Deep Dive & Citizen Science: Sudden Oak Death Blitz

Many of California’s oaks are falling victim to the forest disease Sudden Oak Death (SOD). Learn more about this destructive scourge by attending this online training then live Q&A discussion, and taking samples from your own trees in the Anderson Valley for free testing by UC Berkeley. 


Margot Rawlins, Galbreath Preserve Coordinator, Center for Environmental Inquiry, Sonoma State University

Alan Chesterman, Sudden Oak Death Specialist, UC Master Gardener Program of Sonoma County has worked to educate people in the North Bay about SOD for over a decade. Find out more about the UCCE SOD Program at


Many of our cherished California oak trees are falling prey to a powerful pathogen, Sudden Oak Death (SOD). Coast live oaks, Black oaks and Tanoak are particularly susceptible. The vector species most responsible for spreading the disease are Tanoak and California Bay Laurel, two trees that are widespread in the coastal areas of Mendocino County. There are ways to slow down the spread of the disease, but first it must be identified. Join us to learn how to recognize potentially diseased trees and what you can do about it.

Training for the event protocols and on new safety measures due to COVID-19 will take place independently online in advance of the event, covering Sudden Oak Death, symptoms found on Tanoak and California Bay Laurel leaves, and collection protocols. A Zoom Q&A session will be held on the event date, where you can get clarification about what you've learned, hear what volunteers found on the Preserve over the last three SOD blitzes, and learn how to help more.

You will mail in your leaf samples (in pre-addressed, postage paid envelopes that will be provided) to the lab at UC Berkeley to be tested for SOD, free of charge. Results of the testing will be available in the fall and presented at a community meeting to which all blitz participants will be invited.

This project is part of a statewide survey to help scientists understand the prevalence and spread of this dangerous pathogen. All of the samples brought in will be tested and results collated and entered in a database that will form the basis for further action to be taken throughout the state. Help us save our oak trees. Learn more at


No previous experience or knowledge is required. This event is recommended for adults, or ages 10 and up with adult guidance.

Details about the online training, how to receive packets, and Zoom Q&A session will be sent to you after registration. If you have not used Zoom before, please allow time to download and install the application before the event. Please log-in a few minutes early, as it may take more than one attempt if servers are busy.

How to Sign Up

Register at the link below. Each participant should register separately. Email the UCCE Sonoma Sudden Oak Death Program with any questions at

This event is free of charge.

About the Center

Sonoma State University’s Center for Environmental Inquiry empowers university students to work with community members on the environmental challenges of the North Bay. Our mission is to create an engaged and environmentally ready society, one where all people have the skills to find solutions to the challenges facing our earth. SSU Preserves are open to everyone engaged in education or research. Reservations are required.

Admission Fees
Contact Email
Contact Phone
Contact Name
Margot Rawlins
Date & Time Registration Link
Saturday, May, 2, 2020, 9:00am to 10:00am