Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 8, 2021

Webinar on five-needle pines of western North America 12/9 and 12/16

Our upcoming 2-part webinar will explore the natural history of six closely related five-needle pines of western North America, and dive into the amazing factoids mentioned below in the “quiz.” Here’s what we have in store for you:

  • Part 1 on 12/9: Intro to conifers, intro to pines, sugar pine, and whitebark pine
  • Part 2 on 12/16: Limber pine, bristlecone pine, foxtail pines, and 5-needle pine conservation

to register go to

(cost $15)

Anthropeocene Magazine reports
Think SARS-CoV-2 is just hitting humans? Add hundreds of species to high-risk list.
More than 500 mammal species are high-risk candidates for carrying the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID, based on a new study of common traits among species with a protein gateway for the virus.
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 8, 2021

6 Tips for How To Care For Your Houseplants

NPR  reports

Eager to bring new plants home, but aren’t sure where to begin? This episode will get you started with the basics of houseplant care — from watering schedule to light conditions. Because anyone can become a green thumb with a little time and attention.

Read or listen to article at  6 Tips for How To Care For Your Houseplants : Life Kit : NPR

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 7, 2021

Yosemite: Glacier Pt. Road Closed

Glacier Point Road will temporarily close on Tuesday, December 7, at 6 pm due to a forecast of snow.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 7, 2021

What Is a Songbird, Exactly?

Audubon writes about What Is a Songbird, Exactly? Turns out it’s about more than just carrying a tune.

The casual observer may apply the term “songbird” to any bird that sings a cheery melody, but for scientists, “songbird” is about more than just carrying a tune.

So, what gives these sirens their special something? A combination of three important traits: precise control over a highly specialized vocal organ called a syrinx, a unique arrangement of toes that makes perching on branches a breeze, and a natural talent for mimicry.

But like with most taxonomical matters, birds don’t always fit into tidy categories. Read on for more about what it takes for a bird to become a balladeer.

Keep Reading
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 6, 2021

Yard Photos

A few recent photos from my yard.

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 6, 2021

Audio Bird Monitoring – Zoom Presentation 2/9/21

from Pepperwood Preserve

Soundscapes to Landscapes – Audio Bird Monitoring – Zoom Presentation 2/9/21

Thursday, December 9  10:00 am – 11:30 am  Cost: Free

The earth’s biodiversity and associated ecosystem services are in a severe state of decline due to human pressure. However, our knowledge of these changes and impacts on human society is often incomplete. Join us to learn how Soundscapes to Landscapes is using a combination of multiple technologies and the power of citizen/community scientists to fill this data gap – starting with a focus on Sonoma County bird diversity. Soundscapes to Landscapes (S2L) is a science-based project that seeks to advance the monitoring of animal biodiversity across large areas using data from new Earth-observing sensors and advanced modeling. In this special presentation, we will hear from a panel of Soundscapes to Landscapes team members about their innovative approach and some of their findings thus far.

Source: Soundscapes to Landscapes – Audio Bird Monitoring –

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 6, 2021

Mushrooms May Help Lower Your Risk of Depression

Health Line reports

Not only are mushrooms a nutritious food to eat, they may also be beneficial to your mental health, according to a group of Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

In a new study, the Penn State team reported that people who consume mushrooms have a lower risk of developing depression.

Read more at Mushrooms May Help Lower Your Risk of Depression

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 5, 2021

900 Bison at Yellowstone Are Targeted for Removal 

The New York Times reports

The bison will be slaughtered, shot by hunters or relocated under a plan to address a booming population in the national park that has led to overgrazing.

Read more at  900 Bison at Yellowstone Are Targeted for Removal – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 5, 2021

Protecting San Francisco Bay from Invasive Spartina 12/9/21

from San Francisco Native Plant Society

Protecting San Francisco Bay from Invasive Spartina

December 9, THURSDAY, 7:30pm 
Speakers: Toby Rohmer and Lindsay Faye Domecus

Zoom Reservation Required

San Francisco Bay is more than a defining geographic feature: it is home to hundreds of types of fish, birds, and other wildlife, and provides food and shelter to abundant resident and visiting wildlife. Many are unaware that the Bay, the largest estuary on the west coast of North America, is in a league with Chesapeake Bay on the east coast and the Mississippi Delta on the gulf coast. While humans appreciate its beauty and presence, millions of birds use the Bay as a critical stopover point on their migration along the Pacific Flyway each year, finding  food and shelter in the saltmarshes and tidal mudflats. But these places are under threat, not just from sea level rise but also from invasive plants. In the 1970s, well-meaning engineers planted Atlantic cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) for erosion control. Unfortunately, it began to spread, displacing the native vegetation, and altering vegetation communities. Since 2005, the Coastal Conservancy’s Invasive Spartina Project has used airboats, genetic testing, sophisticated GIS, and a lot of hard work to push back the invasive cordgrass. Learn about how hometown heroes are doing their part to address the global biodiversity crisis.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 5, 2021

