September E-News
School has Started: 
It’s Time for Learning Laguna!
The teacher applications are rolling in and plans are being made for the fall session of Learning Laguna, a 22-year strong environmental program designed specifically for 3rd graders. Docents will be getting together in early September for two community building and “skill brush-up” events. At Breakfast in the Laguna, we will preview the trails at Lower Stone Farm and share tips and tricks for leading experiential field trips. Classroom Catch-up is just that – a time to dust off our specialized classroom activities as we practice and coach each other in preparation for working with the children on their school campus. Following these refreshers and through November, Learning Laguna docents will be heading into classrooms throughout the Laguna de Santa Rosa watershed and leading field trips, sharing the wetland and wildlife wonders of the Laguna de Santa Rosa and the thrill of learning and discovery with young minds.
Does volunteering as a docent working with 7-8 year-old children in their classrooms and on field trips at the Laguna de Santa Rosa sound like a fun and meaningful way to spend your time? If so, start making plans to join us for docent training next spring! Keep an eye on our e-news and our docent webpage for details as they become available.
Opening Reception for New Art Exhibit
“Layers: Serenity, Survival and Silence” by Sally Rapelye Briggs
Saturday, September 10, 2022. 3:00-5:00pm
FREE. No RSVP necessary. Light refreshments provided.
Artist Statement: My paintings and drawings reflect my love of nature. With a close observation of bark, of moss, and the sun reflecting magically on the Laguna, my paint brush, my palette knife, and my pencil go into an energetic frenzy! Clouds reflecting on the Laguna or Tomales Bay change every minute in form and color, changing from translucent to opaque in storms. These ever-changing skies often determine the moods of my paintings.

My drawings display my inner calm, and the patience to see and portray meaningful minute details in a pine cone, an oak tree, or an old grape vine. I am forever grateful to be surrounded by all this beauty and hope that we all will take steps to preserve it.

Sally Rapelye Briggs graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 1971 with a major in painting. Her paintings, photography, and sculptures/assemblages have been juried into many shows on the East and West coasts. She has been awarded numerous awards showing her versatility in her diverse mediums and her sensitivity to and awareness of our fragile surroundings. Sally is also a teacher. Her 49 years teaching kindergarten through college art demonstrate her dedication towards giving her students the ability to visually express oneself. Her motto in class is “there is no wrong in art! Go for it! EXPLORE!”

For more information, please visit her website.
Rumi's Caravan
A Revival of the Oral Tradition of Poetry
Saturday, September 24, 2022. 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Tickets can be purchased on a sliding scale Register Today!
Come join us for a wonderfully unique poetic experience on an early Autumn evening!

Rumi's Caravan is a performance ensemble dedicated to restoring the Soul of the World through the revival of the oral tradition of poetry.

