Photo by Carolyn Johnson




Photo by Michael Leahy
















Laguna Foundation Public Education Events

2016 Schedule

Every Name Tells a Story: An Introduction to Plant Identification
Presentation by botanist, Peter Warner
Thursday, April 28, 6:30pm-9:00pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$15. Pre-registration required (see below).

Plants and the landscapes they shape evoke indelible images and memories for human beings.  Chlorophyll and cellulose and their evolved cohorts have woven the fibers of life into a stunning, miraculous fabric of biotic diversity. Plants offer their bodies for our living, providing sustenance from sun, soil, and water, often with grace and charm beyond the limits of language to appreciate. But we’re going to try anyway -- try to put our words to work making some sense of what we are so fortunate to behold (if not eat, as well!). In this presentation, botanist Peter Warner, will provide a brief foray into plant identification, highlighting Laguna-related wetland, riparian, and grassland plants. Together, we’ll investigate the science-based mechanics of classifying plants, including the essential foundation of communication: naming names, if not of each individual, at least pigeon-holing a few worthy representatives. We’ll take advantage of vocabulary and photography -- as well as “living” offerings from the plant world -- to assist us in our quest for insights and perspective. With an emphasis on the most prolific group of plants, the angiosperms, we’ll learn how to distinguish among locally common plant families, thus getting to know our colorful neighbors a bit better! Participants are encouraged to bring plant specimens for identification after the presentation. 

Peter Warner has been involved in the study of plants and ecology for more than 40 years, coinciding with his westward migration from East Coast roots. While some evidence exists for his earlier interest in plant life, the fossil record is incomplete. During his Precambrian era working in urban forestry and landscaping in the Bay Area, he became absorbed in the study of wild plants in California and the American West, and eventually earned a B. S. and then an M. A. in Biology (Ecology), both from Sonoma State University. He has worked for national and state parks, and provided botanical and ecological consulting services to conservation organizations, public agencies, and private land managers. He has taught botanically-oriented classes and workshops, and organized hundreds of trips throughout California and beyond to explore ecological diversity. His work is primarily focused on learning and teaching about the critical importance of intact ecosystems and ecological processes to the long-term health of all life.


Day of the Child - Día del Niño
Family! Nature! Fun!
Laguna Environmental Center,
 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Saturday, April 30, 10:00am-4:00pm
FREE! No reservations necessary.

Bring the whole family for fun, hands-on activities about wetlands and the plants and animals of the Laguna watershed. Join us for pond water explorations, bird watching, field journaling, weaving with plant fibers, nature games and crawling through a living willow tree tunnel in the nature playground! Picnic tables available.

This event is sponsored by SEEC, the Sonoma Environmental Education Collaborative. Thirteen wonderful sites around Sonoma County will be open for families to get outside and enjoy nature together. Visit the SEEC website to see all the special sites and organizations participating around the county. And listen to a KRCB interview about the event here.


Nestward Migration: Delta Pond Rookery Walks
Docent-led walks to visit a Double-crested Cormorant nesting site
Saturday, May 7, two walk times to choose from: 8:00am and 8:45am
$15 per person. Pre-registration required
(see below).

At a hidden Laguna location off Willowside Road, not usually open to the public, is an impressive nesting colony of Double Crested Cormorants with some Great Blue Heron friends, too. Laguna Docents will lead informative walks along the Laguna trails to the nesting site. Once there we are likely to see everything from courtship displays, nest building activity, adults incubating eggs, parents feeding their chicks, and possibly even chicks trying to out-compete nest-mates and prepare for their first flight. Other possible treats include sightings of American White Pelicans and Bald Eagle. You don’t have to be an avid bird watcher to join the fun! Group sizes limited so register early! (This event is a fundraiser for the Learning Laguna bus scholarship fund.) Approximately 3 miles over flat but uneven terrain. Full details emailed upon registration.

Select Time


Full Moon Exploration of Irwin Creek
With Laguna Foundation Executive Director, Kevin Munroe and Director of Restoration and Conservation Science Programs, Wendy Trowbridge
Saturday, May 21, 6:00-9:00pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center,
 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
FREE. Pre-registration required through LandPaths website:

Have you heard of the practice of ecological restoration but wonder what it means in practical terms? During this special evening walk on the full-moon, our Restoration & Conservation Science Director Wendy Trowbridge & our Executive Director, Kevin Munroe will give a behind the scenes look at restoration work under way along Irwin Creek. We will also focus on the critters large and small that come out at dusk and the plants used in restoration work that support wildlife, water quality and us all. We’ll keep our eyes and ears open for possible owl calls, frog songs, bat flights and any other emerging evening wildlife. Details sent upon registration.

This free program is made possible through a partnership between the Laguna Foundation, LandPaths and the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District. The District permanently protects the diverse agricultural, natural resource and scenic open space lands of Sonoma County for future generations. It is funded through a quarter-cent sales tax that was voted in by the residents of Sonoma County.


Become a Guide for the Laguna de Santa Rosa!
Eight-session training course May-June 2016
(see specific dates below)
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center,
 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$75. Pre-registration required (see below).

Train to become a Laguna Guide and help the community deepen its enthusiasm, appreciation and knowledge of the Laguna de Santa Rosa. The Laguna Guides training program is a fun and engaging way to learn about the diverse habitats, flora, fauna and ecosystem services of the Laguna while making new friends! The program prepares volunteers to teach about the Laguna and the work of the Laguna Foundation during trail walks, talks, classes, workshops and open house events at the Laguna Environmental Center. Laguna Guides fulfill an important role in all of the Laguna Foundation public education offerings!

