Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 16, 2021

California Protects Leatherback Sea Turtles as Endangered

from Center for Biological Diversity

Decision Comes in Time for Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtle Conservation Day

SACRAMENTO, Calif.— The California Fish and Game Commission voted today to protect leatherback sea turtles as endangered under the state’s Endangered Species Act. The commission acted on the recommendation of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which is concerned by the turtles’ dramatic decline in state waters.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 15, 2021

See The Top 2021 Wildlife Photographer of the Year Winners 

NPR  reports on the winning images of the 2021 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition a

The annual competition is organized by London’s Natural History Museum and is recognized as the world’s longest-running and most prestigious nature photography competition. In announcing the winners on Tuesday, the museum said it had received more than 50,000 submissions from 95 countries.

See photos and read more at  Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners announced for 2021 : The Picture Show : NPR

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 15, 2021

BigPicture: Natural World Photography exhibit

from the Academy of Sciences

Opening on Saturday, October 16, and on view through April 24, 2022, the eighth annual BigPicture: Natural World Photography exhibit spotlights 49 of the year’s most striking nature, wildlife and conservation images, from nearly 8,400 photos submitted by photographers around the world. The exhibit highlights Earth’s biodiversity, illustrates the many threats that our planet faces, and underscores the importance of protecting, conserving, and regenerating the natural world. View the winning images online, and dive deeper into the stories behind each photograph at bioGraphic.

from the Xerces Society

One of the most valuable things you can do to support pollinators and other invertebrates is to provide them with the winter cover they need. Leave the leaves does not mean ignoring them and leaving them where they fell. You can move them to places in your yard where they are out of the way, will not kill your turf, and will still help wildlife. A thin layer of leaves can actually help turf—but too much will kill the grass. Consider raking leaves into areas around trees, or use them as winter mulch for perennials or to cover garden beds.
Read more at: Leaves are not litter. They are food and shelter for butterflies, moths, beetles, and more

Beyond Plants: What Else do Insects Need to Thrive (pre-recorded webinar)
A garden that has an abundance of flowers will support insects—but to maximize the diversity of insects your garden can support, you’ll also need to provide places where they can nest, lay eggs, and shelter. In this recorded presentation, Xerces’ Matthew Shepherd and Jennifer Hopwood talk about how to leave the leaves, save the stems, and other ways to help insects thrive in your backyard. Watch on our YouTube Channel
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 13, 2021

Sneaky Thieves Steal Hair From Foxes, Raccoons, Dogs, Even You 

The New York Times reports

It’s simple: Mammals have hair or fur. Birds want it.

Hair from dogs, raccoons and even humans has been found in the nests of birds, which scientists believe makes the nests better insulated. For a long time, scientists assumed that birds had to collect hair that had been shed or scavenge it from mammal carcasses. However, a new study, published last week in the journal Ecology, shows that several species of bird, including chickadees and titmice, don’t just scavenge hair, they steal it.

See videos and read more at Sneaky Thieves Steal Hair From Foxes, Raccoons, Dogs, Even You

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 12, 2021

What Insect Has The Longest Dormancy?

It is the Yucca Moth, which can have a dormancy period of up to 30 years. See research article:  Longest Insect Dormancy: Yucca Moth Larvae (Lepidoptera: Prodoxidae) Metamorphose After 20, 25, and 30 Years in Diapause

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 11, 2021

Groundbreaking legal win for Joshua trees 

WildEarth Guardians reports

I’m thrilled to announce that we have scored a monumental legal victory for the Joshua tree, as well as climate-imperiled species across the country.

A federal judge—a George W. Bush appointee no less—recently ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated the law when it failed to list the imperiled Joshua tree under the Endangered Species Act.

Read more at Groundbreaking legal win for Joshua trees – WildEarth Guardians

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 11, 2021

A Plant That ‘Cannot Die’ Reveals Its Genetic Secrets

The New York Times reports on a very long-lived desert plant.

Events in the genome of Welwitschia have given it the ability to survive in an unforgiving desert for thousands of years.

