Sandpaper Plant, Petalonyx linearis where still alive.
We where pleased to find 2 alive and still blooming, but struggling.
Unfortunately we found 3-4 plants that where obvious dead, still attached to the ground, we are confident about the ID of the dead plants that where alive in 2015.
All dead plants where on the sun facing slope, the other plants (alive) seem to be in a slightly better spot.
In a new location, facing away from the sun, one possible alive (looking less dead).
Biggest surprises, one Smoketree in good bloom and one Pigmy cedar with a couple of nice flowers.
The dominant plant higher up and sometimes the only species present, Pigmy cedar and a young Desert willow, Chilopsis linearis arcuata, that didn’t know when to bloom.
The number of species in bloom is very low, in many cases we only found a single plant in bloom

See photo at Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers Update

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 9, 2016

Elephant Seal Season Approaching

Three top places to see Elephant Seals in California

Ano Nuevo

One of the largest mainland breeding colonies in the world for the northern elephant seal is at Año Nuevo State Park. A Natural Preserve has been established to protect the elephant seals along with many other animals such as otters, California sea lions, coyotes, cormorants, terns and more. Native plants and an untouched intertidal ecosystem also find shelter inside the Natural Preserve.  Elephant seals can be observed here year round either on a docent lead tour or through a self guided permit system within the Wildlife Viewing Area.

The viewing area is closed until December 15.
For more information go to  Año Nuevo SP

Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery

The Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery spreads over 6 miles of shoreline around Point Piedras Blancas on the central coast of California. The viewing areas are located 90 miles south of Monterey, 5 miles north of Hearst Castle State Historical Monument in San Simeon, 1.5 miles south of Point Piedras Blancas. The viewing areas are open every day of the year, are wheelchair accessible, and free. No reservations required.

via Piedras Blancas Friends of the Elephant Seal | San Simeon, Cambria California


Point Reyes National Seashore

New research from Point Blue Conservation Science is looking at the disappearance of #ElephantSeal habitat at the Farallon Islands. As a result of that loss, those seals might be finding a new home at Point Reyes National Seashore. The elephant seal population here continues to increase every year.
The elephant seal breeding season starts this month, so be on the lookout for the announcement of the first pup born any day now. Better yet, take a trip out here in January or February for the best time to see elephant seals:
#ParkScience #NPWest #FindYourPark ##EncuentraTuParque

EarthJustice News Release


The American people should not stand for having a polluter lobbyist in charge of keeping our air and water clean

The following is a statement from Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen in response to President-elect Trump’s nomination of Scott Pruitt, a climate-change denier, to head the Environmental Protection Agency:

“Every American should be appalled that President-elect Trump just picked someone who has made a career of being a vocal defender for polluters to head our Environmental Protection Agency.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 8, 2016

Barred Owls’ Domination Over Northern Spotted Owls

ScienceDaily reports

Barred owls – unrivaled nocturnal predators and procreators – are moving into the Pacific Northwest. They’re encroaching on northern spotted owl territories and outcompeting this smaller, threatened cousin. A model shows how it’s happening and gives wildlife conservationists a highly accurate, yet cost-effective tool to help shape management policies.

Read full article at Model explains barred owls’ domination over northern spotted owls — ScienceDaily

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 7, 2016

Commercializing The National Parks

It is not just sport venues that will be named after corporations and commercial productsthe  Welcome to Yosemite’s Coke Auditorium as the National Parks sell naming rights. The New York Times reports

This year, parks in several states including Idaho and Washington, and the National Park Service, will be blazing a new trail, figuratively at least, as they begin offering opportunities to advertisers within their borders.

Read  The Times’s full story at  Mother Nature Is Brought to You By … – The New York Times

The Guardian has a short video of David Attenborough talking about on climate change. It is an extract from Liberatum’s documentary “In this Climate”, in which a range of cultural and environmental figures including Noam Chomsky, David Attenborough and Mark Ruffalo respond to the threat of climate change and to the deniers. The full-length film is scheduled for release before the World Economic Forum in January 2017. See the video at David Attenborough on climate change: ‘The world will be transformed’ – video | Environment | The Guardian

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 5, 2016

Manzanitas In The Botanical Gardens

The Marin CNPS had the following post today

Lovely walk through the San Francisco Botanical Garden today in Golden Gate Park. Nearly all the manzanitas are in bloom. Silktassels are doing their thing and ceanothus are just about to flower. I realize it’s not as fun to see natives “in captivity” but if you’re in town you might want to check it out — all of the above are in the Native California section.

