Beautiful. Sustainable. Sonoma.

Since 1990, we’ve worked to increase appreciation and stewardship of Sonoma Valley’s natural heritage and create measurable benefits in areas of land, water, climate change and biodiversity. More than ever, Sonoma Ecology Center needs your support to move us all towards a better future.

Who We Are

Sonoma Ecology Center works to address challenges related to water supply and quality, open space, rural character, biodiversity, energy, climate change, and a better quality of life for all residents.


We envision a future where people, land, water, and wildlife thrive.


Our mission is to work with our community to identify and lead actions that achieve and sustain ecological health in Sonoma Valley.

How can people, land, water, and wildlife thrive in a fire-adapted landscape?

Watch this video on how we keep people safer while supporting our environment.


We are preparing to conduct another carefully controlled prescribed burn at Van Hoosear Wildflower Preserve on May 21, 2021 from 7:00 am – 6:00 pm. Learn more.
Senderos en Van Hoosear @ Van Hoosear Preserve
May 8 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Sábado 8 de mayo, 9am – mediodía
La propiedad de 162 acres al pie de Sonoma Mountain está protegida por un derecho de acceso a la propiedad hecho posible por Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District (Ag+ Open Space) y California Wildlife Conservation Board. La propiedad es gestionada bajo una colaboración entre el dueño de la propiedad y Sonoma Ecology Center, para proteger la inigualable flora, la prosperidad de los arroyos y el hábitat de vida silvestre de la preserva.

Esta caminata es de nivel de principiante en una propiedad privada con una suave pendiente. La mayoría de la caminata es en un prado, no en un sendero, así que el terreno será un poco desnivelado. El recorrido cruzará un pequeño riachuelo,  el cual a veces tiene un poco de agua corriente y piedras para cruzar. Esta excursión es gratuita, lo cual es hecho posible por los electores del Condado de Sonoma, quienes financian el trabajo de Ag+ Open Space con un impuesto de ventas de veinticinco centavos.

Estas caminatas son populares y cada año se llenan por orden de llegada, así que recomendamos que se registre temprano. Las caminatas se realizarán en lluvias ligeras pero lluvias fuertes cancelan el evento. Observaremos órdenes de salud del Condado como el uso de cubrebocas y el distanciamiento personal.

Si tiene alguna pregunta contacte a

Wildflower Walks at Van Hoosear Preserve Van Hoosear Wildflower Preserve @ Van Hoosear Wildflower Preserve
May 8 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Join Sonoma Ecology Center naturalists at Van Hoosear Wildflower Preserve for one of the most spectacular wildflower displays in all of Sonoma County. Experience a pristine spring grassland with numerous species in full bloom. The 162-acre property in the foothills of Sonoma Mountain is protected by a Sonoma County Ag + Open Space conservation easement and the California Wildlife Conservation Board. The property is managed under a partnership with the landowner and Sonoma Ecology Center to protect the Preserve’s unique plants, thriving streams, and wildlife habitat. 

This outing is a beginning-level walk over a gently sloped land. Most of the walk is through grassland, generally not on trails, so the footing can be uneven. The walk crosses a few small creek channels, which sometimes have shallow water with stepping stones.  There is no charge for this outing, which is made possible by the voters of Sonoma County who fund the work of  Ag + Open Space with a quarter-cent sales tax.

Please note that these popular walks fill to capacity on a first-come, first-served basis every year, so early registration is encouraged! Walks will go on in light rain, but heavy rains will cancel the walk. 

REGISTER TODAY! Registration is required, no later than 5pm the day before the walk. Directions and day-of-contact information will be emailed upon registration. For additional information or questions about the outing, please contact Tony Passantino at

Family Hike @ Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
May 8 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Come to the park for a peaceful hike through the woods! Join our Docents on this fun family hike that is good for all ages. During this 2-mile hike with 400-ft elevation gain, you will learn about Sugarloaf Park, its plants, animals, and history.
This is a free event  but does require reservations as we are limiting the event to 12. Meet outside the Visitor Center. We will observe social distancing and mask-wearing. Parking fees apply and heavy rains cancel.

