Laguna Foundation Public Education Events

2016 - 2017 Schedule

Discover the Laguna Discovery Trail
Natural history walk with Laguna Foundation Education Team
Saturday, December 10, 9:00am-12:30pm
(rain date alternative December 17)
Meet at Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$15 (non-refundable).  Pre-registration required (see below).

Join us for a leisurely winter walk along the Laguna Discovery trail with Laguna Foundation Education Team staff and volunteers. We will meet at the Laguna Environmental Center for a brief presentation about that stretch of the Laguna and then carpool to the Discovery Trail. Newly opened this past spring, the Laguna Discovery Trail off Stony Point Road is a wonderful place to see the Laguna up close, take-in open sky, watch birds, catch glimpses of other wildlife, and deepen your connection to the Laguna watershed. This 1.2 mile trail (2.4 mile round-trip) and interpretive signage was created as part of the Southern Laguna Restoration project, a collaboration between the Sonoma County Water Agency and the Laguna Foundation that improved water flow in the Laguna, widened the riparian zone (thus increased wildlife habitat!) and creates a healthy future for the natural communities that include all of us. More than 4,800 native plants and approximately 15,000 native grass seedlings have been planted over 30 acres. During this walk, we will provide insight into restoration work that has taken place and focus on the natural wonders of the area. The trail is on a gravel and dirt road, so the terrain is uneven but mostly flat. Only heavy rain cancels. Our alternative rain date is the next Saturday, December 17.

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Ducks Day! Special Laguna Environmental Center OPEN HOUSE
Displays and Activities for all Ages, All About Waterfowl!
Saturday, January 14, 2017, 11:00am-2:00pm

Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
FREE. No RSVP required.

Saturday, January 14, the Laguna Environmental Center will be open to the public from 11:00am-2:00pm with a special theme – all about DUCKS and other waterfowl! There will be unique and beautiful educational displays inside and outside, as well as fun, hands-on activities for all ages. In addition to the Ducks Day emphasis, enjoy the Open House to learn about natural and cultural history of the Laguna de Santa Rosa and historic Stone Farm. Take a guide-led tour. Visit the children's playscape. Birdwatch from the observation deck. Bring a picnic and take in the beautiful views. Browse our gift shop in Great Blue Heron Hall and view the amazing new mixed media art exhibit by Diana Majumdar, "Birds of the Laguna" (on display January 9 through April 27, 2017).

Stick around for a related presentation at 3pm, "Waterfowl of the Laguna de Santa Rosa and the Pacific Flyway" with “Duck Man” Dave Barry. $10 (non-refundable), pre-registration required (see below). And join us on Sunday, January 15, 7:30-11am for a waterfowl-focused Sunrise Natural History Walk along the Laguna with Dave Barry. $30. Pre-registration required (see below).

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Waterfowl of the Laguna de Santa Rosa and the Pacific Flyway
Presentation with "Duck Man" Dave Barry
Saturday, January 14, 2017, 3:00-4:30pm

Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$10 (non-refundable).  Pre-registration required (below).

Ducks, geese, wonderful waterfowl! We will learn basic identification and characteristics of waterfowl found in Sonoma County and along the Laguna de Santa Rosa at different times of year. Did you know that a goose species that overwinters in Sonoma County is known to migrate 3,000 miles over open ocean? And that most ducks practice sexual dimorphism, where females and males of the same species look different? We will learn cool facts like the difference between “dabbling" and “diving” ducks and its importance to these masters of the water world. Learn about how the Laguna de Santa Rosa is an important stopover along the Pacific Flyway for thousands of migrating ducks and other water-loving birds. We will talk about some of the challenges that waterfowl face, as well as success stories.

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 Wildlife Conservancy, and is a lead naturalist with West County Hawk Watch.

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Waterfowl of the Laguna de Santa Rosa and the Pacific Flyway
Sunrise Natural History Walk with "Duck Man" Dave Barry
Sunday, January 15, 2017, 7:30am-11:00am

Meet at Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$30..  Pre-registration required (below).

We will visit 2-3 sites along the Laguna, not normally open to the public, where waterfowl love to hang out. On our early morning walk we will learn to identify ducks by their behavior and vocalization, both in flight and while feeding. We will 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. Light snacks provided. This natural history walk is suitable for novice to advanced birders, ages 10 years old and up. Only heavy rain cancels.

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 Wildlife Conservancy, and is a lead naturalist with West County Hawk Watch.

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Piecing Together the Past from Pieces: An Interactive Archaeological Experience
Presentation/workshop with archaeologists Tom Origer & Associates
Saturday, January 21, 3:00-5:00pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
FREE.  Pre-registration required through LandPaths
Suitable for ages 8 years old and up – bring the whole family!

Have you ever wondered what archaeologists do? A team from Tom Origer & Associates will host a fun and interactive workshop in which participants will learn how archaeologists study material culture (artifacts) to gain knowledge about people in the past. The workshop will begin with a brief talk during which the participants (you) will be introduced to what archaeology is, how we do it, and why. Participants will then have the opportunity to handle some artifacts and do their best to identify and interpret them. The emphasis of this workshop is to understand the informational potential of archaeological materials and the importance of preserving the archaeological record. Light refreshments will be provided.

