Sonoma Land Trust Announces

We’re writing to you with news that the 3,400-acre Gloeckner-Turner Ranch, an Ag + Open Space Conservation Easement, has officially closed! Generous donations from you helped make this possible. Explore our new webpage to learn more about the history of the Gloeckner-Turner Ranch, watch the video, check out the map, read the Press Democrat article and take the opportunity to donate to Sonoma Land Trust to help us continue our mission to protect the land forever. Our goal, in honor of this property’s closing, is to raise $20,000 by Summer Solstice, June 20, to help continue to protect the land that sustains us. This year, we are working to protect four more significant properties — an all-time record!

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 5, 2020

Homestead Valley Land Trust Wildflowers 6/4 /2020

Homestead Valley has a new wildflower update. See photos and maps at June 4, 2020

NEW
– Black elderberry is blooming below Homestead Hill.
– Bluff lettuce, a succulent, is blooming yellow on rock outcrops.
– California spikenard dies back completely each year and grows 6-7′ in a season. It is blooming now with white dandelion-shaped flowers in the creek bed on the Maverick Trail up from the Ridgewood u-bend.
– Pincushion flower*, native of Europe, is blooming purple, pink and burgundy in the meadows of Cowboy Rock.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 5, 2020

Marin County Parks Phased Reopening

Marin County Parks Announced

Effective June 1, restrictions were lifted on motorized access to parks and beaches in Marin, per an updated public health order. Visitors must practice social distancing, and carry a face covering to wear as needed.

Remember to check the status of a location before heading out – especially popular destinations and coastal areas. Marin County Parks online location list provides information about county-managed parks and preserves.

Read more at Phased Reopening – Parks Update

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 5, 2020

Berkeley Street and Yard Photos June 2 to 4, 2020

Photographed along the streets of the North Berkeley Flatlands and Albany  as well as my own yard and a couple of neighbors’s yards between June 2 and June 4, 2020.

This is part of my continuing project, the “Stay at Home Photo Project”.  It includes many street photos from Berkeley and Albany as well as photos from the UC Berkeley campus, my yard and neighbors’ yards  You can see larger higher quality versions of many of the photos at Flickr in my collection Stay at Home Photo Project which includes the following albums

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 5, 2020

Sonoma Land Trust Condemns Horrific Killing of George Floyd

Statement from Sonoma Land Trust

The past two weeks have revealed the hollowness of the slogan tossed out at the start of the pandemic, that “we are all in this together.” The Land Trust condemns the horrific killing of George Floyd, and the despicable threats made to Christian Cooper (a birder, conservation donor and volunteer), as morally unconscionable acts. They are also harsh reminders of the many injustices and inequities that pervade our society. Yet, heartbroken as we are, we must go beyond the horror and revulsion we feel and tackle the root causes of injustice.

As a science-based organization, we can’t and won’t look away from what the data is telling us, and the evidence is painfully clear. Many outcomes — from expectations of due process to coronavirus survival rates — depend on one’s race and socioeconomic status. This is wrong, contrary to every value we cherish, and it must stop.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 4, 2020

Scorpion Fire Over 90 Percent Contained

Channel Island National Park reports

The Scorpion Fire on Santa Cruz Island is over 90 percent contained with approximately 1.300 acres estimated to have burned.

National Park Service firefighters and a type six engine crew remain on scene to patrol and ensure all hot spots are out and to mop up. Crews from Santa Barbara County Fire and the Interagency Hot Shot crew from Los Padres National Forest have returned to the mainland.

At this time, no structures have been damaged or are threatened by the fire and there are no injuries. Resource assessments of burn area are ongoing.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 4, 2020

Black Lives Matter and allies for equality

An open letter from Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy:

Black Lives Matter and allies for equality

Black Lives Matter—here at the Parks Conservancy, on our public lands and across the nation. We condemn anti-Black racism.

Racial injustice and inequities across society have been a part of national systemic discrimination and bias for far too long. They will not be our future.

We are committed to the active work of being anti-racist. The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy fundamentally rejects all behaviors, beliefs, and judgements that erode the rights and freedom of people. As a nonprofit parks group, the Parks Conservancy seeks to create positive and transformative experiences in our parks and open spaces. Yet we understand that not everyone has easy access to parks, nor the comfort to feel welcomed. We can and will do more.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 4, 2020

Answering the Call for Racial Justice

Statement from Center for Biological Diversity

Answering the Call for Racial Justice

The murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers was horrific — and unfortunately predictable. Thousands of African Americans have been killed by police due to institutional racism.