For this event, the performers will be Doug von Koss, Kay Crista, Rebecca Evert, and Larry Robinson. Larry Robinson has taken incredible photographs of the Laguna through the seasons. His photography can be seen throughout the performance. This will not be a reading or a slam but, rather, a poetic conversation. Each poet has committed a body of poetry to memory and will share the poems spontaneously as the conversation calls them forth. This is not a scripted event, so none know what poems will emerge. What the poems will have in common is a love and reverence for this beautiful world in which we have been blessed to be born.
 All proceeds go to the Laguna Foundation thanks to the generosity of Rumi’s Caravan. 
California Native Plants Sale and Open House with Milo Baker Chapter of the California Native Plant Society
Saturday, October 8, 2022. 10:00am - 1:00pm
Free (suggested donation $5 - $20). Please RSVP (so we can reach you in case of emergency cancellation due to excessive heat or other extreme weather).
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 for a guided walk at 11:00 am and 12:00 pm to learn about planting and maintaining a native plant garden. This is also a great opportunity to see the new Heron Hall art exhibit, “Layers: Serenity, Survival and Silence” by Sally Rapelye Briggs.
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. We want to be fair with our advertised start time, and will not allow early access.
  • Please leave your dogs at home. To protect the habitat, we cannot allow dogs on the property, and since we do not have shaded parking, dogs cannot be left in cars.
  • Please bring boxes for easy transport of your plant purchases! 
Amphibians of the San Francisco Bay Area Workshop
Zoom Presentation and Field Trip with Dave Cook and Jeff Alvarez
Zoom Presentation: Friday, December 2, 2022. 8:30am – 4pm
Field Trip to Private Preserve in Sonoma County: Saturday, December 3 or Sunday, December 4.
Fee: $300 Registration opened Thursday, September 1, 2022.
This workshop will provide an overview of the life history, ecology and conservation of frogs, toads, and salamanders that occur in the San Francisco Bay Area. Professional biologists and resource managers will receive practical knowledge of our local amphibians.
For each of the 16 species listed below we’ll provide specific information including identification features, range and distribution, habitat requirements, and behavior on common and rare species, including:
American Bullfrog, Arboreal salamander, Black salamander, California giant salamander, California newt, California red-legged frog, California slender salamander, California tiger salamander, Foothill yellow-legged frog, Northwestern salamander, Pacific chorus frog, Red-bellied newt, Rough-skinned newt, Western spadefoot, Western toad, Yellow-eyed salamander.
Workshop instructors are amphibian ecology and conservation experts Dave Cook and Jeff Alvarez, both of whom conduct herpetological research in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Natural Resources Day at the Laguna Environmental Center
We enjoyed hosting the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber’s Leadership Santa Rosa Class 38 for their Natural Resources Day. Leadership Santa Rosa is the Chamber’s premier leadership development program to identify, develop, and equip effective community leaders who will help create and support a spirit of cooperation for the resolution of future community challenges. Their Natural Resources Day is one in a series of ten full-day sessions and three half-day leadership training sessions in which participants gain an in-depth view of business and community issues, development to assume leadership roles, and exposure to community involvement opportunities. This year’s natural resources themes included climate change, water, energy, and how our community adapts to build resilience to natural disasters and maintain Sonoma County’s unique beauty. Panelists for the day included representatives from Occidental Arts and Ecology Center (Co-Founder Brock Dolman, pictured), Sonoma County Regional ParksDaily ActsSanta Rosa Plain Groundwater Sustainability AgencyRegional Climate Protection AuthoritySonoma Clean Power and more. We hope our beautiful venue and overview of our mission and impact will inspire these local leaders to join us in stewarding the Laguna de Santa Rosa, Sonoma County’s Wetland of International Importance!
Monarchs Return to Sonoma County
At the Laguna Environmental Center, Monarch butterflies are back! Fall is generally when we see the most monarch butterflies, and this year there are more than in recent years. As if to show us the importance of our restoration efforts, they’ve been flying around the milkweed in front of Heron Hall every day for the past few weeks. It’s heartening to know that over the years we’ve planted milkweed at our restoration sites, around our native plant garden, and at the Laguna Uplands Preserve, and that this year we are working with the Goldridge Resource Conservation District to take our efforts to an even greater level at more sites across the Laguna de Santa Rosa watershed and beyond.

We are currently nurturing1,500 milkweed plants in our nursery. Some will be placed at our own restoration sites and most will be planted by our partners, an important development because it expands our reach to private lands and places outside of our watershed. The migratory monarch butterfly is now classified as “Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The native population, known for its migrations from Mexico and California in the winter to summer breeding grounds throughout the United States and Canada, has shrunk by between 22% and 72% over the past decade. Learn more about how you can help the monarch butterfly from the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. You can also purchase locally appropriate native milkweed at the upcoming plant sale on October 8th!
It's Acorn Season!
Now is the time to collect acorns and plant oak trees. Oaks are an iconic part of the Sonoma County landscape, and having had a rough time lately, they deserve extra special care and attention. Between the wildfires, sudden oak death disease, extreme drought, and years of limited natural regeneration, we are looking at a future with many fewer majestic oaks. The Laguna Foundation is hard at work planting several native species of oaks at our restoration sites. If you have space for a lovely shade tree that will support a wide variety of wildlife and cool your yard in warming climate, then there is probably an oak tree species that is perfect for you to plant! To prevent Sudden Oak Death infection later in life you will need a spot on your property that is about 20’ by 20’ and does not include any bay laurel trees. If you aren’t sure about the presence of sudden oak death disease in your neighborhood, you can explore this map and find out how to test your trees next spring as part of a citizen science project led by UC Berkeley.
Take a look at the oak trees already growing around you, get permission to collect acorns, and collect from as many different trees in your area as you can. The California Native Plant Society's detailed guide will help you with the details. One helpful tip is to plant more than you need to ensure survival of some of them. If it becomes necessary, you can always thin them later. By early spring you will start to see small sprouts. A little weeding and mulching around your young trees will help them survive and be sure to prevent accidental mowing! If you can protect them from herbivores like deer, rabbits, voles, cows and sheep, they will have a good chance to grow into a mature tree. Another way to increase survival and growth is to make sure they get enough water during the rainy season. A little extra water in the spring and fall can get your trees off to a good start.
Happy planting!