August E-News
California Biodiversity Day
California Biodiversity Day takes place on September 7th of each year, marking the anniversary of its launch in 2018. This annual event celebrates our state’s exceptional biodiversity and encourages actions to protect it. 
The term biodiversity (from “biological diversity”) refers to the variety of life in a particular place. Though often measured as the number of species, it can be applied at various scales from genes to species to ecosystems. Think of our varied iconic landscapes in California and the multiple ecosystems within each type. Then imagine the variety of plants and animals that each ecosystem supports, with each population containing a diverse gene pool. THAT is biodiversity!

The Laguna de Santa Rosa watershed is part of the California Floristic Province, one of 36 biodiversity “hotspots” in in the world. From the Laguna de Santa Rosa and surrounding vernal pool wetlands found on the Santa Rosa Plain to the serpentine habitat on Hood Mountain, many rare and endangered plant and animal species are found only here. We live in a special place one recognized not just locally, but internationally! The Laguna wetland complex is also designated as a Wetland of International Importance due to its unique setting and diverse assemblage of life, highlighting the many important ecosystem services that wetlands provide including flood control, fish and wildlife habitat, and human recreation just to name a few.

Your involvement with the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation helps. Please consider supporting this vital work by making a donation today!
Check out our 2021-2022 Impact Report to learn more about the accomplishments you help make possible.
A Growing Concern: Battling the Threat of Mediterranean Oak Borers in Sonoma County
One of the most defining scenic features of Sonoma County are the majestic oak trees scattered throughout our neighborhoods, parks, valleys, and hillsides. These trees play a critical role in our local ecosystem, providing support to more life forms than any other North American tree genus. However, this important ecosystem is now facing a serious threat – the Mediterranean Oak Borer (Xyleborus monographus). This tiny but destructive insect is native to southern Europe and is suspected to be introduced to Sonoma County through oak used in the wine industry. Its infestations can cause significant damage to oak trees, potentially leading to tree mortality.

These borers primarily target valley and blue oak trees that are already stressed or weakened due to fire, drought, or other disease. The female borer burrows into the tree's bark, creating tunnels where they introduce fungal spores. This fungus feeds the larvae and adults while also damaging and/or killing the tree over time by disrupting its water and nutrient transport systems. The beetles tend to invade upper limbs of the canopy first and then move down towards the lower trunk.

Preventing the spread of Mediterranean Oak Borers will require a community effort. Be mindful in your surroundings and take a look at the oaks in your area - do they look healthy or are you seeing signs of a possible infestation? Help to educate yourself, neighbors, and friends about the signs and symptoms of an infestation and ways to prevent them. If you do see some signs of a possible infestation, be sure to reach out to a local arborist such as Merlin Arborist Group who can help to assess the tree or the California Department of Food and Agriculture to report the tree. Through vigilance, proper tree care, and community collaboration, we can combat this invasive pest and protect one of our most important ecological resources.

For more information on how to identify and prevent infestations, check out these links from: University of California, Updates from UCCE Sonoma County, California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Welcome, Sparky - Our New Electric Vehicle
Laguna Foundation staff have dreamed of the day when an all-electric work truck would be available so that we can move our work practices in line with our ideals. Our dream has finally come true! Thanks to the generous support of donors and diligence of staff, this May we were able to track down and buy a brand new Ford F150 Lightning all-electric, full sized and powerful pickup truck. Please welcome Sparky to the Laguna Foundation’s fleet!

Sparky is powerful in more ways than one! Besides not burning fossil fuels as we drive to and from our work sites, we can use the extra power from Sparky’s battery bank to directly power tools and recharge tool batteries via multiple power outlets. This onboard power is essential for switching over from gas-powered tools to cleaner and quieter professional grade electric and battery powered tools; brush cutters, chainsaws, weed-eaters, etc... We hope to have our field operations mostly switched over battery and electric power within a year’s time. There is a myriad of opportunities that we have not even thought of yet! Plus, we look forward to using Sparky’s onboard power for making fresh brewed, HOT coffee and tea for volunteers during this upcoming Laguna Stewards out in the field this upcoming season!
Upcoming Art Events
Art Walk - Gallery and Garden Open at the Laguna Environmental Center
Saturday, August 26, 2023. 12:00pm – 3:00pm
Location: Laguna Environmental Center
FREE. No RSVP necessary. Garden Tours at 1pm & 2pm. More details.

August Art Walk is here! Enjoy our current exhibit, "ʔay:a:kʰe čahnu" (our language) by Nicole Jones then check out our native plant garden. Artist and illustrator, Nicole Jones, is exhibiting her whimsical paintings of native flora and fauna paired with her native language. Nicole is a Southern Pomo citizen of The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. Her current work is based on her Southern Pomo culture and language.
No registration necessary - just come on by! Visitors are also welcome to enjoy a lunch at our picnic tables.
New Art Exhibit in Heron Hall! Opening Reception
“Sonoma County Landscape” Paintings by Charles Beck
Saturday, September 9, 2023. 3:00 – 5:00pm
Location: Laguna Environmental Center
FREE. No RSVP necessary. Light refreshments provided. More details.

We are pleased to invite you to our exhibition opening celebration. Esteemed artist, Charles Beck, is featuring his large-scale paintings of Sonoma County’s coastal and inland areas in this new art exhibit “Sonoma County Landscape” on display at the Laguna Environmental Center, September 9 – December 22, 2023. No registration necessary - refreshments provided!
Volunteer Spotlight
For this month’s Volunteer Spotlight, we’d like to share our gratitude for Dr. Morgan Marchbanks, Ed.D!

