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Laguna Foundation Public Education Events

2017 Schedule


Close-Up and Macro Photography
Workshop with professional photographers Susan and Neil Silverman
Saturday, June 3, 8:00am-3:30pm
Location: Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Suitable for adults and teens (teens must be accompanied by an adult).
$85.  Pre-registration required
(see below).

What is the difference between the “usual” good photo and an exciting, different and intriguing image? You got it, Macro and Close-up photography!!! It can open a whole new world to your photo experience, your vision and your creativity. So often we don’t stop to “smell the roses,” and often we don’t stop to really see that “rose.” This workshop will open your eyes and change your perspective to find some new and beautiful ways of experiencing the Laguna and life around you. You might find yourself lost in a whole new world; and you did not have to fall down the rabbit hole! We will have a two-hour lecture, demonstration and discussion on the techniques and challenges with close-up photography (it takes a little more than just moving your feet in close), and then we will go out and about in the theater of the Laguna with our cameras and photograph this new wide world around you. Near the end of the workshop, we will return to Heron Hall and share images and results. Participants bring their own lunch. Hot drinks and snacks are 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, 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.


Full-Moon Exploration of Irwin Creek and Lower Stone Farm
Natural History Walk and Picnic with Kevin Munroe
Friday, June 9, 5:30pm-9:00pm
Beginning at the Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$30. Pre-registration required (see below).

Join us for this special full-moon evening adventure, including a picnic dinner alongside the Laguna in an area not usually open to the public. Bring your own picnic, and we'll provide the hors d’oeuvres, dessert and hot drinks! On this 1.5 to 2 mile walk, over mostly flat but uneven terrain, we’ll explore the beautiful area’s animal and plant life and learn about the history of Stone Farm and the on-going collaborative restoration work that’s bringing back a thriving ecosystem. We'll 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. Starting in Heron Hall with hors d’oeuvres and a brief presentation, we'll head out for a leisurely amble across the picturesque hay field to Irwin Creek, and across Sanford Rd. to quiet Lower Stone Farm and the Laguna channel, where we'll enjoy our picnic dinners (tarps to sit on provided). We'll start heading back after sunset, keeping our ears and eyes open for resident owls, coyotes, egrets, river otters, mink, frogs, bats and any other emerging evening wildlife. Back at cozy Heron Hall, we'll enjoy yummy dessert and hot drinks. Suitable for adults and youth 9 years old and up (children must be accompanied by an adult). Heavy/significant rain cancels (in which case, you'd receive a full refund). Details sent upon registration.

Kevin Munroe is the Laguna Foundation’s Executive Director. Kevin developed his passion as a naturalist in early childhood and subsequently transformed this interest into a rich career that includes conservation resource management, restoration, and environmental education. Among his accomplishments was leading a 50-acre wetland restoration project within Huntley Meadows Park, a well-known park in Fairfax County's Potomac River Watershed, roughly 12 miles NE of Washington, D.C. In his diverse career, Kevin has excelled in building community partnerships, diversifying fundraising activities, and working with a variety of public and private agencies that include the Army Corps of Engineers, US Fish and Wildlife Services, the Audubon Society, and more.


Drawing Nature: Colored Pencil Techniques
Workshop with Nina Antze
Saturday, June 24, 10:00am-3:00pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
FREE. Pre-registration required
 through LandPaths website. 
Suitable for 12 year olds and up (children under 15 must be accompanied by a parent)

Spend a peaceful day at the Laguna Environmental Center trying out different Colored Pencil Techniques. Working with a variety of natural plants, leaves and flowers growing at the Laguna, we will focus on layering, blending, burnishing, and under-painting. We will play with some color theory and how to apply it to the pencils. This is a perfect class for beginners to learn about Colored Pencils and drawing nature and for more experienced artists to hone their skills. All drawing levels are welcome. A supply list 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.

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.


The Awesome American Badger
Presentation with Susan Kirks, Naturalist
Saturday, July 29, 3:00-4:30pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
 (non-refundable). Pre-registration required (see below).

