Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 20, 2020

Bring more birds to your home with native plants

Long before harsh winter weather arrives, the cooler temperatures and ample rainfall of early fall create the perfect conditions for new plants to take root in your garden. But before you pay a visit to your local nursery, find out which plants will provide the most for birds in the coming months.

Audubon’s Native Plants Database will show you to all the best plants for the birds in your area, as well as local resources and links to learn more. All you have to do is enter your 5-digit zip code to get started. Once you have your list, it’s time to start planting!

Search the Database
You can now order native plants online, directly to your doorstep. Audubon® Native Plants and Trees are grown 100% neonicotinoid-free by Bower & Branch. Every purchase supports Audubon’s mission—and every plant supports birds! Start planting today.
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 19, 2020

Astronomers identify 24 possible superhabitable worlds 

EarthSky reports

Are there worlds out there – orbiting distant stars – even better suited for life than Earth? Might they be older, larger, warmer, wetter and with longer-living stars? Now astronomers have identified 24 possible superhabitable worlds.

Read more at  Astronomers identify 24 possible superhabitable worlds | Space | EarthSky

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 19, 2020

Regional Parks Botanic Garden Photos 10/18/20

Photos from a visit to the Regional Parks Botanic Garden in Tilden Park in Berkeley. It is a botanic garden of California native plants. The garden is open for visitors Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free but reservations are required. For reservations click here.

You  can see other photos from the Regional Parks Botanic Garden on the garden’s Flickr group page at Regional Parks Botanic Garden.

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 19, 2020

Why the US election could decide battle against climate change

The BBC reports

Who occupies the White House for the next four years could play a critical role in the fight against dangerous climate change, experts say. Matt McGrath weighs the likely environmental consequences of the US election.

Scientists studying climate change say that the re-election of Donald Trump could make it “impossible” to keep global temperatures in check.

They’re worried another four years of Trump would “lock in” the use of fossil fuels for decades to come – securing and enhancing the infrastructure for oil and gas production rather than phasing them out as environmentalists want.

Joe Biden’s climate plan, the scientists argue, would give the world a fighting chance.

Read more at Why the US election could decide battle against climate change – BBC News

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 19, 2020

S. California Botany Symposium 10/24/2020

SoCalBot Symposium time!
As you can imagine, this year things are going to be looking a little different as we transition to a virtual platform.
Our topic, “Living on the Edge – Plants in Extreme Environments” will still be just as fun to discuss virtually, and we’re so looking forward to chatting with you on Oct 24, 2020.
Head to our website to get more info on speakers, registration, and the virtual poster session.
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 18, 2020

Early Blooming Iris

A very early blooming Iris in my garden (or is it a very late blooming one?)

Ground Iris/Iris macrosiphon

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 18, 2020

Borrego Palm Canyon Trail Reopening

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park announced

After a ten-month public closure due to fire damage, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (ABDSP) is excited to announce the Fall 2020 seasonal opening of Borrego Palm Canyon Trail. The modified trail, trailhead and parking lots, are open to “Limited, Day-Use” activity from sunrise to sunset for the upcoming 2020-21 season. The “First Grove” remains off-limits to visitation for the foreseeable duration;


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 17, 2020

Research to Quantify Extinctions of U.S. and Canadian Vascular Flora

from University and Jepson Herbaria – UC Berkeley

A baseline for monitoring extinction in the Anthropocene. Jepson Curator Bruce Baldwin and UC/JEPS Director Brent Mishler contributed to an analysis documenting which plants in North America have already gone extinct. Available data suggest 65 vascular plant taxa from this region have become extinct since European settlement, 19 from California alone.

Extinction rates are expected to increase during the Anthropocene. Current extinction rates of plants and many animals remain unknown. This study represents the first effort to quantify extinctions among the vascular flora of North America north of Mexico since European settlement.

Read the open source paper here:…/10…/cobi.13621

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 16, 2020

Job Opportunity: Driver/Guide Anza-Borrego

California Overland Desert Excursions, an Anza-Borrego Desert State Park concessionaire, are looking for a part-time driver/guide. With California Overland, you can make money doing what you love while showing the Park to visitors from around the world. Qualified applicants must be personable, in good general health, have a clean driver record and be adept with use of manual transmissions. A commercial driver’s license and general knowledge of the desert are a plus, but not required. If you’re interested in joining their team, contact Joe at

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 16, 2020

The Effects of Smoke and Ash on Plants

The UC-Berkeley Botanical Garden an article on the effects of smoke and ash on plants by Dr. Lew Feldman, Garden Director

While there are much data pointing to the beneficial effects of fires on plants, especially in regard to acting as an environmental cue for seed germination and in seed dispersal, in general, as for humans, smoke and ash are detrimental to plants. Chemically, more than 100 different compounds have been identified in smoke, including toxic levels of nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide and ozone. Short-term exposure to smoke (as little as 20 minutes) has been reported to reduce photosynthesis by as much as 50%, as a consequence of both the destruction of chlorophyll, the light-capturing green pigment, and in impeding the movement of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the plant through leaf pores (stomata).

