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

Van Hoosear Wildflower Walk 5 @ Van Hoosear Wildflower Preserve
Apr 26 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Van Hoosear Preserve

Join Sonoma Ecology Center naturalists at Van Hoosear Wildflower Preserve for one of the most spectacular wildflower displays in all of Sonoma County. Experience a pristine spring grassland with numerous species in full bloom.

The 162-acre property in the foothills of Sonoma Mountain is protected by a conservation easement made possible by your Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District and the California Wildlife Conservation Board. The property is managed under a partnership with the landowner and Sonoma Ecology Center, to protect the Preserves unique plants, thriving streams, and wildlife habitat.

This outing is a beginning-level walk over gently sloped land. Most of the walk is through grassland, generally not on trails, so the footing can be uneven. The walk crosses a few small creek channels, which sometimes have shallow water with stepping stones.

There is no charge for this outing, which is made possible by the voters of Sonoma County who fund the Sonoma Ag and Open Space District’s work with a quarter-cent sales tax.

Please note that these popular walks fill to capacity on a first-come, first-served basis every year, so early registration is encouraged! Walks will go on in light rain, but heavy rains will cancel the walk.

REGISTER TODAY! Visit Brown Paper Tickets: http://vhwildflowerwalks2017.brownpapertickets.com/

Directions and day-of-contact information will be emailed upon registration. For additional information or questions about the outing, please contact Holland Gistelli at (707) 996-0712 ext. 108, or holland@sonomaecologycenter.org.

Trail Clearing & Construction Day @ Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Apr 27 @ 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

Help us keep our trails clear of brush and free of mud and rocks and assiste with construction and maintenance projects such as painting and building repair.  Meet at the White Barn at 9:00.   Tools provided, no experience needed.  And lunch included!
Volunteers like you make the difference at Sugarloaf.
To RSVP and if you have questions email john@sonomaecologycenter.org

Headwaters to Headwaters: A Mayacamas Hike Extravaganza @ Sugarloaf Ridge State Park - Observatory
Apr 29 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Join us for a very rare opportunity to hike from Hood Mountain Regional Park to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park via the historic McCormick Ranch section of Sugarloaf. This event will be a grand tour of the Mayacamas Mountains in the northern half of Sonoma Valley and will pass close to the headwaters of Santa Rosa Creek and Sonoma Creeks. The Perry family has generously given permission to hike through their property, allowing our adventure to go the back way along the Napa/Sonoma county line. The route will take participants through some of the wildest and most beautiful sections of Sonoma County filled with massive trees and lovely wildflowers. The terrain also has some amazing history especially of the McCormick and Hurd families. At the end of the 11-mile hike, join your fellow adventurers for a delicious barbecue meal at the Sugarloaf day use picnic area, beer and wine included.   LIMITED SPACE – Get tickets soon.  

Participants will park at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park at 9 AM, and Team Sugarloaf will shuttle them to the Los Alamos parking lot of Hood Mountain Regional Park. From there, hikers will follow the Hood Mountain Trail down to Homestead Meadow and then cross into the McCormick addition of Sugarloaf. We will work our way up Quercus Trail and Grandmother Oak Trail and overlook the former Spaulding property before taking a lunch break at Red Hill. Continuing up Maple Glen Trail, our group with permission from Jim Perry, will hike southeast along the county line and enter Sugarloaf before taking a break at the Red Barn with snacks and cold drinks provided by Team Sugarloaf. The group will then proceed up to Bald Mountain and finally work its way back down to the day use area at Sugarloaf for a barbecue dinner. The route covers approximately 11 miles with elevation gain of about 2800 ft. We expect to arrive at the barbecue about 4:30 PM.

Tickets are $40, and all profits will be split between Team Sugarloaf and the Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation. Team Sugarloaf, The Sonoma Ecology Center, Sonoma County Regional Parks, and Bill and Dave Hikes are the hike sponsors and organizers.

Please bring a lunch, snacks, and water and be prepared to walk 11 miles over the steep and sometimes rough terrain. Also, dress appropriately for the weather.  Tickets here!

Planet Walk Hike @ Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Apr 29 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Please join us for a guided hike along the Planet Walk with RFO docents. Along the way they will speak about each planet in our solar system, with chances to view local wildflowers along the way. This hike come with “passports” booklets for all participants, where you will receive a stamp for each planet you reach. There will be two different options for this hike: 1, travel along Meadow trail to Brushy Peaks until you reach Uranus, then head back on Hillside trail. This is a 2 mile loop with 250 ft elevation gain. Then option 2, Do the full Planet Walk Loop to Pluto of 6.3 miles with a 1100 ft elevation gain traveling along Brushy Peaks to Grey Pine and back through Meadow. Cost is $10 per person parking fees still apply. Please bring a lunch and water.

Purchase tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2912100

Day of the Child / Día del Niño @ Maxwell Farms Regional Park
Apr 29 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm

(Para Español: http://sonomacountyee.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/2017-Sonoma-County-Day-of-the-Child.pdf.)

Celebrate the children in your life during Day of the Child / Día del Niño, an annual family event offering fun-filled, bilingual nature activities for all ages! Join the Sonoma Ecology Center along with La Luz, Boys and Girls Club and Sonoma Land Trust staff at Maxwell Family Farms for a day of hikes, special exhibits, rock climbing, music and other activities that will connect you to each other and to the nature in your neighborhoods.

This is part of a larger event organized by the Sonoma Environmental Education Collaborative and held at 12 locations throughout Sonoma County. For digital map of local events, click here.

This event is free. Parking is $7 at Maxwell, free for Regional Parks members. For more information, please call 707-996-0712, ext. 124.

Featured Projects

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

Sugarloaf Ridge State ParkSonoma Garden Park 

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