The violence doesn’t begin or end with the police. Our culture of white supremacy causes African Americans to be reported to police for bird watching and murdered by racists while jogging. It causes African Americans, Latinx people and Native Americans to die of COVID-19 at much higher rates than whites. It causes them to have worse healthcare, more polluted neighborhoods, lower pay and less access to education. They suffer countless other oppressions hardly visible to those with white privilege.

Read More…

Statement by the Xerces Society

The senseless, violent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the many other Black and Brown people of this country are merely the most recent, visible examples of systemic inequality and racial injustice in our country. These deaths and the depth of inequality they represent work against our mission to make the world safer for the diversity of life: both the human and nonhuman communities that make up our one wild and beautiful earth. Conservation organizations, including our own, have an obligation to unequivocally condemn racism in all its forms and to work towards an equitable, livable future for all.

Read more We Speak Their Names: Statement of Solidarity for Racial Justice

The events of the past few weeks – the continuing, horrific violence against Black and Brown people, the crushing weight of the pandemic, and the economic insecurities entangled in this sickness – have made one thing abundantly clear: we have a moral obligation to make our world a better, and safer place, for everyone. If we believe that birding and nature are for all people, we must set into motion and continue the difficult work of nurturing positive change within ourselves and within our communities. COVID-19 is not the only virus infecting our lives, endangering our health, and threatening our spirits. The disease that is racism harms us too. The disease that is racism kills Black and Brown people in America.

Read more at Our Statement on Civil and Environmental Justice

Solidarity

Black Lives Matter. The targeting of birder and Audubon board member Christian Cooper in New York Central Park; the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery; the unfair economic hardship and disproportionate health impacts on communities of color from the COVID-19 crisis — each of these stand as stark reminders of the ways structural inequality and institutionalized racism prevent us from working together to build a more equitable and resilient society.  Many of our neighbors are awakening to something that you probably already knew: Far too many Californians suffer injustice and are excluded from opportunity based on the color of their skin. More importantly, a growing chorus of people are finally saying “enough!”

Read more at California Native Plant Society

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 3, 2020

Different Berkeley Street Photos 6/2/20

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Given what is going on in the world today I felt a need to change the emphasis on what I photographed on my daily walk. All photos are from yards or windows within less than a half mile from my house in Berkeley.

Audubon Announced

Black Birders Week’ Promotes Diversity and Takes on Racism in the Outdoors

Sparked by a racist incident last week in Central Park, the new initiative aims to boost recognition and representation of Black people enjoying and studying the natural world.

Last Friday morning, four days after a video of a racist incident in New York’s Central Park swept across the internet, birder Corina Newsome posted a video to Twitter.

“For far too long, Black people in the United States have been shown that outdoor exploration activities are not for us,” she said, standing before a backdrop of lush spring foliage. “Whether it be the way the media chooses to present who is the ‘outdoorsy’ type, or the racism Black people experience when we do explore the outdoors, as we saw recently in Central Park. Well, we’ve decided to change that narrative.”

Read more  to see see all that is planned for the week at ‘Black Birders Week’ Promotes Diversity and Takes on Racism in the Outdoors | Audubon

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 3, 2020

Bees stab plants to make them flower

EarthSky reports

A new study has found that when pollen is in short supply, bumblebees damage plant leaves in a way that accelerates flower production.

Bumblebees need pollen from flowers to survive. But in our warming climate, bees are increasingly emerging from hibernation earlier in the year. What happens if they wake up before there are enough flowers in bloom?

Now, a team of Swiss researchers have discovered the bees have a way to order some fast food: They use their mouth parts to pinch into the leaves of plants that haven’t flowered yet, and that the resulting damage stimulates the production of new flowers that bloom weeks ahead of time.

See video and read more at Bees stab plants to make them flower | Earth | EarthSky

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 2, 2020

Many State Parks Reopen Across the Bay Area

KQED  reports

In a move that significantly expands public access to some of California’s most scenic places, parking lots at 145 state parks have reopened after being closed for more than two months in the coronavirus pandemic.

For the past two months, access to many of California’s state parks has only been by foot or by bicycle. But that’s changing rapidly. In the last few days, parking lots have opened, or partially reopened, across the 9-county Bay Area — including Big Basin State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Henry Coe State Park in Santa Clara County, Marin’s China Camp State Park and Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve just north of Guerneville.

