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Hiking at Pepperwood Preserve

There’s always something going on at Pepperwood Preserve, the 3,200-acre wildlife preserve and research center situated northeast of Santa Rosa on the southern tip of the North Coast Range.

One of the state’s largest scientific preserves, Pepperwood plays a vital role in research, education and conservation programs that affect Sonoma County (and other areas). Among its many projects, Pepperwood provides technical support to the North Bay Climate Adaptation Initiative, which aims to help local planners understand future climate vulnerabilities and outline appropriate response strategies—all with a goal of protecting natural ecosystems and biodiversity in the North Bay.

If you’re interested in this topic, download a copy of North Bay Climate Adaptation Initiative’s “Policy Issues in a Changing Climate for Voters, Elected Officials, Planners and Policy Makers.” Only three pages long, it’s packed with interesting information and factoids about the way climate change is and will be affecting Sonoma County and the rest of San Francisco’s North Bay region.

Lucky for us, Pepperwood Preserve believes that the public plays an important role in its work. As the first page of the organization’s Mission Statement says: “Pepperwood is an ecological institute dedicated to educating, engaging, and inspiring our community through habitat preservation, science-based conservation, leading-edge research, and interdisciplinary educational programs.”

So, even though the Preserve’s gorgeous property isn’t open for unsupervised public visitation and recreation, it sponsors numerous guided hikes, classes, lectures, and other events. Many of them are free, too.  

These events afford an outstanding opportunity to take in the property’s diversity of rolling hills, woodlands, meadows, flowers and wildlife species. 

A couple of events coming up on the near horizon that I’m thinking of attending are:

  • February 8 (Saturday), Public Hike. This guided hike will explore Pepperwood’s forests and grasslands; you’ll learn about natural history and land practices. It’s a moderate 4-5 mile hike requiring the ability to traverse hilly terrain. Free (donations appreciated). 1 p.m. Families welcome. Learn more.
  • February 15 (Saturday), Getting Inside the Minds of Animals. Learn techniques of animal tracking, bird language and cognitive science from Jim Sullivan, an internationally certified animal tracker. You’ll walk away with a new ability to experience animals, birds and even other people. Fee: $30/participant. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Ages 14 and up welcome. Learn more.

What you need to know:

  • Plan ahead: Registration is usually required, even for free events. Once the limit for an event is reached, registration is closed. 
  • Driving Directions: Visit this page.

Find more info about things to do, restaurants, and hotels and lodging in Sonoma County.

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