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 to deer...

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

Local business partner designs and builds two new bridges 

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...

November 04, 2021

Benefit raises funds to steward M.F.K. Fisher's legacy

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

The right fit for ACR

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...

September 09, 2021

Fed by nature, and by love

The winners of the Second Annual Last House Writing Contest, chosen from more than a dozen essays submitted in youth and adult categories, were announced in early September.

“Once again, we had so many excellent entries our judges had a very difficult job. Writers took to heart our theme this year, which was in the spirit of M.F.K. Fisher’s How to Cook a Wolf, to write about the power and magic of survival skills,” said Susie Allen, who manages the programming for Last House.

Nature, gardening, wild animals, and cooking during the pandemic were themes for many writers. Others explored the joy of sharing food and new cooking adventures with loved ones.

The panel of judges, coordinated by food and wine consultant...

August 16, 2021

ACR is extremely delighted to welcome ten prescribed fire community members to the first class of Fire Forward Fellows. Over the past couple of years as volunteer fire-lighters, these Fellows have engaged in prescribed burns, land stewardship, community building and some have even taken on wildfire assignments. Now they look to build leadership skills under the guidance of our Fire Forward team and in partnership with their employer organizations.

Each Fellow has arrived with basic wildland firefighter training and some on-the-ground experience. During the one-year fellowship, these ten will each engage in more than 300 hours of professional development focused on planning and implementing ecologically-driven prescribed fire and supporting their qualifications as Squad Boss and...

August 16, 2021

Living with Lions principal investigator Dr. Quinton Martins recently collared four male mountain lions (P24, P25, P30 and P31) in western and northern Sonoma County near Sebastopol, Healdsburg, Cazadero and Geyserville after each was implicated in the killing of a sheep or goat.

The Living with Lions Project is mandated to conduct research on lions in the North Bay and its researchers can monitor lions but not interfere with the management of mountain lions. When a lion-related livestock loss occurs, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) permits our team to collar the animal when granted permission by the landowner. This is a significant step in the right direction for our need to better understand the diet and behavior of lions in our area. If the lion were...

August 10, 2021

Indigenous ecological knowledge guides acorn research

ACR is excited to collaborate with Cal State East Bay professor Tony Marks-Block and UC Berkeley assistant professor, Coast Miwok, and Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria citizen Peter Nelson, on a prescribed fire research project that aims to learn more about the effects of prescribed fire on acorn pests, acorn phenology (the study of the timing of life cycle events), and acorn gathering efficiency.

“Indigenous peoples across California have used fire to reduce acorn pest infestations, thus Indigenous ecological knowledge is guiding the development of research objectives and methods,” explained Marks-Block.

The study will compare acorns collected in prescriptively burned oak woodlands on Bouverie Preserve...