Sonoma Ecology Center | 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.

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park is partially reopened as of Friday, Oct. 23. Parts of the park will remain closed until further notice due to the impacts of the Glass Fire.

Follow us on social media for updates.

DONATE to help reopen Sugarloaf Ridge State Park and your gift will be DOUBLED.

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

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

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.

Register to Vote!
¡Cómo registrarse para votar!

In addition to the presidential race, there are state and local elections happening nationwide this year that will have a big impact on people, land, water, and wildlife. Make sure you have a plan to vote on or before November  3rd.

En adición a la carrera presidencial, en este año hay elecciones estatales y locales en todo el país que tendrán un gran impacto en el público, la tierra, el agua, y la vida silvestre. Asegúrese de tener un plan para votar el o antes del tercero de noviembre.


Environmental Discovery Days @ Montini Open Space Preserve
Oct 28 @ 1:30 pm – 4:45 pm

[Español abajo]

Due to fire, smoke and hot weather conditions this summer, our Wednesday outdoor educational activities were postponed for much of September and early October—but they’re ready to go now! Our new EnviroAmbassadors will be assembled at Montini Open Space Preserve every Wednesday afternoon through October, and they are eager to host our Environmental Discovery Days in two groups—one from 1:30 to 3 p.m., and another from 3:15 to 4:45 p.m.—and to share the beauty of Montini via free guided hikes.

Each group is designed for no more than eight people in order to maintain social distancing. Please register for the event beforehand by going to Children 12 and younger will need a chaperone to accompany them.

Participants meet at the Montini trailhead on First Street West in Sonoma’s Field of Dreams parking lot (next to the police station). Those unable to join the Montini hikes are invited to come to Sonoma Garden Park instead, where we host family-friendly gardening activities every Wednesday and Friday afternoon. (For November, we plan on moving the Montini activities to Maxwell Park.)

We look forward to seeing you outside!

Note: All outdoor events are subject to cancellation if the air quality index (AQI) exceeds 150. To see current AQI levels check this PurpleAir map.

For more information, contact Tony Passantino at

  • Sonoma Garden Park is located at 19996 7th St. East
  • Montini Preserve is located at 175 1st St. West
  • Maxwell Park is located at 100 Verano Ave.



Días de descubrimiento ambiental en la preserva Montini durante octubre

Acompañe a los educadores de Sonoma Ecology Center y los jóvenes EnviroAmbassadors en un Día de descubrimiento ambiental en Montini Open Space Preserve cada míercoles por la tarde durante el mes de octubre. 

Los educadores guiarán a familias en caminatas de grupos pequeños a travéz de dos millas de bosque para alentar a la juventud a ser “defensores de la vida silvestre”. El programa está basado en el programa de educación de cuencas hidrográficas de Sonoma Ecology Center para grados de kinder a quinto grado. Los niños que atiendan deben ser acompañados por un padre o acompañante de mayor de edad.

El punto de reunión es el estacionamiento en la entrada a Montini. Por favor, traiga su cubrebocas, desinfectante de manos personal, y una botella con agua. Le invitamos a traer un lápiz o instrumento para escribir, binoculares y una gorra para protejerse del sol. Estos artículos son recomendados pero no necesarios.

Estamos limitados a doce participantes para cumplir con la orden de salud del Condado de Sonoma que govierna la recreación al aire libre. Requerimos registración. Todos los participantes deben usar un cubrebocas y cumplir con las órdenes de distanciamiento social. Por favor llegue un poco antes del evento para una plática corta acerca de seguridad en la preserva.

For more information contact Tony Passantino, Education Program Manager, at
Para más información, contacte a Tony Passantino, Director del Programa de Educación por email al      

Este evento es gratuito es hecho posible por los electores del Condado de Sonoma quienes financian el trabajo de Ag + Open Space con un impuesto de ventas de un cuarto de centavo.

Post-Fire Trail Restoration and Clean Up Crew @ Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Oct 29 @ 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

[caption id="attachment_26513" align="alignleft" width="600"] Photo from January 2019[/caption]

Help Sugarloaf with trail restoration work. Work includes bridge and step construction, installing signs, clearing, lifting, carrying and hiking. Bring gloves, hat, and water that you can carry hands-free (i.e. bring a backpack). Wear long pants, boots or sturdy shoes and sunscreen. Poison oak is present, so long sleeves are suggested. We have tools and trained crew leaders with tasks for all. Minors must be accompanied by a responsible adult. We will provide tools, food and beverages. If you are a current State Parks volunteer, signup in Volgistics. Otherwise, sign up here.

