December 21, 2020
Dear Friends,
Today is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year and the beginning of a new season. It is a time when people around the world welcome back the light and the gradual increase in daylight. If you follow astrology, today is significant as both Saturn and Jupiter align at the same degree of the zodiac, signaling the new "Age of Aquarius" and great potential. Astronomers call this the Great Conjunction and it’s been nearly 400 years since the planets passed this close to each other in the sky, and nearly 800 years since they aligned at night, allowing nearly everyone around the world to witness this “great conjunction." A powerful celestial and energetic transition is unfolding!
Lighting the Inner Candle
I am feeling hopeful. While we have collectively experienced many challenges in 2020 and this holiday season is unlike any other, I invite you to think of what brings you joy. What keeps your inner candle burning? Is it watching the setting sun? Lighting candles for a shared holiday meal? Perhaps you love going out for walks with your binoculars and seeing which feathered friends are visiting this time of year. Or maybe you love hiking in the woods and inhaling the fragrant and healing scents of pine and fir trees. Aaaahhh.
A Feeling of Joy
I’m going to guess that most of us find joy in outdoor experiences. After all, we are a community of nature lovers, park enthusiasts, and Earth protectors. In Norway, they have a word for finding joy in connecting to nature through outdoor experiences - friluftsliv. It translates to “free air life.”  

In Denmark, often said to be the happiest country in the world, they, too, have a word for what contributes to their joy, they call it hygge. Hygge is something you feel. It’s that feeling when you’re drinking a cup of hot cocoa. It’s the comfort you feel when sharing a candlelit meal on a cold winter evening with friends or family. And here’s my favorite translation: “the art of creating coziness of the soul.” 
Wishing You Light, Hygge, and Friluftsliv
However you choose to celebrate the holidays this year, I hope you will nourish yourself, find time to connect with nature, and take time for rest and pause. Below we offer you a gift meant to uplift your spirit this season. This video was created to bring you images of the beauty, joy, and light one can find here in our magical seashore. We also list some winter activities you might consider.
Thank you for your support this year and for joining us when we had to social distance and work from home. Through Park In Place, we offered stories, educational webinars, articles, classes, and photos to keep you connected to the park you love.

And lastly, we are excited to share a new podcast developed by our Science Communication intern, with lessons learned from the Woodward Fire. So snuggle up under your cozy blanket, grab a mug of your favorite warm drink, and enjoy hearing more about the park you love. On this powerful day, as we head into winter, during one of the darkest years we have experienced, I invite you to find what is hygge and friluftsliv for you. How will you welcome the light into your home and life this season?
Wishing you warmth, hygge, friluftsliv, love and light during this holiday season.
Heather sig 1
Heather Clapp
Director of Development and Community Engagement
The Magical Light in Point Reyes
This video is our holiday gift to you. May it inspire friluftsliv, hygge, and hope
this holiday season. Video and music produced by Isaac Taylor (see credits for the many talented local photographers who contributed to this project).
Friluftsliv and Hygge Winter Activities
1. Participate in the Christmas Bird Count from home. While many local Christmas Bird Counts have been cancelled, you can still participate by birding close to home and reporting your findings on eBird.

2. Eyes to the sky tonight just after sunset - look to the southwest within the hour after sunset to see the proximity of two celestial bodies (Jupiter and Saturn) pouring starlight over us. Here are some additional fun facts.

3. Observe the ebb and flow of the highest tides of the year. If you are interested in contributing to community science or want to see what our coastlines will look like with the rising seas, visit the California King Tides Project to see a map and photos of king tides from years past and this current year.

4. Learn more about northern elephant seals from the comfort of your home. Follow us on social media (PointReyesNPS, PointReyes_PRNSA) this winter as we, along with our park partner, will be sharing updates. From now until mid-March, northern elephant seals will be resting, breeding, nursing, or mating on a few special beaches, including Drakes Beach. 

5. Take time to observe the sunset and follow the moon’s cycle during these crisp, chilly winter evenings. 

6. Listen to our new Natural Laboratory podcast. You’ll hear more from experts on lessons learned from the Vision and Woodward Fires. Here is our new podcast by Jerimiah Oetting, PRNSA’s Science Communication Intern.
Marin County issued a new Stay at Home order effective December 8 in response to the increasing cases of COVID -19 in the region and state. These new restrictions will remain in place until January 4, 2021.

