Many thanks to
Sonoma Mountain Village
for their business sponsorship of our Public Education Programs







Don Jackson










































Laguna Foundation Public Education Events

2014 Schedule

Laguna Environmental Center Open Houses
Second Saturday of the Month, 10:00am-3:00pm
May 10, June 14, July 12, and so on . . .
Location: 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Free (donations appreciated)

Learn about the natural and cultural history of the Laguna de Santa Rosa and historic Stone Farm by taking a guide-led tour or exploring a variety of hands-on activities. Birdwatch from the observation deck. Stop by for a visit and take in the beautiful views. Bring a picnic! Enjoy our newly expanded gift shop in Great Blue Heron Hall and a new art exhibit "Treescapes" (on display through June 29) of colorful paintings and prints by Green Greenwald. Keep an eye on our monthly schedule, as we offer special themes for some Open Houses (see below). This is a working farm, so please leave your pets at home. The site is wheelchair accessible. No RSVP necessary. Come join us!

Upcoming Special Open House Themes:

  • May 10 -- "Bones Day." Bones on display and special activities 11am-2pm. Details below.
  • June 14 -- "River Otters," displays, activities for all ages, and presentation. Details below.


Nestward Migration: Docent-led walks to the nesting colony at Delta Pond
Saturday, May 3, 2014
Choose your time: 8:00 AM, 8:15 AM, 8:30 AM, 8:45 AM, 9:00 AM
$15 per person. Pre-registration required.

Join the fun of this annual trek to the Great Blue Heron, Great Egret and Double-crested Cormorant nesting site on the banks of the Laguna. By May 3 we will likely see everything from courtship displays, nest building, egg-sitting, and maybe even peek-in on chicks while watching parents hustle to keep up with hungry mouths to feed. All the sights and sounds of the rookery are exciting! Other possible treats include sightings of American White Pelicans and maybe even a Bald Eagle. Bring friends and family out for a joyful morning experience! This event benefiting the Learning Laguna bus scholarship program is always a sell-out so register early! Approximately 3-mile walk over flat, uneven terrain. Full details emailed upon registration.

Select Time


"Bones Day" at the Laguna Environmental Center Open House
Saturday, May 10. Site open 10am-3pm. Bones on display and special activities 11am-2pm.
Join Dr. Robert Rubin and Laguna Docents for a hands-on examination of a wide variety of animal bones. Come for docent-led tours of this historic, District Protected site, learn about the Laguna de Santa Rosa, and delve into the world of joints, skulls, and how various animal skeletons function. Flying, swimming, hopping, slithering, and crawling specimens large and small will be on display from the SRJC collection. Most will be available for interaction, including a special kids “pile of bones” for imagining new animals! Special talks on teeth, and how animals move will be offered at 12:30 and 2:00. Bring a picnic to linger and enjoy the views! Wheelchair accessible & all-ages appropriate.


Science Buzz Cafe: Laguna Wildlife

Presentation by Denise Cadman
Tuesday, May 27, 7:00-8:30pm (doors open at 6:30pm)
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$10 at the door. No RSVP necessary.

Join us for an entertaining and informative special Science Buzz Cafe presentation by City of Santa Rosa Environmental Specialist, Denise Cadman. Learn about the unique and wonderful birds and other wildlife of the Laguna de Santa Rosa, a wetland of international importance, right here in our own backyard!


Messengers of Summer: Sonoma County's Dazzling Dragonflies

Workshop with dragonfly expert and author, Kathy Biggs
Saturday, May 31, 9:00am-3:30pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$55 ($45 for Laguna Foundation members). Pre-registration required.

Welcome the summer with this delightful workshop about dragonflies, the "messengers of summer and heralds of the sun" (as poet and zoologist H. Lons calls them). Join Kathy Biggs for a morning presentation 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). Identification marks for the most common species in Sonoma County will be introduced. Learn about how the Laguna de Santa Rosa is part of the Pacific Flyway, used not only by birds but by "Odes" (dragonflies) too! The afternoon field trip will be an opportunity to practice identification skills and to make sense of the unusual and fascinating behaviors of dragonflies. Bring your own sack lunch. Coffee, tea and snacks will be provided. Further details emailed upon registration.

