Learn more about Point Reyes National Seashore in ways the casual visitor cannot, exploring in areas less traveled and alongside some of the California's most knowledgeable naturalists. The upcoming CalNat Course with Point Reyes National Seashore Association is open for registration. Saturdays 9:00am to 5:00pm from September 22-October 20th.
Some interesting ways biologists are tapping into what we know about animal behavior to solve modern day conservation problems. Read about it here in Scientific American.
"Thoth was an ancient Egyptian deity with the head of an ibis, and part of his job was to maintain the universe. In the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument region, we have ibises, specifically White-Faced Ibises (Plegadis chihi), and even though they probably don't maintain the universe, they do a good job of maintaining their little corners of the world." Click here for the latest article from CalNat Tuleyome instructor Mary K. "Mare" Hanson - Naturalist in the Red Bluff Daily News. Follow Mary's FB pageorblog for her stellar natural history observations and photos!
Congratulations to the graduates of Catalina Island Conservancy's first California Naturalist course! The spring course looked to create highly trained guides, volunteers, docents and most importantly, stewards, to spread the word of not only how special Catalina Island is, but how important all islands are. Capstone projects included a children's book on the island fox, a library catalog enhancement for their Nature Center, and more. Welcome CA Naturalists!
Effie Yeaw Nature Center has just announced dates for their fall course! Claim your spot at one of our most popular courses, which starts September 17. The course will prepare you to be an advocate for California's natural wonders, with an emphasis on the greater Sacramento area. Located on the edge of a 100 acre nature preserve along the American River, a short hike from the classroom and you'll discover what it means to be a naturalist. Learn more and find the link to register here.
Water movement patterns create microhabitats in creeks. The presence of riffles, pools, or cascades determine which types of aquatic invertebrates can populate a stream reach, according to new research by UC Santa Barbara. Read about it here.
Roseville residents, register by August 7 for the Valley Foothill Watershed Collaborative course and save $25! The 40 hour course combines a science curriculum with guest lecturers, field trips and project-based learning to explore the unique ecology and natural history of Placer County and the Foothills, focusing on the American River Basin Watershed. Register here: https://bit.ly/2mcln2I.
The Living with Fire May 2018 symposium presentations are available on the California Fire Science Consortium YouTube channel. Developed for anybody interested in the intersection of human communities and fire, the symposium brought together dozens of experts in fire ecology and management, community planning, fire safety and preparedness, and global change- many are UC colleagues andCalNat partner organizations.
A take on the importance of studying natural history, featured in our Mount Diablo State Park/ Lindsay Wildlife Experience course's required reading, argues, "'A naturalist is the person who is inexhaustibly fascinated by biological diversity and who does not view organisms merely as models, or vehicles for theory, but rather as the thing itself that excites our admiration and our desire for knowledge, understanding, and preservation,' writes David Schmidley. That is who I am. And I'm sure I'm not alone. But natural history will dwindle -- and humanity will suffer accordingly -- unless society prioritizes natural history research and education, and we who feel this way share our passion with others." Read the article here.
For those of us looking to support those affected by fire in California, Maryam Kia-Keating, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at UC Santa Barbara and a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, says, "...recovery takes time and has many phases. It can be different for different people who experienced the same disaster, and it is important not to judge one person's experiences and reactions by another's." Read more here.
UC Santa Barbara and Aquarium of the Pacific launched a new citizen science program, Spotting Giant Sea Bass, to improve understanding and stewardship of the endangered giant sea bass, the largest bony coastal fish in California. They're an apex predator in kelp forests and likely help shape how the ecosystem functions. The program will provide marine biologists with increased and better data on the fish, which will help answer critical research questions. Citizen scientists upload images of the fish to the program's website. Each individual giant sea bass has a unique spot pattern. Researchers confirm a match to an existing individual in their database or it may be a new addition. More here.
Congratulations to our partner, Tuleyome, for receiving a grant from the Sacramento Zoo Conservation Fund to support projects in their TWO #CalNat courses next year! Early bird pricing is available through September 1st. Learn more about their course at http://calnat.ucanr.edu/Take_a_class/Tuleyome/
What's going on when manzanitas (Arctostaphylos sp) and Pacificmadrone (Arbutusmenziesii) peel their beautiful smooth red bark into cinnamon-like curls? Trees and shrubs with smooth bark lack a thick woody bark layer, so they need to employ alternative protective strategies. By self-exfoliating a thin layer, they shed insects, moss, lichen, and other organisms. Additionally, the red bark is very tannic and bitter, which most species find unpalatable.
New peer-reviewed research from UC Berkeley and The Greater Good Science Center indicates that the awe we feel in nature can dramatically reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Researchers tracked psychological and physiological changes in war veterans and at-risk teens from underserved communities during white-water rafting trips and undergraduate students that kept a nature journal. Read about it, and links to the original studies here.
Registration is now open for Cuesta College's California Naturalist course. The college is offering the course for the first time this fall, Sept. 21 - Nov. 9, on Fridays from 9am-3pm. Each Friday starts on campus with a classroom presentation, followed by a field trip. It's ideal for adults who want to strengthen their knowledge and understanding of California's natural history in a structured 8-week program. It's a great resume-builder for people seeking jobs in environmental fields. And it's a fun and enjoyable way to see many unique areas in San Luis Obispo County. More details at our course site.
The recent 2017 CEEIN Memorandum of Understanding included UC Agriculture & Natural Resources as a new signatory. More information about CEEIN and its members and partners can be found at http://www.ceein.org.