Morgan is currently serving as Chair of our Board of Directors since January. She joined the Board in 2019 and previously served as Vice Chair in 2022. After her three daughters attended Camp Tule, Morgan praised the abundant value of the program and became interested in volunteering for the Laguna Foundation.
Morgan grew up on a small farm within two miles of the Laguna Environmental Center and now lives with her family in Santa Rosa. She believes the restoration of the Laguna de Santa Rosa and the myriad educational opportunities it provides is of great importance to her family and the entire community.

In addition to her Board role, Morgan has also volunteered extensively as an integral team member and facilitator for the board and staff in our journey of working towards justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, building on her own life experience and training in restorative justice.

“My goal as Board Chair is to support our current Executive Director in maintaining and sustaining the impressive momentum that she and her team have achieved this year towards realizing our vision of a healthy Laguna for all.”
Morgan holds a Doctor of Education degree (Ed.D) in Educational Leadership for Social Justice, a M.A in Educational Administration, M.A in Secondary Teaching, an English teaching credential, in addition to numerous academic awards and professional achievements. Her educational pathway started at Santa Rosa Junior College and her advance degrees were earned University of California-Berkeley and Stanford University. In the Sequoia Union High School District of San Mateo County, her work included the teaching of English, and English as a Second Language, serving as Master Teacher to student teachers at Stanford and San Jose State universities, and English Department Chair. She also served as Principal, Chief Academic Officer, and Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services. She was a Founding Board member of the Smart Cookies Scholarship Board for ten years, and served as a board member for Garfield Charter School. She is proficient speaker of Spanish and currently volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in foster care in Sonoma County, and is the primary educator for her children in homeschooling.
Volunteer Events
Native Plant Garden Volunteer Day
Friday, September 1, 2023. 9:00am – 12:00pm
Location: Laguna Environmental Center
Free! Please RSVP:

Share your passion for pollinators by helping our native plant garden thrive! Volunteers are essential in beautifying our site, making it attractive not only for the human eye but for the birds, bees and other pollinators in the area. Activities include planting, weeding, spreading wood chips, and our favorite... looking for Monarchs on milkweed!
Join the Laguna de Santa Rosa Education Team
Become a Laguna Guide this Fall!
Begins Thursday, September 14, 2023. 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Location: Laguna Environmental Center

Help the Laguna Foundation host informative and fun community events. We offer a wide range of presentations, outings and workshops all year long to deepen our appreciation for the Laguna de Santa Rosa, connect with nature, and inspire a vibrant community dedicated to lifelong learning. These educational and outreach events are not possible without volunteer support!
Laguna Stewards: Vernal Pool Day!
Saturday, September 16, 2023. 9:00am – 12:00pm
Location: Vernal pool in Santa Rosa TBD

Vernal pools are unique ecosystems found in the Laguna de Santa Rosa watershed that host many threatened and endangered species found only in Sonoma County! Our conservation and restoration team will lead us in everything from raking and removing thatch, to preparing for planting endangered Sebastopol Meadowfoam seeds Our Laguna Foundation education and restoration staff will also share some insight about the environmental field and the vast work and impact of the organization.
Upcoming Education Events
Starry Trails: Guided Night Hike through the Laguna de Santa Rosa
Saturday, August 26, 8:00pm – 10:00pm
Location: Laguna Environmental Center

As night descends we will traverse down trails usually closed to the public. These winding pathways will journey through oak woodlands and hidden creeks. Along the way, we will share insights into the Laguna's rich ecology and learn about the night sky. Prepare your hiking boots and flashlights for this 3 mile outing!

There is no charge for this outing, which is made possible by the voters of Sonoma County who fund the work of Ag + Open Space with a quarter-cent sales tax.
Beginner’s Nature Journaling in the Laguna
Saturday, September 16, 8:00am – 11:00am
Location: Laguna Environmental Center

It's Creek Week! Join us as we team up with the City of Santa Rosa & Ag + Open Space to discover a new way to be in nature! This workshop is perfect for all nature enthusiasts! No experience is necessary. During this 3 mile hike you will learn basic techniques for capturing plants, birds, and insects in your journal, while immersing yourself in the peaceful surroundings of the Laguna de Santa Rosa. No artistic skills required, just an open mind and a love for the outdoors!

There is no charge for this outing, which is made possible by the voters of Sonoma County who fund the work of Ag + Open Space with a quarter-cent sales tax.
California Native Plant Sale and Open House
Saturday, October 14, 2023. 10:00am - 1:00pm.
Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

Planting season for California native plant gardens is here! Celebrate this autumnal change at the Laguna Environmental Center (LEC) while learning about California native plants. Shop for new additions to your garden in our shared nursery with the Milo Baker Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) then join us in the LEC landscape at 11:00am or 12:00pm for a guided walk in our native plant demonstration garden. This will also be a great opportunity to see the new Heron Hall art exhibit, “Sonoma County Landscape” paintings by Charles Beck.

We are proud to offer this event in collaboration with our local CNPS partners. Thank you for supporting our combined plant sale and open house, while nurturing local wildlife habitat in your own backyard.

Please note the following: The gate will open promptly at 10:00am, please do not come early as parking is not available outside the gate. No dogs are allowed onsite and we request that animals not be left in vehicles, as shady parking spots are not available. Please bring a box to take your plants home with you.

Event volunteers are needed! Please email: to lend a hand and help support this annual fundraiser – thank you!
Thank you to our Taking Flight Sponsors

Steward Sponsor
Gliding Sponsor