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. For more information about Kathy's books and work, see her website. The Biggs' field guides and coloring books will be offered at a discounted price at this workshop.


"River Otters" Day at the Laguna Environmental Center Open House
pecial exhibits and activities with the River Otter Ecology Project
Saturday, June 14, Noon-3pm
(regular Open House goes 10am-3pm)
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Free. No RSVP necessary.

Join us for this fun and fascintating Open House with a focus on river otters! Our friends with the River Otter Ecology Project will bring all kinds of materials and activities to teach us about river otter biology, ecology, and abundance in the watershed. They will have posters, puppets, coloring sheets, and other "otterly" fun things to look at and play with. Laguna Guides will have our wonderful hands-on "Mammal Box" and "Tracks" activities out as well, including an otter pelt.

Join us at 3:00pm for a presentation by River Otter Ecology Project's Executive Director, Megan Isadorer. $10 at the door, no RSVP necessary (details below).


Romping Back to the Bay! River Otter Recovery in Local Watersheds

Presentation by Megan Isadore, River Otter Ecology Project
Saturday, June 14, 3:00-4:30pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$10 at the door. No RSVP necessary.

River otters -- we know they're terrifically charismatic, fun to watch, and elusive! Yet, they're popping up more and more often in SF Bay watersheds, often posing for photographs. This appears to be an encouraging sign that we humans are doing something right! As apex predators and a sentinel species, river otters are terrific ambassadors for wetland restoration and conservation. Entering into their third year of monitoring river otter recovery and health, The River Otter Ecology Project (ROEP) is providing the first-ever research on Central California otter populations. Join us to see and hear what they've discovered about local otters, and how that information will help otters and everyone who depends upon healthy watersheds to thrive. That means all of us!  Megan will discuss natural history of river otters, using the ROEP's own video of local otter behavior and habits to illustrate.  

This presentation is geared to middle school age and older, but there will be some fun coloring projects (our popular otter hats and finger puppets) for little ones to do when they're not watching otters romp on video.

Megan Isadore is Co-founder and Executive Director of ROEP. She is a naturalist who has been studying and teaching about coastal wetland ecology in relation to salmonids for the past 15 years, as well as working as a wildlife rehabilitator specializing in raccoons. The river otter project grew out of questioning whether people were actually seeing more river otters in Marin creeks and bays, or whether people were just noticing them more. When they realized there was no population, range, prey or other information available on river otters in Central California they decided to begin that work. They collected a team of scientists and naturalists and began their non-invasive study of river otters, using camera traps, scat collection and habitat mapping. See The River Otter Ecology Project's website.


Nature Sketching, Pen & Ink with Watercolor

Workshop with Joan Hoffmann
Friday, June 27, 9:00am-1:00pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$55 ($45 Laguna Foundation members). Pre-registration required.

Join us for this creative, fun morning at the Laguna Environmental Center on a day when we are closed to the public. Enjoy the quiet, wildlife-filled landscape learning how to sketch nature with pen & ink and then add a touch of watercolor. Beginners will learn how to get started and sketch and paint with simple, portable materials. Regular painters and drawers can enjoy nature and brush up on their skills.

Joan Hoffmann paints impressionistic oil and watercolor landscapes and birds en plein air. She connects to the land by teaching, painting, and preserving the wild places that she explores. She lectures and writes on The History of American Landscape Painting, National Parks, and Public Lands. She hosts Painting Retreats in Bluff, Utah and Steamboat Springs, CO and teaches through Pt. Reyes Field Institute and Sorensen’s Resort in the Sierras. She exhibits and sells her oils and watercolor. For more information on her work, visit Joan Hoffmann's website.



Restoration Ecology

Presentation by John Guardino
Laguna Foundation's Director of Restoration and Conservation Science
Thursday, July 17, 7:00-8:30pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$10 at the door. No RSVP necessary.


Details coming soon.



Family-Friendly Star Party and Dessert Potluck

with Sonoma County Astronomical Society

Presentation in Heron Hall followed by star-gazing outdoors through multiple telescopes
Friday, August 22, 7:00pm into the night
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$10 adults, $5 children (no one turned away for lack of funds) -- Pre-registration required.

Details and registration coming soon.