The longest-lived leaves in the plant kingdom can be found only in the harsh, hyperarid desert that crosses the boundary between southern Angola and northern Namibia.

A desert is not, of course, the most hospitable place for living things to grow anything, let alone leafy greens, but the Namib Desert — the world’s oldest with parts receiving less than two inches of precipitation a year — is where Welwitschia calls home.

Read more at A Plant That ‘Cannot Die’ Reveals Its Genetic Secrets-The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 10, 2021

Job Openings: Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership Members

These positions are 11-month terms of service, and more information is included in the general description below. Interested applicants should take note of this particular position with American Forests:…canForests.pdf

This position will be helping to develop a native seed collection program in partnership with BLM areas in or near the Sierra Nevada. The first half of the term will largely consist of research and identifying locations of native plants, with the second half of the term focused on native seed collection. The position is most likely to be based out of the Fresno area, but flexibility exists for the member to live in other areas. Mileage reimbursement with be provided in addition to the compensation and benefits listed below.

Read more Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership Member – CNPS Forums

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 10, 2021

New plant names in Calflora

To maintain Calflora as a leading knowledge source to the status and distribution of California native and naturalized plants, we are continually adding new plants to our database. As new plants are discovered in California or new invasives move into the state, we regularly add them to our resources. Meanwhile, plant taxonomy is continually changing as well, as research reveals new or different plant relationships, often necessitating a plant name change.
Below are some recent additions; a longer list is here as an illustrated plant list.
Native plants:
Adiantum shastense Shasta adiantum
Antirrhinum mohavea Golden desert snapdragon
Erythranthe howaldiae (photo by Steve Matson)
Doellingeria glabrata Siskiyou aster
Hooveria purpurea var. reducta Camatta Canyon amole
Malacothamnus involucratus Carmel Valley bush mallow
Sedum kiersteadiae The Eddys stonecrop
Vaccinium ×brunoense San Bruno Mountain huckleberry
Non-native plants:
Alyssum corsicum yellowtuft
Phormium tenax New Zealand flax
Dipsacus laciniatus cutleaf teasel

Learn more at  new plant names in Calflora

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 9, 2021

KNP Complex fires: Evacuation updates, weather/rain helped

The Sacramento Bee  reports

Rain weakened the KNP Complex fires, and residents were allowed to return to several evacuated communities Saturday.

On Friday, storms brought rain to the most of the fire, with some areas getting three-tenths of an inch. That significantly decreased fire activity, limiting it to “creeping” and “smoldering” instead of rapidly burning, fire officials said in an online update.

The wet weather is expected to continue to slow the fire Saturday.

Read more at  KNP Complex fires: Evacuation updates, weather/rain helped | The Sacramento Bee

Ohio News Time reports

By the end of September, the leaves usually cascade to warmer shades throughout the United States. This year, many regions have not even pivoted from the shades of green in the summer yet.

Portland, Maine — A drought that causes the leaves to turn brown and die before they reach their peak color. A heat wave that encourages the leaves to fall before autumn comes. Extreme weather like a hurricane that completely strips the leaves of the trees.

Read more at  How climate change affects the fall foliage chasing around the United States – Ohio News Time

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 8, 2021

World Migratory Bird Day is 10/9/21

On Saturday, 9 October people all over the world will be celebrating World Migratory Bird Day, a global campaign that aims to raise awareness of migratory birds and the need for international cooperation to conserve them. The UN-backed campaign is organized by a collaborative partnership among two environmental treaties – the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), and the non-profit organization, Environment for the Americas (EFTA).

Learn about World Migratory Bird Day at: Sing, Fly, Soar, like a Bird #WMBD2021 | World Migratory Bird Day

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 8, 2021

Bears Ears monument being restored after Trump downsized it : NPR

NPR reports

President Biden will restore the boundaries of Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts national monuments at a signing ceremony on Friday, the administration announced on Thursday evening.

