Past Events

Saturday, March 13, 2021

woman looking into a camera using assistive technology on wheelchair

Local Nature: AT Photography for Youth

4:00pm to 5:00pm

The profound connection to the environment and wildlife enjoyed by many nature photographers is not accessible to us all equally. Whether you or your child or student uses a wheelchair, has limited use of their hands, or is weak and has tremors, this informative and interactive event is for you. We will explore artistic techniques using Assistive Technology (AT) for smart phones and digital cameras in order to promote accessible photography for everyone. You are encouraged to reach out to event leaders in advance for specific information about your disability or mobility needs, and how to acquire AT. Before the event, we'll ask you to take a photograph to upload. After a presentation and demonstration of homemade and purchased AT photography devices, each person will have a chance to share their photo with the group and get feedback from Rick, then hear about accessible nature photography sites. Watch recorded event here: Local Nature: AT Photography for Youth, March 13, 2021

orb weaver spider belly on a web

Local Nature: Neighborhood Spiders

2:00pm to 3:00pm

Spiders! Are they scary? Cool? Depends upon how well you know them. Learn about their silky skills, hunting habits, and generally shy and gentle nature. Learn about jumpers, wolf spiders, tarantulas, the “bird turd spider,” and, of course, the black widow! Learn about types of webs, how and where to discover spiders, spider anatomy, common relatives... even a spidey quiz to test your creepy crawly knowledge. So, come with us around your house and/or backyard to see what we can see. Watch recorded event here: Local Nature: Neighborhood Spiders, March 13, 2021

Los niños miran un libro y a través de binoculares

Aprende con un Naturalista: Caminos Hacia la Ciencia

11:00am to 12:00pm

¿Te gustaría trabajar ayudando a las personas y al planeta? Acompáñanos a escuchar las aventuras de tres científicos Latinx asombrosos que trabajan en la investigación, educación y conservación. Aprende que hicieron a tu edad para llegar a ser científicos, y que problemas tuvieron en el camino. Tendrás mucho tiempo de hacerles preguntas y escuchar consejos para saber como llegar a ser un científico. Para encontrar soluciones a los problemas ambientales, necesitamos muchos científicos que piensen de maneras distintas y sean de lugares diferentes, así como tú. ¡Te invitamos a ser parte de la solución y a que te diviertas en el proceso! Mira el evento grabado aquí:  Aprende con un Naturalista: Caminos Hacia la Ciencia el 13 de marzo de 2021

Este evento es parte del Día del Descubrimiento Científico de la Bahía del Norte. Obtenga más información aquí:

Friday, March 12, 2021

bison graze under a blue cloudy sky

Live from the Field: Effects of Herbivores on Ecosystems

8:00am to 9:00am

Bring researchers into your classroom and give students a window into the process of scientific inquiry. Join us for an informal chat with researchers studying the various ways herbivores like deer, elephants, and bison are impacting their ecosystems in Kansas, New York, and South Africa. Find out who they are, how they got interested in ecology, and the research questions they are asking. Instructor Guide and Event Resources available. Watch recorded event here: Live from the Field: Effects of Herbivores on Ecosystems, March 12, 2021 *If you are an instructor who used this for your class, please take this short survey

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

a person stands next to fire in metal kiln in a forest

Deep Dive: Biomass to Biochar

2:00pm to 3:00pm

California is waging war against the three largest environmental issues of our time: severe catastrophic forest fire, drought and climate change. These issues are linked. With climate change comes drought, and with extremely dry conditions come extremely large, hot burning fires. Forest maintenance is critical to fire prevention and mitigation, but can present its own hazards through the resulting debris. While there are several approaches to dealing with that debris, one has the potential to keep carbon from escaping into the atmosphere and potentially add to soil health, without the use of heavy equipment: converting biomass to biochar. Come learn about biochar, its characteristics and benefits, and see a demonstration of biochar production in a portable kiln on site in the Usal Redwood Forest in northern Mendocino County. Watch recorded event here: Deep Dive: Biomass to Biochar, March 10, 2021

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

a firefighter sets a prescribed burn in a forest

Deep Dive: Shifts in Land Management Part 2

10:00am to 11:00am

How should we manage public land in California? Join us for the second part of this two-semester event series that seeks to explore the many facets of this question. In this first part of this two-part series, we talked about the major themes in the history of California land management, the philosophy of why that management was chosen, and its effects on California’s land. We used Yosemite and the Fairfield Osborn Preserve as case studies to illustrate all of this. Now, in this second part, hear James answer the question of where he thinks we should go from here with California's land management. Or rather, given all that has happened, how does he believe we should approach land management today. Watch recorded event here: Deep Dive: Shifts in Land Management Part 2, March 2, 2021

Friday, February 26, 2021

a woman stands and points at a sandstone cliff

Local Nature: The Rock Beneath Your Feet

1:00pm to 2:00pm

Earth’s rock formations provide the very foundation of our existence on the surface of the planet, and the rocks contain a record of how our planet has changed over time. We will explore the rock cycle as a tool to help us understand how and why rocks change, as we focus on the rocks that comprise the geological substrate of western California. You will learn how different kinds of rocks form and change in a unique way, creating the region’s distinctive characteristics. Attendees will be given a chance to explore their own backyard bedrock through an innovative app,, and learn how the rocks beneath them formed and continue to evolve. Watch recorded event here: Local Nature: The Rock Beneath Your Feet, February 26, 2021

Friday, February 19, 2021

garter snake on grass

Deep Dive: Snakes vs. Newts

10:00am to 11:00am

Ever stumble upon a newt ambling slowly across your path in the woods, and wondered why the little critter didn’t seem concerned by a world full of threatening animals? That's because newts are defended by one of the most dangerous poisons ever discovered—tetrodotoxin—and almost no predators can eat them: almost no predators. Some garter snakes in parts of California and Oregon have overcome this imposing defense, but dining on newts may come at a price. Learn about this evolutionary drama unfolding between predators and prey right here in Northern California. Join us to explore local garter snakes, newts and the poison that binds them in an evolutionary arms race.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

naturalists conversing in a field in front of trees

Spring Naturalist Program

10:00am to 11:00am

Learn nature’s secrets and help others get "Environmentally Ready!" Explore the stunning ecosystems of Sonoma Mountain with university faculty & other experts (virtually), with safe in-person access to Osborn Preserve. Become a naturalist to gain insights into local landscapes and the skills to share your knowledge.

Friday, February 12, 2021

women bird watching with binoculars under an umbrella

Local Nature: Great Backyard Bird Count

2:00pm to 3:00pm

Every February, people from around the United States participate in The Great Backyard Bird Count. This free, fun and easy event engages bird watchers of all ages to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the four-day event and report their sightings online at, where scientists from The Audubon Society and Cornell University Lab of Ornithology can view and analyze the data to study migration, population changes, impacts of climate change on our feathered friends, and much more. Anyone can take part, from beginning bird watchers to experts, and you can participate from your backyard or anywhere in the world. Marisela will help us get started on the first day of the count and you can take it from there! Watch recorded event here: Local Nature: Great Backyard Bird Count, February 12, 2021