Sonoma Ecology Center

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. Supporting our work enables us 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.

Read SEC’s Position on the Future of the Sonoma Developmental Center

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.


Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Jan 17 all-day

Public holiday

Defensible Space Presentation with California Native Plants Society @ Zoom
Jan 18 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Defensible Space Presentation with California Native Plants Society @ Zoom

California’s natural landscapes are some of the most beautiful and diverse in the country, but can be challenging to replicate in our residential gardens. Resilient landscapes consider water savings, biodiversity, fire-wise principles, and beauty. As our climate changes, so must our gardens.

Learn how to create a more fire-wise landscape using the natives we (and our local wildlife) know and love. This talk will focus on Sonoma County plant communities as a basis for design. Also, we will present recommendations for fire-wise landscaping in the 0-5’, 5-30’, and 30-100’ defensible space zones, with specific plant and design suggestions discussed.

Presenters: Members of the Resilient Landscapes Coalition

This coalition was formed in 2018 to understand what makes a landscape resilient, especially focusing on fire with the help of fire professionals, to inform residential landscapes in Sonoma County.

Hiking for Fitness: Maintenance Hike @ Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Jan 22 @ 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Join our Hiking for Fitness “graduates” on this free, Intermediate Fitness Hike.
For a complete schedule–including routes, mileage and elevation gain–visit the Hiking for Fitness page and click on the “Maintenance Hikes – 2022” tab.

Be prepared to follow County Health guidelines such as physical distancing or mask wearing.


Yoga Hike @ Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Jan 22 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Enjoy your yoga experience in the beautiful setting of our park! Susan Topf’s Yoga Hike balances a mix of easy hiking and gentle yoga postures, breath work and guided meditation, no mat necessary.
Please wear weather-appropriate clothing to feel comfortable being in a natural setting and bring water (as needed).
Route varies on weather conditions and group interest that typically covers 2-3 miles of varied terrain.
Tickets are $30 and include parking if registered in advance online.
All levels and ages welcome. Meet outside the Visitor’s Center unless otherwise noted in confirmation email prior to the hike. Limited to 12 participants.

Be prepared to follow County Health Orders such as physical distancing or mask-wearing.

Sonoma County Resident? Free with a September 2021 or newer ParkRx from participating Sonoma County Medical Provider. Click here for ParkRx info.
Mushroom Hike @ Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Jan 23 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Enjoy some fungi fun with local expert, George Riner. Fungi are masters of opportunity. Even after a fire, the spores are in the air and find an environment where the local fungal species – i.e. competition – have been greatly reduced. These may show themselves in ways you may not imagine.

Be prepared for two miles of leisurely walking and chatting over moderate and possibly muddy terrain. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for minors. Meet outside the Visitor Center ten minutes prior to the event start time. Please wear appropriate clothing and bring a reusable drink container so your little ones can enjoy hot cocoa after the walk. Heavy rains cancel; parking fees apply.



       Sonoma Garden Park



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The Ecology Blog

Staff Highlight: Cali Pearce

Staff Highlight: Cali Pearce

Introducing Cali Pearce: AmeriCorps Member for Volunteer Infrastructure ServicesCali Pearce joined our team as our first ever Americorp volunteer to help Sonoma Ecology Center bring it’s volunteer management system into the digital age and shape our volunteer culture....

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The Life Cycle of Chinook in Sonoma Creek

The Life Cycle of Chinook in Sonoma Creek

The Chinook salmon that have been making their run up the Sonoma Creek watershed are reaching the end of their life cycle. In the video below you can catch a glimpse of changes their bodies undergo as they enter a rapid senescence - a process observed in salmon in...

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Department of De-Fence

Department of De-Fence

The Sonoma Ecology Center (SEC) has worked to preserve, protect and improve the Sonoma Valley Wildlife Corridor since we originally identified and championed this critical natural resource component of the Sonoma Valley landscape back in the 1990’s. The initial idea,...

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Sonoma Creek Has Salmon Again

Sonoma Creek Has Salmon Again

We all feel like celebrating over this news: Sonoma Creek has salmon again! Research Program Manager and aquatic scientist Steven Lee assembled this inspiring video of the Chinook (King salmon) as they made their journey upstream and began settling into their spawning...

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