I am very blessed to be taking part in a very unique conservation art show. This event is dedicated to celebrating an environment that was nearly lost to a poorly planned development. A citizens group from Richmond was one of the few advocates for protecting the Richmond shoreline. In what I would call the Golden Age of conservation in the Bay Area, most conservation organizations either supported developing the shoreline into a casino or quietly refused to comment. Conservation as a greater entity failed. I was angry, sad, and broken as I worked on this project as both a photographer and a conservation biologist.
We’re celebrating the release of the Bay Area Open Space Council’s Conservation Lands Network Report, which helps identify the next million acres that would be more suitable for habitat protection in the Bay Area. As a professional ecologist I sat on the Steering Committee and Vegetation workgroup of this project. It was an amazing experience to be surrounded by so many luminaries and brilliant thinkers. Continue reading
As you know, I chase butterflies. Mostly its been larva (these little black caterpillars that have the slightest of orange spots and are very difficult to spot) at Coyote Ridge, Santa Clara county. Sometimes you can spend a whole day looking for the little guys and well, that’s your day. In good years, like this year, we’ve found many “mini-cats” on the cool slopes of Coyote Ridge.
It’s been an amazing year for Bay Checkerspot Butterfly (BCB) larvae this year. Numbers have increased 5-fold, ten-fold, even 20-fold for some of our long term research plots. After about a half dozen “down years”, it’s a welcome rebound. This little federally threatened butterfly that takes to the skies mid to late March every year and then disappears for another 11 months has helped ecologists understand the interaction of this species with an soil environment that is increasingly saturated with nitrogen from automobile exhaust.
I was fortunate to get invited (ahem, I invited myself I guess) to a hike with two of the most notable, contemporary botanical explorers of the East Bay. We headed out to Mt. Diablo State Park in Contra Costa County for which Barbara Ertter, and Diablo champion Mary Bowerman, have published a unique and informative flora. Beyond just plant identification and simple cataloging, this book relates ecological studies, talks plant associations and offers tidbits of history and nuance. Truly a classic, get it here. I have a signed one with a personal note from Barbara, so I’m considering this means we’re friends 🙂
Wendy Tokuda is a real star. Besides being an anchorwoman and reporter at KPIX (CBS) in the Bay Area, she’s a real advocate for the environment. But Wendy isn’t one of those “this is what should be done types”, but rather she’s a real go-getter. For her insatiable energy and religious devotion to the environment, she’s being written up in a Bay Area magazine.