Tags >> parks
Apr 22
2010

Luther Burbank's Farm

Posted by Bruce Robinson in volunteer , trees , Sonoma County , Sebastopol , research , parks , nonprofit orgs , history , food , farms , environment , California , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

Luther Burbank’s greenhouse is an icon of Santa Rosa, but the famed horticulturalist actually did most of his ground-breaking work at another site—his 18 acre Goldridge Farm in Sebastopol.

Burbank is justly renowned for his botanical innovations, but not everything he worked with was a success. In fact, explains horticultural historian Bob Hornback, Burbank also is the source of two highly conspicuous “escapees” that are now ubiquitous in our local landscape, including the one shown here.

The Open House at Goldridge Farm this weekend is part of the annual Sebastopol Apple Blossom Festival, which primarily celebrates the area’s Gravenstein orchards. Hornback says that was one variety of apple that Luther Burbank didn’t do much with, although he did create the later-ripening Winterstein variety (seen in photo).

With hundreds of new fruit varieties, vegetables and ornamental plants and flowers to his credit, Burbank’s farm (including the cottage, as seen in this drawing) was the scene of constant multiple experiments, graftings and new hybrids. During so much required maintaining detailed records, says Hornback, which is something Burbank doesn’t get enough credit for doing.

 

 

Jan 20
2010

Snow Leopards

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , research , planning , parks , international , education , conservation , animals

Bruce Robinson

From his home base in Sonoma, Dr. Rodney Jackson reaches halfway around the world to protect the endangered Snow Leopards of the Himalayas.

For almost three decades, Dr. Jackson, a zoologist, has played a leading role in the study of the elusive high mountain snow leopards. He explains how it has progressed over the years.

Snow leopards are notoriously shy, as Jackson details, but they are surprisingly available to be seen at zoos across North America, including in San Francisco, where a new habitat was recently constructed for their active breeding pair.

Dr. Jackson has recently developed the Long Tail wine label, selling high quality Sonoma County varietals as a fund-raising tool for the Snow Leopard Conservancy.

 

 

 

Dec 29
2009

"The Dangerous World of Butterflies"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , trees , tourism , timber , resources , policy , parks , open space , media , law enforcement , international , government , farms , environment , conservation , author , animals

Bruce Robinson

 Nature lovers versus breeders. Preservationists versus poachers and smugglers.  A history that goes back eons versus threatened extinctions in the 21st  century. These are just some of the stories that lie within the dangerous world of....butterflies?

 Here on the west coast, we enjoy seeing the annual migration of the brilliant orange monarch butterflies, some of which gather in certain trees at the Bodgea Dunes state park on the Sonoma Coast.  But the Monarchs of eastern North America have a longer and far more remarkable migratory cycle.

 

Researching and writing this book on butterflies has opened his eyes in unexpected ways, Peter Laufer (left) says, but it also served to fulfill the unarticulated wish behind the impromptu remark that first set him onto that path.

 

 

 

This video compresses the life cycle of the Painted Lady butterfly into less than three minutes of striking time-lapse photography.

[video:[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UD0jQH 400x400] 300x300] 


From PeterLaufer.com:

War weary after writing a book about Iraq, Laufer joked before an audience that his next book would be about butterflies. The result: an invitation to a butterfly preserve in Nicaragua. There he stumbled into a theater of intrigue full of strange and nefarious characters-all in pursuit of one of nature's most delicate creatures.

 

The Dangerous World of Butterflies chronicles Laufer's unexpected discoveries in the butterfly industry and underground. Readers will learn everything there is to know about the beauty and magic of butterflies. But Laufer's narrative takes unpredictable turns into the high-stakes realms of organized crime, ecological devastation, species depletion, natural history museum integrity, and chaos theory. Set in locales throughout the Americas and beyond, this fascinating book takes us into a behind-the-scenes world sure to alter our view the next time we delight in the colorful fluttering of butterflies in our yards.

 Butterflies are enormously popular, and have been for centuries, but not everyone loves them. There is even a website for people who are repelled by them.

 

Dec 28
2009

"Tamalpias Walking"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in speaker , parks , open space , ocean , Marin , history , environment , coast , author , art

Bruce Robinson

Marin County artist Tom Killion has spent his life portraying different views of Mount Tamalpias--but filtered through the techniques of Japanese woodcut printmaking.

 

When he set out to draft the text for Tamalpais Walking, Killion discovered he had a lot to learn about the history of Mount Tamalpais.

   Tamalpais Walking is the most recent in a series of collaborations between Killion and poet Gary Snyder, Their previous joint effort was The High Sierra of California in 2002. Killion will be at Copperfields Books in Sebastopol on June 3 to talk about their books.

 

Even though Japanese woodcuts are distinctly stylized, Killion says he was also intrigued by the accuracy of detail that the masters were able to incorporate.

 

Killion's website shows and sells many of his prints, including the samples reproduced below. There is also a page explaining his technique, including this favored hand-powered press.

 

 

 

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