December 12, 2019

The Kincade Fire burned 95% of Modini Preserve’s 3,000 acres, leaving behind a mixture of fire-severity and signs of damage from the fire fight. The most scaring impact of the fire fight includes 13 acres of fire lines cut by bulldozers along ridge tops and through some of the preserve's sensitive serpentine habitat—which supports rare populations of St. Helena fawn lilies and serpentine sunflowers. Heavy equipment also compromised the primary access route to the preserve, requiring major repairs and erosion control measures.

Community responds to a call for serious loving care
Recognizing an urgent need, our community stepped forward in a big way, offering services, in-kind donations and even a $20,000 matching grant. In a little less than two weeks,...

December 09, 2019

For much of my career I seem to have bypassed working with high school-aged students. This wasn’t intentional on my part, it just kind of happened. I starting working with elementary school-aged kids and jumped to adults. So, when planning began for the Conservation Science Intensive (CSI), ACR’s summer program for high school-aged young women, I was both nervous and eager for this new opportunity.

Yet, I was not alone in my new undertaking. CSI is built on the foundation of collaborative female leadership. Jacqueline Levy, Education Program Manager at the Bouverie Preserve, has 11 years of teaching high schoolers under her belt and Julianne Bradbury, Resource Ecologist at the Modini Preserve, co-led CSI in 2018 and spent many years as an educator across age levels....

November 05, 2019

ACR has recently added a user-controlled feature (aka widget) to our website to make our content more easily accessible. For users who prefer a larger font, more text spacing or higher page contrast, these and other options are available by clicking on the Accessibility Menu icon—a figure in a blue circle—in the top right corner of any page.

Developed by UserWay, the accessibility widget has been adopted by more than 100,000 websites as a way to offer a range of viewing options to visitors and improve compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1).

ACR is committed to meeting the objectives set out in the WCAG and in our Strategic Plan, 2019-2022. The...

November 01, 2019

11/1/19: Update from our Modini Preserve staff on the impact of the Kincade Fire:

ACR staff, including resident biologist Michelle Cooper and land stewards Tomas Ruiz and Kyle Doron were able to return to the preserve earlier this week and found the Modini ranch house, outbuildings and barn still standing. Our relief was magnified tenfold with gratitude to CAL FIRE Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit and the thousands of state and local firefighters determined to thwart infrastructure loss within the burn zone. In our case, the efforts to save these structures were significant: hand lines, back burning, bulldozer lines and even retardant drops. Of our 3,000 acres, roughly 2,850 burned. In the vicinity of the residential compound, the land itself appears moderately burned, not scorched. We...

October 17, 2019

Building a new relationship with the land

We are excited to announce that Audubon Canyon Ranch has engaged Siegel & Strain Architects for the rebuilding of the Bouverie Preserve facilities in Glen Ellen, destroyed by the Nuns Fire of 2017. Siegel & Strain is THE architectural firm for nature education facilities and comes highly recommended.

Over the past six months, ACR’s Board of Directors interviewed several firms and chose Siegel & Strain because of their impressive track record of innovative and functional design, creative solutions for indoor/outdoor flow, sensitive handling of site and cultural history, and deep commitment to framing a vision that is uniquely ACR’s.

Siegel & Strain’s...

October 16, 2019

Our plan to conduct a 9.5 acre controlled burn at Martin Griffin Preserve looks favorable for this Sunday, October 20, 2019. If weather conditions permit, ACR will be joined by more than 20 firefighters from partner organizations, county & local fire agencies and our volunteer wildland firefighting team to burn understory growth located midway up the Bourne Ridge.

We anticipate running a test ignition at 9:00 a.m.; if within the parameters of our permit from CAL FIRE and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the controlled burn will commence, with ignitions expected through 4:00 p.m. The team will continue to monitor the site throughout the night. Because smoke will be visible from the Bolinas and Stinson Beach areas, we are working closely with traffic, fire and...

October 16, 2019

We are excited to share this first look at mama mountain lion P4 and her three 3-month-old kittens. Born on July 8, 2019 in the Mt. Veeder area of Napa County, they all appear healthy and on the road to becoming fully-fledged big-cats!

In this footage recorded October 8–10, P4 has killed and cached a deer for them, a task she will continue to do for the next year until they are ready to disperse. Odds of survival are brutal though; this is the third litter of kittens we've...

October 15, 2019

In late August Sarah Warnock—who returned to live in West Marin in 2018 when her husband Nils was appointed director of conservation science at ACR—was combing the Tomales Bay shoreline near Cypress Grove Research Center. Although trained as an ornithologist, Sarah has a passion for fossils and was on a mission. She was rewarded beyond all expectation when she found the roots of a mammoth molar sticking up through the rocky shore, as if to wave hello. Having lived for many years in Alaska, where mammoth fossils are not uncommon, Sarah recognized it right away.

Since the discovery, Sarah has been working with regional experts to confirm the identity of the fossil and to devise a plan to carefully remove the molar for future analysis. Bobby Boessenecker, paleontologist and adjunct...

September 20, 2019

While many in the ornithological world will not be surprised by the recent Science article, "Three billion North American birds have vanished since 1970," the  findings are a wake-up call for readers everywhere and highlight the importance of developing trigger points for monitoring programs that lead to effective communication and conservation action.

To add local context to the overall decline, on Tomales Bay, where ACR has monitored shorebirds since 1989, mean winter shorebird numbers have declined from about 20,000 individual birds in the late 1980s to about 6,000-7,000 individual birds currently, a population decline of roughly 65%. The biggest losers appear to be Dunlin and Western Sandpipers.

In our upcoming edition of Conservation in Science, Director of...

September 16, 2019

Since 1985 ACR has protected Toms Point from development and for the benefit of the natural systems of Tomales Bay. Through the archeological excavations of Tsim Schneider, Lee Panich and team, we also have come to understand the cultural importance of places like Toms Point—both historic and contemporary—to native people of California and are deeply grateful to continue on a path of shared purpose with regional tribal members and researchers.

Their work recently was highlighted in the San Francisco Chronicle and is recommended reading for our North Bay community.