Glass Octopus Video

from the Ocean Conservancy

The glass octopus (Vitreledonella richardi) is a very rarely seen cephalopod found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world. The species gets its name from its nearly-transparent body—you can see straight through to the optic nerve, eyes and digestive tract. These octopuses mostly live in the aphotic zone, meaning deep waters where sunlight doesn’t reach, at around 3,000 feet. They can grow to about 1.5 feet long and are estimated to live about 2-5 years.

The glass octopus lives in deep, hard-to-reach places, so there is much we don’t know about this translucent and luminescent cephalopod. So far, there have only been a few sightings and a few specimens recovered from the gut contents of their predators.

We now have new close-up footage of a glass octopus in the wild, thanks to a recent expedition in the U.S. Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. The Schmidt Ocean Institute led the 34-day trip that brought scientists together from around the world to document sea creatures on deep seamounts. They also used high-resolution mapping tools to map more than 11,500 square miles of sea floor.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 4, 2021

Nature Journal Webinar 12/7/21

Join us online for an Introduction to Nature Journals with John Muir Laws

– Tuesday evening December 7th, at 7pm.


Read more about the seminar at  Another free webinar from  Siskiyou Land Trust

The New York Times  reports

The International Dark-Sky Association awards certifications to sites with exceptionally high-quality night skies, including national parks, sanctuaries and reserves.

Read more and learn about these new ” Dark-Sky Places” at Lights Out: 5 New ‘Dark-Sky Places’ for Top-Shelf Stargazing – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 3, 2021

Native Plant Sale at Pacific Gardens 12/4/21

Pacific Gardens  Native Plant Sale
December 4,  SATURDAY, 10am-2pm 830 Rosita Road, Pacifica

Come shop an array of coastal native plant species grown locally. Native plant experts will be on hand to help you choose the right plants for your garden. The proceeds benefit the projects and programs of Pacifica Gardens. Mask required.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 3, 2021

These Are California’s 10 Darkest Places For Stargazing 

KCET reports on ten dark place in California for stargazing

Of these ten spots all are in theory reachable by car, though you’re much better off leaving your car and finding a spot remote from headlights. Most are in places that are dark enough that you should be able to make out lots of detail in the Milky Way, including the shadows in the vicinity of Sagittarius and Scorpius. Three have such dark skies that you might not recognize even the most familiar constellations: they’ll just have way too many stars in them.

Read more to learn about these locations at These Are California’s 10 Darkest Places For Stargazing | KCET

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 2, 2021

Native Plant Extravaganza

from Bring Back the Natives Tour

Native Plant Extravaganza, Saturday December 4, 10:00-4:00 — Fall is the time to plant natives!  Shop in-person on Saturday at East Bay Wilds (28th and Foothill in Oakland) or the Watershed Nursery (601 Canal Street in Point Richmond), or place your orders on-line through Green Thumb Works on either Saturday or Sunday, Dec. 4 or 5. A percentage of the sales made through the Extravaganza will go to support the Tour.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 2, 2021

Job Openings at Lassen National Park

There are a number of job openings at Lassen National Park including Park Ranger, Wildland Firefighter, Archeological Technician and several internships. For information go to 

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 2, 2021

Audubon’s 122nd Christmas Bird Count

from Audubon

 The Christmas Bird Count occurs December 14 to January 5 every year.  Sign up to receive information and results about all of Audubon’s community science programs through American Birds, our newsletter by email.

Oct 2021: Please read our COVID-19 safe requirements  available here

Click here for a  map view of the circles expected to be included in the 122nd CBC.

In November you will also be able to view the circles by state or use ESRI’s free mobile app to view updated public maps of all CBC circles by state! Click here to download the free ESRI Explorer app for iOS or Android. Find CBC circles by searching on your state’s full name + “Christmas Bird Count”.

Follow these steps to participate in Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count:

Step 1 Read these details to become familiar with Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count.
Step 2 Check out the map above to find a count near you. Green and yellow circles are open for new participants, and red circles are full.
Step 3 To arrange participation contact compilers by email in advance of count day by using the information from the circle pop-ups on the map.
Step 4 Sign up for American Birds so you can hear about the results of the Christmas Bird Count and other Audubon community science programs!
Step 5 Already signed up for a count? Then head over to our CBC Live tracker to see photos posted from others who are scouting for or participating in the Christmas Bird Count, and upload your own photos!

