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.

Vision

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

Mission

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.

Upcoming Events

Mar
2
Sat
Wondrous Wildflower Walk @ Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Mar 2 @ 10:00 am – 1:30 pm
Wondrous Wildflower Walk @ Sugarloaf Ridge State Park | Kenwood | California | United States

UPDATE 2/28, 4:30 pm: The 3/2, 3/23, & 4/6 hikes are sold out.

Join Certified California Naturalist John Lynch on his  wondrous wildflower walks.

On 3/2, we’ll follow Pony Gate Trail’s grassy slope, into the Oak woodland and through a mixed evergreen forest, along Canyon Trail’s shady riparian corridor lined with redwoods, to the 25-foot dramatic plunge of Sonoma Creek and back to the our starting point at the Visitor Center.

Departing from the Visitor Center, the 3/23 route takes us on the Creekside and Hillside trails returning via Meadow.

On 4/6, from the White Barn, we’ll scout Hillside to Brushy Peaks turning around at the Neptune picnic table and back on Meadow Trail.

We’ll celebrate Earth Day on 4/21 on Vista Trail via Lower Bald Mtn (from the White Barn) and returning on Meadow Trail.

Wear hiking shoes, layers appropriate for weather, bring at least a quart of water, a camera, and wildflower guides if you have one. Tickets are $10-$15 sliding scale for general audiences, $5 for students, youth (12-17 year olds; must be accompanied by an adult), Sugarloaf members and volunteers, and free for children under 12. Parking fees apply. Heavy rain or wind cancels and will be announced by 9:00am the day of the hike.

Ease of access: The Pony Gate-Canyon loop is approximately 2 miles with an elevation of 595 ft. Both trails are single-track dirt trails with steps that descend into a canyon. There is a seasonal water crossing (creek bed) on Pony Gate without a bridge.

The Creekside-Hillside-Meadow loop is ADA-compliant for approximately 0.35mi. From there, Hillside is a single-track dirt trail for 0.1mi that widens into a 2-mile fire road loop with two 100-foot hills and a small stream crossing with a wooden plank for a bridge. Meadow is passable by strollers or wheelchair up to the bridge, about a mile in, but is not officially an ADA-compliant trail.

Hillside Trail is a single-track dirt trail for 0.1mi that widens into a 2-mile fire road loop with two 100-foot hills and a small stream crossing with a wooden plank for a bridge. Brushy Peaks Trail is a rugged single-track dirt trail with 650 feet of elevation and a short section of steps.

Lower Bald Mtn Trail is a single-track gravel and dirt trail with at times, rough terrain and steps. It connects to Bald Mtn Trail, a steep, paved fire road. Vista Trail is a single-track dirt trail with at least three stretches of steep steps and at least two small seasonal water crossings without a bridge. Gray Pine, the connecting trail between Vista and Meadow Trails, has a year-round stream crossing with a board for a bridge.


______________________
For more events at Sugarloaf, visit our calendar.

RFO Public Star Party @ Robert Ferguson Observatory
Mar 2 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

The Robert Ferguson Observatory (RFO) is open to the public at least once a month, usually on a Saturday near the time of the New Moon.

Star Parties: Presentations on astronomical topics are given in the classroom throughout the course of the evening. Starting at dusk, the Observatory’s three main telescopes are open for your viewing. Docents set up additional telescopes in front of the building. Friendly and knowledgeable docents are available to answer your questions.

You must have a ticket to attend, as we are limited to 40 attendees per County Health Orders. Proof of vaccination or a negative rapid test taken within the last 48 hours are also required to attend. Tickets are available at rfo.simpletix.com

FAQs:

  1. Map and Directions
  2. When to arrive: We keep the observatory open as long as there are visitors, but you must arrive within 3 hours after start time to ensure that we remain open for you. Summer Star Parties begin with tours and presentations until it’s dark enough for observing.
  3. Bring warm clothing, even in summer—observing is done outdoors.
  4. There is a short walk from the parking area to the Observatory and you may wish to bring a small flashlight.
  5. White Light: No white lights should be used after dark; the observatory is a red-light-only area to protect everyone’s night vision. We will supply red cellophane to cover flashlights. Please note:
    ◦ Bring a SMALL flashlight (large camp lanterns, light sticks, etc., cannot be adequately covered by red cellophane).
    ◦ Cell phones or cell-phone flashlights are acceptable but must be covered in red cellophane. (No cell service at the observatory).
    ◦ Some head lamps are difficult to cover with red cellophane. Once covered, head lamps should be worn around the neck or used pointing down as they are usually very bright at eye level.
    ◦ Red flashlights are available for $5 at the observatory.
  6. Alcohol is prohibited on Observatory grounds.
  7. The Observatory is not open to the public except for scheduled events.

Classroom presentations are always offered on Star Party nights even if the weather is poor. For current conditions call the observatory at (707) 833-6979.
For more info please visit the Robert Ferguson Observatory website.


