by Julian Meisler
We are nearing completion of the repair or replacement of more than seven miles of fire-damaged fence at Sears Point. Fencing is what enables us to run a cattle operation there and that’s something we do for a variety of reasons, including weed control, fuel reduction and continuing our relationship with the agricultural community.
Believe it or not, fencing is actually pretty thoughtful work when working in wildlands. Every time a fence is replaced or constructed, we challenge ourselves as to whether it’s really needed and, if so, how do we make it wildlife friendly. The answer to the second question depends on multiple factors, including the location, the purpose, the type of wildlife in the area and others. Of course, we also need to ensure that the fence serves its purpose of containing cattle or whatever domesticated animal is on the land.
by Ingrid Spetz
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now, from up and down and still somehow it’s clouds’ illusions I recall…
— Joni Mitchell
A few months back, my colleague Tony Nelson told me he’d just been gifted a membership to the international Cloud Appreciation Society and asked if we might be interested in hosting a presentation by its founder. I wasn’t quite sure what to think. What is cloud appreciation and how would that tie in to our land conservation work?
So I reached out to Gavin Pretor-Pinney, the society’s founder, to learn more.
by Tom Tolliver
As I approached the end of the meadow where the grass and browse are quickly recovering from the fire, I could see about eight blacktail deer crossing it. I counted one buck, what appeared to be two yearlings and five does heading for Stuart Creek. This was the third week of February at Glen Oaks Ranch.
My job as fire recovery project manager is to manage the repair or replacement of the infrastructure at our fire-affected preserves. This offers an opportunity to see firsthand not only the damage at the Live Oaks, Glen Oaks and Sears Point Ranch preserves, but also how natural processes repair the fire damage of the natural areas. The best story is the one told in photos. (Click photos for captions)
by Kyle Pinjuv
Last week I had the pleasure of hiking the Bolinas Ridge Trail, which runs parallel to the San Andreas Fault in beautiful Marin County. We were in search of a hike where we could experience the pastoral beauty of the coastal habitat types and enjoy the emerging wildflowers and vibrant green grass the recent rains had brought to the landscape. We had found the perfect hike for that and then some.
by Bob Neale
My mom thinks I spend most of my time wandering around the woodlands and forests of Sonoma County, tending to all the plants and animals. When I tell folks about my work, or when I make presentations to groups or conferences, I share stories about sensitive habitat, wildlife corridors, restoring wetlands and fisheries, and managing nature. My PowerPoint presentations have photos of owls and mountain lions, serpentine wildflower blooms, and willows and oak trees we planted. These are things I care about deeply and I feel so grateful to be here at Sonoma Land Trust, where I can do this work. It’s good work. And it can often be complicated and, well, just hard.
But the thing that keeps me coming back to work each day isn’t the plantings at Tolay Creek Ranch, the hoped-for fish at Stuart Creek Run or the view from the top of Pole Mountain. No — what keeps me coming back is the people. This is the greatest group of people I’ve worked with in my whole career. I have the best colleagues in the world here at Sonoma Land Trust — especially the stewardship characters! They are dedicated, smart and full of integrity. They are funny, irreverent and always there when you need them. You’ve seen their words in the blog posts and you’ve seen their work on our preserves and conservation easement properties.
Let me introduce you to the “Stew Crew.” Next time you see them out and about in Sonoma County, say hi and tell them “job well done,” ’cause they are rocking your conservation world.
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.