A lively and diverse team of archaeologists with varied educational backgrounds plans to share with you their passion for conducting archaeology and learning about the past. Tom, Rachel, Taylor, Julia, and Josh (your guides for this adventure) have collectively over 50 years experience searching for archaeological sites, investigating those sites, analyzing artifacts, and describing their research in technical reports as well as in fun, educational presentations and workshops. For more information about Tom Origer & Associates, see their website

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.

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Photography at the Laguna
Workshop with professional photographers Susan and Neil Silverman
Thursday, January 26, 7:00-9:00pm AND Saturday, January 28, 8:00am-2:30pm (rain or shine)
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$95.  Pre-registration required
(see below).
Suitable for adults and teens (teens must be accompanied by an adult).

Here is a fun photo workshop for everyone! All levels of experience and gear welcome, even smart phones. Thursday evening will be a lecture and discussion covering: a) the elements of a good composition and tweaking your creativity; b) getting a good exposure in challenging lighting conditions; and c) working with the concepts of HDR and focus stacking. This will be an evening full of information and inspiration for Saturday’s hands-on workshop. Saturday morning we will go out and photograph the Laguna in its morning light (depending on conditions, accessing areas not normally open to the public). We will put into practical application the concepts discussed Thursday night. We will return to Heron Hall and review some of the images that were taken that morning. This is a wonderful opportunity to not only learn some new ideas, but to be able to put them into immediate practice in a beautiful, inspiring location! Participants bring their own lunch; hot drinks and snacks provided. 

Susan and Neil Silverman are a husband-wife team who have taught and photographed together for over twenty years. Their passion behind the lens is transmitted not only through their images, but to their students as well. They have been leading their own workshops for over ten years and taught for Great American Photography Workshops for ten years; have taught for Better Photo.com, Santa Fe School, PPA affiliates, PPC, B&H Photo, Pacific North West Art School, Gualala Art Center, Santa Rosa Junior College, and many more. Although they are well versed in Photoshop and Lightroom, they believe in getting the image in the camera. They love teaching and watching their students have that “Aha” moment of learning how to capture a wonderful photo. They forever seek "the Image, the Light, and the Moment" through their camera lens and their life experiences. Photography is fun, exciting and an ever-changing environment and they work hard to keep their finger on the pulse of the beat of the times. A photo can be good or great; and they believe in putting the "extra" in front of ordinary. Visit their website.

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Cordage-Making Materials and Techniques
Workshop with Charlie Kennard
Saturday, February 4, 2017, 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$85. 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. String and rope are made from various parts of many native plants, taking on distinctive appearances and fragrances. We will learn about the different types of fibers, process a variety of plants used by California Indians and others, and use several techniques to make cordage with them. Never be at the end of your rope again!

Charlie Kennard of San Anselmo is a long-time basket weaver and student of California Indian and European techniques. He has taught for the Miwok Archeological Preserve of Marin (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 our own Heron Hall. You can also visit a basketry plant garden he has created at the Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross. Charlie is active in native habitat restoration in Marin, managing several projects for Friends of Corte Madera Creek Watershed.

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The Winter Landscape in Your Nature Journal
Watercolor journaling workshop with Kristin Meuser
Saturday, February 18, 2017, 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$150. (includes a $55 special art supply kit prepared by Kristin)* Pre-registration required.  

The color palette of Winter reveals itself in the vistas of the Laguna de Santa Rosa and Mt. St. Helena, as well as in the close-up study of shrubs and trees. Join Kristin as you learn to mix a full range of colors from a simple palette of eight harmonious pigments, followed by hands-on aids to help you create depth in your landscapes and close-up sketches. You will also spend time writing, which combines with your sketching to bring to life the memory of your day in nature. The beautiful Heron Hall classroom at the Laguna Environmental Center offers the opportunity to work rain or shine with its huge picture windows and outdoor overhangs. This class is suitable for beginners to experienced artists, adults and teens 16 years and older. *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 contact Anita Smith to pre-register for $95

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 her website

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

  • World Wetlands Day Kayaking/Hiking Adventure, February 2
  • Diana Majumdar's "Birds of the Laguna" Art Exhibit Opening Reception, Feb. 11
  • Laguna Historical Ecology talk with San Francisco Estuary Institute, Feb. 23
  • Drawing Green Leaves and Stems, colored pencil workshop with Nina Antze, March 4
  • Raptors of the Laguna talk with Larry Broderick, March 9
  • Raptors of the Laguna walk with Larry Broderick, March 11
  • An Evening with Clint and Lucy McKay, March 16
  • Rare Pond Species Workshop with Dave Cook and Jeff Alvarez, March 23-25
  • Spring Birding in the Laguna series with Lisa Hug, March 26, April 23, and May 21
  • Geology talk with Dr. Jane Nielson, April 20
  • Day of the Child, special Open House and activities, April 29
  • Writing the Watershed, workshop with Elizabeth Herron, May 6
  • Spring Fling in the Wilds of the Laguna, hike and picnic with Denise Cadman, May 19
  • Talks about botany, anthropology, reptiles, arachnids, bats, and butterflies
  • Laguna kayaking adventures, hikes and natural history explorations
  • And much, much more!!!

For more information, contact Anita Smith, Public Education Manager, (707) 527-9277 x110 or anita@lagunafoundation.org

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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.

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 significant processing fees associated with online registration services such as PayPal. Thank you for your understanding, and thank you for your interest and support of our programs!