TICKETS

Mar
3
Sun
Trees of Sugarloaf @ Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Mar 3 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Trees of Sugarloaf @ Sugarloaf Ridge State Park | Kenwood | California | United States

Peeling bark, flowers, berries, cones, seeds, nuts, needles, unique branch structure…trees produce a wide array of structures that makes each different and valuable to the ecosystem. Join docent Judy Withee in this exploration of some of the deciduous and evergreens of Sugarloaf on a hike over grasslands, oak forest, and riparian habitat.

Meet at the White Barn parking lot. Tickets are $10-$15 sliding scale, $5 for youth (12-17 year olds), students, Sugarloaf members, Sugarloaf volunteers, and free for children under 12. Wear layers, appropriate footwear for muddy and/or slippery trails, bring at least a quart of water, sun protection, and if desired, a snack. Heavy rain cancels. Parking fees apply.

Ease of access: The White Barn parking area has one van-accessible designated parking spot and one accessible porta-potty. There is a flat, paved 1/4 road from the parking area to the Meadow trailhead. Meadow Trail is an unpaved fire road that is mostly flat although not ADA-compliant. In the dry season, it is passable by stroller or wheelchair with off-road capability tires up to the bridge, about a mile in. Hillside Trail is a gravel and dirt road with two 100-ft hills and a small stream crossing with a board on top of it. 

______________________
For more events at Sugarloaf, visit our calendar.

Mar
8
Fri
Weekly California Native Plant Sale | Venta semanal de plantas nativas Californianas @ Native Plant Nursery at Sonoma Garden Park
Mar 8 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Weekly California Native Plant Sale | Venta semanal de plantas nativas Californianas @ Native Plant Nursery at Sonoma Garden Park | Sonoma | California | United States

[Español abajo]

We are selling a variety of California native plants to the public every Friday from 12:00-3:00 pm to help local gardeners create and maintain drought-tolerant and pollinator-friendly gardens and landscapes. Simply drop into our Native Plant Nursery. For questions, email our Native Plant Nursery Manager at hannah@sonomaecologycenter.org.

Our weekly plant sales will be cancelled October 6, 13, and 20, and November 24, 2023.

Sign up for our emailing list to stay updated on future events: sonomaecologycenter.org/newsletters-sign-up.

Venderemos una variedad de plantas nativas Californianas al público cada viernes de 12:00 a 3:00 pm para ayudar a jardineros locales a crear y mantener jardines y paisajes resistentes a la sequía y amigables a polinizadores. Simplemente acude a nuestro vivero de plantas nativas (ubicado dentro de Sonoma Garden Park). Si tienes preguntas, manda un email a nuestra gerente del vivero de plantas nativas por hannah@sonomaecologycenter.org.

Nuestra venta de plantas semanal en octubre 6, 13, y 20 se ha cancelado para prepararnos para nuestra venta estacional el 21 de octubre.

Inscríbete a nuestro boletín de noticias electrónico para estar al tanto de nuestros eventos futuros: sonomaecologycenter.org/newsletters-sign-up.

Mar
9
Sat
Explore the Calabazas Creek Open Space Preserve – Valley of the Moon’s Hidden Gem! @ Calabazas Creek Open Space Preserve
Mar 9 @ 10:00 am – 1:30 pm
Explore the Calabazas Creek Open Space Preserve - Valley of the Moon's Hidden Gem! @ Calabazas Creek Open Space Preserve

Join us for an exclusive guided exploration of the Calabazas Creek Open Space Preserve, situated near the core of the 2017 Nunns Fire. This 1,290-acre preserve, protected by Ag + Open Space in 2004, offers stunning vistas, open meadows, waterfalls, and oak woodlands, showcasing a diverse range of microclimates

This moderately strenuous hike includes a substantial elevation gain on established trails. Participants are advised to bring water, snacks, and be prepared for the day’s weather. Note that there is a shallow water crossing, with depth dependent on recent rainfall. The hike will proceed in light rain, but heavy rain will result in cancellation.

The outing is made possible through the Ag + Open Space District with the support of Sonoma County voters through a quarter-cent sales tax, ensuring no cost is associated with this event.

Following a parkland transfer, Regional Parks owns and manages the land, while Ag + Open Space maintains an interest through a conservation easement. The collaboration between the two agencies ensures the ongoing health and resilience of the preserve.

Registration Information:
Reservations are required online through Sonoma Ecology Center. Upon registration, participants will receive directions and day-of contact information. For further inquiries, please get in touch with Tony Passantino at Tony@sonomaecologycenter.org.

Picture credit by Scott Hess, courtesy of Sonoma County Regional Parks.

2023 Impact Report

 

Subscribe to Our Newsletters

Follow Us

Visit Our Partner Websites

       

    

The Ecology Blog

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe now to learn about the latest projects, upcoming events and educational opportunities.

Sonoma Ecology Center Newsletter

Thank you, you have been subscribed to our newsletter.