10 Ways

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

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RESEARCH

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

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EDUCATION

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

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PRESERVATION

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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RESTORATION

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.

A Message on the Fires

A Message on the Fires

Dear Sonoma Valley Friends and Neighbors:

It’s been a frustrating, heartbreaking, terrifying week – possibly the worst few days for Sonoma Valley in living memory. And yet, we’ve never been so full of respect and hope for this place and its amazing people.

Since the fires began we’ve seen heroism from every corner of the Valley, even as neighbors and loved ones fled from their homes with their lives and little else. Some are now staying with friends or relatives, others with welcoming strangers, and many thousands are in emergency shelters set up around the county and beyond.

In every case, it is courage, compassion and selflessness that gets us through – and that in some cases saves lives.

One example hit especially close to home. In the early hours of Monday morning, as the fires were spreading and authorities found themselves overwhelmed, our Sugarloaf park manager, John Roney, drove up the mountain to evacuate campers and observatory visitors there. That done, he wearily headed home down Adobe Canyon Road – but at the bottom he encountered two police officers who asked if anyone lived up that road. John told them yes, probably 100 or so people. The officers said those people needed to be evacuated, but that they weren’t able to do it themselves. So John took it upon himself to knock on the doors of houses all the way up Adobe Canyon Road.

Thanks to his efforts, dozens of people were given time to gather their things and escape. Considering the destruction that soon followed, there is every reason to believe John saved lives that night.

Since then many more stories have come through, all of them showing an indomitable spirit that our Valley seems to inspire. Our deepest sympathies go out to people who have lost their homes and possessions, their pets, and in a few cases, their loved ones.

From the perspective of the land itself, our hearts are hurting for the trees, the animals, the hillsides that are burned to ash. Birds are crowding into neighborhoods, having fled the burning hillsides. Wild animals have no house they can go into to escape breathing the smoke. Fires are burning right down into riparian forests dried out from years of drought. We know that in some areas of high-severity fire, even the seedbank in the ground will die. But we’ve seen other areas where the flames stayed low and relatively cool. In these places, the wildflowers next spring will be spectacular, the trees will recover fully, and wildlife will flourish.

We’ll be talking more – with our colleagues and with you, our community – in the coming days about why this happened, and what we can do to reduce the risk of living through something like this again. For now, we do know, from personal experience, the resourcefulness and resilience of the people and the land of this Valley. We will rebuild.

 

Upcoming Events

All upcoming events have been cancelled until further notice due to the devastating North Bay fires. Updates will be posted on our Facebook page.

Featured Projects

Click on the image for an interactive map of Sonoma Valley

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

A Message on the Fires

A Message on the Fires

Dear Sonoma Valley Friends and Neighbors: It’s been a frustrating, heartbreaking, terrifying week – possibly the worst few days for Sonoma Valley in living memory. And yet, we’ve never been so full of respect and hope for this place and its amazing people. Since the...

read more
What’s Your Vision for Sonoma Garden Park?

What’s Your Vision for Sonoma Garden Park?

Help determine the future of Sonoma Garden Park! Take part by: * Reading the Plan * Leaving Comments * Attending our Oct. 14 Open House * Sonoma Garden Park was once the home of beloved local schoolteacher Pauline Bond, who granted it to the City of Sonoma on the...

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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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