Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 7, 2019

Trump administration again reauthorizes wildlife-killing devices

The Trump administration today announced it will reauthorize use of sodium cyanide in wildlife-killing devices called M-44s. These “cyanide bombs” have received approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency despite inhumanely and indiscriminately killing thousands of animals every year. They have also injured people.

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 6, 2019

Poppy reserve volunteer training for 2020 wildflower season

The Desert News  reports

The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve’s two-day volunteer training for the 2020 spring wildflower season will be held on Saturdays Feb. 1 and 8. Learn about the wildflowers, wildlife, history

Read more at: Poppy reserve volunteer training for 2020 wildflower season | News | desertnews.com

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 6, 2019

Dead Whale, 220 Pounds of Debris Inside

The sperm whale washed up on a Scottish beach with a stomach full of rope, netting and plastic. “What was unusual in this case was the sheer volume,” a local expert said.

A dead sperm whale that washed up on a Scottish beach had more than 220 pounds of tangled netting, rope, plastic and other debris inside its stomach, according to a local whale research group.

Read story at Dead Whale, 220 Pounds of Debris Inside, Is a ‘Grim Reminder’ of Ocean Trash – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 5, 2019

Santa Cruz County Breeding Bird Atlas II

The annual report for Year 3 of the Santa Cruz County Breeding Bird Atlas II is now available on the Santa Cruz Bird Club website: https://santacruzbirdclub.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Atlas_Year3_AnnualReport_Final.pdf

This was the biggest year yet in the five year project, which began in 2017. As a result of an increased effort from a growing contingent of volunteers, more breeding confirmations and atlasing hours were submitted this year than any year previously. The project is about 60% complete and we are at 45% of our fundraising goal. Thanks to the many supporters of the atlas and especially to all those contributing observations. We will begin our fourth year of fieldwork in March 2020.

The Guardian reports

Judge issues temporary restraining order against group that raised $25m for Texas wall after butterfly organization raises alarm

A judge in South Texas has ordered a group of supporters of Donald Trump, some with rightwing ties, not to build their controversial planned private border wall on a section of land near the Rio Grande.State district Judge Keno Vasquez on Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order against a group called We Build the Wall, which raised $25m through crowdfunding and other means after promising to build its own private barrier on parts of the border between the US and Texas.

Read full story at Trump supporters’ private border wall blocked due to concern for butterflies | US news | The Guardian

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 4, 2019

British Ecological Society Photography Competition Winners

The BBC reports

The British Ecological Society has announced the winners of its annual photography competition, with first place going to an image of a Malagasy tree boa.

See this years winners at  Image of Madagascan snake wins 2019 British Ecological Society photography competition – BBC News

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 3, 2019

Applications Open Eastern Sierra Native Plant Research& Projects

We are opening up the application process for Dedecker Grants. These small grants are to support native plant research and projects in the Eastern Sierra.

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 3, 2019

Australian Flower Photos – Part 2

I just posted another album of photographs on Flickr of Australia flowers from a recent trip to southwestern Australia at Flowers of Southwestern Australia – Part 2. The photos are best viewed full screen or as a slide show by clicking the little box that looks like a computer screen with an arrow in it. It is third from left at the top right section of the album. You can also see other albums of  photos from the trip to Australia at

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 3, 2019

Wayne Roderick Lectures Winter 2019 to 2020

Join us for our popular series of free public lectures on a broad array of topics related to plants and natural history. Named in honor of its founder, the Wayne Roderick Lecture Series takes place on Saturday mornings from November through February at 10:30 AM in the Visitor Center Auditorium of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden. These illustrated presentations are enjoyable for beginners and professionals alike. All lectures are free and open to the public. Here is a printable version of the entire schedule of upcoming Wayne Roderick Lectures.

Saturday Mornings at 10:30
Free to the Public

Note: Seating is limited, so it is advisable to arrive early, save a seat, and enjoy the garden until lecture time. (And don’t forget the free docent-led tours of the Garden that begin every Saturday at 2:00 PM and Sunday at 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM.) All lectures start at 10:30 AM and last as long as the speaker wants to continue (usually about an hour, but if longer, there is a break after the first hour).

2019

Dec. 07 – Dick O’Donnell: Summer 2019: The Siskiyou Crest and Related Heights.
Dec. 14 – Michael Uhler:  Backpack Botany in the Southern Sierra Nevada. Exploring the Remote Country of Kings Canyon National Park in Search of Alpine Beauty.
Dec. 21 – Nick Jensen: Streptanthus – New Species Discoveries and Evolutionary Patterns in Perennial Jewelflowers (Streptanthus).
Dec. 28 – NO lecture – Enjoy the holidays!

click read more to see 2020 schedule
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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 2, 2019

The alarming trend of whales filled with plastic

Vox reports

Our oceans are filling with plastic, which in turn is filling up the bellies of the creatures in the sea.Recently, researchers examined seven beluga whales harvested by Inuvialuit hunters in Canada. This month they reported that they’d found microplastics in the digestive systems of every whale.

