. Banner Image by Gary Hundt

Community Education
Walks, Talks & Classes

December | January | February | March | April

Click here to review our cancellation policy

The Laguna Foundation is proud to collaborate with local biologists, artists, educators, herbalists, naturalists, and partner organizations to offer a wide range of natural and cultural history workshops, walks, presentations, and classes all year long. Whether you’d like to learn a new skill, enjoy the beautiful Laguna scenery, or attend a fun event with your family, the Laguna Foundation has a variety of offerings to deepen your appreciation for the Laguna de Santa Rosa, connect with nature, and inspire a vibrant community dedicated to lifelong learning.

PLEASE NOTE:
  • Events take place at, or start from, the Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401, unless otherwise noted.
  • Most events require a registration fee. These fees cover the cost of our instructors' time, workshop materials, and directly support the Community Education program and the work of the Laguna Foundation.
  • All events require pre-registration to secure your place, unless noted otherwise. To register for an event, click on the “Register Now” button below or call our office at (707) 527-9277 xt 110.
  • We frequently post new events, so check our website again soon!

December


 

Flash Kayaking!
Morning Wetlands Tour with Allison Titus
Thursday, December 12, 8:30am - Noon
$80. Pre-registration required.

Winter and the return of rain means it’s time to explore the Laguna de Santa Rosa wetlands by boat! Join us for our first flash kayak trip of the season, where we will weave in and out of the main Laguna channel, navigating through flooded riparian corridors and submerged farmland, to explore the floodplain doing its important job of holding and storing fresh water before it reaches the Russian River. Enjoy migrating winter birds, keep an eye out for otters and mink, learn easy paddling skills, and connect with the dynamic Laguna landscape in a whole new and exciting way.

NOTE: No previous kayaking experience is necessary. Since this is an early season trip and water levels are not at their peak, expect to navigate carefully around barriers in the wetlands, such as sticks, trees, and other plant life. Kayaks, paddles, and personal flotation devices will be provided (although you are welcome to bring your own) as well as professional paddling instruction. Single and double kayaks are available.

Allison Titus is the Community Education Program Manager for the Laguna Foundation and an experienced kayak instructor. After completing a two-week sea kayak outdoor leadership course in Alaska in 2014 and receiving her Wilderness First Responder certification, she worked as a kayak guide for the UCSC Recreation Department leading groups out in the Monterey Bay. Also, she worked for five years leading week-long expedition sea kayak tours in Tomales Bay for incoming freshmen for the UCSC Wilderness Orientation program. Allison is an avid birder and always thrilled to point out wildlife we may encounter out in the Laguna floodplain.


 

Flash Kayaking!
Afternoon Magic Hour WetlandsTour with Allison Titus
Thursday, December 12, 2:30pm - 5:00pm
$70. Pre-registration required.

Winter and the return of rain means it’s time to explore the Laguna de Santa Rosa wetlands by boat! **This is a shorter trip than the morning adventure, with about an hour and a half of paddling during the “magic hour” before it gets dark. We will weave in and out of the main Laguna channel, navigating through flooded riparian corridors and submerged farmland to explore the floodplain doing its important job of holding and storing fresh water before it reaches the Russian River. Enjoy migrating winter birds, keep an eye out for otters and mink, learn easy paddling skills, and connect with the dynamic Laguna landscape in a whole new and exciting way.

NOTE: No previous kayaking experience is necessary. Since this is an early season trip and water levels are not at their peak, expect to navigate carefully around barriers in the wetlands, such as sticks, trees, and other plant life. Kayaks, paddles, and personal flotation devices will be provided (although you are welcome to bring your own) as well as professional paddling instruction. Single and double kayaks are available.

Allison Titus is the Community Education Program Manager for the Laguna Foundation and an experienced kayak instructor. After completing a two-week sea kayak outdoor leadership course in Alaska in 2014 and receiving her Wilderness First Responder certification, she worked as a kayak guide for the UCSC Recreation Department leading groups out in the Monterey Bay. Also, she worked for five years leading week-long expedition sea kayak tours in Tomales Bay for incoming freshmen for the UCSC Wilderness Orientation program. Allison is an avid birder and always thrilled to point out wildlife we may encounter out in the Laguna floodplain.


