Sonoma Ecology Center in the News

  • Doug McConnell Turns Camera on Valley’s Post-Fire Landscape
    We love Doug McConnell, and not just because he once visited us at Sonoma Garden Park. For decades McConnell has been the Bay Area’s tour guide, showing generations of viewers all the people and places – especially natural places – that make the Bay Area great. His current show, OpenRoad with Doug McConnell, has more than once brought him to Sonoma Valley – and in a recent episode titled “Sonoma Fire Lessons,” McConnell examines a few Valley landscapes that were scorched by the October wildfires, and expresses amazement and delight at how quickly the land is healing. “This resilient California landscape,” McConnel notes, “is teaching us that it depends on fire for its periodic rebirth and renewal. And that if we manage our beloved natural environments wisely, even sometimes prescribing […]
  • SEC’s John Roney Honored by State for Heroism
    We’re very proud to announce that John Roney, park manager at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park and a Sonoma Ecology Center employee, was honored with a California State Senate resolution at the Capitol on May 7 by state senators Mike McGuire and Bill Dodd for his heroic response to the October 2017 wildfires. On that first frightening night of Oct. 8, high winds caused the fires to spread so quickly that campers in the park and residents of nearby Adobe Canyon Road were caught unawares – and some may have died had John and other park staff not risked their own lives to evacuate the area. As Sen. McGuire stated from the Senate floor, “Mr. Roney, a former Boy Scout of course, and a retired United States Army colonel, jumped into action. He evacuated 50 to 60 campers scattered throughout a dozen […]
  • Valley Forum: Toward a Sustainable Future
    The warmth of spring is finally reaching out across Sonoma, bringing with it impossibly green fields and bursts of color as wildflowers show up in quantities we haven’t seen in years. It’s a stark counterpoint to the bleak landscapes of last winter after the fires, a visual reminder how nature can heal and restore life and beauty, even from ashes. We need this reminder. This is one of the hardest years to have witnessed in our Valley. Over 30,000 acres, 28 percent, of the land here burned in the fires, along with over a thousand structures. Thousands in our community were displaced, and many lost everything. To a person, we have a story, and this event will likely remain one of the biggest stories of our community’s deep history. We’re still writing it. One part of this story is that we […]
  • Life After Fire
    From the Bohemian. Every weekend since December, the Sonoma Ecology Center has been leading hikes into local wildlands to see how they are faring after the Tubbs and Nuns fires whipped through Sonoma Valley. READ MORE […]
  • How green was my Valley (in 2016)?
    We’re very proud of this op-ed piece which ran last week in the Sonoma Index-Tribune. Sonoma Valley’s environmental accomplishments of 2016 weren’t small, and they demonstrate how patience and dedication can pay off. They also provide a positive example for those of us ready to tackle 2017 in the same spirit of hopefulness. The full article is copied below, with original posting here. Many thanks to the Index-Tribune for running it!   Valley Forum: How green was my Valley (in 2016)? By Don Frances SPECIAL TO THE INDEX-TRIBUNE | January 2, 2017 Ask environmentalists for reasons to celebrate 2016, and they might mention the Paris climate agreement. Then they might scratch their heads, stare at the ceiling for a while, and tell you that’s all they can think of just […]
  • Highway 12 tree project branches out
    From the Sonoma Index-Tribune. Local teens are being transformed into modern-day Johnny Appleseeds as the Sonoma Ecology Center prepares to send out arboreal ambassadors to pave the way for new shade trees along the woefully tree-deficient Highway 12 corridor. The plan, supported by a $2,316 grant from Sonoma Impact 100, calls for the recruitment and training of teenage interns, called “EnviroLeaders.” The young people will work with the local community, identify potential tree-planting sites, and carry out the planting of at least 50 new shade trees throughout the Springs area. READ MORE […]
  • New methods for tracking old waterways
    The Press Democrat has a story on how our own Alex Young, GIS manager at Sonoma Ecology Center, is working with historical ecologist Arthur Dawson and others in an effort to map Sonoma Valley’s waterways before they were altered by settlers: Sleuthing for Sonoma Valley’s oldest streams. (GIS stands for “geographic information system,” which is used to analyze geographical data. Here at SEC, Alex uses it to develop highly detailed watershed maps, among other things.) Mapping old streams requires both high-tech wizardry and old-fashioned detective work, such as examining old maps and simply driving up and down the Valley in search of clues. The article, by fellow researcher Rebecca Lawton, offers a glimpse at this interesting process.   […]
  • Sonoma Ecology Center celebrates 25 years of environmental advocacy
    Another great story acknowledging our 25th anniversary and covering the panel discussion we held at Ramekins. Many thanks to Tish Levee and the Sonoma County Gazette.   […]
  • At SEC, every day is Earth Day
    Wonderful article in the Sonoma Index-Tribune on our 25th Anniversary. Thanks I-T! […]
  • 50 Fund Playmaker: Susan Angell
    The Superbowl 50 Host Committee has awarded us a wonderful grant to serve our educational programs in Sonoma Garden Park. This grant honors 50 “playmakers” in the bay area. Our playmaker is Master Gardener Susan Angell, a tireless contributor to Sonoma Garden Park. Angell has inspired thousands of children to learn more about our natural world. You inspire us too, Susan! The video is above — or for more click here. […]
  • Labor Day ‘Quest’ at Sugarloaf
    By Jim Golway (Story reprinted from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, September 2014) Our quest has begun on Lower Mountain Trail. With curiosity and your senses, you’re sure to not fail.  By searching for clues both high and low Your knowledge of Sugarloaf is bound to grow. And so goes the first clue of an adventure game that has come to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. By combining the joy of a nature hike with the intrigue of a treasure hunt, the Quest Hike provides a physical and intellectual challenge for park visitors of all ages. “It’s a great way to learn about the nature and history of Sugarloaf while enjoying the fun of an outdoor adventure,” said Holland Gistelli, educational intern and co-creator of the hike. On Labor Day, 18 adventurers undertook the first Quest Hike, setting off […]
  • Van Hoosear PreserveSEC Wildflower Walks Featured in the PD
    Sonoma Ecology Center’s Wildflower Walk series at Van Hoosear Wildflower Preserve and Sugarloaf Ridge State Park received great enthusiasm from the Press Democrat! Click here for the March 30th article. […]