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Laguna Foundation Public Education Events

2017 Schedule

Drawing Autumn Colors: Colored Pencil Techniques
Workshop with Nina Antze
Saturday, September 30, 10:00am-3:00pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$95. Pre-registration required
(see below).

Spend a peaceful, meditative day at the Laguna Environmental Center learning and practicing different colored pencil techniques from a wonderful botanical artist and instructor, Nina Antze. Working with a variety of summer fruits, berries, rose hips, pods and autumn leaves found around the Center's landscape, we will learn to create vibrant color using blending, layering and burnishing techniques while incorporating the basics of botanical drawing. All levels welcome. Suitable for 12 year olds and up (children under 15 must be accompanied by a parent). Participants bring their own lunch and art supplies (a supply list will be provided). Hot drinks and light snacks will be provided.

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.


Laguna Watershed Perspectives: Exploring the Historic Headwaters
Walk with Jenny Blaker, Michael Knappman, Patrick Lei, and Kate Symonds
Sunday, October 1, 10:00am-2:00pm
Meeting in Cotati
(directions and details sent upon registration)
$25. Pre-registration required.
Sorry, but this walk is now full. Please join us next time.

Explore the upper reach of the Laguna de Santa Rosa from downtown Cotati to the historic “headwaters” on a gentle, level, (but not wheelchair accessible) 3-mile loop walk. A number of local experts will share their knowledge and insights of the natural and cultural history of the area. This leisurely amble will include highlights about the Ross Street vernal pools; Cotati Creek Critters restoration and education work; Rohnert Park's Lydia Commons Community Garden where we’ll stop for a picnic lunch; and the surprising historic headwaters of the Laguna de Santa Rosa. Bring your own lunch, but delicious cookies will be provided! Jenny Blaker and Michael Knappman will lead the loop walk from downtown Cotati to the historic headwaters of the Laguna and back, along with Laguna Foundation staff and Guides, and special guest speakers Patrick Lei and Kate Symonds. This walk is most suitable for adults (slow with lots of stops).

Jenny Blaker co-founded Cotati Creek Critters habitat restoration project in 1998, and was Outreach Coordinator from 2006-2012, when thousands of volunteers planted and maintained native trees, shrubs and understory plants alongside the Laguna de Santa Rosa channel in Cotati. She helps maintain an informational website, Headwaters of the Laguna de Santa Rosa. Patrick Lei is a Technician with the Sonoma County Water Agency’s Stream Maintenance Program. Michael Knappman has been on the Lydia Commons Community Garden organizing committee since its inception in 2009. He has been active as a Master Gardener, helping promote community gardens and school gardens in Sonoma County. He has been walking the Laguna channel in his neighborhood for the past 25 years and has recently been organizing nature walks along the Laguna in Cotati for the students at University Elementary School. Kate Symonds is a biologist with 30 years of experience, including 20 years with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, specializing in habitat restoration and native plants for the last 12 years (recently retired). She now volunteers with various organizations on habitat restoration projects and is a docent naturalist at Sonoma State University's Fairfield Osborne Preserve.


Acorn Ethnobotany: Processing a Laguna Watershed Staple
Workshop with Zoe Minervini-Zick and Dylan Gearheart
Sunday, October 8, 9:30am-3:30pm
Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$60. Pre-registration required
(see below). Suitable for adults and teens 13 years and older.

Join us in an exploration of the relationship between oaks and humans using our senses on the Laguna landscape. In this class, we will discuss the history, ecology, and cultural relevance of oak trees used in the watershed. Respecting traditional ecological knowledge, and acknowledging the complexities of land management in the 21st century, the instructors will share the way they harvest from and tend to oaks for food. This hands-on workshop aims to introduce you to acorns as a local staple food: how to locate, harvest, process into flour and bake a nourishing treat. We will have a variety of tools for processing and will discuss different methods that can work in your kitchen. All workshop materials are provided. We will take a short walk to some of the large oaks on Stone Farm, otherwise we will be in and around Heron Hall at the Laguna Environmental Center for the workshop. Participants bring their own lunch. Hot drinks and light snacks (in addition to the acorn treats!) will be provided.