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January 2020


River Otters on the Rise: Monitoring, Research and Results in the SF Bay Area
Presentation by Megan Isadore and Terence Carroll of River Otter Ecology Project
Thursday, January 9, 2020, 6:30pm - 8:00pm
$14 (non-refundable). Pre-registration required.

The River Otter Ecology Project has been monitoring and researching river otter recovery for seven years. Their community science-based project uses camera trapping and scat collection for genetic and bacterial analysis to answer some burning questions: where are the otters; how are they doing; what are the implications of the return of this apex aquatic predators; what is their ecosystem niche? Megan Isadore, Executive Director of the River Otter Ecology Project, and Terrence Carroll, Head of Data and Informatics, will talk about the community science "Otter Spotter” program as well as results from the River Otter Ecology Project’s 225km stretches of Marin coast, river, reservoir and bay. Please join us to see some of the rollicking reasons river otters make such excellent ambassadors for wetland restoration and watershed conservation. Great videos from our camera traps will make you happy!




Open-Weave Twined Rush Basket
Workshop with Charlie Kennard
Saturday, January 11, 9:30am - 3:30pm
This workshop is sold out, but you are welcome to join the waitlist.

Spend a day working with your hands and learning about the timeless, beautiful, and humbling art of basket making with local basket weaver Charlie Kennard. Participants will weave a southern California style bowl-shaped basket that has several unusual features, including finishing all the weft ends at the rim. Rushes, which will be used for this basket, are often found in wetlands and are common throughout the Laguna de Santa Rosa, making this class a unique way to connect with the local landscape as well as discover a new skill. You will have a choice of rush (Juncus) species to twine with, one being very large, for your basket.

This workshop is suitable for adults and teenagers. All basket-making materials are included in the registration fee. Participants must bring a water bowl, large scissors, and lunch. Hot drinks and snacks are provided throughout the day.

Charlie Kennard of San Anselmo is a long-time basket weaver and student of California Indian and other traditional basketry techniques of the world. He teaches throughout the Bay Area, and in many schools and at teacher trainings. Tule boats made in his workshops can be seen at the California Academy of Sciences, the Bay Model in Sausalito, and in the collection of the Lake County Museum. You can also visit a basketry plant garden Charlie has created at the Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross, where he and friends have woven a basket 13 feet across. Charlie is active in native habitat restoration in Marin, managing several projects for Friends of Corte Madera Creek Watershed.





Opening Reception “Sonoma County Wild”
Photography by Jerry Dodrill
Saturday, January 18, 3:00pm - 8:00pm
FREE. No RSVP necessary. Light snacks provided.

From the artist: “The photographs here are expressions of a lifetime of outdoor adventures in Sonoma County. I’ve been blessed to spend countless hours cycling, running, rock-climbing and paddling with friends since I was a boy. With each drive to a trailhead, each footstep, hand-hold, pedal or paddle stroke, I build a deeper relationship with the place I call home. Meanwhile, the artist’s eye constantly scans the landscape searching for meaningful observations and juxtapositions that represent the experiences and natural truths I’ve come to know. From the rocky coast to the muddy San Pablo Bay, Russian River, Mayacamas Mountains, and lofty slopes of Mount St. Helena, Sonoma County has an unparalleled level of visual and ecological diversity. The camera is a silent companion that lets me record and share special moments which unfold as unexpected gifts, or as the result of much planning and pre-visualization. The exhibit is a celebration of the wild country that surrounds us and an appreciation for those who work tirelessly to preserve our natural environment.”

Jerry Dodrill is an acclaimed landscape and adventure photographer who studied fine art at Pacific Union College (Bachelors Fine Art, 1997) and assisted legendary California photographer Galen Rowell before launching his own career in 2000. Jerry’s images have been widely published in books and magazines. As a climber he has scaled most of the major walls in Yosemite and traveled extensively. He leads photography workshops and expeditions for Visionary Wild, sharing what he calls a “story-forward” approach to image making. Jerry was a co-founder of the Santa Rosa based camera bag company MindShift Gear, is on the boards of the B-Rad Foundation and Rock Ice & Mountain Club. He lives in and works from his studio in Bodega. Website: www.jerrydodrill.com.

