Ecology Blog

  • Harvest Market Returns for Growing Season
    Sonoma Garden Park turns 25 this year, and as the park’s operator, we’re celebrating with special occasions and with our usual great events – for example, the weekly Harvest Market offering fresh locally grown vegetables, eggs, flowers and more. The market reopened last weekend and is now open every Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to noon. Stop in for squash, onions, chard, figs, apples, walnuts, a variety of herbs and flowers, honey, olive oil, free-range eggs and more. Then stay for the unique workshops – such as Gardening for Hummingbirds this Saturday – and the special occasions we’re planning in celebration of the park’s silver anniversary. Sonoma Garden Park is open dawn to dusk every day at 19996 7th St. East, Sonoma. […]
  • New Book Explores Iconic Sonoma Mountain
    We’re excited about the release of Arthur Dawson’s “Where the World Begins: Sonoma Mountain Stories and Images,” and proud to have played a role in the making of this beautiful book in collaboration with Dawson, Sonoma Mountain Preservation and other area nonprofits and agencies. Dawson is a historian, a longtime Glen Ellen resident and a longtime friend of ours, so we were happy to contribute our own knowledge and experience of Sonoma Mountain, and to help sponsor and promote the book. The finished product features dozens of eye-popping photos, maps (made by Sonoma Ecology Center mapmaker Alex Young), and personal stories and insights on Sonoma Valley’s most iconic mountain. The book was published last month by Sonoma Mountain Preservation as part of that group’s 25th anniversary […]
  • We Are Looking for a Few Good Volunteers
    Martin Luther King, Jr. said that “Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve.” We couldn’t agree more, and find that giving time to our community is the most rewarding thing a person can do. For Sonoma Valley residents looking to make their community a better place, we have some ideas! The following activities could use your help this spring: Sonoma Garden Park Harvest Market, Saturdays 9am-12pm Sonoma Native Nursery, Fridays 9am-1pm Open Orientation, Fridays 9am-1pm Restoration Broom pulling, April 13 (contact us for details) Office General, data entry Help with mailings Tabling/Events Be a photographer (any event) Earth Day Celebration at Larson Park, April 20 Earth Day Celebration at First Congregational Church, April 27 Day Under the Oaks at Santa Rosa Junior College, […]
  • New Restoration Crew Tackles Broom
    Restoration Program Manager Jason Mills has some announcements this month, not only about the work his team is doing but about the team itself, which is growing. “I wanted to officially welcome Ariana Lease and Garrett Gradillas to the Restoration team,” he said, adding that “Ariana and Garrett both blew me away with their positive attitudes and approach to this specialized work.” Ariana (shown above in foreground) grew up in Santa Rosa and earned a B.S. in Environmental Studies from San Francisco State. She specializes in natural resource management and conservation, and recently completed a year-long internship with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. Garett obtained a Forestry degree from Humboldt State with an emphasis in wildland fire management. He went on to work for the […]
  • SEC Seeks Input on Steelhead Habitat Project
    The following letter is directed towards landowners with property located along upper Sonoma Creek from Madrone Road to Adobe Canyon. Going with the Flow: Seeking Community Input on Restoration for Steelhead Habitat in Upper Sonoma Creek Over the past century, our community has seen a huge loss of steelhead and salmon in Sonoma Creek. These anadromous fish species are an important indicator of watershed health, which is why it is a concern when they disappear from a waterway. Sonoma Ecology Center is seeking landowners that live near or manage land along Sonoma Creek that are interested in working with us to improve stewardship of creek habitat and water resources. We are pleased to announce that with funding from California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) we are starting to work […]
  • A Reflection on Sugarloaf’s History as State Park Turns 50
    The true history of the land of steep hillsides, lush meadows and fertile valleys known today as Sugarloaf Ridge State Park begins at least 7,000 years ago, when Wappo Indians occupied the region and used Sugarloaf as their summertime home and hunting ground. The Wappo lived a simple existence for all those years, thriving in an overflowing land that could be called a paradise. But as told in “A Sugarloaf Reader” by Larry Maniscalco, a former history docent at Sugarloaf, that long chapter came to a tragic end in the 1830s, when disease wiped out much of the native population. From there the story of Sugarloaf accelerates, going from homesteads to ranches to hippie encampments, and culminating on Memorial Day Weekend, 1969, with the grand opening of Sugarloaf as a California State Park – […]
  • SEC in 2019: A Look Ahead
    The new year is off to a glorious start in Sonoma Valley as storm after storm cycles through. And while the rain falls outside, we’re busy making plans for 2019, looking for new and better ways to achieve and sustain ecological health in this beautiful place we call home. One thing we’ve learned after 28 years of doing this – and living through transformative events like the fires of late 2017 – is that a systemic, rather than piecemeal, strategy is needed to affect real change. That’s why, for example, we’re pushing for post-fire rebuilds in Sonoma Valley to be fire smart, water wise and wildlife friendly, making drought-tolerant and fire-adapted native landscapes the norm throughout our Valley and County. We’ll continue to help property owners and land managers achieve these goals […]
  • The Value of Open Space
    When evaluating the worth of our natural open spaces, we often think in subjective terms: beautiful, healthful, essential to our quality of life. But a sweeping new report gets down to brass tacks, demonstrating that open and working spaces are essential to our fiscal health too. “Healthy Lands & Healthy Economies,” produced by economists and conservationists in Sonoma, Santa Cruz, and Santa Clara counties, with contributions from many local experts including Sonoma Ecology Center, examines the economic value of natural places such as forests, wetlands, rivers, farms and parks and finds that land conservation provides a substantial return on investment to our communities. That means your nearby open space – such as Montini Open Space Preserve, shown here after recent rains – puts […]
  • Join Us for the Christmas Bird Count
    The Christmas Bird Count is an incredible cultural success story and the largest citizen science annual event in the world. First held on Christmas Day in the year 1900 as an alternative to the devastating “Side Hunt” tradition, today this nationwide birdwatching event provides essential data for scientists studying the health of bird species across North America. More than that, the Christmas Bird Count is a lot of fun for people of all ages! The Sonoma Valley count, led by Gene Hunn and the naturalists of Sonoma Ecology Center, includes a highly diverse array of habitats, making it one of the best inland counts in the United States, ranking in the top tier of counts every year. All people are welcome, from expert birders to beginners, in order to serve as counters, spotters, […]
  • The Sugarloaf Falls Are Running
    How about a holiday hike to your local waterfall? Recent rains have the water flowing – and falling – at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, the headwaters of Sonoma Creek. The trail to the falls is an easy two-mile loop, with some elevation gain. For directions ask at the Visitor Center or click here for a pdf directions and map.   […]