Congrats to the newest #CalNat graduates from the Sagehen Creek Field Station! This week was jammed packed full of the latest research from UC Berkeley and UC Davis, covering local and Sierra geology, cutting edge forestry practices, creek entomology, conifer practice and a whole lot more. Students pledged to take their newfound knowledge back to their communities and give back through their capstone projects. The cherry on top was helping other experts from iNaturalist.org, Audubon California, and more during the fourth annual Sagehen Bioblitz. In just one morning, #CalNat grads and participants of the blitz collected almost 700 observations, helping to document the field station's biodiversity. Highlights of the observations included a new juniper species and horsetail species (Equisetum hymenale) for the basin. Even with scientists collecting data at Sagehen for 68 years, there's always something new to find - keep exploring, naturalists!
Sea star wasting disease, a marine pandemic that wiped out many West Coast sea stars, provided researchers at UC Merced with a natural experiment in evolutionary survival. They found considerable changes to the sea star genomes following the pandemic by comparing the genomes of those alive just before the pandemic with survivors. Read about it here.
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is calling on LA County K-12 students to submit images of wildlife and nature — both in L.A. and all over the world. From now until Sept. 30, submit images for a chance to win prizes. The contest will complement the upcoming Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition opening at the museum on August 19.
Some great news to get you through the week: California beats its goals for cutting greenhouse gases a full four years before the target year of 2020! The California Air Resources Board reports the 2016 carbon emissions were 13 percent below the peak level recorded in 2004, while the state's economy grew by 26 percent.
Project Learning Tree (PLT) is an award-winning environmental education program designed for teachers and other educators, parents, and community leaders working with youth from preschool through grade 12. PLT activities use the environment to engage learners – both outside and indoors. Several California Naturalist partners have integrated PLT activities and PLT educator certification into their CalNat course. Here CalNat Inland Empire course participants with Riverside-Corona Resource Conservation District explore food webs and how to conduct this hands-onPLT activity with others.
#CalNat had the pleasure of participating in Nudibranch Camp this last weekend, a University and Jepson Herbaria - UC Berkeley workshop with California Academy of Sciences Citizen Science program co-directors Dr. Rebecca Johnson and Alison Young. We had a great time and learned so much! All 28 species we found are documented in the "Intertidal Biodiversity Project at Pillar Point" on iNaturalist.org. The next time you go tidepooling, you can download an iNat guide on "California Sea Slugs - Nudibranchs and opisthobranchs" here. Check out Jepson's remaining 2018 workshops here.
You'll never look at a leaf the same... Travel Deep Inside a Leaf - Annotated Version | California Academy of Sciences
An interesting audio discussion about the increase in hobbyist drone use, how drone users may be inadvertently stressing out wildlife, and how drone enthusiasts can avoid wildlife harassment. The interview starts at 4:05.
What do you think about the proposition of reintroducing grizzlies to California, Naturalists? Here's a well-researched article on the subject in Pacific Standard. "One of the reasons you have predators coming back to Europe—wolves, bears, lynx, and wolverines—is partly because Europe has become more urbanized, and parts of the countryside are emptying out. You also have a change in thinking and attitudes. People are imagining different futures, which is also vitally important" says Dr. Peter Alagona, UC Santa Barbara Professor, author of the book "After the Grizzly: Endangered Species and the Politics of Place in California," and member of the interdisciplinary California Grizzly Study Group.
We wish our partners and naturalists at Tuleyome the best! CAL FIRE crews have made significant progress containing the County Fire, which has burned more than 90,000 acres, including ~10,500 acres of BLM-managed public land, primarily within the Berryessa Snow Mountain Friends of the BSM National Monument. Tuleyome is a Woodland-based conservation organization who, in 2015, along with coalition partners, were successful in permanently protecting the Berryessa Snow Mountain region as a National Monument. They have been heavily impacted by wildfire for several years in a row. Join Tuleyome on June 28 for their "Nature and You" lecture series to learn about the recent wildfires and their effects on the environment.
The Sierra Nevada region covers only a quarter of the state's land area yet provides 60% of California's fresh water. Carried across the state, this water serves 23 million people in communities in the mountains, valleys, and as far as coastal cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
As climate change continues to warm the atmosphere, what will become of the frozen reservoir we depend on? To investigate,UCLA's Center for Climate Science created high-resolution projections of future climate in the Sierra. The article highlights critical findings and contains a link to the full report.
Enjoy nocturnal wildlife? So many interesting animals are active at night, making it hard to see much more than their scat or prints left behind! Historically used for wildlife research management and behavioral research, trail cameras offer a fun, relatively passive way to find out what wildlife inhabits your yard. Issues with first generation cameras (loud noises and flash) are addressed by most cameras now, to minimize disturbance and behavior changes. They have decreased substantially in price (starting at about $60) in recent years and are increasingly loaded with optional features like video/stills, longer detection range, waterproof casing, cellular or WiFi capability, time lapse, internal viewers and more. Many comparative reviews of features exist online and there is a growing trail cam community on iNaturalist.org that shares observations. Be sure to choose a no-glow or low-glow infrared camera (vs incandescent) for the least amount of disturbance to wildlife.
Check out Urban Ark, an interesting environmental stories series on KCET in collaboration with UCLA Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies. "A documentary exploring intriguing questions about human-created urban ecosystems, biodiversity and opportunities for creating sanctuaries for endangered species, including the origin and relocation of the beloved red-crowned parrot in Pasadena."