Signs of spring on the West Marin coast are evident and stirring excitement at ACR’s Martin Griffin Preserve. On this thousand acres of wildlands and watershed overlooking the Bolinas Lagoon, new growth is budding, wildflowers are blooming, and pollinators are buzzing. New buckeye leaves are unfurling and fern fiddleheads abound. Indian paintbrush, milkmaids, suncups, hound’s tongue, Douglas iris, woodland strawberries, Fremont star lilies, and Calypso orchids can been seen and smelled in all their splendor. These flowers attract butterflies, bumble bees, and hummingbirds, as they busily fly about.

The four canyons of the Preserve feature mixed evergreen forests and freshwater habitat for hundreds of species of mammals, land birds, reptiles, and amphibians. The ponds are full and newts are swimming. In the cool, damp corners of the canyons, banana slugs and salamanders enjoy wet conditions. Fungi and slime molds are sure to be fruiting as gifts from recent rains.

Osprey, turkey vultures, kingfishers, wren tits, and pileated woodpeckers are just some of the feathered friends flying overhead. Looking down on the Bolinas Lagoon from the canyons, migratory shorebirds and ducks can be spotted feeding from the Lagoon’s bounty.

These natural wonders will greet the school groups from the around the Bay Area that visit the Preserve from March through June to hike, connect, and experience nature’s curiosities. ACR Docents guide students and share their love and appreciation of the natural world. As Rachel Carson eloquently stated, “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.”