Read full article at I’m Glad You Asked: The Effects of Smoke and Ash on Plants – UC Botanical Garden

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 15, 2020

Cactus Destroyed at Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park reports

We need your help. Several saguaro cacti were cut down in the Scenic Trailhead area of the West District. If you were in the area around October 3 and may have information that could help Rangers in their investigation, we would like to hear from you. There is the option to remain anonymous. Please contact the NPS Investigative Services Tipline – 888 653-0009 or submit a tip online

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 15, 2020

Fall Colors in Mono County 10/14/20

Mono County Tourism Reports

It’s peak week round one! Most of your favorite Mono County fall color destinations will be at or near peak this week. If you want to see the fall colors this year, book your trip in the next two weeks!

Weather and smoke have varied greatly over the past week with clear skies today and smoky/hazy conditions near Mammoth Lakes over the last few days. Please check the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District (air quality) reports before you head out each day.

National Forest Update: The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is fully open and the Inyo National Forest has partially reopened. Fishing, hiking, hunting, and fall color viewing is now open everywhere while wilderness areas in the Inyo National Forest remain closed.

Read more and see detailed report at  Fall Colors in Mono County – Mono County Tourism and Film Commission

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 15, 2020

How Many Plant Species Have Gone Extinct in North America? 

The Revelator reports

A new paper documents 65 such plant extinctions — five small trees, eight shrubs, 37 perennial herbs and 15 annual herbs — the losses of most of which have never been reported before. Most of these species had limited ranges or were known from single sites, and likely went extinct following the destruction of their habitats. A few were lost due to dams, invasive species or overgrazing.

Read article at: How Many Plant Species Have Gone Extinct in North America? • The Revelator

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 14, 2020

UC – Berkeley Bot. Garden Carnivorous Plant Sale Oct. 17 & 18

Carnivorous Plant Sale Saturday & Sunday, October 17 – 18 | 9:30 – 11:30 am

Plants that eat insects? We have them! Choose from a wide variety of these fascinating, uniquely beautiful plants which grow surprisingly well in our climate. Most are best grown outdoors; others make great houseplants. Shop in person and expand your collection.

The Garden’s outstanding collection of carnivorous plants are big, beautiful and in their full fall glory! This special 2-day public sale features species that would normally have been available at the Garden’s Fall Plant Sale: Sarracenia, Nepenthes, Venus flytraps, Drosera, Darlingtonia, and Pinguicula. Enjoy these spectacular plants in their prime, before they enter their brief period of winter dormancy. Whether you’re topping off your collection or just getting started, you’ll want to stop by, check out the “savage garden,” and talk shop with our carnivore section staff. We will be there to answer your questions and get you started or help you add to your collection.

The Sale is located outside the UC Botanical Garden, just below the parking lot.
No reservation required.

Plant List     Shop Online     Care Sheet

From the East Bay Regional Parks

Tuesday, October 13, 2020 (Oakland, CA) – Red Flag Warning issued by National Weather Service for major wind event on Wednesday, Oct 14 at 5:00 a.m., through Friday, Oct 16 at 11:00 a.m. Anticipated winds ranging from 45 to 70 mph in the East Bay Hills.

The following regional parks are closed beginning tomorrow at 5 a.m. through Friday at 11 a.m. due to dangerous fire conditions:

  • Anthony Chabot Regional Park (Including Anthony Chabot campground)
  • Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve
  • Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve
  • Kennedy Grove Regional Recreation Area
  • Leona Canyon Open Space Regional Preserve
  • Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park
  • Roberts Regional Recreation Area
  • Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
  • Tilden Regional Park
  • Wildcat Canyon Regional Park (including Alvarado Park)

EBRPD Fire Department will be staffing several park fire stations along with CalFire who remains on high alert.

For up-to-date information on closures and reopenings, visit

Updated 8/14/22
from Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary
The E/V Nautilus trip to Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary is delayed. For up-to-date information, please check and our twitter and facebook pages. The trip will hopefully resume sometime this week.
We have some very exciting news to share with you! The Exploration Vessel Nautilus, owned and operated by Ocean Exploration Trust (OET), will explore deep-sea habitats of Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and adjacent Santa Lucia Bank next week from
*October 12th-October 15th
 (*earlier than originally planned due to weather). 

