10 Ways

Sonoma Ecology Center Makes a Difference in Our Community.
Learn more and join us in protecting what you love about Sonoma Valley.



How is our Valley doing? We monitor, analyse, map, and report on broad measures of ecological health in Sonoma Valley.

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We provide educational and outdoor programs for thousands of students in Sonoma Valley.

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We foster and maintain publicly accessible open spaces, including Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, Van Hoosear Wildflower Preserve and the Sonoma Overlook Trail.

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Since 1993, we’ve worked side by side with landowners and volunteers on projects that restore, protect, and improve our natural heritage.

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Beautiful. Sustainable. Sonoma.

Since 1990, we’ve worked to increase appreciation and stewardship of Sonoma Valley’s natural heritage and create measurable benefits in areas of land, water, climate change and biodiversity.

Upcoming Events

Harvest Market @ Sonoma Garden Park
Sep 23 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Join us on Saturdays for our seasonal Harvest Market! Veggies and fruits come straight from our garden, and we also have amazing eggs, local olive oil, lavender and beautiful bouquets of flowers. Do your shopping and then enjoy a stroll around the Park!

Hike Calabazas Creek Open Space Preserve – Valley of the Moon’s Hidden Gem @ Calabazas Creek Open Space Preserve
Sep 23 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Hike at Calabazas Creek Open Space Preserve – Valley of the Moon’s Hidden Gem

Join Sonoma Ecology Center naturalists in welcoming fall with an exploration through the Calabazas Creek Open Space Preserve. The preserve is only accessible  to the public on guided outings, and is known for its stunning vistas, open meadows, waterfalls, and oak woodlands. Calabazas Creek provides hikers with a multitude of microclimates as well as a rigorous hike. Bring along friends and family, and a picnic lunch to enjoy with us!

The Calabazas Creek Open Space Preserve was protected by the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District in October of 2004 for recreation and preservation of its natural resources, including the stretch of Calabazas Creek that cascades down the canyon. The 1,290-acre property, overlooking the Valley of the Moon, is one of the most exquisite natural sites in Sonoma Valley, containing a wide array of habitats and breathtaking vistas.

This is a strenuous five- to six-hour hike with substantial elevation gain, on established trails. Please bring water and lunch, and be prepared for that day’s weather. There is a shallow water crossing. Unless we have heavy rain between now and September 26th, we should be able to cross easily without getting our feet wet. The hike will go on in light rain, but heavy rain will cancel the outing. There is no charge for this outing, as it is made possible by the voters of Sonoma County who fund the District’s work with a quarter-cent sales tax.

REGISTER TODAY! Reservations are required online by 5pm on Friday, September 22, 2017 by visiting http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3076609 . Directions and day-of contact information will be emailed upon registration. For more information or questions, contact Holland Gistelli at (707) 996-0712, ext. 108 or holland@sonomaecologycenter.org.

ParkRx – Hiking for Fitness Series @ Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Sep 23 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Please Join us for an 8-week Hiking for Fitness Program. The program leaders will guide you on a series of weekly hikes with the challenge increasing each week. Before the first hike, the leader will discuss proper shoes, hydration, incorporating hiking poles, proper pacing, etc. The group’s final hike will be to the top of Bald Mountain where hikers can enjoy the stunning 360 vistas.
Hikes will start at 9 am at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. The Hiking series costs $80 or free for hikers with a ParkRx from their Sonoma County Medical Provider. For more information on Park Rx please visit https://parkrx-sonomacounty.org/
1) Aug 5: White Barn to Uranus Sugarloaf. 2.2 Miles, 80 ft elevation
2) Aug 12: Meadow Hillside Loop. 3 miles, 250 elevation
3) Aug 19: Stern/Stern Ranch/Pony/Canyon. 3 miles, 500 elevation
4) Aug 26: Vista Trail Loop. 4.5 miles. 700 ft elevation.
5) Sept 2: Neptune Picnic Table. 5 miles. 850 ft elevation.
6) Sept 9: Goodspeed to Bench. 4.2 miles, 1000 ft. elevation.
7) Sept 16: Grey Pine/Red Mt. 5.3 miles. 1200 ft elevation.
8) Sept 23: Climb to Bald Mt. 6.2 Miles 1500 ft. elevation.
Bill & Dave Hike: Bald Mountain to Red Barn @ Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Sep 23 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Join us Saturday, September 23, in the main parking lot of Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. Please arrive by 9:45 AM for a prompt 10 AM departure. We will hike to the top of Bald Mountain and then beyond to the rarely visited old Red Barn. This barn and a cabin foundation are all that remain of the Hurd family ranch, homesteaders in the early 1900s. The cabin was used as a hunting club in the 1940s and 50s and burned down in the 60s. We will see stunning views of both the Napa and Sonoma Valleys as well as the entire Bay Area. This extremely strenuous hike has a total elevation gain of 2200 feet, covers 9.5 miles, and takes approximately six hours round trip. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and layered clothing and bring a lunch and plenty of liquids. Please consider carpooling and note that there is an $8 parking fee at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. If you would like to be added to Bill & Dave’s email list for monthly announcements, please contact fmi@sonic.net



RFO Solar Viewing @ Robert Ferguson Observatory
Sep 23 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm

-Solar Observing:  Time: 11AM – 3PM.  Come and view our closest star and learn about sunspots, prominences, flares and more. We observe with both visible light and radio telescopes.  No Charge.
For more info please visit Robert Ferguson Observatory Website: http://www.rfo.org/.

Featured Projects

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Visit our partner websites – Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, Sonoma Garden Park and Sustainable Sonoma

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park Sonoma Garden ParkSustainable Sonoma

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The Ecology Blog: What’s Happening in Sonoma Valley

What’s Your Vision for Sonoma Garden Park?

What’s Your Vision for Sonoma Garden Park?

Sonoma Garden Park was once the home of beloved local schoolteacher Pauline Bond, who granted it to the City of Sonoma on the condition that it be designated a public park. We’ve been managing the property since 1993, and transformed it into the city gem it is today....

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Preparing for Sonoma Valley Wildfires

Preparing for Sonoma Valley Wildfires

Certain wildfires remain fresh in people’s minds in these parts. One was in 1923, when a fast-moving blaze swept westward through the Mayacamas and into Sonoma Valley, reducing much of the Springs to ashes. Four decades later, in 1964, the Nunns Canyon Fire followed a...

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Exploring Nature Together

Exploring Nature Together

As summer marches along, so do we – leading a group of engaged youngsters through the wilderness of Sugarloaf Ridge State Park as part of our Introductory Backpacking Camp. That’s just one of several educational camps we’ve provided this summer, both at Sugarloaf and...

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Tracking Streamflow in Sonoma Valley

Tracking Streamflow in Sonoma Valley

How’s your local stream flowing? At Sonoma Ecology Center we’ve been watching the streams closely, and in some cases – along specific streams where landowners gave us permission – we’ve set up gauges that are generating useful data on streamflow in Sonoma Valley. It’s...

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