CANCELED: Full Moon Hike @ Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Oct 30 @ 4:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Bring a flashlight and your sense of wonder as you explore the park after dark. This hike has two routes and heads up either to Bald Mountain or to the viewpoint on the Vista Trail, where we will see the moon rise over the Mayacamas and the sun set over Sonoma Valley.
The Bald Mountain route starts at 4:30PM and meets at the main parking lot. It is strenuous and will cover 6.5 miles with 1500 plus of vertical with some steep sections.
The Vista Trail route is a moderate-to-strenuous 4-mile hike with 700ft of elevation. It begins at 4:45PM from the White Barn.
Be at the meeting location at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the hike for a prompt departure. Bring your mask, water, snacks, and extra layers for the evening. Parking fees and social distancing apply.

Tickets available at

Oct 31 all-day
Halloween Art in the Garden @ Sonoma Garden Park
Oct 31 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm

Sonoma Ecology Center educators present Art in the Garden on Halloween Day!

[This event occurs both in person and over Zoom]

Adults and children of all ages: Come join a 90-minute workshop to explore the autumnal bounty and create your own fall crafts. This workshop is free, and materials are provided. Paint, build, shape, weave, and create to your heart’s desire! Autumn’s magical muse is calling and the full “Blue Moon” lights our imaginations. Will it be a centerpiece to display, an altarpiece for a loved one for Dia de los Muertos, a mask to wear, or a gift to give? Demonstrations are offered, but you will be the creator of your artistic destiny on All Hallows Eve!

Participants under 12 must have an adult chaperone. Masks are required. We will use small activity stations and follow all COVID safety protocols. Please bring a water bottle.

Sign up through Simpletix:

Participants may also join this event virtually via Zoom:

Sonoma Garden Park is protected by Ag + Open Space for recreation and preservation of its natural resources. It is a community gathering place, a working farm, a demonstration site for sustainable gardening and landscaping methods, and an outdoor classroom for Sonoma Ecology Center’s many education programs and community workshops. The 6-acre property, located on 7th Street East in Sonoma, contains a wide array of habitats and is a unique city-owned public park for the people of Sonoma Valley.




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.


Sonoma Garden Park and Montini Open Space Preserve and Sonoma Overlook Trail, are open to the public. Normal social distancing protocols continue to apply at all parks and open spaces.

• Avoid drinking fountains (bring your own water)
• Keep a distance of at least 6 feet with anyone not in your immediate household
• Carry a face mask and put it on if necessary (for example, when passing someone on a trail closer than 6 feet)
• Stay home if you’re sick
• Buy your Sugarloaf Ridge State Park day or annual pass ahead of time

The Ecology Blog

Red Barn Remembrance

Red Barn Remembrance

‘It served as habitat for our feathered and furry friends, a cool refuge for hikers on hot or rainy days, and a picturesque backdrop for the occasional photographer’ Venerable barns are special places, Breck Parkman says, with special meanings for those who know them....

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SEC’s Sugarloaf Operators Reassess Following Glass Fire

SEC’s Sugarloaf Operators Reassess Following Glass Fire

With Red Barn Gone and Revenues Down, Valley’s Beloved State Park Must Regrow and Rebuild Park operators from Sonoma Ecology Center are still taking stock of the damage at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park following the Glass Fire. And even though an estimated three-quarters...

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A Call for Landowners in the Upper Nathanson Creek Watershed

A Call for Landowners in the Upper Nathanson Creek Watershed

Are you a landowner in the upper Nathanson Creek Watershed? If so we’d love to talk with you about stormwater—specifically, about potential stormwater projects that can help us better manage water when it finally arrives. (Click map to enlarge.) Fire season ends when...

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Glass Fire Frays Nerves, Blankets Valley in Smoke

Glass Fire Frays Nerves, Blankets Valley in Smoke

Dear Friends, We’re now on day five of the Glass Fire, which began in the early morning of Sunday, Sept. 27 and has since grown to more than 60,000 acres across Napa and Sonoma counties, jumping valleys and firebreaks, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses, and...

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