Sugarloaf Wildflower Walks @ Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
May 8 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Join Team Sugarloaf Docents for a spring wildflower walk in the post-fire environment of Sugarloaf.
These are leisurely 1-3 miles long along the Meadow/Hillside loop and Creekside Trail. This is a beginning to intermediate level hike. All trails contain small elevation gains with the exception of Meadow Trail. Wear appropriate footwear, bring water and dress in layers. Meet outside the Visitor Center.
The walk is $10, and an entry fee or park pass is required for vehicles. Participants are required to comply with County Health orders, including wearing a mask and observing at least a 6-foot distance from others outside their household.

Compost Workshop at Sonoma Garden Park @ Sonoma Garden Park
May 8 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Compost Workshop at Sonoma Garden Park @ Sonoma Garden Park

Have you ever tried to make your own compost for use in your yard/ garden? Not easy is it?

During this last year, the Sonoma Garden Park has been producing its own finished compost! All of the ingredients were collected on-site (minus a few amendments), and much of it has gone back out to the land as nutrients for the garden. Our High School Enviroleader Program created space and a system for handling all of the material that is needed to make our compost.


This is where you come into the picture, we need some help making piles and thought this would be a great chance to share our knowledge/experience. On this workday, we will discuss various methods of making compost and the advantages/disadvantages of each one. We will build two piles utilizing a few of those methods and ingredients, like Bokashi and Biochar.

We will continue to follow the COVID protocols in place to keep everyone safe, so please bring a mask and respect 6-foot distancing at all times.
The Garden Market is open from 9 am to noon, so arrive early if you would like to shop for fresh fruits and veggies!

Bring: Mask, Full Water Bottle, Sturdy Shoes (no sandals please), Gardening Gloves (not provided and optional) Light Snack (optional), Cash for the Garden Market (optional).

This is a free event sponsored by the Sonoma County Ag + Open Space District. Sonoma Garden Park was protected by Ag + Open Space in November of 2011 for recreation and preservation of its natural resources and learning classroom environment for agriculture field trips for nearby elementary schools through Sonoma Ecology Center’s “Growing Discovery” program. The 6-acre property, hidden in eastern Sonoma, is an incredible public park and working garden site in Sonoma Valley, containing a wide array of habitats alongside sustainably designed systems for both agriculture use and landscaping purposes.



 Sonoma Garden ParkSustainable Sonoma  



An interactive map of our work in Sonoma Valley.



We can’t do it without you!


See our brochure on fire smart, water wise and wildlife friendly landscaping.


The Ecology Blog

How COVID-19 Relates to Our Ecology

How COVID-19 Relates to Our Ecology

By Nancy Padian, board member. Nancy is a medical researcher, epidemiologist, and former executive director of the Women's Global Health Imperitave. She is among the world's foremost experts on AIDS, and worked in Southern Africa for the last 35 years.The global...

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Meet Our Volunteer Photographer Kristen Russell

Meet Our Volunteer Photographer Kristen Russell

Sonoma Ecology Center is blessed to have many fabulous volunteers without whom we could not accomplish so much. This month we focus our lens on a tremendously talented volunteer whose work you see in our newsletters, emails and social media posts on a regular basis....

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A Message From Our Executive Director, Richard Dale

A Message From Our Executive Director, Richard Dale

It’s been a shocking year for the planet that supports us, hidden from many of us because our attention has been absorbed by dealing with a global pandemic and a social fabric worn thin from centuries of injustice.   But life on earth is in crisis all over. Just...

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Prescribed Burn Planned for Van Hoosear

Prescribed Burn Planned for Van Hoosear

Controlled or “prescribed” burns were used by indigenous people for centuries before Europeans arrived here. It is an effective ancient art and science that promotes both fire resiliency and biodiversity. Last year’s prescribed burn of about 30 acres at Van Hoosear...

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