Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 20, 2020

National Parks Struggle with Social Distancing

As some national parks begin to open, they too must grapple with social distancing.

Encompassing tens of millions of acres of snow-peaked mountains, jagged coastlines and geological marvels, the National Park System is facing the quandary of how to keep visitors at more than arm’s length from each other as the summer months approach.

Read more Live Coronavirus News Updates – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 20, 2020

Yosemite park re-opening plan aims for early June, with limits

The Mercury News reports

Draft plan calls for no shuttle buses, reservations for day entry, and some hotels open

Yosemite National Park may finally reopen as early as June, but with major changes: Visitors who want to spend the day at the famed Sierra Nevada destination would need a reservation and crowds would be limited to roughly half of normal.

Read more Yosemite park re-opening plan aims for early June, with limits

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 20, 2020

Why It Is Critical To Use Local Native Plants in Your Garden

Doug Tallamy is an ecologist who is currently the hot speaker in the world of native plants, birding and habitat gardening. He talks about that we don’t have enough natural vegetation in protected areas and the way to compensate is through home/urban garden plantings. He says that using strategic plants that are native to our areas is critical. These are plants, especially trees and shrubs, that are magnets for insects. They will help support insect life, provide needed food for birds, plants and carbon sequestration. For example a native Oak provides habitat for a few hundred insects while an alien ginkgo for maybe one or two.

Even thought we have mainly been using native plants in the garden this has us rethinking our plant choice for future selections.

How (and Why) to Use Native Plants – The New York Times  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/15/realestate/how-and-why-to-use-native-plants.html?action=click&module=Top Stories&pgtype=Homepage&contentCollection=AtHome&package_index=1

Author and research scientist Doug Tallamy presents “Restoring Nature’s Relationships” during the Opening Plenary of the 2018 CNPS Conservation Conference. Los Angeles, CA. February 1, 2018.

SnowBrains  reports

California is slowly beginning to reopen parking lots at a number of state parks. Over the weekend, lots quietly reopened at 27 state parks and beaches in a number of areas across the state.

Lots were partially reopened, offering no more than 50% capacity, at parks and beaches in Santa Cruz, San Benito, Sonoma, Riverside, and Orange counties, as well as in the Lake Tahoe Area, and other rural areas of the state.

As of yesterday, 36 of California’s 280 state parks remained closed. Parking lots had been closed as a way to reduce crowds at the parks and encourage local visitors only. California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all state parks and beaches closed on May 1st to combat overcrowding and help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Read more and see what parks and beaches are reopening at  California Slowly Reopening Parking Lots at State Parks and Beaches – SnowBrains

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 19, 2020

Audubon Virtual Events

Audubon has many virtual birding programs that you can watch from home in the next few weeks. Explore what’s happening across the Audubon Network at Discover Audubon Events

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 19, 2020

Berkeley Street Photos 5/18/20

Photographed in the north and south Berkeley Flatlands on May 18, 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 19, 2020

Trump Administration’s Wetland Deception  

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) reports

Two federal environmental agencies are taking diametrically opposed positions on the ecological and economic value of wetlands, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). While the U,S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has unveiled a rule allowing more than half of the wetlands in the country to be dredged and filled, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) is celebrating “American Wetlands Month” with web-events, a podcast, and other activities highlighting the importance of preserving wetlands.

Read more at Trump Administration’s Wetland Deception  – PEER.org

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 18, 2020

Joshua Tree National Park Partial Reopening

from Joshua Tree National Park

Park Closures

Joshua Tree National Park is modifying operations to support federal, state, and local efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We are working to increase access to the park in a phased approach.

Closed

  • Visitor centers
  • Group campsites

Cancellations

  • All programs
  • All permits for special use activities through May 31, 2020

Open

  • Park entrances. Entrance stations will be staffed regularly but will not be collecting fees.
  • Roads and parking lots
  • Trails
  • Family campsites, aka individual sites. Campers should pay for their campsite as normal, following instructions at each campground.
  • Most bathroom facilities
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 18, 2020

Berkeley Street Photos 5/17/20

Photographed in my yard and nearby neighborhood yards in the North Berkeley Flatlands on May 17, 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 18, 2020

Gardening boosts your mood as much as some types of exercise

The Independent Tribune reports on a study showing that gardening boosts your mood as many types of exercise

The study shows that gardening boosts people’s moods by as much as some common types of exercise, like cycling and walking. That boost is available whether it is done alone or with others, on a city balcony or in a suburban lawn, and it seems to be particularly strong for women and low-income people. And while all types of gardening were shown to be beneficial to mental health, people who grow their own food seem to take particular joy in tending to their plants.