Zoe Minervini-Zick grew up with coast live oaks in Oakland (Ohlone land) and Sebastopol (Southern Pomo land), California. She has been studying ethnobotany for eight years, starting at the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine in Ithaca, NY and most recently at the Columbines School of Botanical Studies in Eugene, Oregon. Her focus of study has primarily been plant medicine and wild food. Processing acorns has been a part of her life for the past four autumns, though her love for oaks has been long-standing. Through teaching wild food skills, she hopes to encourage stewardship of the land, cultural conservation, and ecological resiliency. Dylan Gearheart grew up in San Diego (Kumeyaay territory) around Coast Live Oaks and chaparral. He received a B.S. in Industrial Arts & Design from Humboldt State University. Since then he has been learning about land-based technologies and wild foods along the Pacific Coast Region and on travels around the US, Mexico and Spain. Through Siskiyou Permaculture Dylan received a permaculture design certificate and studied social forestry. He currently stewards on and around where he lives doing mapping and design, gardening, forestry, wild food harvesting, natural building, and collective living.


Fall to Winter Transitions: Watercolor Nature Journaling at the Laguna de Santa Rosa
Workshop with Kristin Meuser
Saturday, October 14, 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$95. Pre-registration required
(see below), PLUS $55 art supply kit prepared by Kristin* (the $55 art kit is payable by check or cash to Kristin Meuser at the workshop)

Kristin Meuser is returning to lead a watercolor nature journaling workshop featuring the transitioning landscape of the Laguna from Fall to Winter. You will learn to sketch close up studies of plants and distant vistas of fields and mountains using a full range of colors mixed from a simple palette of eight harmonious pigments. Hands-on aids will help you create depth in your landscapes and close up sketches. Notation and prose writing combines with your sketching to bring to life the memory of your day. The beautiful Heron Hall classroom offers the opportunity to work rain or shine with its huge picture windows and outdoor overhangs. *NOTE: The kit includes a journal, a watercolor palette with 8 pigments, a waterbrush, a gel pen and pencils, plus a handy pouch to keep supplies together and easily taken on the trail. If you already have one of Kristin's art kits from another one of her classes, please notify Anita Smith so we know how many kits to provide.

Kristin Meuser has been painting the land for over 35 years. Several years ago her love of nature led her to the Sierra Nevada Field Campus where she studied nature journaling with Jack Laws, watercolor with Andie Thrams, and writing with Sarah Rabkin. Kristin's career as a graphic designer gives her journal pages a sense of structured variety and a delightfully cohesive overall effect. She has been teaching watercolor nature journaling for the past 5 years privately and at art and retreat centers in California. Her work is found in private collections, it has been shown regionally, and has been represented by the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite. For more information, visit Kristin's website.


From Earth to Art: Making Art Supplies from Natural Materials
Workshop with Ane Carla Rovetta

Saturday, October 21, 10:00am-4:00pm
Location: Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$85. Pre-registration required (see below). For adults 18 years and up.

Soils, soot, milk and sap – for thousands of years humans made nontoxic art from what was at hand. During this day of grinding, mixing, and experimenting, Ane Carla will share the historic recipes she has been researching and using for the past 20 years. Students will make four unusual natural paints. We will also try using soils chalks, historic inks, and baked charcoals that Ane Carla made. Join us for this intimate, fun, and memorable hands-on workshop in light-filled, comfortable Heron Hall. You'll be surrounded by gorgeous views of nature and the peace and quiet of the Laguna Environmental Center during a time that is closed to the public. Most workshop supplies will be provided, as well as hot drinks and light snacks.

Ane Carla Rovetta is a local science illustrator, storyteller-extraordinaire, and uses native plants and historic recipes to create art. Trained as a Zoologist, she was a field researcher for 12 years and gained unique insights into California’s unusual flora and fauna. Ane Carla combines art and science in stories, paintings, and handmade art materials. An illustrator since 1978, she has illustrated 7 books and countless scientific articles and periodicals. Her art studio is a funky chicken coop, outside all city limits! Ane Carla’s extraordinary talents were honored in 2015 with the Terwilliger Environmental Award.


The Laguna Watershed Year in Review
Presentation and Pie Party with Dr. Wendy Trowbridge
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Thursday, October 26, 2017, 6:30-9:00pm
$20 (non-refundable). Pre-registration required (see below).

It is time again for our annual Laguna Watershed Report and Pie party! Do you wonder how things are going in our watershed? It has been an interesting year starting with a wet winter and followed by a hot summer. Come hear about flooding, fire, and global climate change, as well as an update on the Laguna Foundation’s inspiring restoration and conservation work. We will talk about groundwater recovery, water quality credit trading, and the future of vernal pools on the Santa Rosa plain. We live in a dynamic, changing watershed. Find out how it did in the 2016-2017 water year and what we can expect in the water year ahead. Bring a pie to share and get a raffle ticket for great door prizes! Bring a pie made from invasive species (e.g., blackberry) and get two raffle tickets!! We’ll provide some pies, hot drinks and ice cream.

