Explorations of trips to find beauty and intrigue in the natural world.

Who’s Living in the Plains?

My friend and colleague Rashida and I are heading into Carrizo Plain National Monument in southern California for a field class on the largest remaining segment of valley grasslands in the US. We drive alongside a riverbed where water once filled the ten-foot wide channel. Now dust-covered shrubs and trees fill the canal. As dusk […]

Discovering Wildlife in the East Bay Redwoods

A quick survey of wildlife you’ll find in the East Bay from the perspective of a camp naturalist.

Monarchs of Mexico

Thousands and thousands of monarch butterflies whirred in unison as they dipped and flew through the trees. Those resting appeared like Christmas ornaments dangling from the tall Mexican pine trees.

“Lucy in the Sky with Islands”

The Sky Islands are the mountains of the Santa Rita range, including Madera Canyon. This relatively small region in the Coronado National Forest boasts more than 240 species of birds, a wide range of succulents, including cactus, yucca and agave, and an intermix of conifers, oaks, madrones and other plants that host fascinating insects and spiders.

Mt. Diablo’s Moonscape

Find out why Mt. Diablo is growing a whole lot of wildflowers this year.

Ladybug Love Fest

Swarms of ladybugs turn some trails of Redwood Regional Park bright red.

Unlocking the Mystery of the Ancient Bristlecone Pines

Envision being alive before Moses traversed the desert. Imagine existence before the Mayans disappeared. Consider life on Earth some 4,800 years ago. The Great Basin bristlecone pines in the forest of the White-Inyo Mountains of eastern California have survived that long. Scientists have named one of the trees, Methuselah, after the long-living character in the […]

Natural Texture

We always think of texture as something you must touch to understand. But seeing texture evokes a response as well.

Occupy our Food Supply

Occupy our Food Supply blog in solidarity with RAN’s day of action.

Monarch Migration

I can find nothing comparable to the mesmerizing and unbelievable migration of Monarch butterflies, five generations in one year. January is the time to see them in the Bay Area as they end their long-winged flight, up to 3,000 miles, in California from northern reaches, as far away as Canada. Monarchs east of the Rockies […]