See photos at Marin Native Plants

Yesterday I did a quick walk to check out the Manzanitas at the Regional Parks Botanic Garden in Tilden Park in Berkeley and many of  them are also in bloom.

Indiana University News Release

Indiana University research shows preference for non-lethal protection of species

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Americans believe endangered species are best protected when their habitats are protected and not when animal predators are killed, according to new Indiana University research.

With the exception of one case involving spiders and frogs, a scientific survey with more than 1,000 participants found overwhelming support for policies that protect habitats and little acceptance of either lethal control or no government action at all.

Professor Shahzeen Attari of the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs said the study sought to understand evolving public preferences for conservation by answering these questions: “How do we want to intervene to protect endangered species when faced with biological invasions or declining populations? Should we protect habitats, or lethally control predatory species that threaten the endangered species? Should we just step aside and let nature take its course?”

To measure support for various strategies, the researchers pitted one species against another in simplified but realistic scenarios. The cases, drawn from real debates about conservation policy, pit a rare or economically valued species against its more common competitor or predator species:

  • Spotted owls versus barred owls
  • Salmon versus California sea lions
  • Caribou versus gray wolves
  • Kirtland’s warblers versus brown-headed cowbirds
  • Happy-face spiders versus coqui frogs

Overwhelmingly, survey participants preferred habitat protection over lethal control, both lethal control and habitat protection, or no action. Of all the demographic groups, only older, conservative men were more likely to endorse no action.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 4, 2016

Death Valley National Park Fall Color 12/4/16

Death Valley National Park had a fall color report today

Fall Colors in Death Valley? Cottonwood trees grow in few places in Death Valley. The easiest place to see them is the small patch near Wildrose Campground on your way to the Charcoal Kilns.
We found them in another place, when we recently hiked the Cottonwood/Marble Canyon route where we were happily surprised by the display of fall colors however few and far between they may be.
Cottonwood/Marble Canyon Loop is the most popular backpack in the park. The route requires a high clearance 4×4 vehicle and experienced cross country navigation. For more information including GPS files and a virtual walk-through, check out:…
Springs are running at Cottonwood Springs and Deadhorse Canyon. #HikeDeathValley

See photos at Death Valley National Park

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 4, 2016

Birding Tilden Park 12/4/16 – Updated

List Updated with additions from Clayton Anderson

Today I went birding on a Golden Gate Audubon Trip led by Clayton Anderson. The trip was on Park Drive and the area around it, which is closed in the winter to protect Newts. Highlights for me were seeing a Red-Breasted Sapsucker and a number of Golden-crowned Kinglets. There were many good looks at Red-breasted Nuthatches and Brown Creepers. The group identified 33 bird species. No newts were seen except one that was squashed. I did seen a brush rabbit on the way out.

Click Read More to see the bird list for today

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 3, 2016

Anza Borrego Desert State Park – Wildflowers 12/3/16

DesertUSA has a winter wildflower report for Anza- Borrego

Checked out Coyote Canyon at the 2nd crossing found a few wildflower, still very early for wildflowers. When it got dark we took some pictures of the metal art in the Borrego Springs area. Fun trip great to get back in the desert in the cool weather. It was 32 degrees when we left at 9pm.

See photos atAnza Borrego Desert State Park – Wildflower Reports – DesertUSA

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 3, 2016

Burrowing Owl Found Dead In Berkeley Park

The Berkeleyside reported

A rare burrowing owl was found dead recently at Berkeley’s Cesar Chavez Park, raising some concern in the community.

Read story at Rare burrowing owl found dead in West Berkeley park | Berkeleyside

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 3, 2016

2017 Chico Snow Goose Festival Jan. 25 to 29

The 18th Annual Snow Goose Festival of the Pacific Flyway is Jan 25 to 29 and is in Chico California. There will be workshops, field trips, birding exhibits and an art exhibition. This year’s keynote speaker is International bird guide and author, Alvaro Jaramillo.