Only 27 state parks remain fully closed.

But take note: camping and visitors’ centers remain closed, and State Parks officials say people should first look at web sites before they venture out.

To see the full list of newly-opened parks, check out this story by Paul Rogers, managing editor of KQED Science.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 2, 2020

Bay Area Outdoors Updates

This website  Bay Area Outdoors has updates of information on where can you go outdoors? It lists many of park agencies in our region including cities, counties, open space districts, state parks, and several federal agencies throughout the Bay Area

Public health orders and rules vary county by county, park by park. Not all Bay Area park agencies are listed here. Please find the latest information on your local park agency’s website.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 2, 2020

Berkeley Street and Yard Photos 6/1/20

Photographed along the streets of the North Berkeley Flatlands  as well as my own yard and a neighbor’s yards on June 1, 2020.

This is part of my continuing project,  the “Stay at Home Photo Project”.  It includes many street photos from Berkeley and Albany as well as photos from the UC Berkeley campus, my yard and neighbors’ yards  You can see larger higher quality versions of many of the photos at Flickr in my collection Stay at Home Photo Project which includes the following albums

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 2, 2020

Learn Botany Online with The Jepson Videos

Have you seen The Jepson Herbarium’s YouTube channel? The Jepson Videos were created to provide a trusted online resource to help you learn the plants of California. Now more than ever is a great time for some digital botanizing while outdoor recreation may be less accessible. This educational series has become essential to help us admire California flora…from our homes!

Learn more about The Jepson Video Project

Explore playlists where videos are organized by plant family.
Discover a new plant today with some of our favorite videos below
Get involved by contributing photos. Contact us for more info.

 

Read more at : Learn Botany Online with The Jepson Videos

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 1, 2020

Pt. Reyes opens most roadways and parking lots

Point Reyes National Seashore announced

Great news! 🌈 Most roadways and parking lots at Point Reyes National Seashore are now open. 🚻 Restrooms are open. Visitor centers and camping remain temporarily closed. Certain portions of park facilities with high-touch equipment or that encourage gathering–including drinking fountains, benches, picnic areas–also remain closed. Plan your visit before you come, bring everything you need with you–including water💧, food, and hand sanitizer–and take everything home. While in the park, please wear a mask near others 😷and practice social distancing. Closed areas of the park are Mesa Rd to the Palomarin Trailhead, Sir Francis Drake Blvd beyond Drakes Beach Rd, and Mount Vision Rd. For more details, check out https://www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/conditions.htm…

#LeaveNoTrace #RecreateResponsibly #StaySafe

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 1, 2020

Marin County Parks Open to Motorized Access

Marin County Parks announced

Effective June 1, restrictions are lifted on motorized access to parks and beaches in Marin. Maintain six feet of social distance. Carry a face covering and put it on when needed.

Playgrounds, benches, picnic areas, swimming pools, and restrooms remain closed. Parking may be limited, or restricted by cities and towns. In west Marin, local services, such as food and gas, may be unavailable. Pack in, and pack out.  Other restrictions may apply, even at open locations. Verify location status before traveling.

Social distancing continues to be the most powerful tool for slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 1, 2020

Scorpion Fire on Santa Cruz Island Update

Channel Islands National Park reports

The Scorpion Fire on Santa Cruz Island is 80 percent contained with over 700 acres estimated to have burned.

Overnight, 49 wildland firefighters contained the blaze to the northeast of the road that leads from Scorpion Valley to Smugglers Cove. They constructed a fire line from the road to the coast near Smugglers Cove.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 1, 2020

Berkeley Yard Photos 5/31/20

Photographed in my yard except for the Abutilon which is in my next door neighbor’s yard on May 31, 2020. I am especially enjoying the Humboldt’s Lilies which are now in full bloom in our backyard.

This is part of my continuing project,  the “Stay at Home Photo Project”.  It includes many street photos from Berkeley and Albany as well as photos from the UC Berkeley campus, my yard and neighbors’ yards  You can see larger higher quality versions of many of the photos at Flickr in my collection Stay at Home Photo Project which includes the following albums

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 1, 2020

It Is Raining Plastic

Environment California reports  “It is raining plastic.”

