by Bob Neale
Where do we find inspiration? Often, after a hard day or with a problem to solve, I wander outdoors to find solace and inspiration in Mother Nature. Other times, I turn to human nature for inspiration. A couple of weeks ago, the California Council of Land Trusts (CCLT) held its annual California Land Conservation Conference in Los Angeles. For three days, staff and volunteers from land trusts and land conservation agencies from all over the state convened to share information, network in the hallways and listen to leaders and innovators in our community. The goal here was to inspire and be inspired, because our work and our passion is about more than the valley oaks and steelhead creeks — it’s about the people and communities that we love as well.
by Joe Kinyon
In late 2013, a plane carrying precision equipment, including a laser, a laser receiver, a GPS receiver, a high-res digital camera and a very accurate clock, took to the air above Sonoma County and “mowed the lawn.”
Many people call the aerial imagery they find on current web-based maps “satellite” imagery. However, a large portion of true satellite imagery is obscured by clouds. At that altitude, an image from today’s satellite’s cameras often represents a square meter of earth per pixel. Because a camera in a plane is so close to the earth, it cannot get a clear picture of the county in one shot. To remedy this, the pilots fly back and forth, taking thousands of pictures that are stitched together into a seamless mosaic.
by Nicole Na
I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of time capsules. The concept is so simple — collect some junk, stuff it in a box, bury it in the ground and wait — but it’s the aftermath that interests me the most. After weeks, months or even years, the capsule is dug back up and its contents, worthless when they were buried, suddenly gain value bestowed upon them by time and memories. This is the type of thing I thought about as I stood at the edge of a series of dry, dusty pits being dug by young volunteers out at Cougar Mountain early last July.
It was the end of my second week here when I was invited by Julian Meisler, our Baylands program manager, to come out to Sears Point and observe the replacement of six artificial burrows for burrowing owls, a species of special concern in California. The old burrows, sadly, had failed due to design and installation flaws, and we were determined to make it right this time around. Steve Pye, one of our stewardship assistants, would be leading the workday and directing a cadre of volunteers from the Youth Conservation Corps. My job (lucky me!) was simply to observe.
by Tony Nelson
On Monday, a few staffers (including myself) drove up Calistoga Road from Santa Rosa, then onto St. Helena Road into Napa County. We parked in a beautiful canyon and hiked up to a peak in Mt. Hood Regional Park.
A mini-swarm of bordered plant bugs joined us on our hike — at least, that’s what I think they were. Resembling beetles with orange or red edges, these are, in fact, true bugs. Most of us call anything smaller than our finger — or just kind of ugly — a ‘bug.’ This is terminology that entomologists hate because ‘bug’ is a specific term relating only to true bugs of the order Hemiptera. These things typically crawl on the ground but, on this day, many of them were flying around awkwardly, looking somewhat like a little gnat carrying a desiccated pomegranate seed and occasionally smacking into our cheeks and foreheads. Alfred Hitchcock would have thought them pretty cool, but probably not scary enough to warrant making a film starring them.
Sonoma Land Trust is a local nonprofit based in Santa Rosa, CA, that conserves scenic, natural, agricultural and open lands in Sonoma County for the benefit of the community and future generations. This blog focuses on SLT's stewardship team, whose members do hands-on work to directly protect, restore, and safeguard the land for generations to come.