by Ingrid Spetz
Fall is my favorite time of year. I know it’s still summer now, and I’m trying to remind myself to stay present with the current season, but by mid-August, I’m just tired of the long-dead grass outside my door, the dirt that turns to dust clouds in my driveway and the toxic algae threats that keep us from the river. I find myself looking forward to the cool, crisp air and the hope of rains that come with the change of the seasons.
As Sonoma Land Trust’s outings manager, I have the fun project of getting to dream up ways for our members and the public to enjoy our protected lands. Each season presents so many new opportunities — I’m pretty excited about what we’ve got in store for you all this fall!
At our historic Glen Oaks Ranch in Sonoma Valley, we have a team of docents who pitch in to offer bird walks, tours of the historic stone mansion and guided hikes to the Sonoma Valley Overlook — all or some of which are offered on any given day in addition to our featured activities. This fall, we have top-notch leaders offering a series of workshops focused on skill-building: nature writing, wildlife tracking and wild food gathering. I’m very much looking forward to participating in these and gaining some new insights.
At Sears Point on San Pablo Bay, we also have a team of docents on hand every Saturday morning to greet visitors and offer site interpretation and bird identification. This fall, the first Saturday of each month will feature guest speakers at our Ralph Benson Baylands Center on topics related to the bay, followed by guided walks along the tidal marsh lands.
In October, we are opening up Laufenburg Ranch in Knight’s Valley for a special yoga-in-nature hike with the dynamic duo of Leslie Lee and Bruce Hartsough. Mindfulness meditation and sensory awareness integrated with hiking and stops for yoga postures along the way — what a perfect way to explore the oak woodlands in the fall.
Pole Mountain and the recently protected Estero Ranch are the destinations for our annual fall raptor migration outings this year. Yep. You read that right — we are thrilled to offer your first opportunity to visit the southernmost stretch of the Sonoma Coast, and to bring more hikers up to the highest peak on the Sonoma coastline.
And finally, we conclude our year-long 40th anniversary celebration field trip series with two visits to the forestlands of Sonoma County for a look at protecting old-growth trees, ecological management and sustainable forestry. This is our last opportunity to have our longtime acquisitions director Amy Chesnut leading a tour and sharing with us her great depth of insight and knowledge based on 25 years of land acquisition work.
So enjoy your last days of summer — and have fun anticipating the opportunities that fall will bring! Visit our outings page to register and learn more about these adventures.
One final note: We have a couple more spaces still available for this Saturday’s writing and nature workshop at Glen Oaks Ranch. It’s a wonderful opportunity you won’t want to miss. Sign up here.
Ingrid Spetz is Sonoma Land Trust's outings manager.
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.