Red full article Gardening boosts your mood as much as some types of exercise, study finds | News | independenttribune.com

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 17, 2020

Berkeley Street Photos 5/16/20

These photos taken along the streets in the Berkeley Hills on May 16, 2020.  They are  part of an continuing project, which I call the “Stay at Home Photo Project” It has included 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 of the Stay at Home Photo project on Flickr at

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The Guardian reports

Rural towns on the edge of parks split between fear of infection and imperative to revive tourism-dependent economies

the phased reopening of America’s national parks has raised concerns about exacerbating the spread of Covid-19 and endangering the residents of rural towns located near parks.

Read more at US national park reopenings raise fears of coronavirus outbreaks | Environment | The Guardian

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 17, 2020

How to save economy and climate together

Climate News Network  writes about how to save economy and climate together

There’s growing agreement by economists and scientists: Covid-19 needs the world to rescue both economy and climate together

The warnings are stark. With the Covid-19 crisis wreaking global havoc and the overheating atmosphere threatening far worse in the long term, especially if governments rely on the same old carbon-intensive ways, both economy and climate will sink or swim together.

Read more How to save economy and climate together | Climate News Network

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 16, 2020

Homestead Valley Land Trust Wildflowers 5/15/2020

Homestead Valley has a new wildflower update. See photos and maps at May 15, 2020

NEW
– American wild carrot is blooming in meadows.
– California coffeeberry, one of the most common shrubs of the forest understory, is blooming with clusters of flowers.
– California everlasting is blooming in the meadows of Homestead Hill.
– Coyote mint is blooming purple in meadows.
– Lance leaf self heal is blooming velvety purple in seeps on the Homestead Trail near 12.
– Milkwort is blooming low and purple in the meadow near 14.
– Naked buckwheat is blooming in meadows below Homestead Hill.
– Sticky monkeyflower is blooming orange in meadows.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 16, 2020

Natural History Wanderings is Back on Facebook

You can again follow Natural History Wanderings on Facebook. For some unknown reason posts stop showing up on Facebook. It only recently came to my attention but I believe it has been corrected. All new posts should now show up on Facebook. If anyone notices a problem with this please let me know. Thanks and sorry for the past inconvenience to Facebook followers.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 16, 2020

Arches, Canyonlands, Zion National Parks to reopen 

The  Moab Sun  reports

On May 13, Zion National Park is set to begin a phased reopening amid a nationwide push to reopen businesses and public land. Arches and Canyonlands will follow suit at the end of the month on May 29 after two months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more Arches, Canyonlands, Zion National Parks to reopen | Covid-19 | moabsunnews.com

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 16, 2020

Berkeley Street Photos 5/15/20

These photos taken along the streets in the Berkeley Hills on the afternoon of May 15, 2020.  They are  part of my continuing project, which I am now calling the “Stay at Home Photo Project” It has included 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 of the Stay at Home Photo project on Flickr at

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National Parks Conservation Association Press Release

Federal agencies tasked with protecting America’s national parks, public lands, and waterways did the opposite today by advancing the proposed 210-mile Ambler industrial mining road. The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has consistently fought the proposed road and associated mining district, which threatens Alaska Native communities and the remarkable parklands and wildlife in the region, including one of Earth’s longest land migrations. The rushed federal review is fatally flawed, as it fails in numerous ways to assess the true impacts of the industrial mining road on clean water, air, wildlife, climate change, and local food security.

Read more Trump Administration Sacrifices Parklands, Wildlife and Alaska Native Ways of Life for Mining Road · National Parks Conservation Association

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 15, 2020

Berkeley Street Photos 5/14/20

These photos taken along the streets of Albany and the North Berkeley Flatlands on the afternoon of May 14, 2020.  They are  part of my continuing project, which I am now calling the “Stay at Home Photo Project” It has included 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 of the Stay at Home Photo project on Flickr at

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 15, 2020

Alligators Increase Plant Diversity 

In Defense of Plants reports

When you think of gardening, alligators don’t readily jump to mind. Hang out long enough in places like the Everglades and that might change. I was only recently introduced to the concept of a “gator hole” and I must say, I was surprised what a quick search of the literature revealed. It turns out that alligators are important ecosystem engineers and do a wonderful job at increasing plant diversity in the wetlands they inhabit.

