We love Doug McConnell, and not just because he once visited us at Sonoma Garden Park. For decades McConnell has been the Bay Area’s tour guide, showing generations of viewers all the people and places – especially natural places – that make the Bay Area great.

His current show, OpenRoad with Doug McConnell, has more than once brought him to Sonoma Valley – and in a recent episode titled “Sonoma Fire Lessons,” McConnell examines a few Valley landscapes that were scorched by the October wildfires, and expresses amazement and delight at how quickly the land is healing.

“This resilient California landscape,” McConnel notes, “is teaching us that it depends on fire for its periodic rebirth and renewal. And that if we manage our beloved natural environments wisely, even sometimes prescribing carefully controlled fire itself as a management tool to keep ecosystems healthy and reduce combustible fuels in the forest, we can learn to live more safely in the hot decades ahead.”

We couldn’t agree more, which is why Sonoma Ecology Center has been so active in bringing people back to Sonoma Valley’s burned landscapes in a series of outings we call Fire Recovery Walks. It turns out that seeing the land heal gives people solace and hope – things many Valley residents are desperately needing these days.

Sonoma Ecology Center continues to offer nature walks in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, Sonoma Valley Regional Park and elsewhere, led by our on-staff naturalists and ecologists who are expert in revealing the land’s mysteries. To sign up for upcoming walks, keep checking our events calendar.

Meanwhile, in case you missed it, here is that 2016 OpenRoad episode in which McConnell visited Sonoma and nearby open space locations, including our own Sonoma Garden Park, a city-owned and SEC-managed public park that is open to everyone from dawn to dusk every day. We still love watching this!