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 2, 2021

Beetle Walks That Upside-Down on Water

Scientists observed a beetle walking upside-down on the undersurface of a pool of water. Read story at You Won’t Believe This Beetle’s Upside-Down Walk on Water – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 1, 2021

Job Opening: Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

Now Hiring! We are looking for an experienced Gardener. This is a full-time position with benefits at one of the finest gardens on the West Coast. The right applicant will have advanced horticulture skills and experience working with and training volunteers.
The Gardener hired will specifically be responsible for our botanical collections, which may include; but will not be limited to heaths and heathers, conifers, and fuchsias. This position employs high standards of horticultural maintenance, record keeping, and safety.
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 1, 2021

Mono County Road Update 12/1/21

from Mono County Tourism
Roads OPEN: Monitor Pass (SR 89), Sonora Pass (SR 108), Bodie Rd. (SR 270), Hwy 120 E (Benton), Hwy 158 (June Lake Loop), and the Mono County side of Tioga Pass (Hwy 120 W – Tioga Road in Yosemite National Park is still closed, no access to Yosemite from Mono County)
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 1, 2021

 California Native Plant Society December Upcoming Events

See December events for the California Native Plants Society at  Upcoming Events – California Native Plant Society

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 1, 2021

What is a Sand Dollar?

Buried Treasure?  If you ever find a sand dollar, you may wonder what it is. A shell? Some kind of weird rock? You might conclude that it was something formerly alive. And you’d be correct!  Read more at:  But what kind of organism was it?

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 1, 2021

Research suggests some trees have potential for immortality

Nevada Today reports

Large, majestic trees are iconic symbols of great age among living organisms, yet published evidence suggests that trees do not die because of genetically programmed age deterioration, but rather are killed by an external agent or a disturbance event. And, they can be a record of thousands of years of environmental change, especially in Nevada.”These ancient trees are indicative of the enduring landscapes that surround us,” Franco Biondi, a professor at the University of Nevada, Reno and co-author of the paper said, “and a reminder of the value of having such long-lived organisms within them.

In their paper about tree longevity published in the August edition of New Phytologist, as a Tansley Review, they find that the “cambium,” which is the growth tissue area between the bark and the wood, appears immune to senescence, which is defined as the intrinsic age-dependent increase in mortality or deterioration in performance under the control of an internal biological clock. Theoretically then, trees could be immortal organisms, and gene expression analyses are starting to uncover the processes that maintain a balance between growth and aging processes in old trees.

Read full article at  Research suggests some trees have potential for immortality | University of Nevada, Reno

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 30, 2021

Jepson Talks, Programs And More On-line

The Jepson Herbaria has links to botanical talks, books, update, Jepson eFlora updates and and more at University and Jepson Herbaria Home Page

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 30, 2021

Wildfires in California Killed Thousands of Giant Sequoias

The past 15 months have been devastating for the majestic trees, as fires destroyed an estimated 13 to 19 percent of their population, officials said.

Read m

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 29, 2021

Your Mileage May Vary: 9 Parks to Explore Without a Car

The National Parks Conservation Association writes about 9 parks to explore without a car

Spend time off the beaten path — literally. These 9 national park sites offer slower, quieter, human-paced alternatives to automobile-powered excursions.

Read article at Your Mileage May Vary: 9 Parks to Explore Without a Car · National Parks Conservation Association

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 28, 2021

Birdability: Accessible Birding For All

Birdability’s vision is that birding truly is for everybody and every body, regardless of disability or other health concerns.

Help us celebrate birders with disabilities and other health concerns, and share resources and ideas to help the birding community be accessible, inclusive and welcoming to everybody and every body! Learn more about accessible birding including maps of accessible birding areas at Birdability


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 27, 2021

Pt. Reyes Lichen Photos

Photos from the Pierce Point Ranch this past Monday. There is a fence right next to the parking lot that is full of great lichens. Unfortunately, parts of the fence have fallen down and other parts are looking pretty shaky.

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 27, 2021

Explore The Bay Area Water Trail 

from Bay Nature

The Bay Area Water Trail is a growing network of trailheads to launch and land non-motorized small boats. So far, it consists of 53 trailhead sites, which are spread out along the shoreline of the nine counties surrounding the Bay. One of its latest additions is Crane Cove Park, a new seven-acre park on San Francisco’s Southern Waterfront. Read more!

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