That wasn’t the title that a group of U.S. Geological Survey scientists had in mind for their study when they started analyzing rainwater samples in the Rocky Mountains — they were there to study nitrogen pollution. But when they published their findings, it was the title that fit.1

Multicolored plastic particles, called microplastics, showed up in more than 90 percent of rainwater samples.2 And that was just in the Rockies. Other studies have found microplastics everywhere from the depths of the ocean, to the Bavarian Alps, to the remote reaches of the Arctic.3,4

Plastic pollution is everywhere, from the mountains to the ocean. Environment California is working to tackle this problem, and we need your help. Will you make a donation today?

More than 8 million tons of plastic get thrown away every year.5 But there’s really no such thing as “away.” Plastics never fully degrade — they just break down into particles that stay in our environment forever, harming wildlife around the world.

Marine wildlife are hit especially hard. Far too often, dead whales wash ashore with pounds and pounds of plastic in their stomachs. Research has found plastic in 43 percent of all marine mammal species, 44 percent of seabird species, and 86 percent of all sea turtle species.6

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 31, 2020

Berkeley Street and Yard Photos 5/30/20

Photographed along the streets of the North Berkeley Flatlands  as well as my own yard and a couple of neighbors’s yards on May 30, 2020. I especially enjoyed the impressive displays of Love-in-a-Mist/Nigellava damascena that were both blooming and in fruit in my neighbor’s yard.

This is part of my continuing project,  the “Stay at Home Photo Project”.  It includes many street photos from Berkeley and Albany as well as photos from the UC Berkeley campus, my yard and neighbors’ yards  You can see larger higher quality versions of many of the photos at Flickr in my collection Stay at Home Photo Project which includes the following albums

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 31, 2020

When Female Birds Are Overlooked, Conservation Suffers 

Audubon reports

“Females are really at twice the risk that males are, and yet we weren’t thinking about that or accounting for them,” Bennett says. Poring through stats, she and her colleagues published a striking finding last year. Up to two-thirds of vulnerable North American migratory landbird species may overwinter in different habitats based on sex, a factor considered in fewer than one in 10 conservation plans, they found.

Other research has pointed to a similar conclusion: Female birds are often undercounted and ­overlooked—a fact that undermines not only conservation, but also fundamental ecological, environmental, and evolutionary science.

Read full article at When Female Birds Are Overlooked, Conservation Suffers | Audubon

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 30, 2020

Berkeley Street and Yard Photos 5/29/20

Photographed in the North Berkeley Flatlands on May 29, 2020.

This is part of my continuing project,  the “Stay at Home Photo Project”.  It includes many street photos from Berkeley and Albany as well as photos from the UC Berkeley campus, my yard and neighbors’ yards  You can see larger higher quality versions of many of the photos at Flickr in my collection Stay at Home Photo Project which includes the following albums

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 30, 2020

Effective way to replenish threatened plants

ScienceDaily  reports

Cloning techniques to give the threatened Hill’s thistle a fighting chance

Planting Hill’s thistle seeds has low flowering and germination rates. The study used the CPR (Conservation, Propagation, Redistribution) method to preserve the genetic material of germ cells of two plants and then use that material to produce 1,000 plants in the lab. They transplanted 300 at 12 sites in Ontario. Survival rate ranged from 67 to 99 per cent, with nearly all plants surviving the winter and showing shoot regeneration and flowering.

Read more at  Effective way to replenish threatened plants: Cloning techniques to give the threatened Hill’s thistle a fighting chance — ScienceDaily

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 29, 2020

Berkeley Street and Yard Photos 5/28/20

Photographed in my yard and the North Berkeley Flatlands on May 28, 2020.

This is part of my continuing project,  the “Stay at Home Photo Project”.  It includes many street photos from Berkeley and Albany as well as photos from the UC Berkeley campus, my yard and neighbors’ yards  You can see larger higher quality versions of many of the photos at Flickr in my collection Stay at Home Photo Project which includes the following albums

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 29, 2020

385-million-year-old forest discovered 

ScienceDaily reports

While sifting through fossil soils in the Catskill region near Cairo, New York, researchers uncovered the extensive root system of 385-million-year-old trees that already appeared to have leaves and wood. The finding is the first piece of evidence that the transition toward forests as we know them today began earlier in the Devonian Period than typically believed.

Read full story at  385-million-year-old forest discovered — ScienceDaily

Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy has updates on San Francisco and Marin County park openings and closures at Coronavirus updates from the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy: Stay safe in the parks | Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

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