In the past five years, increased badger activity has been documented in the Laguna de Santa Rosa Watershed, particularly in Sebastopol and Western Sonoma County. Why is this occurring? Join Naturalist Susan Kirks, entering her 18th year of field study and observations of the reclusive American Badger (Taxidea taxus) and its life cycle and activities, to better understand this awesome mammal and its current activity in Sonoma County. “There are many myths about badgers,” shares Susan. Discovering the true nature of the American Badger has been a years-long study of Naturalist Kirks. We’ll consider similarities and differences of European Badgers, Honey Badgers, and American Badgers. The way American Badger lives in and moves through its habitat will be described, along with the best ways to co-exist with badgers in our grassland ecosystems. We’ll also learn about habitat areas and wildlife corridors in Sonoma County. An update will be provided on the petition to remove American Badger and Gray Fox from the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife’s mammal hunting list.  

Naturalist Susan Kirks’ conservation and education efforts on behalf of American Badger are recognized throughout California.  Susan also serves as President of Madrone Audubon Society in Sonoma County and chairs the Board of Directors of Paula Lane Action Network, a Petaluma-based conservation nonprofit that helped save the first and thus far only habitat property in California specifically conserved for American Badger, located in South Sonoma County.


A Year with the Urban Gray Fox
Presentation with Bill Leikam of the Urban Wildlife Research Project
Saturday, August 5, 3:00-4:30pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$10 (non-refundable). Pre-registration required (see below).

Join us for this informative and engaging multi-media presentation about the gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), a carnivorous mammal native to the Laguna de Santa Rosa Watershed and region.  Although gray foxes are frequently spotted in Sonoma County and the Bay Area, very little is known about them, especially their behavior. The Fox Guy, Bill Leikam, begins his presentation with an overview of the gray fox’s general ecology as an orientation to the life of a gray fox. He then weaves together the science through personal stories about foxes he studied in the Bay Area as he follows them over the course of a year. You will witness juvenile gray foxes begin new relationships, and experience the secret lives of gray fox pups as they learn how to survive in their ever changing world.  This presentation is most suitable for high school age and adults.

Bill Leikam conducts unprecedented research on the behavior of the gray fox. He is an Associate Director for Guadalupe-Coyote Resource Conservation District. Eight years ago, Bill began documenting, photographing and researching the behavior of the gray fox. This study resulted in the development of the Urban Wildlife Research Project. He introduced his work to videographer and naturalist Greg Kerekes and welcomed him on board to join in with the research. They are dedicated to developing viable habitat and connectivity corridors for the gray fox and other wildlife living to the east of Highway 101 and the shore of the San Francisco Bay. Their work has attracted a good deal of attention by the press. They give highly acclaimed presentations about their work to corporate, private, and an array of wildlife organizations.


Make an Open-Weave Rush Basket
Workshop with Charlie Kennard
Sunday, August 6, 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. We will weave a southern California style bowl-shaped basket that has several unusual features, including having all the weft ends finish at the rim. Participants will have a choice of rush (Juncus) species to twine with, one being very large. 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.


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.


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

  • Papermaking workshop with Jane Ingram Allen, July 9
  • Watershed Perspectives, Shady Creeks walk, July 15
  • Storytelling with Ane Carla Rovetta, July 22
  • Watershed Perspectives, Shady Creeks walk, August 12
  • Clint and Lucy McKay talk and basket weaving demonstration, September 7
  • Full-Moon Irwin Creek Walk, with Kevin Munroe, September 8
  • Groundwater talk with Marcus Trotta, September 14
  • Opening Reception for Dave Strauss' photography exhibit Natural Juxtaposition, September 16
  • Watershed Report with Dr. Wendy Trowbridge, September 21
  • Watercolor Nature Journaling workshop with Kristin Meuser, October 14
  • Earth to Art workshop with Ane Carla Rovetta, October 21
  • 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 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 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!

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