Donations you make to Sonoma Ecology Center this spring will be invested right back into the education of our young people—and Sonoma Valley’s future, so please donate now.


How is our Valley doing? We monitor, analyze, map, and report on broad measures of ecological health in Sonoma Valley.


We provide educational and outdoor programs for thousands of students in Sonoma Valley.


We foster and maintain publicly accessible open spaces, including Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, Van Hoosear Wildflower Preserve and the Sonoma Overlook Trail.


Since 1993, we’ve worked side by side with landowners and volunteers on projects that restore, protect, and improve our natural heritage.


We’re excited to celebrate the 50th year of Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, the 25th year of Sonoma Garden Park, a more inclusive Education Department, and an expanded Restoration Department.

See Our Special Sugarloaf Anniversary Memberships



Sonoma Ecology Center is seeking local landowners interested in habitat restoration planning for Upper Sonoma Creek. Please join the effort!

PDF Announcement /// More Details /// Contact Us

Upcoming Events

Memorial Day
May 27 all-day
Sugarloaf Turns 50! A Celebration of a Special Park @ Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
May 27 @ 9:00 am – 6:00 pm

Join us as we celebrate 50 years of Sugarloaf.   During Memorial Day Weekend of 1969, Sugarloaf had its official opening.   Join us as we take this opportunity to celebrate the 50 years of this Special place.

We will have some great events so come on up and join us all day or part of the day!  Please RSVP for the reunion event, to visit the park or attend the family or history hike or solar viewing, no RSVP required.

10am-11:30am.  Family Nature Hike.   Meet at the Visitor Center.  Join us for a family-friendly 1.5-mile hike with some of our amazing naturalists.   Free stickers for all who attend.

11am-3pm Special Solar Viewing at Robert Ferguson Observatory.

1-5 pm Tips Roadside Trolley selling their amazing tri-tip at the Group Campground.  Complimentary beverages from our generous sponsors.

2 pm to 3:30 pm Join Retired Senior State Archeologist as he explores the history of Sugarloaf as a  park.  Departs from the Group Camp.  No Reservations Needed.

3 pm to 5 pm Sugarloaf Reunion.  Join local politicians and many people who have lived and worked here over the years.   Refreshments from 3 pm-5 pm and remembrances starting at 4 pm.   RSVP here. 


Family Hike @ Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
May 27 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Come to the park for a peaceful hike through the woods, join our Docent’s for this fun family hike that is good for all ages. During this 2 miles hike with a 400 foot vertical, you will learn about Sugarloaf Park and its plants, animals, and history. Weather permitting, the hike will begin and end at the Visitors Center. No RSVP needed, and no charge for the hike. Parking fees apply.

Keen Property Fire Recovery Outing @ Keen Property
May 31 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Protected by Ag + Open Space in 2002, the Keen Property is one of Sonoma Valley’s more unique and picturesque conservation easements. It protects ancient lava flows that form walls and rooms, that in turn frame elegant displays of native plants and offer stunning portal views to the surrounding Mayacamas Mountains. With the recent rainfall, the creeks have revived across a gorgeous protected property that is home to the headwaters of Agua Caliente Creek. The October 2017 fires also heavily affected this property. We invite you to come see the land rebound, assess burned trees and learn how to interpret fire-affected landscapes.

This hike is a part of a seasonal series. Hikes to this property will be scheduled throughout the year to give participants an opportunity to see the seasonal changes of a fire-impacted property. This outing is for experienced hikers only, with difficult to moderate hiking over uneven, steep terrain with no trail. We may pass through brushy areas, with possible exposure to ticks or poison oak. Bring appropriate clothing including long pants and sturdy footwear, a hat or sunscreen, and plenty of water. There is no charge for this outing, as it is made possible by Sonoma County Ag + Open Space and the voters of Sonoma County who fund the districts work with a quarter cent sales tax.

Reservations are required online by Thursday, May 16 at 5pm. Limited spots are available for this unique opportunity to hike one of the gems of Sonoma Valley. This outing will fill fast!

Questions? Please contact Tony Passantino at or (707) 996-0712 x124.

Saturday Harvest Market @ Sonoma Garden Park
Jun 1 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Sonoma Garden Park’s seasonal Harvest Market operates each Saturday of the harvest season from 9 a.m. to noon in the Straw Bale Barn. Come for the freshest seasonal produce available!

Depending on what’s in season, you’ll find such produce as tomatoes, squash, onions, potatoes, chard, figs, apples, herbs, fresh cut flowers and other fruits, nuts and vegetables. We also sell eggs laid on-site from our free range hens, as well as locally crafted olive oil. And we feature plants from our nursery.

When you shop at the market, you are supporting local, sustainable agriculture and supporting this wonderful community resource. Come to the Harvest Market at Sonoma Garden Park every Saturday through the growing season and enjoy fresh, local, sustainably grown produce.


Visit our partner websites:

Sugarloaf Ridge SP, Sonoma Garden Park & Sustainable Sonoma

Sonoma Garden ParkSustainable Sonoma

Project Story Map

Click on the image below for an interactive map showing our projects in Sonoma Valley.

Sign the SDC Petition

Sonoma Developmental Center is preparing for final closure after 127 years of operation. Please sign the petition urging Gov. Jerry Brown to protect this large swath of crucial open space located in the heart of Sonoma Valley.

Read our 2018 Impact Report

Click on the image for a pdf version.


Smarter Landscaping

Click on the image below for a pdf version of our brochure on fire smart, water wise and wildlife friendly landscaping.

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The Ecology Blog: What’s Happening in Sonoma Valley

Get Ready for Sugarloaf’s 50th Anniversary Celebration

Get Ready for Sugarloaf’s 50th Anniversary Celebration

Guided hikes, down-home barbecue and a Sugarloaf Reunion are among the Memorial Day festivities planned for Sugarloaf Ridge State Park’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, happening all day at the park on Monday, May 27. Sugarloaf became part of the California State Park...

read more
The Real Numbers on Rattlesnake Bites

The Real Numbers on Rattlesnake Bites

This is the time of year when our region’s only common venomous snake, the northern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus), appears in greater numbers in Sonoma Valley. Individuals are emerging from their winter dens to mate and hunt in the fields and meadows – and...

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Sonoma Overlook Trail Set to Reopen

Sonoma Overlook Trail Set to Reopen

Locals missing the scenic beauty of Sonoma Overlook Trail have only a little longer to wait, as the trail is reopening with fanfare on Sunday, April 28. On that morning the Overlook Trail, closed much of the winter so workers could repair nearly two miles of pathway,...

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Best Way to Stop French Broom? Hold a ‘Broom Pull’

Best Way to Stop French Broom? Hold a ‘Broom Pull’

With the arrival of spring, the invasive shrub called French broom, with its long woody stalks and pretty yellow flowers, is popping up all over Sonoma Valley. But French broom is unwanted here because it’s environmentally destructive, a fire hazard, and very hard to...

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