Read more at  Alligators Increase Plant Diversity — In Defense of Plants

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 14, 2020

Berkeley Street Photos 5/12/20

These photos taken along the streets of Albany and the North Berkeley Flatlands on the afternoon of May 12, 2020.  They are  part of my continuing project, which I am now calling the “Stay at Home Photo Project” It has included 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 on my Flickr site at https://www.flickr.com/photos/sandysteinman/albums 

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 14, 2020

Mono Lake's California gulls must contend with invasive weeds

The LA Times reports

The people who guard the gulls that nest on Mono Lake’s islets in the eastern Sierra Nevada have used dynamite, electric fences and lawsuits to protect the birds from wily coyotes and diversions of water to Los Angeles.

Through it all, California gulls returned each year to rear new generations of their species in roughly 25,000 nests.

Now, the gulls are facing a botanical invader they may not be able to overcome: thickets of invasive weeds that have engulfed most of their breeding grounds.

Read more at  Mono Lake’s California gulls must contend with invasive weeds – Los Angeles Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 13, 2020

Berkeley Yard Photos 5/12/20

Photographed in my yard yesterday after the morning rain. My goal was to include photographs of raindrops on plants. It is part of my continuing project, which I am now calling the “Stay at Home Photo Project” It has included 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 on my Flickr site at https://www.flickr.com/photos/sandysteinman/albums 

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 13, 2020

How small is the smallest habitable exoplanet?

EarthSky answers the question “”How small is the smallest habitable exoplanet?”

Where can we expect to find life beyond Earth? A new study has redefined the lower limit in mass for habitable exoworlds. It suggests that low-mass waterworlds might exist and might be a place to look.

Read more at  How small is the smallest habitable exoplanet? | Space | EarthSky

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 12, 2020

Virtual Gardening Workshops

A series of three virtual gardening workshops from the East Sierra Land Trust

Workshop 1: What’s the Buzz About Bees?

Guest speaker Dr. Sarah Richman, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Nevada, Reno will share takeaways from her research about the challenges pollinators face, and how you can help by creating your own blooming backyard habitat. She’ll share science-based tips and tricks for the best ways to bring your garden to life.

For more information and to register for any of these workshops, contact Education Coordinator and AmeriCorps Member Marie at marie@eslt.org.

Then join us again for the next workshops in this series!

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 12, 2020

Audubon’s Spring Migration Show w/Jane Goodall

from Audubon

 

You’re invited to the next installment of I Saw a Bird: Audubon’s Spring Migration Show this Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET via Zoom and Facebook Live.

Join us this week for a special message from legendary conservationist, humanitarian, and crusader for the ethical treatment of animals Dr. Jane Goodall.

Then, as spring migration continues across most of the United States, Mikko Jimenez and Chad Witko, outreach biologists for Audubon’s Migratory Bird Initiative, will answer your questions about birds, birding, and share more amazing facts about migration.

Click below to RSVP and receive a follow-up email with a recording of tomorrow’s show. And if you don’t already follow us on Facebook, click here to like our page.See you on the internet!

RSVP
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 12, 2020

Visit Yosemite Virtually

The Mercury News  has an article how to do a virtual visit to Yosemite at  Virtual vacation: A weekend jaunt to Yosemite — via laptop
There are live webscams, archived time-lapse feeds, and 33 video podcasts including soundscapes, night skies, bears and moonbows.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 12, 2020

How to Photograph Birds in Flight 

Cornell Lab of Ornithology has an article how tips for photographing birds in Flight

Successfully shooting birds in flight is rewarding and exciting, but it takes a lot of patience and there is no single surefire approach to it. If every bird in flight were a slow-flying, high-contrast Osprey against a clear blue sky, the task would be easier. But try photographing a puffin flying 50 mph against a dark cliff in flat light! Camera and lens capabilities, birds’ flight styles and speeds, plumage effects on autofocus performance, quality of light, and variable backgrounds—all of these factors and more can make photographing birds in flight challenging and frustrating. But don’t despair! Try these tips and best practices—they’ll get you started photographing birds in flight.

Read more at  How to Photograph Birds in Flight | All About Birds All About Birds

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 11, 2020

Berkeley Street Photos 5/11/20

Photos taken along the streets of the North Berkeley Flatlands on May 11, 2020. All photos in this post and on the previous Berkeley and Albany Street photo posts were taken within a mile and a half of home. This is part of my continuing project during this “shelter at home” period.

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 11, 2020

Point Pinole Regional Shoreline 

TRAC sent an email recommending the Landfill Loop Trail as an excellent choice if you’re looking for a Bay Trail experience offering scenic vistas and abundant bird life without crowded conditions. This email suggests visiting East Bay Regional Park District’s scenic Point Pinole Regional Shoreline as another fine option (https://www.ebparks.org/parks/pt_pinole/). The park now is fully staffed with restrooms open at trailhead staging areas only.

Read More…

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