February 09, 2022
Soft orange light at sunset reflects on water and cypress trees, as well as a red barn, on the shoreline of Tomales Bay.

“Living shorelines connect the land and water to stabilize shorelines, reduce erosion, and provide valuable habitat that enhances coastal resilience.” –NOAA Restoration Center

Living shoreline projects are nature-based approaches that provide shoreline protection services (e.g., long-term mitigation of shoreline erosion) while at the same time enhancing and protecting existing habitats and providing co-benefits such as sequestering carbon (e.g., blue carbon in eelgrass meadows) and promoting native oyster restoration.

What is a living shoreline project?

Unlike a concrete seawall or other hard structure, which impede the growth of plants and animals, living shorelines grow over time.

They are an innovative and cost-effective...

February 04, 2022
Fred Bassett with a drip torch executing a prescribed burn

Winter is an important time to assess, prepare, and lead prescribed fires, for members of ACR's Fire Forward team and the Good Fire Alliance. This late January, Fred Bassett and Catherine Conner reached out to us to train their Sebastopol neighborhood on essential principles of safe, prescribed burns that occur in winter. A video towards the end of this article includes footage from this recent winter burn. 

Why winter burns?

Winter offers an opportunity to help our neighbors learn how to manage fuels, and use good fire under low-risk conditions. Weather and soil tend to be more wet in winter, especially for Sonoma and Marin County, where members of Fire Forward and Good Fire Alliance act most often.

Typically, long, damp nights and green meadows are two factors...

January 26, 2022

Director of Conservation Science Nils Warnock and Avian Ecologists David Lumpkin and Scott Jennings have been shorebird trapping at Walker Creek Delta on Tomales Bay since November. So far, they have deployed 16 tracking tags on Dunlin, an Arctic breeding shorebird that migrates to and from Tomales Bay throughout their lifespan.

Since November, ACR scientists have been “listening in” to pings from these tags that are automatically recorded by our Toms Point and Cypress Grove Motus receiving towers. In the photo above by David Lumpkin, a CTT Hybrid Tag is attached by harness to a Dunlin. The hybrid tags combine battery and solar power for a lightweight tag, with the potential to last a year or more.

David also recently met near Colusa in the Central Valley with ACR...

January 26, 2022
Zoom screenshot of a 3x4 grid showing faces of conservation scientists and students

Mark your calendars for an incredible opportunity for young women who are interested in conservation science. Applications are open for our CSI program! Audubon Canyon Ranch's Conservation Science Intensive (CSI) brings together selected participants for a five-day virtual conservation experience.

Our CSI program centers on the feminine, which includes those who are socialized as, or identify with, the terms girl/young women, as well as those who transcend our inherited gender binaries. We are committed to creating safe, inclusive, and accessible spaces for all participants.

We encourage all applicants to learn more by reading this post, sharing with anyone...

January 12, 2022

Seven months of research may suggest how diet reflects seasonally-available food

True Wild, ACR’s research partner for the Living with Lions program, has connected with the Institute for Wildlife Studies (IWS) and since last May, employed graduate student Jake Harvey to find and record mountain lion prey cache sites. Cache sites are what researchers call “kill clusters” and refer to areas where lions drag or relocate their food. To locate the sites, we look for a grouping of GPS pings from collared lions and then head into the field—or more often, the poison oak covered hillsides—to investigate.

The preliminary data collected so far points to an interesting pattern of prey tied...

January 12, 2022

ACR releases new research about egret foraging behavior in Tomales Bay

ACR researchers recently published results on December 31, 2021, from our study of GPS-tagged Great Egrets foraging on Tomales Bay. “Great egret (Ardea alba) habitat selection and foraging behavior in a temperate estuary: comparing natural wetlands to areas with shellfish aquaculture,” co-authored by Scott Jennings, David Lumpkin, Nils Warnock, T. Emiko Condeso, and John P. Kelly, appears in “PLOS One.”

November 05, 2021

The pandemic has forced many ACR programs to ‘go virtual’ over the past year, but preserve stewardship is an in-person and on-the-land endeavor.

Understanding the need for ongoing boots-on-the-ground support and with a generous spirit, Justin Dierkhising, owner of Justin Dierkhising Construction Management Services of Petaluma and an ACR Business Partner, saw an opportunity.

In partnership with Martin Griffin Preserve staff and with a team of hardworking volunteers, Justin envisioned, designed and built two new trail bridges that cross creeks on ACR’s Martin Griffin Preserve.  The existing bridges were old and no longer safe for the many hikers, volunteers and school groups that use the structures on a trail called the Zumie Loop, which winds through a tranquil redwood...

November 04, 2021

Late last month, friends and fans of M.F.K. Fisher and film gathered (adhering to City of San Francisco COVID-19 recommendations) for a magical afternoon at famed Foreign Cinema to benefit the restoration, repair, and maintenance of M.F.K. Fisher's Last House and the completion of filmmaker Gregory Bezat's latest project, The Art of Eating: The Life of M.F.K. Fisher. Generous supporters raised nearly $15,000.

October 19, 2021
Scientist holding an iPad by an oak tree for a virtual visit in oak woodlands

Since 2020, we have welcomed more than 4,600 students from 56 Bay Area schools on virtual visits. These virtual visits alternate between Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen and Martin Griffin Preserve in Stinson Beach. (Above photo by Liz Martins). 

Students arrive at virtual visits with eager curiosity

Students from the Bridges Academy in Oakland kicked off our fall 2021 season of virtual visits with a good dose of excitement to learn about oak galls, pond life, and more from ACR education staff joining them from the field.

At Bouverie Preserve, we are helping students use their observation skills to compare similarities and differences of two trees and look for signs of animals using the trees for food and shelter. At Martin Griffin Preserve, we explore pond...

October 13, 2021

Audubon Canyon Ranch Board of Directors is pleased to announced the appointment of Tom Gardali as Chief Executive Officer of the sixty-year-old organization. He will assume the role on November 29, 2021.

“Tom’s depth of experience in conservation science is the right fit for ACR and for a region facing the ongoing conservation challenges of dwindling biodiversity and climate-driven wildfire,” said ACR Board President Carol Lynn Wood. “Over the course of his career, Tom has proven himself to be a team-focused leader and a dedicated advocate for both practical and innovative approaches to natural resource stewardship. Importantly, he is committed to continuing ACR’s journey to be a diverse, inclusive, and equitable organization. On behalf of the entire board, we welcome Tom to...