August 12, 2016

Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR) is renovating M.F.K. Fisher’s “Last House” on the Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen into an exclusive destination honoring her legacy and celebrating her love of food, wine, literature and nature. Mary Frances, as she was known by her family and friends, wrote 13 books during 21 years of residence in Last House, which was built for her by architect David Pleydell-Bouverie.

She treasured her palazzino, which features a simple design and connection to the land. Its two large rooms are divided by a huge bathroom, with black tile floors throughout and built-in bookcases for over 2,000 books. One arched porch looks west to Sonoma Mountain and another looks east to the 535 acres of land protected by ACR.

Described by W. H. Auden as “America...

August 05, 2016

Mix equal parts heron & egret researcher with outdoor adventurers and you start to get a picture of Scott Jennings, one of ACR's key researchers based out of our Cypress Grove Research Center on Tomales Bay. Recently Claire Peaslee from the Point Reyes Light accompanied Scott on his rounds checking nesting sites near Bolinas. Read the full article >

July 20, 2016

ACR's Conservation Science staff was pleased to host Dr. Lee M. Panich, Santa Clara University, and Dr. Tsim D. Schneider, UC Santa Cruz, along with several undergrad and graduate students performing fieldwork in July. In cooperation with the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, Drs. Schneider and Panich are co-directing this archaeological project in Marin County examining social resiliency and change among mission-era (AD 1776-1830s) and post-mission Native American communities. The team's summer acheology fieldwork is focused on Toms Point, an ACR preserve. This is the second season of fieldwork for Tsim and Lee, this year working from July 5 - 24th.

During the time when Spanish missions operated in the San Francisco Bay area, research shows that California Indians found...

July 14, 2016

Inspired by the preponderance of highly competent female conservation scientist and educators on the ACR staff and the philanthropic support of Impact 100 Sonoma, a wholly women-founded and administered philanthropic organization, ACR’s education team designed and piloted a conservation science summer camp for young women in June 2016. ACR’s goal was to provide land-based conservation and stewardship training and theory to a diverse group of young women who express strong interest in science based environmental stewardship.

Led by ACR’s female conservation, stewardship, and education staff and based at the Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen, CSI 2016 included a day trip to ACR’s 3,000 acre Modini Mayacamas Preserves near Healdsburg, and an overnight trip that included a visit to...

June 22, 2016

In the recently published five year review of the Forest Management Guide by the Ontario, Canada, Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry, ACR science was used as the “subject expert” on subject of nesting herons. The Ministry solicited management recommendations from ACR's conservation science staff, then incorporated several recommendations for conserving biodiversity at the stand and site scales, including:

  • Use the most recent nest record data to refine (if necessary) the critical breeding period to reflect changes in nesting behavior as a result of climate change. Ensure that the defined period adequately reflects annual variation.
  • Reassess whether the coarse filter direction for aquatic features maintains key foraging habitats for herons.
  • ...
June 20, 2016

Bouverie Preserve stewardship staff recently partnered with a CAL FIRE crew from ‪Glen Ellen‬ to implement a series of planned 1 meter-square controlled burns in its grasslands and oak woodlands to determine the best control methods for rosy sandcrocus (Romulea rosea). The first set of spring burns was completed in June. Additional test burns will be conducted this fall.

Rosy sandcrocus is an invasive forb with great potential for severe degradation of California open spaces and rangelands. Almost no information is available regarding management of this species in California, though many landowners in the Sonoma County region report its recent colonization.

May 03, 2016

This spring and summer, ACR’s Martin Griffin Preserve will host an eight-week series of Saturday morning talks open to the community and focused on local conservation efforts.

Select Saturdays beginning May 21, 2016, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm.

Picher Canyon Display Hall
Martin Griffin Preserve
Stinson Beach

Schedule of Conservation Talks:
May 21: Regional Heron and Egret Populations, speaker: John P. Kelly, ACR Director of Conservation Science
June 4: ACR’s Mountain Lion Project, speaker: Dr. Quinton Martins, ACR Wildlife Ecologist
June 11: A Fifty-Year Flight through the Cause of Raptor...

April 25, 2016

Sofia Sanchez’s eyes sparkle when she talks about nature. A Sonoma Valley High School senior and an intern at the Bouverie Preserve, Sofia recently led a bilingual hike for Spanish-speaking families involved in ACR’s Junior Naturalist (Juniper) Program. “I was nervous at first, but it was really fun,” she remarked after her first three-hour hike.

Sofia became involved at Bouverie Preserve in October, when her mentor and MGP Docent Deb Piatelli introduced her to ACR’s Director of Stewardship Jeanne Wirka. As part of her senior project, Sofia is required to conduct research that includes a public education element. “I really love nature so the Bouverie Preserve is a perfect place for me,” she says.

Sofia is assisting with the wildlife camera research at Bouverie, where she...

March 22, 2016

March highlights: Great Blue Herons have continued to occupy the colony near downtown Bolinas, with 7 nests in the incubation stage. The heavy rains beginning around Mar 10, which battered and wilted the early Douglas Irises and other flowers that bloomed during the warm days of February, appear to have done little to deter the Herons from their nesting attempts on the Bolinas side of the lagoon. Elsewhere in the SF Bay Area, other heron and egret species are busy with their nesting: Great Egrets, Cattle Egrets and Snowy Egrets have been busy building nests in Santa Rosa, and Black-Crowned Night-Herons have begun hatching in Oakland and possibly Santa Rosa. Great Egrets have continued to be regularly seen foraging around the shores of Bolinas Lagoon, and finally, around the weekend of...

March 21, 2016
Grandmother Tree at Bouverie Preserve

The magnificent Grandmother Tree at Bouverie Preserve has been a source of admiration and a sentinel for many -- our staff, docents and visitors alike. Recent storms resulted in a significant crack in the main stem of the Grandmother Tree.  The photos below show the cool peep hole and the massive branch above the hole.  The crack is at the base of that branch, which means the whole tree is unstable.  Working with an arborist, we determined that this major crack, combined with cracks in other branches, and the fact that the tree has been suffering from heart rot (probably for decades) means bracing the tree will not preserve it for much longer. We have made the difficult decision to fell the tree.