May 08, 2020


On Valentine’s Day this year, Luna (P16) gave birth to her first litter of kittens. She is only 3 years old and so a young mother. As we watched her awkward attempts to care for these new, tiny, and foreign creatures, we wondered what their chance of success would be. At first, we thought the den site chosen was far too exposed, and waited to find them killed by a passing predator while mom was away hunting. To our surprise, they survived...

April 11, 2020

Hello Friends,

I hope you are well and that nature, unencumbered by the frenetic pace of modern life, has shown you her beauty in new ways. As one of two resident staff members at ACR’s Cypress Grove Research Center on Tomales Bay, I can report that the natural world is moving around just fine—wintering waterbirds are heading to their northern breeding areas, while the Great Egrets we are tracking are sporting some beautiful breeding plumes. Various songbirds are busy nesting, and coyotes, bobcat, and fox are on regular rotation.

A special highlight for me this spring has been the discovery of 5–10 individual California red-legged frogs (Rana draytonii) in one of the Cypress Grove ponds. This species is federally listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. My...

April 01, 2020


P19, a 22-month-old male mountain lion followed by Living with Lions in Sonoma County, has left home and the safety of mom to find his own way. Watch as over a few weeks beginning on March 9, 2020, this big cat sets a determined course east into the Central Valley and comes within 25 miles of Sacramento before turning back toward the safety of the Vaca Mountains. Remarkably, in his early travels he has crossed Interstate 80 twice and navigated the major intersections of Vacaville.

As a young dispersing male, this elusive top...

March 25, 2020

On February 22, 2020, Living with Lions program director Dr. Quinton Martins tracked down the first litter of kittens born to mountain lion P16 near Kenwood, Sonoma County on Valentine's Day. P16, named Luna by the landowners where she was captured, is a 2.5–3-yr-old female that was collared for the GPS tracking study in March 2019.

The team set up trail cameras to capture the interactions of Mama Luna and her kittens over the...

March 11, 2020

The Long-billed Curlew is listed as a Bird Species of High Concern by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as a Species of Special Concern in Canada. Some populations have declined dramatically in recent decades, with threats from loss of breeding habitat, especially grassland habitat, urbanization of agricultural habitat, and hunting.

Over the last 15 years, many collaborators, including ACR’s Nils Warnock, have been using lightweight satellite transmitters to track curlews from a variety of breeding and wintering areas and have achieved impressive coverage that spans most breeding states and provinces and most of the wintering range.

However, a large knowledge gap remains along the coast of California where many curlews winter but few of previously tracked birds...

March 10, 2020

ACR's Fire Forward staff, volunteer prescribed burners from the Good Fire Alliance and the Cooley Ranch crew hosted an active prescribed fire training in early March, aided by the 'false spring' clear and cool weather window.

February 11, 2020

The Living with Lions team collared P21, a 130lb, 7-year old male mountain lion, near Cazadero on February 10 after being contacted by a local resident who had lost two goats to this big cat the night before.

Landowner David opted to spare this lion from certain death by depredation permit, recognizing a responsibility to safeguard the well-being of his animals and avoid the senseless death of a wild top-predator. The team dubbed this lion "Goliath."

P21 is the second mountain lion to be fitted with a GPS collar in West Sonoma County. After capture, biological measurements and samples were taken to determine his age and health, as well as to map the genetic makeup of the region and state’s lion populations.

We are extremely excited to see the extent of his range,...

February 11, 2020

ACR's Fire Forward team was very pleased to contribute to a prescribed burn of 27 acres of cattail marshland in the Panoche Valley Preserve, southeast of Hollister in early February.

The burn helps create a mosaic of habitat structure for Tricolored Blackbirds, listed as a candidate for California Endangered Species. By removing the dense stand of cattails and other plant thatch, new growth habitat preferred by Tricolors will establish itself in about 14 months.

Describing the nearly 20-40' flame lengths seen in photos of the burn, Jared explained, "It can seem that cattails burn like a tire fire, but this marsh is surrounded by a high bluff and thousands of acres of green grass, making for safe conditions."

Panoche Valley Preserve plans to burn a portion of the...

February 06, 2020

Newly trained naturalists to guide nature connection

The Bouverie bell rang out 13 times this week in honor of a new class of Bouverie Preserve docents. These knowledgeable naturalists completed 17 weeks of ACR's core training in natural history, ecology and nature interpretation for children and soon will head into classrooms and on the trail, helping our youngest community members forge a deeper connection to the natural wonders of the Sonoma Valley.

All members of the class of 2020 earned their California Naturalist Certification and were certified in first aid and CPR by the Red Cross. Two seasoned docents also completed the California Naturalist certification. THANK YOU for your commitment to nature, new docents!

Want to benefit from their stellar effort and...

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,...