We highly recommend getting on our email list as soon as possible. Emails will go out to notify you when Registration opens, of various deadlines, and changes and additions to the program along the way. You can follow us on Facebook, too!

For Registration, schedule and more information go to:

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 2, 2016

Tioga Road & Glacier Pt. Roads Closed For Season

Yosemite National Park announced Tioga Road (Hwy 120 through the park) and Glacier Point Road are closed for the season.

The Tioga Road (Highway 120 through the park from Crane Flat to Tioga Pass) and Glacier Point Road are closed due to snow. There is no estimated opening date, although the roads usually open sometime in May or June.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 2, 2016

Jepson Herbaria Workshops

University and Jepson Herbaria – UC Berkeley announced  that the 2017 schedule for the Jepson Workshop Series is finally here! Check outr course descriptions, register for workshops and sign up for our mailing list on our website:

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 2, 2016

Henry Coe Wildflower Update 12/1/16

There are still wildflowers in bloom at Henry December 1 at the Pine Ridge Association website with photos and a list of flowers now in bloom at: Henry W. Coe – Wildflower Guide.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 2, 2016

New Zealand Town Builds Underpass To Help Travel Between Nests & Sea

The Guardian reports

A town in New Zealand has created the first penguin underpass in the country to help a colony of the birds cross a busy road that lies between the sea and their nests.

Little blue penguins, or Kororas, are the world’s smallest penguins and in the New Zealand town of Oamaru they have been forced to cross a busy road in the harbour to get from the sea to their nests after sunset in order to feed their chicks.

See video and read story at  New Zealand town builds underpass to help penguins travel between their nests and sea | The Independent

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 1, 2016

Edgewood Park December Wildflowers

Friends of Edgewood Park have updated its website to show what plants are typically blooming in December. There are  photos of plants you might see. Explore plant locations, plant species, which plant blooms when, and answers to a host of other questions at  What’s Blooming This Month »       Friends of Edgewood.



Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 1, 2016

How Big Banks Are Supporting Destruction Of Rain Forests

The New York Times reported on how some of the world’s largest banks are funding projects that threaten rain forests. Read story at  How Big Banks Are Putting Rain Forests in Peril – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 1, 2016

Great Barrier Reef Hit by Worst Coral Die-Off on Record

The New York Times reports

Scientists surveying the Great Barrier Reef said Tuesday that it had suffered the worst coral die-off ever recorded after being bathed this year in warm waters that bleached and then weakened the coral.

About two-thirds of the shallow-water coral on the reef’s previously pristine, 430-mile northern stretch is dead, the scientists said. Only a cyclone that reduced water temperatures by up to three degrees Celsius in the south saved the lower reaches of the 1,400-mile reef from damage, they added.

Read full story at Great Barrier Reef Hit by Worst Coral Die-Off on Record, Scientists Say – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 30, 2016

Beware Toxic Mushrooms

The East Bay Regional Parks report

After the first fall rains, the East Bay hills come alive with mushrooms. Sprouting in an array of dazzling colors, these fungal fruitbodies can be beautiful – but some of them are deadly poisonous.

The Bay Area is home to two of the world’s most toxic mushrooms – Amanita phalloides (the Death Cap) and Amanita ocreata (the Western Destroying Angel). Both are robust, handsome mushrooms that grow near oak trees, and both contain lethal toxins.