Read article at  Plastic pollution: The alarming trend of whales filled with plastic, explained – Vox

Center for Biological Diversity News Release

Old-growth Forest East of Coos Bay Will Be Retained in Public Ownership

The Oregon Supreme Court today ruled that the sale of 788 acres of old-growth forest from the Elliott State Forest was illegal. The ruling affirms an Oregon Court of Appeals’ ruling from 2018, which found that selling the area known as East Hakki Ridge to a private timber company in 2014 violated state law.

“Oregon’s highest court has spoken, and it is illegal for the state of Oregon to sell off the treasured Elliott State Forest,” says Josh Laughlin, executive director of Cascadia Wildlands. “Those who appreciate clean water, stately forests and access to our public lands are the big winners today.”

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 30, 2019

Highway 1  South of Big Sur to Close Saturday 

KSBW  reports : Highway 1 to close Saturday evening due to a significant storm

Caltrans will close Highway 1 in Big Sur for the areas of Mud Creek and Paul’s Slide starting Saturday evening.According to Caltrans, the closure will go into place at 5 p.m.

The National Weather Service is predicting 6″-8″ of rain to fall on the Big Sur region through Wednesday.

The temporary closure comes after concerns the rain could lead to mudslides.

Read more at: Highway 1 to close Saturday evening due to a significant storm: Caltrans

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 30, 2019

CNPS Field Trips December 2019

Bay Area California Native Plant Society Chapter January Field Trips:

Bristlecone http://bristleconecnps.org/index.php

East Bay http://www.ebcnps.org/

Marin CNPS http://www.marin.edu/cnps/

Milo Baker (Sonoma county) https://milobaker.cnps.org

Napa Valley http://www.napavalleycnps.org/

North Coast http://northcoastcnps.org

Redbud (Placer and Nevada Counties) http://www.redbud-cnps.org/trips.htm#head

Santa Clara Valley http://www.cnps-scv.org/

  • Sat Dec 7 10am-2pm Moss Hike in Almaden Quicksilver Park (San Jose)
  • Sun Dec 22 9am-noon First Day of Winter Beginner’s Bird and Plant Identification Walk at Lake Cunningham Park (San Jose)

Santa Cruz http://www.cruzcnps.org/field_trips.php

Yerba Buena (San Francisco/Northern San Mateo) http://www.cnps-yerbabuena.org/

  • December 1, 2019 SUNDAY 10:00am – 11:30am Hike: The Natural Wonders of Glen Canyon

If you are interested in information on other chapters go to: http://www.cnps.org/cnps/chapters/

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 29, 2019

December 2019 Birding Field Trips

Golden Gate Audubon Field Trips

for more information on the trips below go to Upcoming Field Trips | Golden Gate Audubon Society.

  • Lafayette Community Park, Lafayette Sunday, December 1, 8:30–11:00 a.m.
  • San Francisco Botanical Garden Sunday, December 1, 8:00–11:00 a.m.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline, Oakland Garretson Point and Arrowhead Marsh Sunday, December 1, 11:00 am to approximately 2:00 pm (due to tides)
  • Tilden Nature Area, Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley Friday, December 6, 8:30–11:30 a.m.
  • Cosumnes Preserve and Staten Island, near Thornton, San Joaquin County Saturday, December 7, 8:00 a.m.–noon
  • Biking and Birding Marin Saturday, December 7, 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
  • Albany Shoreline: Mudflats, McLaughlin Shoreline State Park, Albany Bulb Sunday, December 8, 10:00 a.m.–noon (optional extension to 1:00 p.m.)
  • Valle Vista Staging Area, Upper San Leandro Reservoir, Moraga
  • Vollmer Peak, Tilden Park, Oakland Friday, December 13, 9:00 a.m.–noon
  • Fort Mason Community Garden, San Francisco Sunday, December 15, 8:00–10:00 a.m.
  • Hilltop Lake Park, Richmond Wednesday, December 18, 9:00–10:45 a.m.
  • Dimond Park and Sausal Creek, Oakland Wednesday, December 18, 8:30–10:30 a.m.
  • Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park, Oakland Wednesday, December 18, 9:30 a.m.–noon
  • UCSF Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve, San Francisco Saturday, December 21, 8:30–11:00 a.m.
  • Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary and Crab Cove, Alameda Sunday, December 22, 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
  • Wren Day/St. Stephen’s Day Bird Walk, Tilden Park, Berkeley
    Thursday, December 26, 8:30–11:30 a.m.
  • Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont
    Sunday, December 29, 8:00 a.m.–noon
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 28, 2019

Birding Emeryville Shoreline 11/28/19

This midday we went birding at the Emeryville Shoreline. In the winter large numbers of shorebirds roost along the rocky shoreline right next to the sidewalk and roadway. An excellent place to view shorebirds up close. A Wild Turkey was even bold enough to make an appearance on Thanksgiving day. Most abundant were Marbled Godwits, Willets and the small sandpipers. There were even a number of Surfbirds present. We saw 28 species and it is likely there were a number of other waterbirds that were too far out to identify. As we drove out along the frontage road from Berkeley there were a number of large flotillas of Buffleheads.

