Published: Fremontia Cover – 50th Year Anniversary

I’m honored to have compiled the California Native Plant Society cover for the 50th Year Anniversary Issue. This cover includes the photographic work of 25 photographers who have helped realize the mission of this great non-profit. The 50th year memorial … Continue reading

What Conservation Is and Isn’t… 2015 thoughts and a late january desktop image

So it’s now well past the half way point of January and still no calendar. It’s been busy for sure, but more importantly, my mind has been filled with how I create the impact I dream of. The impact that … Continue reading

December Calendar: Healing our Culture through Nature

So here we are, a culture – a nation of immigrants – dearly needing to settle into the holidays. And I’m not feeling so cheery. Many people are suffering, crying, feeling disgraced. I’m feeling a bit uncomfortable in my skin. It itches.

America is a killing culture. We continue to institutionally and violently kill the young black man. Why? Because we have a culturally created “bad feeling” about someone and think that’s reason enough to shoot someone. This is the most demonic and violent projection of institutional racism and it occurs every day. Over and over again. Believe me, I’m not against cops and policing of communities, I’m against all cops carrying guns. I’m against the cultural christening of the gun being a tool of peace.

Guns don’t stop crimes, they instigate them. They elevate the risks and therefore more dramatic, poorly intended decisions happen. They happen alot. Even with 12 year olds. We need peace officers to drop their guns. We need to form an armed division and a peace division of our policing departments. We need police forces to be required by law to culturally reflect the communities they protect. We need ten times the peace officers as we do armed police.

You know what else I think we need, we all need to go for a walk in the woods together. Let it filter us. Allow the forest to heal us, and it will.

Here’s the December desktop calendar, free for personal use. Full file here.

December 2014 Calendar desktop Culture and Conservation 2 - Lech Naumovich Photography

 

November Calendar: Ecological-Economic Scale Interactions

One of the greatest challenges with managing ecological systems is investing in patience. Large scale changes, both positive and negative often occur over many years, decades and even millennium. Oaks, in particular, grow very slowly, and the recovery of an oak savanna can easily take decades. This is often too long of a timescale even for long-term (5-10 year) restoration grants.

In contrast to annual financial balance sheets which expire after 365 days, nature takes too long. In some cases, quarterly reports rule, reducing time lines to about 90 days. Purely and simply, patience can be expensive especially when there are expectations of regular production.

The development of this level of non-vascular diversity can take decades.

The development of this level of non-vascular diversity can take decades.

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Season of the Orbs

Fall! Yes, it’s coming even though it was 100 degrees this past weekend. Orb spiders are a predictable totem of fall in our parts. They use standing vegetation that usually has some sun exposure. Then they catch flies, get fat, lay eggs and disappear into the earth. Here’s one who posed for me this weekend. She’s actually a banded garden spider (Argiope trifasciata) by common name.

Banded garden spider - Argiope trifasciata - bottom- MYN 2

I brought out the big flash and my white background. Photo for the www.Meetyourneighbours.net collection. The sun was out, but everything worked out well with balancing light. The flash adds a touch of fill and bounces nicely off the white. You can see some of the web there since I didn’t move the actual spider. Continue reading

Tragedy Under the Commons – October Desktop Calendar

It’s been a dry year, again. El Nino is out on vacation (not like she would necessarily bring the coastal areas relief). And it’s hot again. Resources are thin and getting thinner. Our water is literally evaporating away, like those underground rivers that we never see. The aquifers that creep quietly far from the reach of most straws are themselves creeping along ever more slowly. Well are being drilled everywhere. The graph below from the USGS tells that story.

 

change in groundwater in CA - USGS

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Larkspur: Almost Gone – September Desktop Calendar

For this month: a prairie state of mind.

Coastal Prairie habitat of Ring Mountain - researcher collecting paintbrush samples.

Coastal Prairie habitat of Ring Mountain – researcher collecting paintbrush samples.

As I crank away (as an ecologist) on a project looking towards restoring and revitalizing hundreds of acres of coastal prairie grasslands, I am always amazed (read:appalled) by how much prairie we’ve lost. There’s maybe 5% of the historic, original California prairies. And that true number may be more like 2-3% when you consider what percent are ecologically intact or healthy. Even our most beautiful wildflower fields have been difficult to protect. These prairies provide critical wildflower and pollinator resources that simply can’t be replaced with simple restoration practice. We need to keep the landscape alive as we help in little, supplementary ways through protecting rare plants, corridors, native vegetation, natural disturbance regimes.

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