Seafloor mapping, visual surveys, and sample collections through this Nautilus mission will strengthen our understanding of the presence, distribution, condition, and connectivity of deep sea coral and sponge habitats.
You can watch⏺LIVE by clicking here:

Follow us on social media (Twitter and Facebook) to get updates on their expedition through the sanctuary.
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 14, 2020

California Fall Color Updates

Fall Color is looking good at Bishop Creek, Sonora Pass, Hope Valley and Plumas County. Check reports and photos at California Fall Color. There are some especially impressive photos of North Lake.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 14, 2020

Job Opportunity at Channel Islands N.P. : Temporary Park Guide

From Channel Islands National park
Temporary Park Guide GS-009-05
Open Period: 10/13 – 10/17
Duty Location: Ventura, CA
Salaray: 19.11
Work Schedule: Full Time
Duration: This is a temporary excepted service position not-to-exceed 6 months but may be extended up to 2 years.
See attached job recruitment bulletin for details: Park Guide GS-009-05
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 14, 2020

October Big Day October 17, 2020

eBird announces

In addition, this year’s October Big Day 2020 is happening during the first Global Bird Weekend. The goal of Global Bird Weekend is to make October 17-18 the biggest ever birding weekend and support BirdLife International’s appeal to end illegal bird trade. One of Global Bird Weekend’s aims is to have more than 25,000 people submit eBird checklists on 17 October—will you be one of them?

Read how to participate at  October Big Day 2020—bigger than ever! – eBird

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 13, 2020

Berkeley Street Photos October 12, 2020

Photographed in the North Berkeley Flatlands on October 12, 2020. Today’s selection is a little different as Halloween seems to be a strong theme.

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 | October 13, 2020

How Do California’s Megafires Impact Birds?

Audubon reports

We are in uncharted territory. Birds are on the move to escape the smoke and stress. What will happen to them and the habitat they need to survive?

Learn about the impact of wildfires on birds at How Do California’s Megafires Impact Birds? | Audubon California

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 12, 2020

Happy Indigenous People’s Day

from the Eastern Sierra Land Trust

It’s a great day to keep learning about local Native American history. Learn about the Owens Valley, a place traditionally called the Payahuunadu, at the Owens Valley Indian Water Commission’s website: Or learn about Native American history in Bridgeport Valley and the U.S. Forest Service-Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest at the Forest Service website:
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 12, 2020

How Indigenous-led Efforts Protect Birds and the Places We All Need

Amid a biodiversity freefall, indigenous-led groups are fighting back—and winning.
Recent reports offer clear recommendations on solutions aimed at reversing catastrophic biodiversity loss.

One such recommendation is to increase the funding for indigenous-led conservation efforts. The report emphasizes the importance of expanding indigenous-led efforts to support the creation of more Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) and their management by Indigenous Guardians. Such projects have already led to millions of protected acres in Canada and millions more could benefit from Indigenous stewardship.

These recommendations align with Audubon’s own vision for collaboration and partnership with Indigenous-led efforts. We’ve worked with Indigenous groups to help fulfill our shared goal of protecting the Boreal forest, one of the largest intact forests left on Earth and nesting grounds and migratory stopovers for nearly half of the common bird species found in North America. You can watch our recent interview with Indigenous Leadership Initiative’s Shaunna Morgan Siegers to learn about her organization’s work.

Read our analysis of these new reports and learn more about how Indigenous groups are leading this charge.

Read More
Today is Indigenous Peoples’ Day. As Smithsonian Magazine states: “Indigenous Peoples’ Day recognizes that Native people are the first inhabitants of the Americas, including the lands that later became the United States of America. And it urges Americans to rethink history.”
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 12, 2020

Avian Botulism Kills 40,000 Birds at National Wildlife Refuge

The Revelator reports

It is not surprising then, that a massive avian botulism outbreak is ravaging the birds of the Lower Klamath and some of the surrounding refuges. At last estimate, 40,000 birds have died in the last month due to botulism and thousands more are at an emergency “duck hospital” operated by staff from Bird Ally X, California Waterfowl Association, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Heat, drought and water policy have created a slow-motion catastrophe at a refuge on the California-Oregon border.

Read article at Avian Botulism Kills 40,000 Birds at National Wildlife Refuge • The Revelator

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 11, 2020

Webinar: Mapping Migration 10/13/20

Mapping Migraciones: Afrolatinidad in Conservation

October 13th, 2020 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM PST
Zoom and Facebook Live

Join Audubon and Latino Outdoors for a conversation with some of our favorite Afrolatinx conservationists as they discuss their experiences in conservation, colorism, deconstructing stereotypes, and celebrating the diversity within the Latinx community!

