Can Sonoma Valley Save the Kenwood Marsh Checkerbloom?

Can Sonoma Valley Save the Kenwood Marsh Checkerbloom?

In the summer of 2018, right after his job interview at Sonoma Ecology Center, botanist and ecologist Jason Mills drove north up Sonoma Valley to Kenwood in search of a plant on the brink of extinction. After a little poking around he found it: a handful of Kenwood...

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Getting to Know Dr. Dan

Getting to Know Dr. Dan

For many years before settling with his family in Sonoma Valley, Dan Levitis was an “itinerant scientist” as he puts it, traveling the world, doing field work, taking academic posts, and gaining experience as a scientist and teacher. Born in Washington, D.C. and...

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Sonoma Valley’s Long-Term Forecast: Dry Times Ahead

Sonoma Valley’s Long-Term Forecast: Dry Times Ahead

When it comes to high temps and low rainfall, new records are constantly being set—and the current rainy season is following that trend. So far our Valley has received less than five inches of rainfall, a fraction of what’s needed, resulting in low streamflow,...

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Watch Nature Heal at Sugarloaf

Watch Nature Heal at Sugarloaf

With most trails reopened, green shoots growing and animals returning, Sugarloaf Ridge State Park is the place to be to see the land recover from wildfire. The park—operated by Sonoma Ecology Center on behalf of the California State Parks system—has reopened all but...

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Our Parks Remain Open, but Events Are Canceled

Our Parks Remain Open, but Events Are Canceled

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Sonoma County has imposed a new stay-at-home order starting Saturday, Dec. 12 and ending Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. This order will result in the following changes to Sonoma Ecology Center’s events and services: * At Sugarloaf...

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Three Years Later, the Cat Came Back

Three Years Later, the Cat Came Back

Beloved SEC Employee Deb Hennessy Reunited with Her Beloved Cat Mordecai The wildfires of 2017 were harrowing for Sonoma Valley residents. For Deb Hennessy, they led to the loss of a four-legged friend. In the early morning hours of Oct. 9, 2017, Deb, a Glen Ellen...

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SEC Relaunches Its Post-Fire Watershed Protection Program

SEC Relaunches Its Post-Fire Watershed Protection Program

In 2017, wildfire left behind dozens of burned structures—a hazardous situation should rainwater wash their toxins into nearby streams. To prevent that from happening, Sonoma Ecology Center created its Emergency Watershed Protection Program, which mobilized...

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In Our Divided Post-Election World, Nature Still Holds the Key

In Our Divided Post-Election World, Nature Still Holds the Key

By Richard Dale While on a morning walk following this week’s Presidential Election, I found it hard not to feel overwhelmed and anxious over the outcome. Still, nature, as it often does, soon crept into my worried, looping mental soundtrack, suggesting that there are...

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How Wild Animals Cope with Wildfire

How Wild Animals Cope with Wildfire

Some Species Fare Well, Some Don’t—but Overall, Populations Appear to Rebound Humans fled by the tens of thousands in Sonoma and Napa counties this summer as the Glass Fire bore down on their communities. But other species’ homes and communities were threatened too,...

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Red Barn Remembrance

Red Barn Remembrance

‘It served as habitat for our feathered and furry friends, a cool refuge for hikers on hot or rainy days, and a picturesque backdrop for the occasional photographer’ Venerable barns are special places, Breck Parkman says, with special meanings for those who know them....

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SEC’s Sugarloaf Operators Reassess Following Glass Fire

SEC’s Sugarloaf Operators Reassess Following Glass Fire

With Red Barn Gone and Revenues Down, Valley’s Beloved State Park Must Regrow and Rebuild Park operators from Sonoma Ecology Center are still taking stock of the damage at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park following the Glass Fire. And even though an estimated three-quarters...

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A Call for Landowners in the Upper Nathanson Creek Watershed

A Call for Landowners in the Upper Nathanson Creek Watershed

Are you a landowner in the upper Nathanson Creek Watershed? If so we’d love to talk with you about stormwater—specifically, about potential stormwater projects that can help us better manage water when it finally arrives. (Click map to enlarge.) Fire season ends when...

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Glass Fire Frays Nerves, Blankets Valley in Smoke

Glass Fire Frays Nerves, Blankets Valley in Smoke

Dear Friends, We’re now on day five of the Glass Fire, which began in the early morning of Sunday, Sept. 27 and has since grown to more than 60,000 acres across Napa and Sonoma counties, jumping valleys and firebreaks, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses, and...

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SEC Researchers Sound Alarm over Dry Sonoma Valley Waterways

SEC Researchers Sound Alarm over Dry Sonoma Valley Waterways

Lack of Rainfall, Continued Pumping Cause Sonoma Creek and Its Tributaries to Run Dry “Try to give the creeks a break for the rest of this year.” That’s the message from Sonoma Ecology Center’s Senior Scientist and Research Program Manager Steven Lee, speaking...

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How to Fight Wildfires Before They Start

How to Fight Wildfires Before They Start

Forestland Tended by Sonoma Ecology Center Is Helping to Protect Pacific Union College With smoke filling the skies around California, and wildfires burning out of control in Sonoma and Napa counties, Jason Mills is more convinced than ever that the restoration...

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Emergency Information You Can Use — 2020 Edition

Emergency Information You Can Use — 2020 Edition

An unprecedented lightning storm has kicked off Sonoma County's fire season even earlier than usual this year, forcing everyone to pay closer attention to fire, weather, air quality and other conditions in order to stay informed and stay safe. That's why we're posting...

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Removing Our Region’s Worst Invasive Weed

Removing Our Region’s Worst Invasive Weed

Yellow Star Thistle (Centaurea solstitialis) is the most noxious weed in western North America, covering more area here than any other invasive species. It is rampant throughout Sonoma County, degrading our native grassland habitats, ruining local ranchlands (cattle...

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