The next 8-session training course will occur in May-June 2016 with Wednesday evening classes (6:00-9:00pm) and Saturday field trips (9:00am-2:00pm). Training dates are May 18 & 21 and June 1, 4, 8, 11, 15 & 18. Laguna Guides volunteer year-round, primarily on evenings and weekends. The course fee is $75. Payments can be made in installments and partial scholarships are available. Upon completion of the training course, a minimum commitment of 5 volunteer hours each month is requested. Guides are part of the Laguna Education Programs volunteer circle which includes fun on-going opportunities for continuing education, special outings and social events with fellow education programs volunteers. Adventure, camaraderie, growth, and a deeper connection to the Laguna await...

Visit our Laguna Guides webpage for more details, a training flyer, and an application.


Spring Birding in the Laguna
Birdwatching and Natural History Walk with Lisa Hug
Sunday May 22, 8:30am-1:00pm
Meeting at the Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$45. Pre-registration required.
This walk has only 1 space left! Please
send an email message to register or to join the waiting list.

In this last class of Lisa's spring birding series, we will celebrate Spring by exploring another non-publicly accessible corner of the Laguna. In April-May, the resident songbirds awaken and the colorful migrants arrive from Central America with their vibrant songs. Bring binoculars, (spotting scope optional), a field guide, comfortable walking shoes, layered clothing, water and a packed lunch or snacks.  We will end the session with a group lunch back at the Laguna Environmental Center and make a list of the species which we encountered. This series is suitable for all skill levels, from beginning birder to advanced.

Lisa Hug originally came to California from the Midwest in 1986. She was very involved with Point Reyes Bird Observatory and eventually became a contract biologist and freelance naturalist in the mid-1990s. She has been teaching for the College of Marin, Petaluma Adult School and Point Reyes Field Institute for over a decade. She was president of Redwood Region Ornithological Society for two years and received the Martha Bentley and Ernestine Smith Award For the Dedication to Wildlife Conservation Education in 2009. She is currently a regional coordinator for the Sonoma County Breeding Bird Atlas and she just finished editing the new Birds Checklist for the Laguna de Santa Rosa which can be bought through the Laguna Foundation Store.


Messengers of Summer: Sonoma County’s Dazzling Dragonflies
Workshop with author and dragonfly expert, Kathy Biggs
And with special guest and Executive Director of the Laguna Foundation, Kevin Munroe
Saturday, June 25, 2016, 9:00am-3:30pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$55.  Pre-registration required. 

Join us as we welcome summer with a special day-long workshop with dragonfly-experts Kathy Biggs and Kevin Munroe. We’ll start with a morning presentation by Kathy Biggs in Heron Hall, lunch by the dragonfly-rich pond at the Laguna Environmental Center, followed by fun-filled time in the field. Kathy will share the biology, life cycle, and ecology of Odonata (the family to which dragonflies and damselflies belong) and learn how to identify the most common species in Sonoma County. The afternoon field trip will be an opportunity to practice identification skills and to observe the unusual and fascinating behaviors of dragonflies. Learn about how the Laguna de Santa Rosa is part of the Pacific Flyway, used not only by birds but by "Odes" (dragonflies) too!  All skill levels welcome.  Bring your own sack lunch. Coffee, tea and snacks will be provided.

Kathy Biggs is a local birder and nationally prominent expert on dragonflies and backyard wetlands biology. She is the author of Common Dragonflies of California: A Beginner's Pocket Guide, as well as other field guides and a dragonfly coloring book for children. Her newest guide is Dragonflies of the Greater Southwest - Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. For more information about Kathy's books and work, visit her website. The Biggs' field guides and coloring books will be offered for sale at the workshop.  Kevin Munroe, Executive Director of the Laguna Foundation since August 2015, is also a talented naturalist, educator, and dragonfly aficionado.  He started the website, Dragonflies of Northern Virginia, and is enjoying learning all about west coast “Odes.” 


Also on tap in coming months. . . Stay tuned for details!

  • Pointless Sisters Opening Art Reception, May 15
  • Plant ID field trip with Peter Warner, June 5
  • Family Birding day with Lisa Hug, June 12
  • Laguna Watershed talk with Dr. Wendy Trowbridge, June 16
  • All About Owls Open House and presentation with The Hungry Owl Project, July 9
  • Earth to Art workshop with Ane Carla Rovetta July 16
  • Coiled Willow Basket workshop with Charlie Kennard, August 14
  • Colored Pencil drawing workshop with Nina Antze, August 27
  • Creative Photography workshop with Dianne Monroe, September 10
  • Talks about botany, geology, anthropology, hydrology
  • Talks about reptiles, arachnids, bats, and butterflies
  • Laguna hikes and natural history explorations
  • Natural history and art classes for all ages
  • Mid-Week Movie Nights
  • And much, much more!!!

For more information, contact Anita Smith, Public Education Manager, (707) 527-9277 x110 or


CANCELLATION POLICY:  If you are registered for an event and need to cancel, please notify us as soon as possible.  Cancellations received more than 14 days in advance of the event date will receive a refund minus a $10.00 processing fee.  Cancellations made between 14-7 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.