Dr. Wendy Trowbridge is Laguna Foundation’s Director of Restoration and Conservation Programs. She is a wetland plant ecologist who has worked in a variety of systems from the Sacramento River to Ruby Lakes in Northern Nevada to rangelands in Western China. She got her PhD at UC Davis as part of a multidisciplinary study of riparian restoration on The Nature Conservancy's Cosumnes River Preserve. For 10 years she was research faculty at the University of Nevada, Reno where her research focused on invasive species, wetland communities and aquatic food webs. 


An Evening with Cosmic Comic Swami Beyondananda
Comedy Performance with Steve Bhaerman
Special Fundraiser for the Laguna Foundation’s Community Education Programs
Saturday, November 4, 2017, 7:00-9:00pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$45. Pre-registration required (see below). Appropriate for 18 years and older.

Join "cosmic comic" Swami Beyondananda for an evening of heart-opening laughter, and mind-expanding comedy, and find out why noted author Marianne Williamson called Swami "the Mark Twain of our times." His humor has been described both as "comedy disguised as wisdom" and "wisdom disguised as comedy" and is guaranteed to keep you laughing till the sacred cows come home. Not only does the Swami "channel" both Bullwinkle and Elvis (at the same time, no less) but the second part of the show is questions from the audience. If you have an answerable question, the Swami will have a questionable answer for you. The Swami will have material specific to the Laguna de Santa Rosa watershed and environmental issues so pertinent today. This special adult-oriented evening benefits the Laguna Foundation’s Community Education programs, including the talks, walks, and classes which help inspire appreciation and stewardship of the Laguna de Santa Rosa, reaching more than 2,000 people of all ages per year. Hot drinks and light snacks will be provided.

Swami Beyondananda is the brainchild of author and humorist Steve Bhaerman. A political science major, Steve began his career as an educator in Washington, D.C. where he started an alternative high school and authored a book about his experiences, No Particular Place To Go: Making of a Free High School. He also taught labor studies at Wayne State University, and creative writing at University of Michigan. For the past 30 years, he has been writing and performing comedy as Swami Beyondananda, and has written four books as the Swami. On the more serious side, he is co-author with cellular biologist Bruce Lipton, PhD of Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There From Here. The Swami is co-authoring a new book with world water expert Jim Lauria called "To Know Water Is To Love Water," a playful yet pertinent view of a "deep" topic designed to educate, enlighten and activate audiences on behalf of clean, abundant water for all.


Tule Twined Basket
Workshop with Charlie Kennard
Saturday, November 11, 2017, 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$95. Pre-registration required (see below).

Enjoy a delightful day full of hands-on learning in Heron Hall and around the peaceful Laguna Environmental Center grounds with master weaver, Charlie Kennard. Each student will make a lightweight basket of Tule reed, using several different weaves. The basket will be suitable for storing nuts, onions, socks, or anything else you need to tidy up! Tule is an ideal material for beginner weavers, but is also a favorite of more experienced weavers, who can experiment with a variety of stitches, splices and rim treatments. All basket-making materials are included in the registration fee. Participants bring large scissors, a water bowl, small towel, and their lunch. Hot drinks and snacks are provided.

Charlie Kennard of San Anselmo is a long-time basket weaver and student of California Indian and European techniques. He has taught for MAPOM, Point Reyes Field Institute, East Bay Regional Parks Botanic Garden, 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, the Oakland Museum, and the one in Heron Hall! You can also visit a basketry plant garden he created at the Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross, where he and four friends recently wove a basket 13 feet in diameter. Charlie is active in native habitat restoration in Marin, managing several projects for Friends of Corte Madera Creek Watershed.


Also on tap in 2017. . . Stay tuned for details!

  • Wildlife Watching Evenings at the Laguna Environmental Center
  • Laguna for Little Ones, playscape fun for moms and toddlers
  • Brown Bag lunch series
  • Talks about climate adaptation, botany, anthropology, reptiles, arachnids, bats, and butterflies
  • Laguna kayaking adventures, astronomy nights, hikes and natural history explorations
  • And much, much more!!!

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


CANCELLATION POLICY: If you are registered for an event and need to cancel, please notify us as soon as possible. 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 FEES: 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 significant processing fees associated with online registration services such as Eventbrite. Thank you for your understanding and for your interest and support of our programs!

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