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You larger files of the photos on Flickr at Birding Emeryville Shoreline 11/28/19

Click read more to see today’s bird list

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 28, 2019

Yosemite: Glacier Point and Tioga Roads are Closed for Season

Yosemite National Park News Release

Yosemite National Park announces Glacier Point and Tioga Roads are closed to all vehicular traffic for the winter season. Glacier Point and Tioga Roads typically close each fall and remain closed through the winter season. These roads reopen each spring when weather and road conditions are safe for vehicular traffic.

Yosemite National Park is anticipating a busy Thanksgiving holiday weekend from Wednesday, November 27 through Sunday, December 1, 2019. Visitors planning to come to the park for day trips or to stay overnight are encouraged to be prepared for winter driving, hiking and camping conditions. Yosemite National Park is expecting impacts throughout the park from incoming winter storms.

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 28, 2019

Amazon Rainforest Sees Biggest Spike In Deforestation In Over A Decade

NPR  reports on the devastating  deforestation in the BrazilianAmazon

The country’s National Institute for Space Research, or INPE, released data Monday revealing that 3,769 square miles of rainforest were lost to deforestation in a 12-month period ending in July. That marks the highest rate of deforestation since 2008 — and a nearly 30% spike over the rate recorded by INPE during the previous yearlong span.

Read full story at : Amazon Rainforest Sees Biggest Spike In Deforestation In Over A Decade : NPR

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 27, 2019

Job Opportunity: Curator of Lichenology at UC Berkeley.

Tucker Curator of Lichenology [Assistant Specialist] – University and Jepson Herbaria

Apply nowto Tucker Curator of Lichenology [Assistant Specialist] – University and Jepson Herbaria

RECRUITMENT PERIOD

Open date: November 25th, 2019
Next review date: Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.
Final date: Monday, Jan 13, 2020 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

DESCRIPTION

Tucker Curator of Lichenology [Assistant Specialist] – University and Jepson Herbaria

Description
The University and Jepson Herbaria at the University of California, Berkeley, established in 1895 holds botanical collections from around the world. It is home to research laboratories, libraries, and archives. We are seeking applications for the Tucker Curator of Lichenology [at the Assistant Specialist level]. The position is full-time with an expected start date of January 2020.

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 27, 2019

Wine Moguls Destroy Land And Pay Small Fines As Cost Of Business

NPR reports

In California, fines are being levied against winemakers who violate environmental laws, but activists say they are a drop in the bucket compared to the damage.

Read story at Wine Moguls Destroy Land And Pay Small Fines As Cost Of Business, Say Activists : The Salt : NPR

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 26, 2019

‘Bleak’ U.N. Report Finds World Heading to Climate Catastrophes

The New York Times reports

Four years after countries struck a landmark deal in Paris to rein in greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to avert the worst effects of global warming, humanity is headed toward those very climate catastrophes, according to a United Nations report issued Tuesday, with China and the United States, the two biggest polluters, having expanded their carbon footprints last year.

The summary findings are bleak,” the report said, because countries have failed to halt the rise of greenhouse gas emissions even after repeated warnings from scientists. The result, the authors added, is that “deeper and faster cuts are now required.”

Read full article at ‘Bleak’ U.N. Report Finds World Heading to Climate Catastrophes – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 26, 2019

In the Fight Against Climate Change, Not All Forests Are Equal

The New York Times reports

Forests are a great bulwark against climate change, so programs to reduce deforestation are important. Those efforts usually focus on stopping the destruction in areas where it is already occurring.

But a new study suggests these programs would do well to also preserve forests where deforestation and degradation haven’t begun. Gradual loss of these largely pristine, intact forests has a much greater climate impact than previously accounted for, the researchers said.

Read full story at In the Fight Against Climate Change, Not All Forests Are Equal – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 25, 2019

Australian Flower Photos – Part 1

I just posted an album of photographs on Flickr of Australia flowers from a recent trip to southwestern Australia at Flowers of Southwestern Australia – Part 1 The photos are best viewed full screen or as a slide show by clicking the little box that looks like a computer screen with an arrow in it. It is third from left at the top right section of the album. You can also see other photos from the trip to Australia at

 Orchids of Southwestern Australia (recently updated with some new new additions)

Australian Birds and and Other Animals. 