On display January 9 – May 5, 2020. The Heron Hall Art Gallery & Gift Shop is open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. Because of the various uses of the hall, please call in advance: (707) 527-9277 x107.

Jerry Dodrill will be teaching a two-day workshop, "Creative Landscape Photography" on Friday/Saturday, April 17-18. Click here for more details.





Favorite Edible Mushrooms of Sonoma County
Presentation by Darvin DeShazer, Co-Founder of Sonoma County Mycological Association
Thursday, January 23, 6:30 - 8:00pm
$14 (non-refundable). Pre-registration required.

Foragers, naturalists, and enthusiasts, join us for one of the most popular and timeless winter topics in natural history: edible mushrooms. If you’ve ever been stopped on a hike by a curious-looking mushroom and wondered, “Could I eat that?” this presentation is for you. The forests, grasslands, and woodlands of Sonoma County host about 3,000 species of mushrooms, half of which are edible. Local mushroom hunter, Darvin DeShazer, will take us on a visual journey through some of his favorite local fungi fares and even offer some hints on where to find them

NOTE: No mushroom should be eaten unless it can first be positively identified as edible. Successful identification of mushrooms requires practice and expertise beyond this presentation.

Darvin DeShazer is a retired science teacher with forty years of mushroom hunting. He is one the co-founders of SOMA (Sonoma County Mycological Association) and creator of SOMA Camp, which is the fund raiser for his scholarship program. His love for hunting mushrooms has resulted in over 10,000 color photos of fungi on Mushroom Observer and iNaturalist and contributed to the popular book 100 Edible Mushrooms.



Winter Color: Branches, Leaves and Winter Fruit
Colored Pencil Techniques workshop with Nina Antze
Saturday, January 25, 10:00am - 3:00pm
$95. Pre-registration required.

Although we think of winter as a monochrome season, the dormant Laguna landscape is full of soft colors waiting to be discovered in the dried grasslands, bubbling creeks, and lush wetlands. Explore the textures, markings, and colors of winter branches, dying leaves, acorns, dried berries, fruit, and other last vestiges of the season along with any signs of emerging spring. Working with colored pencils, learn to create lovely and interesting browns and grays and even greens using blending and layering techniques, incorporating the basics of botanical drawing while enjoying the warmth of Heron Hall. All levels are welcome.

A supply list will be provided upon registration, so please register with an email address you check regularly. Also, we recommend adding Eventbrite to your safe senders list to prevent your supply list reminder from going to your spam folder.

Nina Antze is a Sonoma County botanical artist and quiltmaker. She has a degree in Fine Art from San Francisco State and a Certificate in Botanical Illustration from the New York Botanical Gardens. She teaches colored pencil and botanical workshops throughout the Bay Area. Learn more about Nina at her website.


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February




Sunrise Wetland Walk with “Duck Man” Dave Barry
Saturday, February 1, 7:30am - 11:00am
$35. Pre-registration required.

Celebrate International Wetlands Day with an early winter morning on the Laguna de Santa Rosa with local wetland birder “Duck Man” Dave Barry! We will visit two sites along the Laguna, not normally open to the public, where waterfowl love to hang out during the winter months. Come learn basic identification techniques and key characteristics of waterfowl found in Sonoma County and along the Laguna de Santa Rosa at different times of year, as well as learn cool facts such as the difference between “dabbling" and “diving” ducks and its importance to these masters of the water world. We will keep a list of what we see and compare notes back at Heron Hall.

This natural history walk is suitable for novice to advanced birders, 10 years old and up.

Dave Barry is a certified California Naturalist, a certification program created by UC Berkeley and UC Davis. Dave brings a breath of experience and knowledge of birding and nature to his volunteer work mentoring young birders, leading bird tours and nature hikes, and giving natural history talks. Dave is a Santa Rosa native and has done programs with LandPaths, Sonoma Land Trust, Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, the Wildlands Conservancy, and is a lead naturalist with West County Hawk Watch.




