Naturalist Ed Series: Watersheds & the California Giant Salamander

The California Giant Salamander represents an indicator species in riparian corridors in the Laguna de Santa Rosa (Russian River) Watershed. Salamanders are sensitive to environmental changes; they reflect the health of the environment. Join us to learn about the California Giant Salamander life cycle including the egg, larva, juvenile and adult stages of these amazing amphibians! We will explore their natural breeding and upland habitats as we travel through Osborn Preserve and find out why they have become the top predator in the perennial streams on Sonoma Mountain and beyond.


Julie Wittmann, Center for Environmental Inquiry Naturalist Ed Specialist, Sonoma State University


Salamanders require moisture for at least a portion of their life cycle. We’ll learn about the biology of the California Giant Salamander the how these fascinating amphibians are affected by climate, habitat loss and environmental degradation, and what we can do to support the conservation of these amazing animals and their watersheds. Along the way, while exploring Osborn Preserve, we’ll stand on a ridge overlooking the Laguna de Santa Rosa and Petaluma watersheds.

This event is part of the Naturalist Ed Series. The event within this Series allows participants the option to become Osborn Naturalists to address nature-deficit disorder. No experience required. Must be age 18 years or older.


The events within the Naturalist Ed Series are held outdoors at SSU’s Fairfield Osborn Preserve, a 15-minute drive from SSU’s main campus. Directions are provided in your registration confirmation email. All events occur rain or shine.

The maximum hike is 1.6 miles with a 400-foot elevation gain. 

Please arrive to park in advance of the registered event start time. The preserve gate will be unlocked 15 minutes before the event start time. We will meet outside at the Osborn Education Center which is across the footbridge on the east side of the parking lot. Parking is limited so please consider carpooling, and let us know if you plan to do this so we can open more registration spots accordingly.

You will be asked to sign a liability waiver upon your arrival. A sink for handwashing, potable water and restrooms are available on site. No pets or smoking are permitted.

COVID-19 Safety

At registration, you will be asked if you can provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination. All staff are vaccinated. Do not attend if you test positive for COVID-19 or if you have any symptoms that may be indicative of COVID-19, even if you are vaccinated. You are highly encouraged to properly wear a mask when indoors (e.g., education center at Osborn Preserve, carpooling to or from the preserve), even if you are vaccinated. Bandanas, gaiters or vented masks are not suitable. We will spend all of our time outdoors where social distancing is possible. All SSU updated guidelines can be found here.

What to Bring

Please bring a suitable mask, backpack, water bottle, snacks for the trail, writing implement and paper. We recommend layered clothing, covered shoes, a hat, rain gear, sun and insect protection and hand sanitizer. 

How to Sign Up

See registration link below. Each participant should register separately.

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.

Osborn Naturalists

We offer a Naturalist Ed Series to become an Osborn Naturalist. Please contact Julie Wittmann for more information about how to become an Osborn Naturalist at You can also learn more about becoming an Osborn naturalist here.

Fairfield Osborn Preserve
Admission Fees
Contact Email
Contact Phone
Contact Name
Kerry Wininger
Date & Time Registration Link
Tuesday, September, 13, 2022, 1:00pm to 3:00pm