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.


Hike at Saddle Mountain Preserve with Open Space District
Dec 4 @ 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Hike at Saddle Mountain Preserve with Open Space District

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[et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text"]Meeting at Mario Carrillo High School to caravan

Join us for a guided hike at the beautiful 960-acre Saddle Mountain preserve above Rincon Valley, on the eastern boundary of Santa Rosa in the Mayacamas Mountain Range. The hike will be led by Ag + Open Space stewardship specialist Monica Delmartini and SEC education program manager, Tony Passantino. This hike is organized by Sonoma Ecology Center on Ag + Open Space owned land that was recently touched by the Glass Fire. Delmartini is the resident fire ecologist and will discuss land management in a post-fire setting including, wildfire ecology, forest resiliency and the benefits of fire on California landscapes.

This is a moderately strenuous hike of approximately 3-4 miles with substantial elevation gain on established trails/fire roads. Please bring water and lunch, and be prepared for that day’s weather. There is a shallow water crossing. The hike will go on in light rain, but heavy rain will cancel the outing. 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.

For any other questions or concerns, Please contact Tony Passantino, by emailing

Senderos: Taller de cultivación de hongos @ Sonoma Garden Park
Dec 4 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Taller de cultivación de hongos
Sonoma Garden Park
Sábado 4 de diciembre, 10am-1pm

¡Venga a un taller de cultivación de hongos en Sonoma Garden Park! Aprenda métodos de cultivación fáciles y de bajo costo. Jonny Ehlers, Educador de Sonoma Ecology Center, nos enseñará cómo inocular, empaquetar, y cuidar nuestro substrato para obtener hongos comestibles del género Pleurotus. Este evento es bilingüe y gratuito pero le pedimos que por favor se registre ya que el espacio es limitado a 20. Trabajaremos al aire libre observando el distanciamiento social, así que vista ropa apropiada y traiga su cubrebocas. Las lluvias fuertes cancelan el evento. Seguiremos las medidas apropiadas en acuerdo con órdenes del Departamento de Salud Pública del Condado. Si tiene preguntas, o busca más información, por favor comuníquese con Alma (

Sonoma Garden Park fue protegido por Ag + Open Space en Noviembre del 2011 para uso recreativo y preservación de sus recursos naturales, e igualmente aula educativa ambiental para salidas escolares de escuelas primarias cercanas a través del programa “Growing Discovery” de Sonoma Ecology Center. La propiedad de 6 acres, escondida en el este de Sonoma, es un parque público increíble y sitio de jardín de trabajo en el Valle de Sonoma, con un amplio conjunto de hábitats junto a sistemas diseñados de manera sostenible para uso agrícola y paisajista.

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

Mushroom Cultivation Workshop
Saturday, 12/4, 10am-1pm 

Come to Sonoma Garden Park for a bilingual mushroom cultivation workshop! We will learn about easy and inexpensive cultivation methods. Jonny Ehlers, Educator with Sonoma Ecology Center, will teach us how to inoculate, package, and care for the substrate to obtain edible Pleurotus mushrooms. This is a bilingual, free event planned around a primarily Spanish-speaking audience. Families from underrepresented groups are particularly welcome. Registration is required as space is limited to 20. Parking fees apply; heavy rain cancels. We will follow the appropriate guidance from the County’s Public Health Department. For questions, contact

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.

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.

Beyond Defensible Space: Vegetation Management Outside the 100 Foot Zone @ Online Event
Dec 7 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Beyond Defensible Space: Vegetation Management Outside the 100 Foot Zone @ Online Event

Safer West County wildland management December 2021 workshop announcement

Learn how to reduce your wildfire risk while increasing habitat health outside the defensible space zone.

This free two-hour workshop will allow plenty of time for questions, and will address:

• How to tailor treatments to chapparal, oak woodlands, and conifer ecosystems
• Fuel management practices for maintaining complexity and fostering biodiversity • Discussion of special considerations for sensitive species and waterways
• Treatment options including prescribed burning and mechanical thinning
• Biomass disposal options besides hauling or chipping

Featuring two highly respected local experts:
Michael I. Jones, PhD, is the University of California Cooperative Extension Forest Advisor for Mendocino, Lake, and Sonoma Counties. He specializes in forest pest management and forest health. Currently, as a Forest Advi- sor, Jones is devoted to helping landowners sustain healthy forests that are resilient to insects, diseases, fire, and climate change.
Brock Dolman is a wildlife biologist and is nationally recognized as a restoration ecologist and renowned in- novator in watershed management and Permaculture design. Brock integrates wildlife biology and watershed ecology with education about regenerative & Just design as a Life Literacy Coach. Brock co-founded the Sowing Circle, LLC Intentional Community & Occidental Arts and Ecology Center (OAEC) where he acts as a co-director of OAEC’s Permaculture/Resilient Community Design Program, Wildlands Program and WATER Institute.

Sugarloaf Trail Crew @ Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Dec 9 @ 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

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, and if allowed, lunch.

If you are a current Sugarloaf volunteer,  log in to Better Impact to sign up. Otherwise, start here to become a volunteer.

Hiking for Fitness– Maintenance Hikes @ Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Dec 11 @ 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

Choose your own adventure! Part of our Hiking for Fitness program, these free, moderate-to-strenuous group hikes are geared to keep you motivated through the cold season. Parking fees apply. Maintenance Hikes are (usually) every second and fourth Saturday of the month.

11/13 – route A: Vista Trail Loop (clockwise): ~4.1 mi, 600ft elevation, meets @ main lot
route B: Crazy 8 Waterfall Loop + Vista Trail circuit: 6.5mi, 1400ft elevation, meets @ main lot
11/27 – route A: Goodspeed to Nattkemper bench: 4.2 mi, 1060 ft elevation, meets @ Goodspeed lot
route B: Goodspeed to Gunsight Rock: 6.5 mi, 2080 ft elevation, meets @ Goodspeed lot
12/11 – route A: Vista Loop (CCW): 3.6 mi, 700 ft elevation, meets @ White Barn lot
route B: Vista to Bald Mountain Loop: 6 mi, 1520 ft elevation, meets @ White Barn lot
12/18 –  Brushy Peaks to Neptune picnic table: 4.3 mi, 650-ft elevation, meets @ White Barn lot



       Sonoma Garden Park



We can’t do it without you!


The Ecology Blog

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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Rainstorm in Review

Rainstorm in Review

From bone-dry creek beds to rushing water in just one wet week – it’s been a turbulent ride of literal highs and lows for our watershed in the past seven days.  Last Sunday’s storm was the biggest in our area’s history in terms of volume of water over such a short...

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Restoration Round-up

Restoration Round-up

The Sonoma Ecology Center’s (SEC) Restoration Department has been hard at work this season on a host of projects in service of helping local landowners. What’s our crew been up to lately? Recently our team of restoration specialists have been busy stewarding the...

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