The Forest Floor: Leaves, Roots, Moss and Fungi
Gouache Techniques Workshop with Lucy Martin
Saturday, February 8, 10:00am - 3:30pm
Takes place indoors, rain or shine.
$95. Pre-registration required.

The subject of fairy tales and scientific studies alike, the forest floor beckons with the juxtaposition of growth and decay, light and dark, the unknown and the familiar. Local botanical artist Lucy Martin will provide instruction for composing a painting of interesting things we find with closer examination of the ground in the woods. Lucy paints mainly in gouache (similar to watercolor but more opaque), with the addition of watercolor and occasionally colored pencil. She will present techniques such as layering from dark to light, dry brush for texture and using gouache to achieve intense color, which are methods that help create a painting that has a sense of depth and density. She will also demonstrate each step in the painting and provide one-on-one guidance as the students create their own compositions. Lucy will bring various objects from the forest, such as leaves, mosses, roots, and fungi, though students may bring their own specimens as well.

A supply list will be provided upon registration, so please register with an email address you check regularly. Also, we recommend adding Eventbrite to your safe senders list to prevent your supply list reminder from going to your spam folder.

Lucy Martin lives in Sonoma County, California. She is mainly self-taught, with some formal training including classes with Mary Jo Koch. She exhibits in the Sebastopol Gallery and Calabi Gallery, as well as annually in Art Trails, the juried Sonoma County Open Studio art tour. Her work was purchased for the Permanent Collection of the Special Collections and Archives Department at the McHenry Library at UCSC. She has exhibited in international shows of the American Society of Botanical Artists and solo shows at the Library at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her art exhibit focused on lichens was on display in Heron Hall during the summer of 2018. Visit her website at www.lucymartinart.com.


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March




Carving Nature: An Introduction to Block Printing
Workshop with Emily Robinson, Craft and Quail Studio
Saturday, March 7, 9:30am - 3:30am
$90. Pre-registration required.

Join us for a one-day exploration of block printing with instructor Emily Robinson at the beautiful Laguna Environmental Center. We’ll start from the very beginning, getting a feel for tools and materials used to create prints, and will discover how carving can be a wonderful method of rendering our observations of the natural world- the veins of leaves, textures on bark, filaments of a feather, and more. Projects will begin with small experimental stamps, and as the day progresses, participants will carve a larger 4x6 piece. We’ll discuss all elements of the process, from planning to the final printing, with a focus on empowering students to continue printmaking on their own.

All materials are provided. Physical skills required include being able to safely hold and control a sharp gouge tool. This class is open to those 16 and older, and is best suited for printmaking beginners, as we will be starting with basics. No other drawing or art skills are necessary to participate. Please bring your own bagged lunch!

Emily Robinson has been printmaking since 2014 and has been doing many other forms of art since before she can remember. She currently teaches art to children, does freelance illustration, and travels around the state selling wildlife artwork at festivals and conferences. You can find samples of her work online at www.craftandquail.com and on Instagram @craftandquail.






Breaking Into Birdwatching
Presentation with Teresa & Miles Tuffli
Thursday, March 12, 6:00pm - 7:30pm
$14 (non-refundable). Pre-registration required.

Calling all new birders and bird-curious folks! Are you a new birdwatcher or curious about how to even get started? Join us for an evening at Heron Hall where we’ll discuss how to break into the world of birdwatching.

Discover the best places and times to look for birds and how to locate them. Learn the art of HOW to look at a bird, including the most important things to notice when you see one you don’t recognize. We’ll give you tips on using binoculars, getting the most out of your field guide, and even how to start birding by ear! We’ll touch upon bird behavior and discuss the importance of understanding the shared characteristics within some common bird families. To wrap up, we’ll look at photographs of some common birds in Sonoma County, and use our new knowledge to analyze them together and practice the art of how to look at a bird. We’ll send you home with our best advice on how to keep learning and growing your birdwatching abilities.

If you’re excited to take your new knowledge out in the field for a test spin, please also register to join us for the corresponding “Beginners Birding Walk at the Laguna de Santa Rosa” on Saturday, March 14.