Read more at Bears Ears monument being restored after Trump downsized it : NPR

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 8, 2021

A caffeine buzz helps bees learn to find specific flowers

ScienceDaily reports

Researchers have shown that feeding bumble bees caffeine helps them better remember the smell of a specific flower with nectar inside. While previous studies have shown that bees like caffeine and will more frequently visit caffeinated flowers to get it, this study shows that consuming caffeine in their nest actually helps bees find certain flowers outside of the nest.

Read more at  A caffeine buzz helps bees learn to find specific flowers — ScienceDaily

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 7, 2021

Pollinator Posse

The Pollinator Posse creates pollinator-friendly landscaping and fosters appreciation of local ecosystems through outreach and education.   With eco-friendly landscape techniques at the heart of our work, we teach respect for the creatures which keep Northern California blooming. We envision a day when life-enhancing, thought-inspiring green spaces will grace every corner of Northern California and the world. A few of their projects are:

  • Presentations and Classroom Visits
  • Track the Monarchs
  • Efforts to Back the Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly to the East Bay Hills

To learn more about the Pollinator Posse, the above projects and more of their activities go to the Pollinator Posse

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 6, 2021

Sierra Road Closings

Caltrans District 9 is closing three mountain roads starting tomorrow, October 7.
Sonora Pass/SR 108 will close at noon.
Monitor Pass/SR 89 will close at 2:00 pm.
SR 120 W will close at 5:00 pm.
All three roads will be evaluated for reopening on Saturday.
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 6, 2021

Yosemite to “Temporarily” Close Tioga Road Thursday

from Yosemite National Park
Based on the current US National Weather Service Hanford California forecast, we are planning to *temporarily* close Tioga Road (the continuation of Highway 120 through the park) on Thursday, October 7, at 5 pm. We will evaluate conditions over the weekend and open the road as soon as it’s safe.

from Marin Chapter of California Native Plants Society

“Climate as a Driver of Divergence in Soil-Specialist Plants”

Guest Speaker: Nicole Ibañez, Masters candidate, University of San Francisco. Ibañez, recipient of one of the CNPS Marin 2021 Educational Grants, will share the results of her research. Mon. Oct. 11 @ 7:30 pm  Register for this meeting here

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 6, 2021

California oil pipeline spill could endanger marine life for years

NPR  reports 

Emergency officials are still trying to contain a major oil spill off the coast of Southern California that dumped more than 120,000 gallons of crude oil from an offshore pipeline into the Pacific Ocean, some of which has washed ashore.

But even as the response effort continues, experts say the long-term impacts to the environment — particularly on birds and marine life — could be significant even if they didn’t get saturated by the weekend oil slick.

Read more at California oil pipeline spill could endanger marine life for years, experts say : NPR

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 5, 2021

East Bay Regional Park Activities

See the schedule of all East Bay Regional Park Activities at East Bay Regional Parks Activity Schedule

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 5, 2021

Calif. park name rooted in racist history permanently changed

The San Francisco Chronicle reports

The long-contested name of a popular Northern California state park steeped in a violent history has been permanently changed.

Located near the craggy seaside cliffs of Trinidad, Calif., Patrick’s Point State Park is known for its coastal scenery, winding trails shrouded in spruce trees, rocky tide pools that inspired a Nickelodeon cartoon and sandy shores dotted with agate. But a recent press release shared by California State Parks describes how the name of this serene oasis in Humboldt County traces back to Irish homesteader Patrick Beegan, who allegedly stole the land for himself in the mid-1800s and was accused of murdering numerous Native Americans who originally lived there.

Read more at  Calif. park name rooted in racist history permanently changed

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 4, 2021

Marin Bird & Nature Walks this Month

from Wild Birds Unlimited of Novato

Bird & Nature Walks this Month
Sunday, 10/10: Senior Stroll at Corte Madera Creek, Marin Parks
Tuesday, 10/12: Hamilton Wetlands, Novato, Marin Parks
Wednesday, 10/20: Rodeo Lagoon, Marin Audubon
Wednesday, 10/20: Raptors in the Marin Headlands, Marin Parks
Sunday, 10/24: Oaks at Deer Island, Novato, Marin Parks
Sunday, 10/31: Abbotts Lagoon, Marin Parks

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 4, 2021

UCSB Natural Reserve System Fall 2021 Seminar Series 

See the fall schedule of seminars for the UCSB Natural Reserve System at UCSB Natural Reserve System Fall 2021 Seminar Series | Natural Reserve System

a series of presentations focused on some of the latest research and teaching experiences from across UCSB’s seven Natural Reserve System sites.

