Author Archives: Deborah Zierten

Avatar for Deborah ZiertenDeborah joined the League's staff in 2013 as the Education & Interpretation Manager. She brings with her extensive experience teaching science, developing curriculum and connecting kids to the natural world.

Students set up fern plots and learn scientific field techniques as part of Pepperwood Preserve's TeenNat program.

Conservation Scientists in the Making

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As an environmental educator, there is nothing better than seeing young people making observations and asking questions out in nature. Questions like, “Why do you think that bay tree and redwood are growing so close together?”, “Why are the tanoaks …

A pygmy forest at Van Damme State Park in Mendocino County looks young, but it's not. Photo credit: David Berry, Flickr Creative Commons

Pygmy Forests Offer a Surprise

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On a recent trip to visit some of the amazing redwood parks in Mendocino County, I happened upon a type of forest I had never seen before. A forest where pines, cypress and redwood trees are a mere fraction of …

League supporters Victoria Reeder and Roy Williams recently celebrated their wedding amongst the redwoods at Big Basin State Park.

Love in a Redwood Forest

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It’s no surprise the redwoods inspire people in many different ways. The biodiversity of plants and animals inspires scientists, the towering red-hued trunks of the trees inspire artists, and the fallen logs and clear creeks inspire an adventurous spirit in …

Marbled murrelet. Photo Credit: USFWS, Flickr Creative Commons

Help an Endangered Bird by…Cleaning Up Your Crumbs?

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Tomorrow marks the longest day of the year, the summer solstice. The summer solstice is a time to celebrate the start of summer, long hours of sunlight, warm nights and plenty of opportunities to be outside. This weekend, you may …

Hit the trails this Saturday for National Trails Day!

All Our Trails Have to Offer

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This Saturday is National Trails Day®! Whenever I think about hiking on one of the over 200,000 miles of trails we have in the U.S., the lyrics of one of my favorite Ani DiFranco songs pop into my head: When …

Students conduct scientific investigations of redwood trees as well as explore the forest in Little Basin.

How Best to Help Kids Learn About Nature?

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Environmental educators are always juggling what, how much and how long to teach students in nature. Do you let students explore and observe a forest on their own, or do you give them more structured activities? Do you introduce sophisticated …

A Pacific sideband found at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

Snails Play Cupid with “Love Darts”

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There are certain animals in the redwood forest that easily call attention to themselves. The banana slug is bright yellow, the Pacific giant salamander barks, the spotted owl hoots, and the yellow-spotted centipede has distinctive yellow spots on the sides …

(HSU) interns, Shawna and Jake, conducting weekly plant monitoring.

Looking for the Forest in Bloom

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While many people were searching for brightly colored eggs this past Sunday, I spent my Easter hiking in the forest looking for trillium and rhododendron flowers. As I walked along the Lady Bird Johnson Trail in Redwood National Park, I …

There is nothing better than exposing a student to nature in a way that will have a lasting positive impact.

Happy Environmental Education Week!

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It’s National Environmental Education Week, and that means we’re celebrating all the wonderful schools and organizations around the world who work to connect youths and their families to the natural world. In my own experience growing up, I was fortunate …

Deborah Zierten worked with junior high students from San Francisco to document species at Muir Woods during BioBlitz. Photo credit: Tonatiuh Trejo-Cantwell

BioBlitzing with students!

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On March 28th, over 4,000 visitors and volunteer scientists arrived at Muir Woods National Monument ready to learn, discover, and explore this absolutely amazing redwood forest. Thousands more visited the Crissy Field Center for the Biodiversity Festival. Whether or not …

View of the coast redwood canopy. Photo by Stephen Sillett

BioBlitz is Here!

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The time we have been preparing for during the past few months, BioBlitz 2014, is finally here! For the next two days you will find us at Muir Woods National Monument and the Crissy Field Center as we explore, learn, …

Marin high school students use their cell phones to participate in Redwood Watch, our citizen science program.

Using Cell Phones for Science

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These days, I think it’s a pretty safe bet that many people spend more time on their cell phones — checking email, posting to Facebook, playing games— than they do out in nature. This trend seems especially prevalent among our …

Crown‐mapping involves measurements of heights, diameters, distances, and azimuths of all branches. Here Jim Spickler (left) extends a steel tape to measure the horizontal extension of a dead branch while Bob Van Pelt (right) records the measurement. Photo by Stephen Sillett, Institute for Redwood Ecology, Humboldt State University

Countdown to BioBlitz!

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In 21 days we will have a major scientific event happening throughout the Bay Area: the 2014 National Park Service BioBlitz. Here at the League we are busy preparing for this 24-hour exploration of the ecologically diverse areas of the …

Sixth graders in LandPaths' environmental education program work to restore the redwood forest.

Students Learn About Restoration

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On a cold December morning, I arrived at Rancho Mark West in Sonoma County to the sight of twenty-two sixth graders huddled in a circle beneath towering redwood trees. They were listening silently as their instructors explained how they were …

What better place to create memories with your loved ones? Muir Beach photo by advencap, Flickr Creative Commons

Celebrate Your Love at Muir Beach

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¡Feliz Dia de Amor y Amistad! Happy Love and Friendship Day! For me — and maybe for you, too —this day is about celebrating the loves in my life: love for family, friends and nature. And rather than expressing that …

Mountain lion. All photos courtesy of our partners, Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) and Sempervirens Fund

Camera Traps: Windows into Wild Lives

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Over the past few months here at the League we have been inspired by photos captured of wildlife on the CEMEX Redwoods property in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Motion-activated wildlife cameras called “camera traps” are set up throughout the property, …

The PORTS program connects students to their state parks through videos and interviews with a park ranger. Photo courtesy of California State Parks.

Visit a Redwood Forest… from Your Classroom!

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When students learn about a threatened plant, animal or environmental community, their desire to help often kicks in. They contribute to the cause by writing letters, raising money, and educating others about the issue. Once raised, their awareness can last …

Tanoak mortality in Humboldt County. Photo Credit, Yana Valachovic, UCCE Humboldt County

Why are all the tanoaks dying?

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During a recent walk through Sam MacDonald Park in San Mateo County, I noticed many downed, brown-leafed tanoak trees amongst the towering redwoods. At first I wondered why the county would cut down so many trees, but then I realized …

Bird's nest fungus. Photo by pellaea, Flickr Creative Commons.

Bird’s Nest Fungus in the Forest

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This fall and winter has definitely been a dry one for us here in California. One thing I’ve noticed is that with limited rainfall comes fewer mushrooms. I have always associated the rainy fall with prime mushroom time. I love …

My “Best of” List for 2013

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As 2013 comes to a close, it’s that time again for the “best of” lists to come out.  You know—the best movies of the year, the best music, etc. Since I started my job here at Save the Redwoods League …