Read full article and see photos at Beware Toxic Mushrooms

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 30, 2016

December 2016 Birding Field Field Trips

December Golden Gate Audubon Birding Field Trips

For information on above trips go to Golden Gate Audubon Field Trips

  • Tilden Nature Area, BerkeleyFriday, December 2, 8:30 — 11:00 a.m. (First Friday bird walk)
  • Biking and Birding in Marin, Corte Madera Saturday, Dec 3, 9:30 a.m.- ~12:30-1 p.m.
  • South Park Drive, Tilden Park, Berkeley Sunday, December 4, 8:00 — 10:30 a.m.
  • San Francisco Botanical Garden Sunday, December 4, 8:00 — 10:30 a.m.
    (First Sunday bird walk)
  • Chain of Lakes, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco Sunday, December 11, 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.
  • Arrowhead Marsh/Martin Luther King Jr. Shoreline, Oakland – BICYCLE TRIP (Trip meets at Tidewater Staging Area, not Arrowhead Marsh) Wednesday, December 14, 10:00 a.m. — about Noon Meet at EBRPD Tidewater Staging Area at 10:00 a.m.
  • Hilltop Lake Park, Richmond Wednesday, December 14, 9:00 — 10:30 a.m
  • Corona Heights, San Francisco Friday, December 16, 8 — 10 a.m. (Third Friday bird walk)
  • Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont Saturday, December 17, 9:00 a.m. – noon
  • Fort Mason Community Garden, San Francisco Sunday, December 18, 8:00 — 10:00 a.m. (Third Sunday bird walk)
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Regional Shoreline, Oakland Wednesday December 21, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. (Third Wednesday bird walk)
  • Tilden Nature Area, Berkeley Friday, December 26, 8:30 — 11:00 a.m. (Annual Wren Day bird walk)
  • Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park, Oakland Wednesday, December 28, 9:30 a.m. – noon (Fourth Wednesday bird walk)
  • Las Gallinas Ponds, San Rafael Sunday, December 31, 8 — 11 a.m.

For more Bay Area birding  field trips through out the Bay Area click on the Mt. Diablo Audubon Society Calendar 

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 29, 2016

Fires Close Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have closed all facilities in the park due to the extensive fire activity and downed trees.

Get updates and see photos at  Great Smoky Mountains National Park | Facebook

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 29, 2016

Two Nevada City Mushroom Events: December 10 and 11

Two Mushroom Events sponsored by the Yuba Watershed Institute

Register for the 2016 Annual Fungus Foray and Wild Mushroom Exposition

Saturday December 10, 9 am to 4:30 pm

Our traditional Saturday morning wild mushroom hunt and identification will wrap up with an afternoon of displayed discoveries and identification workshops.  Please arrive by 9am to register and sign-up for a foray group.

Bring a lunch and be prepared to walk in the damp woods. Also useful: collection basket, waxed paper bags, knife, and hand lens. We will drive to sites 15 to 30 minutes away. Please carpool and be open to sharing a ride with other attendants.

Following the foray, there will be identification workshops, as well as wild mushroom soup and other wild-crafted food for sale.

Sunday December 11, 11 am to 4 pm

Sunday we host the 6th annual Wild Mushroom Exposition. The Exposition will be filled with presentations, interactive displays, and workshops based on our seasonal Sierra mushrooms. Stop by any time between 11 am and 4pm.  There will be wild-crafted food concessions, mushroom merchandise available for sale, break away mini hikes on campus (weather dependent), and lectures and workshops that celebrate fungi.

Presentations will include Mike Wood from the Mycological Society of San Francisco, who will present on his new book, California Mushrooms: A Comprehensive Identification Guide.  Mycologist Alan Rockefeller will present his discoveries from temperate Mexican highlands. And Brian Perry from East Bay University will talk on the beautiful Mycena of California.

Please be aware there are NO dogs and No smoking at the Shady Creek Center.

Saturday – $20 general; $15 for YWI members; children and full-time students free

Sunday – $10 general; $8 for YWI members; children and full-time students free

Volunteer positions are available and pre-sale tickets will be available soon.

Information: or email, or call 530-575-6192


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 28, 2016

2016 Bay Area Fungus Fair December 4

This year’s annual fungus fair is December 4 at the San Francisco Fair Building, next to the Arboretum in Golden Gate Park, 1199 9th Ave (at Lincoln).   It is sponsored by The Mycological Society of San Francisco and will include displays, mushroom identification, talks and cooking demonstrations. For more information go to:MSSF Annual Fungus Faire.
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 27, 2016

3 Dams to Be Removed in American West to Restore Rivers

National Geographic reports

A new $50 million fund will help communities remove “deadbeat dams,” starting in California, Oregon, and Washington.

Read story at  3 Dams to Be Removed in American West to Restore Rivers

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