Miles and Teresa Tuffli are avid birders from Sonoma County. They especially love helping fellow nature-lovers and “bird-curious” folks take the next step of getting into the field to enjoy the bird world! They’ve led guided bird walks for the Point Reyes Birding & Nature Festival, LandPaths, Marin Audubon Society, and Point Reyes National Seashore Association’s Field Institute. Miles and Teresa also enjoy volunteering their time with many local nature-based organizations. Learn more about them at their website and blog: I’m Birding Right Now.





Beginners Birding Walk at the Laguna de Santa Rosa
Guided Walk with Teresa & Miles Tuffli
Saturday, March 14, 8:30am - 12:30pm
Location: Laguna de Santa Rosa Trailhead
parking lot on the Highway 12 side (NOT the Occidental Road side), located at 6303 CA-12, Santa Rosa, CA 95409.
$35. Pre-registration required.

Calling all new birders and bird-curious folks! Are you new to birdwatching or just curious to try it out? Then join us for a beginners birding walk exploring the Laguna de Santa Rosa trail. We’ll slowly meander along the mostly flat trail as it winds through open oak savannah, grasslands, riparian woodlands, marshes, and a pond. We want to help and inspire bird-curious beginners to get out and appreciate the bird world.

Don't be shy if you've never birded before - that's what we're here for! We’ll start with a tutorial on using binoculars and an introductory discussion about birding. As we explore the area, stopping frequently to study the birds we encounter, we’ll discuss a variety of topics, such as: techniques for locating birds, what sorts of details to notice when observing a bird, species identification, bird vocalizations, and bird behavior and habitats. We’ll have the opportunity to observe a variety of birds, including raptors, egrets and herons, any potential water birds in the pond, woodpeckers, sparrows, and other songbirds.

Note: Though we'll be walking slowly, for those with mobility issues, please be aware that we will be on unpaved trails and some slight inclines. Depending on recent rainfall, the trail may be muddy.

If you’re interested in learning about the ins-and-outs of birdwatching in a classroom environment before venturing into the field, please also register to join us for our corresponding "Breaking Into Birdwatching" presentation at Heron Hall scheduled for March 12

Miles and Teresa Tuffli are avid birders from Sonoma County. They especially love helping fellow nature-lovers and “bird-curious” folks take the next step of getting into the field to enjoy the bird world! They’ve led guided bird walks for the Point Reyes Birding & Nature Festival, LandPaths, Marin Audubon Society, and Point Reyes National Seashore Association’s Field Institute. Miles and Teresa also enjoy volunteering their time with many local nature-based organizations. Learn more about them at their website and blog: I’m Birding Right Now.




Biology of the Laguna de Santa Rosa
Presentation by Denise Cadman
Thursday, March 26, 6:00pm - 8:30pm
$14 (non-refundable). Pre-registration required.

Maybe you’ve walked the trail, attended a workshop at the LEC, or crossed over the Laguna on your way to or from West County – but what is the Laguna de Santa Rosa, exactly, and why is it important? The topography, soil, and climate of the Santa Rosa Plain produce a mosaic of interwoven and diverse habitats that provide homes to many different plants and animals, including rare and endemic species. This rich ecosystem makes the Laguna a special and significant place for us all. Join us for a lively visual journey to meet some of the life of the Laguna and to gain deeper understanding and connection to our shared home environment.

Denise Cadman has been an environmental steward of the Laguna for more than 25 years. She grew up in the wilds of Rincon Valley and earned her BA, secondary teaching credential, and Master of Arts degree in biology from Sonoma State University. She works as an Environmental Specialist for the City of Santa Rosa focused on creek stewardship, environmental education and resource management. Additionally, she teaches at Santa Rosa Junior College as an adjunct faculty member in the Life Science Department. Denise has been integral to teaching and inspiring a love of the Laguna through the Laguna Foundation’s docent training program since its inception in 1998. Denise attributes her career in natural resource management to a love of birds.



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April




Birds of the Laguna de Santa Rosa
Presentation by Denise Cadman
Tuesday, April 9, 6:00pm - 8:30pm
$14 (non-refundable). Pre-registration required.

