Creating an Environmentally Ready Society
Check out student research on air, water, and wildlands!
An Interview with Dr. Chris Halle
Nature!Tech Program Development Lead

Topic: Air Quality Station

Q: Why are you studying air quality?

The project began because my friends and I were having trouble breathing. Sonoma County's air quality is rated clean, despite the big seasonal swings in respiratory problems. I spoke to the senior scientists at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District . Breathing problems seem to be related to changes in wind direction, rainfall, and local agricultural practices. There aren't enough air quality sensors in our region to measure those types of environmental changes, especially in rural areas.
Q: How did students get involved and what did they do?

I pitched the project idea for a low-cost air quality station to Dr. Farid Farahmand’s Engineering Design Class at Sonoma State University. Three students, Jimmy Cao, Javier Urbina, and Rona Jergenson drafted a plan for the station. The students collaborated with Tim Dye of TD Environmental Services in Petaluma to ensure their work was at the forefront of sensor development. The real-world project was challenging for the students but also motivating because of the direct public impact. Now students are in discussion with the City of Rohnert Park about installing their low-cost, low-power sensor station at City Hall.
Q: Can other faculty and students get involved?

Absolutely! We need all disciplines to work together to solve environmental challenges like air quality. Vincent Schwartz from Geography, Environment and Planning is working this summer on educational signage. We'd love to collaborate with the math department to help analyze data and the nursing department to assess medical impacts of air quality. Environmental challenges need to be addressed by businesses, community, and faculty members across all disciplines.
Our Commitment to Copeland Creek

Congratulations to students, faculty, and partners for six years of studies on the Copeland Creek watershed!
Copeland Creek runs from Sonoma State University's Fairfield Osborn Preserve across our campus and into the Laguna de Santa Rosa. Data collected by students are archived and shared each year on the Center's Waters Collaborative website. The information is becoming a valuable resource for partnering organizations studying water quality, habitat loss, sedimentation, and flooding. The Waters Collaborative – which supports about 25 student projects each year is supported with funding from the Sonoma County Water Agency. Visit the Waters Collaborative here .
"The Center has helped me make important connections with regional parks and local agricultural professionals. It has inspired me to pursue my masters in soil science."

- Caryle Chandler, Geography Graduat e
Power-Lines & Fire Hazards

Our power-line study was just renewed for a third year with a grant from the TREE Fund.
Sonoma State University students are continuing their study on how to mitigate fire hazards and promote native vegetation under transmission lines. The students work alongside professional biologists to study changes in vegetation, pollinators, and wildlife.

Congratulations to Caitlin Harvey! She just got a job working with The Nature Conservancy based on her recent field work on the project!
We are excited to participate in the Environmental Concerns in Rights-of-Way Management Symposium in Denver, Colorado! The symposium is an international conference focusing on research questions in rights-of-way management. Our Osborn Outreach Coordinator, Kerry Wininger will be speaking about her recent collaboration work with The Pollinator Partnership Dr. Chris Halle will also be presenting current rights-of-way research and technology.

Symposium registration: For more information on the rights-of-way studies, please contact Dr. Chris Halle at . To learn more about our preserve lands & facilities, please contact Kerry Wininger at .

Extended & International Education Summer Classes:

July 17 - Where We Begin After Wildfire: How History Informs the Present & Future
Maya Khosla  -  Sonoma County’s 10th Poet Laureate, award winning writer, and wildlife biologist

Director, Dr. Claudia Luke,
Visit us at