Cordage-Making Materials and Techniques

Workshop with Charlie Kennard
Saturday, September 6, 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$75 ($65 Laguna Foundation members). Pre-registration required.

Suitable for teens and adults (ages 13 and up)

The leaves, bark and roots of many native plants yield fibers that can be used for making string and rope. Each has a characteristic strength, appearance and scent. We will process a variety of plants—including dogbane that can be seen growing at the Laguna Foundation—and use several techniques to make cordage. Participants will be able to try their hand at thigh-rolling dogbane fibers. We will also discuss net-making techniques. Further details emailed upon registration.

Charles (Charlie) Kennard, a resident of San Anselmo, is a long-time student of California Indian and European basketry, and practices a wide variety of basketry techniques using local plants. He has taught for the Miwok Archeological Preserve of Marin (MAPOM), Point Reyes Field Institute, UC Botanical Garden, in many schools and at teacher trainings. Tule boats made in his workshops can be seen at the Laguna Environmental Center, California Academy of Sciences, the Bay Model in Sausalito, and in the collection of the Oakland Museum. A sinuous 150-foot woven fence he made borders the East Garden of the Academy of Sciences. Charlie is also active in native habitat restoration in Marin, managing several projects for the Friends of Corte Madera Creek Watershed.



Climate Adaptation for Conservation
Presentation with Lisa Micheli, Executive Director, Pepperwood Foundation
Tuesday, September 23, 7:00pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$10 at the door. No RSVP necessary.

Details coming soon.



Create a Keepsake Painting: Small Painting Workshop for the Holidays

Plein Air Watercolor Painting Workshop with Donna DeLaBriandais
Saturday, November 1, 10am-4pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

$75 ($65 Laguna Foundation members). Pre-registration required.

Suitable for teens and adults

Autumn is a wonderful time to paint indoors or outdoors, "en plein air," and this workshop dovetails with Donna's painting exhibit in Heron Hall (on display October 1 to December 23). This workshop will begin indoors in lovely Heron Hall to study the basics of picture making, color mixing, and composition using watercolor paints on special panels. The afternoon session will be outdoors to paint the wonderful scenes at the Laguna Environmental Center. Subjects to paint include the marsh pond with cattails, historic farm buildings, and scenes from the meadows with Mt. St. Helena in the distance. Donna will lecture and do a variety of demonstrations throughout the day. Using special watercolor boards, you'll complete three paintings or more during the workshop! These watercolor solid panels offer beautiful transparent and vibrant colors on a strong support that will not buckle or fade as with watercolor paper.

Donna DeLaBriandais is a Signature Member in the American Impressionist Society and a member of California Art Club. She is a third generation native of Santa Rosa and finds inspiration painting the landscape of Northern California on location and studio. Donna studied painting at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and graduated from the University of San Francisco. She later spent a summer at La Romita Art School in Italy. Donna teaches painting and drawing classes through Santa Rosa Junior College, National Parks, and various art centers. For more information about Donna and her artwork, visit her website.


Kayaking and Hiking the Laguna

Presentation by Laguna Foundation Executive Director, David Bannister
Saturday, January 10, 3pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$10 at the door. No RSVP necessary.

Learn how to get around the Laguna by foot or by boat. In his slideshow presentation, David will share where the access points are, where you can go from there, what those spots are like in various weather conditions and times of year, things to watch out for, and lots of images of what you can see. David has been kayaking and hiking in the Laguna for more than 20 years and has also done lots of kayaking in the Petaluma River, Napa River, Tomales Bay, Bolinas Lagoon, and the Estero Americano. He enjoys birdwatching and observing other wildlife in all these locales, but the Laguna is his favorite.

Join us for this fun and informative talk! Come early and enjoy the Open House as well (Second Saturday of the Month Open House at the Laguna Environmental Center, 10:00am-3:00pm).


Also on tap . . . Stay tuned for details!

  • Photography workshop along the Laguna
  • Lower Stone Farm adventures
  • Walking with Hiking Poles workshop
  • Raptor Mirgration talks and field trips
  • More walks and outings around the Laguna
  • Talks about reptiles, raptors, arachnids, bats, and butterflies
  • More art and nature workshops
  • Mid-Week Movie Nights
  • And much, much more!!!

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