Naturalist Ed Series: Plants on Sonoma Mountain in August

Explore the diversity of plant life of Sonoma Mountain during the fall! We will explore a variety of vegetation communities including oak woodland, riparian, grassland and more where we will observe plants through sight, touch and smell. Find out what different types of plants including mosses, ferns, cone-bearing plants and flowering plants are up to this fall season.


Sarah Reid, a self-taught naturalist, has extensive experience volunteering for countless Sonoma County agencies. Sarah leads nature hikes and has mentored countless SSU student and volunteer community member naturalists, “training the trainer” for a new environmentally-ready generation.


The distribution, abundance and diversity of plant species in any area are unique since they depend on climate, disturbance history and landform. Explore Sonoma Mountain this winter season to find and observe a wide diversity of plants and discover ways to identify species based on their unique characteristics. We will encounter various oak trees, ferns, mosses, native grasses, and more!

At the end, we’ll learn about observing plants through nature journaling by recording words, pictures and numbers to document our observations. What do we notice when we observe plants using our senses? Learn how outdoor inquiry through nature journaling can transform your daily life, as well as how it can give children hands-on experience involving what they study in school.

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. All events occur rain or shine.

The maximum hike is 1.5 mile with a 400-foot elevation gain. 

Directions are provided in your registration confirmation email. A sink for handwashing, potable water and restrooms are available on site. Please arrive to park in advance of the registered event start time. The preserve gate will be unlocked 20 minutes before the event start time. You will be asked to sign a liability waiver upon your arrival. We will meet outside at the Osborn Education Center which is across the footbridge on the east side of the parking lot. Pets and smoking are not permitted.

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.

COVID-19 Safety

Do not attend if you test positive for COVID-19 or if you have any symptoms that may be indicative of COVID-19. All SSU updated guidelines can be found here.

What to Bring

Please bring a backpack, water bottle and snacks for the trail. We recommend layered clothing, covered shoes, a hat, sun protection and insect protection. Optional: Please bring a notebook journal (or paper) and pencil, and colored pencils and/or watercolors, and a hand lens. Art skills are not a prerequisite. If needed, paper and clipboards, colored pencils and/or watercolors, as well as hand lenses, will be provided.

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 Name
Julie Wittmann
Date & Time Registration Link
Sunday, August, 25, 2024, 10:00am to 1:00pm