Register Now

This event will kick off “Mapping Migraciones,” a year-long celebration of migration (for both people and birds). Every year, the Audubon community celebrates and maps the journeys and diversity of migrant birds. This diverse set of journeys without borders holds a strong resonance for many birders in the Latinx community.

This year, we would like to map some of the journeys of our Latinx community members and explore the rich intersections of birds and culture, aiming to represent as many identities as possible. Find out how you can participate too!
Acompáñe Audubon y Latino Outdoors para una conversación entre algunos de nuestros ambientalistas Afrolatinos favoritos. ¡Venga a escuchar sobre sus experiencias en conservación, con colorismo, luchando contra estereotipos en una celebración de diversidad en la comunidad Latinx!

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 11, 2020

UC – Berkeley Botanical Garden Photos 10/10/20

Photos from a visit to the UC-Berkeley Botanical Garden on Oct. 10. Then garden is currently open daily from noon to five by reservation.  There is an entrance fee and paid parking. For more information and to make reservations  go to UC-Botanical Garden.


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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 11, 2020

California Academy Of Sciences To Reopen

The Academy will reopen to the public on Friday, October 23! Reserve your tickets starting Wednesday, October 14, and prepare to fall in love with science all over again under your favorite Living Roof. Enjoy new exhibits, old aquarium friends (hiya, Claude!), and research-backed, CDC-aligned safety precautions to keep everyone safe and healthy during your treasured time in Golden Gate Park.

A few new-to-you highlights:

  • Members and donors visit first, from Tuesday, October 13 through Thursday, October 22!
  • Starting Wednesday, October 14, you’ll need to reserve tickets on our website for a specific entry time and follow a few simple steps to protect yourself, our grateful staff, and San Francisco community.
  • Embrace our three favorite Ws: Wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance. We can’t wait to welcome you back soon!
  • We’re limiting guest reservations to help keep everyone safe. Get ready to wind your way from wildflowers on the roof down to a vibrant coral reef—and everything in between.

Read more at Cal Academy Reopening

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 10, 2020

Berkeley Street Photos October 9, 2020

Photographed in the North Berkeley Flatlands on October 9, 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 | October 10, 2020

October Santa Clara CNPS Plant Sale

Fall Plant Sale: Order Online by October 15 Virtual Nursery Tour October 10
No-Contact Order Pickup October 17
In May, we moved our nursery sales online with limited delivery-only service. Fall planting season is rapidly approaching, and we want to make it easier for everyone to buy plants. Our nursery is too small for safe in-person shopping, so for our fall sale this year, we’ll stay online but will provide scheduled no-contact order pick-up on October 17. If our pickup times fill up for October 17, we will open up another pickup day.

Rather than lining up early on sale day, you’ll now be able to browse our selection from the comfort of your home, make your purchases and then choose a time to come by and have plants loaded into your vehicle. We’ll be kicking off the online sale at the live Going Native Garden Tour (GNGT) Session on Saturday, October 10, where we’ll have a tour of the nursery followed by Q & A with nursery staff. Bring those questions you’d ask if you were shopping in the nursery, and we’ll do our best to help you!

Since our Fall Sale has always been a tremendous volunteer teamwork effort as well as a resource for socializing and learning about native plants and gardening, please keep these important differences from previous sales in mind:

  1. Orders must be placed online in advance of pickup. We will not be able to accommodate browsing or pickup day purchases.
  2. We will not be able to provide entry to Hidden Villa to anyone who has not pre-ordered and scheduled a pick- up time. There will be no access to the nursery itself on the pickup day.
  3. Customers will not be allowed to park or leave their vehicles. You will need to arrange space in your vehicle for plants to be loaded into your vehicle before arriving.
  4. Please do not bring boxes for your plants. Orders will be boxed ahead of time.

After your order is processed you will receive a message with detailed instructions about the pickup process. CNPS volunteers will be at the ready in the pickup area to load your pre-ordered plants into your vehicle. We want everyone to stay safe, so all volunteers will be socially distancing and wearing masks.

Our online store will be available for delivery sales through the end of September. It will be closed from October 1 to October 9 while we prepare for the sale. The store will be open for orders immediately after the October 10 GNGT session. Orders for pickup on October 17 must be placed by the end of the day on Thursday, October 15.

Visit the store here: california-native-plant-society-santa-

We appreciate everyone’s cooperation, patience and patronage as we navigate these challenging times!

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 9, 2020

Good Fall Color In The Sierras Right Now

California Fall Color is reporting very good color in a number of places in the Sierra including Hope Valley, Carson Pass, Inyo National Forest and Bishop Creek. See reports and photos at California Fall Color.


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