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Nature Notebook, September 10, 2020

09/09/2020
The autumn equinox arrives Tuesday, Sept. 22 with equal hours of day and night. In the Celtic tradition, it is the second great harvest festival, Mabon, a time to rest after hard labor, give thanks for the abundance of nature, and prepare for the long winter darkness ahead. My unexpected...

Marin's climate action plan to stress benefits of carbon farming

09/02/2020
In its quest to meet California’s goal of bringing greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, Marin considers its farmers and ranchers a key part of the solution. “There’s not another sector in which there’s potential to actually draw down emissions like there is in agriculture...

Marin in top tier of new state rating system, but may move down soon

09/02/2020
It’s hard to keep track of which sectors are allowable under Marin’s shelter order, but a new state program rolled out last week has made it easier. Last Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new tiered rating system designed to pace counties through reopening, replacing the state’s watch list and...

A pioneer of grass-fed beef in Chileno Valley

09/02/2020
Mike Gale never planned on being a rancher. From a life as a champion football player at the University of Southern California to volunteering for the Peace Corps in Venezuela and later working as a civil servant in Hawaii, he travelled a long road to his Chileno Valley ranch. Once...

Park refutes activists’ claim that elk lack water

09/02/2020
Despite statements by Point Reyes National Seashore officials that the tule elk herd within the fenced enclosure at Tomales Point have an adequate natural water supply, activists are ringing an alarm. Last Sunday, around a dozen people took matters into their own hands, carrying buckets of water into the enclosure...

Woodward Fire lays its smoke over West Marin

09/02/2020
Firefighters made significant progress on the Woodward Fire this week, but West Marin’s largest fire in 25 years continues to smolder in the dense wilderness, filling the air with toxic smoke more than two weeks after its ignition. Fog and lower temperatures are keeping the flames calm, allowing crews to...

Saltwater intrusion at North Marin wells reaches historic high

08/26/2020
Salt levels are unprecedented in the drinking water pulled from North Marin Water District’s two wells in Point Reyes Station, following a year of little rainfall. The district has struggled for decades with periodic and seasonal salinity intrusion resulting from the wells’ proximity to Tomales Bay, but the problem is...

Nature Notebook, August 27, 2020

08/26/2020
As I write, the sounds of red-shouldered hawks and acorn woodpeckers are quiet; in the background, human birds—helicopters and planes—are at work. The deer have not been chowing on the cherry plums in the yard, perhaps sniffing the scent of fire in the air. I had hoped to share such...

Woodward Fire makes slow march through park

08/26/2020
Coastal residents are on edge as a large fire grows in the Point Reyes National Seashore, threatening homes, reshaping wilderness and saturating the sky with smoke. Firefighters are fully engaged on the front lines to contain the blaze, which has burned nearly 3,000 acres of parkland and jumped over at...

Shoreline starts school optimistically

08/26/2020
The first day of school is a time of new things: new classes, new teachers and new activities. In 2020, the first day of school is even more unfamiliar, as backpacks and classrooms have been replaced by Chromebooks and Zoom. The learning curve for distance learning is steep, but educators...

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