Creek Clean-Up at Ig Vella Bridge

August 3, 2021

Join Sonoma Ecology Center and the Department of Public Works for a creek clean-up under the east side of the Ig Vella Bridge on Wednesday, August 11th, from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. Wear clothing and sturdy boots for hiking. Bring water, a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, and gloves (optional) if you have them. Light refreshments will be provided.

When: Wednesday, August 11th, from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Where: Ig Vella Bridge
Meeting Location: Off-Broadway Cleaners Parking Lot. Address and google maps link: 19485 Sonoma Hwy Suite A, Sonoma, CA 95476

Gear and Equipment: grabbers, trash bags, buckets, and some gloves will be provided. 

Covid Protocols: We follow Sonoma County Covod-19 protocols and recommendations. Masks are required for all people who are unvaccinated at the time of the event. 

Thank you to our funders: Sonoma County Community Initiatives Fund (large seal copied below)

ParkRx – INTERMEDIATE Hiking for Fitness Series

July 23, 2021

Please join us for an 8-week INTERMEDIATE Hiking for Fitness Program. The program leaders will guide you on a series of weekly hikes with the challenge increasing each week. Leaders will have group discussions about gear, hydration, hiking poles, first aid and pacing, etc. The group’s final hike aims for Bald Mountain, where hikers can enjoy stunning vistas.

The Hiking series costs $80 (plus a $10 parking fee), or free for hikers with a 2021 ParkRx from a participating Sonoma County Medical Provider. Click here for ParkRx info. Please have your ParkRx available at the time of sign-up, as the number of ParkRx tickets is limited.

Hike Schedule
1) Sat 9/4–Waterfall Loop, 2 miles, 595 ft elevation [meet @ main lot]
2) Sat 9/11–Vista Trail Loop, 3.6 miles, 700 ft elevation[meet @ white barn lot]
3) Sat 9/18–Goodspeed to Nattkemper bench, 4.2 miles, 1060 ft elevation [meet @ Goodspeed lot]
4) Sat 9/25–Hillside / Brushy Peaks – Neptune picnic table, 4.6 miles, 780 ft elevation [meet @ white barn lot]
5) Sat 10/2–Jack London’s Woodcutters Meadow, 4.4 miles, 1200 ft elevation [meet at Jack London’s Upper Lot]
6) Sat 10/9–Vista Trail Loop (counter-clowise), 4.7 miles, 1000 ft elevation [meet @ white barn lot]
7) Sat 10/16–Brushy / Grey Pine (Hillside start), 6.5 miles, 1230 ft elevation [meet @ white barn lot]
8) Sat 10/23–Bald Summit (w/ optional Headwaters wiggle = 5.8 mi), 5.25 miles, 1500 ft elevation [meet @ white barn lot]
(routes subject to change based on group and weather)

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Full Moon Hike


Bring a flashlight and your sense of wonder as you explore the park after dark. This hike begins at the White Barn and heads up either to Bald Mountain or to the viewpoint on Vista Trail, where we will see the moon rise over the Mayacamas and the sun set over Sonoma Valley.

The Bald Mountain route via Grey Pine is strenuous and will cover 6.5 miles with 1500 plus of vertical with some steep sections. The final route will be decided by the hike leader. It leaves the White Barn parking lot at 5:45pm. This route is not recommended for minors under 12.

The Vista Trail route is a moderate-to-strenuous 4-mile hike with 700ft of elevation and begins at 6:45pm.

Tickets are $10 for adults or $5 for minors plus a $10 parking fee. Be at the meeting location at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the hike for a prompt departure. Bring water, snacks, and extra layers for the evening.

Senderos: Animales en Sugarloaf


Sábado 14 de agosto, 10:00am-12:00pm
¡Está invitado a nuestra aventura de Animales! Caminaremos el sendero Creekside Nature en busca de señales y huellas que los animales hacen. Aprendemos sobre la dieta y el comportamiento de algunos animales que viven en el parque, al igual que la importancia de la biodiversidad en una ecosistema sano. Los niños tendrán la oportunidad de hacer su propia guía de señales de animales. Esté preparado para caminar aproximadamente una milla. Nos reuniremos afuera del centro de visitantes.
El evento y estacionamiento son gratuitos pero requiere registración. Familias de grupos subrepresentados son especialmente invitados.
Por favor vista calzado adecuado, capas, y traiga suficiente agua. Esté preparado para seguir órdenes de salud del Condado como el uso de cubrebocas y el distanciamiento personal. Si tiene alguna pregunta contacte a alma@sonomaecologycenter.org
Este evento es respaldado por Route to Parks, una beca de Parks California.

English: Animals in Sugarloaf
Saturday 8/14, 10:00am-12:00pm
Join us on an adventure in search of Animals. We will walk around the Nature Creekside Trail and investigate the signs and tracks that animals make. Let’s learn about animal diet, behavior, and the importance of biodiversity in a healthy ecosystem. Children will have the opportunity to make their own animal tracking guide. Be prepared to walk approximately 1 mile. This is a free event planned around a primarily Spanish speaking audience. Families from underrepresented groups are particularly welcome. Bring plenty of water and wear comfortable shoes and sunscreen or a hat. Please be prepared to wear a mask and follow local health guidelines.
Email alma@sonomaecologycenter.org with your questions.
Senderos Naturales is supported by Route to Parks, a grant of Parks California.

HIGH COUNTRY Screening at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park

June 30, 2021

Join us for a screening of HIGH COUNTRY by local filmmaker, Conor Hagen, at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, followed by a panel discussion with the director and Sonoma Ecology Center staff on on environmental conservation, equity, and sustainability in Sonoma Valley.