How will these changes affect our park and park visitors?
  • Campgrounds will be closed - this includes Wildcat campground, and all Tomales Bay boat-in sites. Sky, Glen, and Coast campgrounds were already closed due to the Woodward Fire.
  • All other current closures will remain in effect. Please find a link to download a high-resolution PDF version of the park-wide closure map on the NPS website here.
Field Conservation for Mountain Gorillas??
Thursday, January 14, 6pm – 7pm
Free #Park In Place Webinar Series
Yup you read that right, Gorillas. Mountain Gorillas to be exact. No there are no Mountain Gorillas in Point Reyes and there probably never will be. What is connected is the in-depth conservation skills and research that has gone on to make incredible change for a sensitive species. Jena Hickey has devoted years to conservation efforts while working in the field and has a lot to share. Come learn more about how change can happen at a variety of levels and register for this free webinar today. Register Now!
Due to the new shelter in place order in Marin County, we have elected to cancel all in-person field classes at this time in support of public health efforts. Although outdoor classes are not strictly forbidden, gathering with people outside of your household, even outdoors, and even with precautions is strongly discouraged. We look forward to seeing you online, or in-person after the new year!
Marine Mammals of Point Reyes
Friday, January 8, 10:30am – 5pm
Watch for whales and spot seals on the seashore. Learn and observe with expert guidance! Coastal habitats of Point Reyes host a large variety of marine mammals. In short walks with David Wimpfheimer near the Lighthouse, Drakes Beach, and other locations this class will focus on Elephant seals and Gray whales while covering other cetaceans and pinnipeds of the area. Be sure to bring your binoculars! Register Here.
Saturday, January 9, 10am – 2pm
Poetry workshop in nature...walk, wander and stop to write along the way. Give voice to the world around you.
We'll walk in silence and write our observations and experiences, read to each other, keep watch, interview the world, give voice to what is happening. Instructor Patti Trimble will share poetic forms and present writing practices for deep attention.
This class will meet at the Limantour Beach Parking Lot, then we'll walk and write our way upstream along the Muddy Hollow trail. Register Here.
Saturday, January 16, 10:30am – 5pm
With excellent image quality, portability, and easy images sharing, the smartphone has become the camera of choice for many, and for many it’s their only camera. While you can get captivating images with the native camera app, to unlock the full potential of the camera, third-party apps excel at bringing out the most your camera can offer.
Select class title for more information on these and other upcoming classes.
Saturday, January 23, 10am – 4pm
Sunday, January 24, 9am – 4pm
A Five-Part Series: Tuesdays, January 26 – February 16, - 7pm – 9pm
Saturday, January 30, 10am – 2pm
Sunday, January 31, 10am – 4:30pm
NEW University of California Extension Certification Program
UC Climate Stewards Program at Point Reyes
February 23 – April 20, Tuesdays, 6:30pm-9pm, online classes
3 Saturdays, 9:30am – 3:30pm, in person at locations in and around Point Reyes
Help your community find resilience in a changing climate...become a certified Climate Steward!
Climate Stewards is an exciting new initiative from the University of California Cooperative Extension in partnership with the Point Reyes National Seashore Association. In this program you will learn more about the science of climate change, how to communicate more effectively about this issue, and how to help your community adapt to climate challenges.
As a Certified Climate Steward you will become part of a statewide network working to promote community and ecosystem resilience for California's future. To learn more about this initiative, visit UCANR's Climate Stewards page. For more information or to register for the certification course, click here.
Give the gift of education to someone you love!
Looking for a holiday gift? Would you like to gift someone with an experience that connects them to the natural world? Field Institute gift certificates are valid for any Field Institute one-day land-based class. All classes occur in and around the Point Reyes
National Seashore. More Info
We partner with the National Park Service to create opportunities for all people to experience, enhance, and preserve Point Reyes National Seashore for present and future generations.
Point Reyes National Seashore | (415) 663-1200 x 310 | |