Australian Landscapes

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 25, 2019

BLM Move to Colorado Threatens Public Lands, Science and the Climate

The Revelator reports

How a Federal Agency’s Move to Colorado Threatens Public Lands, Science and the Climate. The Bureau of Land Management relocation to Grand Junction reflects a widespread pattern of destabilization under President Trump.

Read story at  Westward Heave-ho: How a Federal Agency’s Move to Colorado Threatens Public Lands, Science and the Climate • The Revelator

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 24, 2019

Birding Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary 11/23/19

Yesterday I was birding at Elsie Roemer with friends. Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary is at the east end of Marsh Beach in the town of Alameda. It is one of the best places to see large numbers of shorebirds. We saw 32 species today. There were very large numbers of shorebirds today. Of note was we saw a Say’s Phoebe, a bird I haven’t usually seen there, the large number of Killdeer and not seeing any Semi-palmated Plovers.

Click Read more to see today’s bird list

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 24, 2019

New Ethnobotany Database for Southern California

Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden writes about a New Ethnobotany Database for Southern California

Humans have occupied southern California for about 12,000 years. During this time, they have relied on local plants for food, tools, medicine, shelter and clothing. Kevin Curran, who teaches biology courses at USD in San Diego, has compiled an ethnobotany database that includes a comprehensive list of the native plants used historically by our local Native Americans.Many of the plants discussed are native to the LA region and surrounding Mojave Desert. These plants have successfully adapted to the mostly dry and warm climate of the region. Certain southern California native plants evolved to survive in the extreme heat of the Sonoran Desert while others enjoy the cool, sea breeze of the Coastal Sage Scrub plant community. Provided on the database is a clickable list of the native California plants that have been useful in some way to the early settlers of southern California, organized into 3 parts:

  1. List of the native plants used by Native Americans in southern California.
  2. Brief discussion of the main Native American groups of the region.
  3. Description of the plant communities of southern California.
Enjoy this interesting and educational site here: http://www.ethnoherbalist.com/southern-california-native-plants-medicinal/  
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 24, 2019

Rosemary is not a Rosemary – It’s a Sage!

The Telegraph  reports

Rosemary is not a separate species of plant after all — it is a sage, the Royal Horitcultural Society (RHS) has ruled as they tell gardeners to change their plant labels.

The RHS is to adopt a change in the scientific name for rosemary after research has shown that is in fact a salvia, or a sage.

In technical terms it will now be known as Salvia rosmarinus, rather than Rosmarinus officinalis, but its common name – rosemary – remains unchanged.

Read more at  Rosemary is not a rosemary, rules RHS – it’s a sage, as they tell gardeners to change plant labels

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 23, 2019

Death Valley Electrical Fire

Death Valley National Park reports

On the afternoon of 11/20 a fire started in the electrical substation that distributes power to most of Death Valley. Panamint Springs was not impacted. Because of the location and complexity of the substation, the rebuild may take days or weeks.
Southern California Edison has dispatched a large generator with the intent to run all of Stovepipe Wells and Furnace Creek. There will still likely be times without power as repairs are made or the generator undergoes maintenance.
Those visiting should anticipate prolonged periods without power or connectivity. The Furnace Creek cell tower is powered by separate generator, but will likely be down at times as well. The park will have limited ability to respond to emails, posts, or phone calls for the duration of the outages. The parks internal radio system used by emergency responders and law enforcement is operational.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 23, 2019

Plants might be helping each other more than thought

ScienceDaily reports

Contrary to the long-held belief that plants in the natural world are always in competition, new research has found that in harsh environments mature plants help smaller ones — and thrive as a result.

Read article at Plants might be helping each other more than thought — ScienceDaily

Center for American Progress News Release

The Trump administration’s attacks on Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Tongass National Forest could release almost 5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, according to a new analysis from the Center for American Progress.

That’s almost as much pollution as all the world’s cars emit in a year—which is more than 1 billion passenger vehicles, the analysis finds. The decision to strip protections from these areas in favor of industry completely ignores climate impacts, including the effects of shrinking sea ice, coastal erosion, and permafrost loss.

Read full article RELEASE: New Drilling, Logging in Alaska’s Protected Areas Could Release as Much Pollution as All the World’s Cars Emit in a Year – Center for American Progress

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 21, 2019

Australian Landscape Photos

I just posted an album of photographs on Flickr of Australia landscapes from a recent trip to southwestern Australia at Australian Landscapes. The photos are best viewed full screen or as a slide show by clicking the little box that looks like a computer screen with an arrow in it. It is third from left at the top right section of the album. You can also see other photos from the trip to Australia at

 Orchids of Southwestern Australia (recently updated with some new new additions)

Australian Birds and and Other Animals. 

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