Seminars will be held each Tuesday, from October 5 – November 16, from 7 – 8 PM, in this virtual tour of research and education highlights from across the state.

Registration opens September 20. You can register for all 7 seminars at once, or pick the ones you prefer. Follow this link to register!

KRNV reports on the discovery of a rare dragonfly sighting

A rare species of dragonfly that was seen in the region more than a century ago was discovered in Truckee over the summer.

The species is relatively common across forested Canada and parts of the northern U.S., but in California, it is known from only four sites, three of which are close to the Oregon border. Within California, the Spiny Baskettail was first spotted at Donner Lake in 1914 by Clarence Hamilton Kennedy. They were never again seen anywhere around Tahoe despite considerable effort to relocate them. The accepted wisdom among California dragonfly enthusiasts and biologists was that this population was long gone, perhaps a victim of heavy recreational use at Donner Lake.

Read more Rare dragonfly discovered in Truckee more than a century since last spotted | KRNV

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 4, 2021

Help Count Backyard Birds – Join Project FeederWatch

Did you know that you can connect to nature, learn about backyard birds, and contribute to important scientific research – without leaving your home? You can with Project FeederWatch!

Our backyards are important habitats for birds year-round. To help birds, we need to understand how these habitats and the birds using them are changing over time. Your counts of winter backyard birds tell us which species are doing OK and which ones need our conservation attention.

What is Project FeederWatch?

Project FeederWatch is a joint project of Birds Canada and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology that depends on volunteers like you to help us all learn more about bird populations. It’s easy to contribute. All you need to do is:

  1. Join Project FeederWatch.
  2. Count your backyard birds periodically throughout the season (13 November 2021 – 30 April 2022).
  3. Submit your counts online at or using the new Project FeederWatch mobile app.

The Mono Lake Committee reports

the California State Water Resources Control Board issued Order WR 2021-0086 EXEC amending the Mono Basin water rights of the City of Los Angeles to incorporate extensive new requirements that maximize the restoration of the 20 miles of streams, forests, and fisheries that lie downstream of the Los Angeles Aqueduct diversion dams. The action draws on decades of detailed scientific study to prescribe specific measures that will significantly advance the recovery of the streams, trout populations, and the streamside forests and wildlife, all of which suffered extensive damage due to past excessive water diversions by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP).

Read more at  State Water Board launches new era of stream restoration at Mono Lake

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 3, 2021

Bay Trail Challenge

Save The Bay (and TRAC) invites you to join the 6th annual Bay Day Trail Challenge by walking, jogging or cycling 25 miles of the Bay Trail during the month of October. Everyone who completes the Challenge will be entered to win a grand prize $300 gift certificate from REI and a  one-year membership to AllTrails Pro. Ten runners up will receive a one- year membership to AllTrails Pro and AllTrails swag to help guide their next trail adventure.
For more information and to sign up, go to .
If you email TRAC at after signing up, we’ll send you suggestions for exploring the 36 miles of Bay Trail in Richmond, as well as other great locations on the Bay Trail.
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 3, 2021

Berkeley Bird Festival October 17

Golden Gate Audubon Society is co-sponsoring a first-ever Berkeley Bird Festival on Sunday, October 17 with free community events throughout the day. Can you help spread the word through your blog?
It will feature free guided field trips throughout the day for adults and families; bird chalk art drawing sessions; bird-related crafts and performances, and information tables about local groups that are involved with protecting birds.
Events will take place on the UC campus and at the David Brower Center between noon and 4, and field trips will be spread out throughout the day, all over the city. Spaces are limited at some activities. Registration opens on Oct. 10.  Details at:
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 3, 2021

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar Photos

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars on the Narrow Leaf Milkweed/Asclepias fascicularis in my backyard today.

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