Birds are the one form of wildlife that nearly everyone encounters daily. Birds provide natural insect control. Birds are indicators of environmental health. Birds are found nearly everywhere in the world. They capture our imaginations, stimulate innovation, and provide respite from the demands of our lives. And...birds...fly. Their arrivals and departures mark changing seasons and they even build tiny houses with just two feet and a beak. More than 200 species rely on the Laguna and its mosaic of habitats for food, shelter and nesting sites. Join us for a visual journey that includes an introduction to ornithology, plus a tour of some of the local bird habitats, and “meet” some the species that depend on them. Come learn, rekindle your avian affections, or maybe fall in love with our bird companions for the first time.

Denise Cadman has been an environmental steward of the Laguna for more than 25 years. She grew up in the wilds of Rincon Valley and earned her BA, secondary teaching credential, and Master of Arts degree in biology from Sonoma State University. She works as an Environmental Specialist for the City of Santa Rosa focused on creek stewardship, environmental education and resource management. Additionally, she teaches at Santa Rosa Junior College as an adjunct faculty member in the Life Science Department. Denise has been integral to teaching and inspiring a love of the Laguna through the Laguna Foundation’s docent training program since its inception in 1998. Denise attributes her career in natural resource management to a love of birds.






Creative Landscape Photography
Two Day Workshop with Jerry Dodrill
Friday, April 17, 1:00pm - 8:30pm AND Saturday, April 18, 6:00am – 3:30pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, with field trips to off-site locations.
$250. Pre-registration required.

Take your landscape photography to the next level using the Laguna landscape as inspiration with professional local photographer Jerry Dodrill. During this in-depth photography workshop you will learn the tools, strategies and techniques that Jerry uses for creating evocative images which tell the story of our natural world. Starting with the basics, he will help you take control of the creative process and become more expressive with your dSLR or mirrorless camera. The course incorporates demonstrations and presentations on technique and creativity, guided evening and early morning field sessions in the Laguna de Santa Rosa area, and finally a group review session where we’ll go through the participant’s images and process them using the latest photo editing software.

Jerry Dodrill is a professional landscape and adventure photographer from right here in Sonoma County. In addition to leading photo workshops across the Western United States and around the world, he is an accomplished fine art photographer whose work has been used widely to support conservation efforts, document mountain adventures, and for commercial clients. His images have been featured in countless books and publications including National Geographic Adventure, Outside, Orion, Smithsonian, Rock & Ice and many others. Early in his career he was a protégé of famed National Geographic photographer Galen Rowell. From Galen, Jerry learned that the photographer should be an active participant within the dynamic landscape, rather than just an outside observer. He utilizes what he calls a “story-forward” approach to creative image making.

Jerry was a co-founder of the Santa Rosa based camera bag company MindShift Gear. He is on the boards of the B-Rad Foundation and Rock Ice & Mountain Club, and leads trips for photo travel company Visionary Wild. Recently he has led adventure photo expeditions down the Colorado River through Grand Canyon, Sailing in Northeast Greenland, and overland tours in Kyrgyzstan.


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Cancellation Policy

If you are registered for an event and need to cancel, please notify us as soon as possible so that others may attend. Cancellations received more than 30 days in advance of the event date will receive a refund minus a $10.00 processing fee. Cancellations made between 30-7 days in advance will receive a 50% refund. We are sorry but refunds cannot be given on cancellations made less than 7 days in advance. Please also note that we often need a minimum number of participants to conduct most events. If the Laguna Foundation needs to cancel the event for any reason, we will notify you as soon as possible (at least 1 day prior to the event) and you will receive a full refund.

Non-Refundable Fee

Events that cost $20 and less are non-refundable (except in case of our cancelling for inclement weather or other extenuating circumstances, in which case we will issue full refunds). This is due to administrative costs and processing fees associated with online registration services such as Eventbrite. Thank you for your understanding and for your interest and support of our programs!


For more information, contact Allison Titus, Community Education Program Manager
(707) 527-9277 xt. 110 or by email at Allison@LagunaFoundation.org.

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