About HIGH COUNTRY:

Entrenched in nostalgia, HIGH COUNTRY tells a timeless American story of how a community of conscientious and forward-thinking young people, disguised as ski bums and hippies, happened upon a ramshackle mining town on the fringe of society and worked to conserve and protect it for years to come.

Hidden amidst the high peaks of the Rocky Mountains, Crested Butte, Colorado has always been a place defined by its people. During the 1960s and 70s, this lawless frontier town provided a hide-out, an escape, and ultimately a paradise for the wandering souls who stumbled upon it. Driven by stewardship over greed, this progressive group found themselves with a blank canvas of a town in which they would create a world of their own. Since that time, Crested Butte has continued to grapple with how best to walk the line between growth and conservation – a challenge faced by small towns across America today.

Crested Butte is a unique example of a place that, in the face of economic pressures, has managed to maintain its strong sense of character. The goal of this film is to share the story of one town, in the hopes of inspiring community amongst others.

It’s a film about how if you don’t take care of a place you risk losing it forever.

Watch the trailer.

Conor Hagen directed Sonoma Ecology Center’s short Fire Recovery Film. Watch it here.

Sugarloaf Volunteer Training

June 28, 2021

We have volunteer opportunities for you! Initial training is provided and periodic docent enrichment events feature speakers who provide more insight into specific aspects of park history or ecology.

We need volunteers to:
– Become docents at the Visitor Center
– Direct visitors at the entrance kiosk
– Assist with data entry
– Aid project research and grant-writing
– Work on trail and park maintenance projects
– Facilitate special events and parking
– More volunteer opportunities and specifics
– Spanish-English fluency a plus

Experience is not necessary but welcomed, as well as a willingness to learn and the desire to share that knowledge with our visitors. We ask for a minimum of 4 hours per month of volunteer service. Join us! Together we can help make the parks thrive and provide great experiences for park visitors.

RFO Public Star Party

June 27, 2021

The Robert Ferguson Observatory (RFO) is open to the public at least once a month, usually on a Saturday near the time of the New Moon.

Star Parties: Presentations on astronomical topics are given in the classroom throughout the course of the evening. Starting at dusk, the Observatory’s three main telescopes are open for your viewing. Docents set up additional telescopes in front of the building. Friendly and knowledgeable docents are available to answer your questions.

FAQs:

  1. Map and Directions
  2. When to arrive: We keep the observatory open as long as there are visitors, but you must arrive within 3 hours after start time to ensure that we remain open for you. Summer Star Parties begin with tours and presentations until it’s dark enough for observing.
  3. Bring warm clothing, even in summer—observing is done outdoors.
  4. There is a short walk from the parking area to the Observatory and you may wish to bring a small flashlight.
  5. White Light: No white lights should be used after dark; the observatory is a red-light-only area to protect everyone’s night vision. We will supply red cellophane to cover flashlights. Please note:
    ◦ Bring a SMALL flashlight (large camp lanterns, light sticks, etc., cannot be adequately covered by red cellophane).
    ◦ Cell phones or cell-phone flashlights are acceptable but must be covered in red cellophane. (No cell service at the observatory).
    ◦ Some head lamps are difficult to cover with red cellophane. Once covered, head lamps should be worn around the neck or used pointing down as they are usually very bright at eye level.
    ◦ Red flashlights are available for $5 at the observatory.
  6. Alcohol is prohibited on Observatory grounds.
  7. The Observatory is not open to the public except for scheduled events.

Classroom presentations are always offered on Star Party nights even if the weather is poor. For current conditions call the observatory at (707)833-6979.
For more info please visit the Robert Ferguson Observatory website.

Our Outstanding Oaks

June 24, 2021

Sonoma County has 9 species of native oaks – what questions do you have about oaks?  And what questions do oaks have about us? Certified California Naturalists Carolyn Greene and Marie Kay Hansen will identify at least 5 species during this interactive walk, share facts, stories, the latest research about these iconic plants, and outline future challenges to conserving them.
Wear good hiking shoes for up to 3 miles of moderate walking, bring sun protection, water and lunch/snack to enjoy after the hike.  Meet in White Barn parking area. $10 for adults, $5 for minors. Parking fees apply.

Reptiles in Sugarloaf

June 10, 2021

Come listen to amateur herpetologist Steve Nielsen give a presentation on snakes, followed by a light walk led by Citizen Scientists Rachel Freed and Galen. We’ll meet at the Robert Ferguson Observatory at 10 AM for the half-hour presentation and afterwards we’ll explore the surrounding areas for sightings. We recommend you bring water, sunblock, and a hat. We are limiting this event to 20 participants. Tickets are $10 for adults and free for minors. Parking fees apply.

Yoga Hike

June 7, 2021

Enjoy your yoga experience in the beautiful setting of our park! Susan Topf’s Yoga Hike balances a mix of easy hiking and gentle yoga postures, breath work and guided meditation, no mat necessary.
Please wear weather-appropriate clothing to feel comfortable being in a natural setting and bring water (as needed) and your mask.
Route varies on weather conditions and group interest that typically covers 2-3 miles of varied terrain.
Tickets are $30 and include parking if registered in advance online.
All levels and ages welcome. Meet at the Visitor’s Center unless otherwise noted in confirmation email prior to the hike. Limited to 12 participants.

Sonoma County Resident? Free with 2021 ParkRx from participating Sonoma County Medical Provider. Click here for ParkRx info.