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.

Photo courtesy of Vida Verde

Exploring a Redwood Forest with Kids

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A few weeks ago I traveled an hour south of San Francisco to the town of San Gregorio to observe a group of fifth graders from Oakland begin their adventure at an outdoor education center, Vida Verde. During this visit …

Long-horned beetle drawing by Loren Green, image courtesy of NPS

The Secret of the Long-Horned Beetle

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We have probably all seen squirrels running around with a seed in tow, looking for  the perfect place to bury their food for the winter. Some of these seeds do get eaten later, and some are forgotten and eventually grow …

Epiphytic mushrooms and moss growing on a redwood branch. Photo by Steve Sillett

Epiphyte Heaven!

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I think I first really learned the meaning of the word “epiphyte” while working in the rainforest of Ecuador. There are epiphytes all over the trees in the tropical rainforest – one of the most famous  is the orchid. But …

DIY iPhone microscope.

DIY Microscope: See Nature’s Secrets

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If there is one piece of equipment to make you feel like a scientist, it has to be a microscope. There is something exciting about being able to see the hidden secrets of an object, the minutiae that are not …

Exploring the Forest at Night

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One of the great joys of Halloween time, besides the candy, is the spooky, dark and eerie  theme of the holiday. And what better location to represent this theme than a cool, foggy redwood forest at night. The tall trees, the profound silence …

The Douglas Fir and the Mouse

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Have you ever been walking in the forest and seen a cone, and wondered what tree it was from? This happens to me all the time. Sometimes it can be difficult to identify conifers (cone-bearing trees) because their branches can …

Are You a Scientist?

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If you search on Google images for “scientist,” you get a lot of photos of men and women with unkempt hair, white lab coats and goggles. If you ask a child what they think a scientist looks like, they will …

Could You Survive in a Redwood Forest?

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As I’ve become more familiar with Bay Area plants over the years, it is difficult for me to go hiking and not think to myself, “Yum, blackberry—oh look, bay laurel—I didn’t know horsetail grew around here.” If you go hiking with …

Time to Get Our Kids Back Into the Forest!

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For many people, September symbolizes the start of school: time to pack away the camping gear and get out the pencils, paper and backpacks. Vacations in the redwoods come to a close and are replaced by the routine of shuttling …

Barred Owls – Should They Stay or Should They Go?

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The recent winner of our photo contest photographed a barred owl sitting on the branch of a redwood tree – an image difficult to capture as owls are more often heard than seen. But this image raises the question of …

Atacama desert

Redwood Trees Inspire Innovation in the Desert

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During my years teaching and taking students out into nature, the question that always crossed my mind was, “What can we learn from this forest ecosystem?” Some of us learn to identify plants, trees and birds. Others learn the art …

Marbled Murrelets

A Different Perspective on Marbled Murrelets

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During a recent conversation with a fellow birding friend, the topic of marbled murrelets came up. Although marbled murrelets are widely known as a species which nest in old-growth redwood forest, my friend pointed out how different the bird is …

Salmon Monitoring in Redwood Creek

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Each year, the League funds individual research projects that help advance our knowledge of the biology, ecology, and conservation of coast redwood and giant sequoia forests.  In 2008, a grant was awarded to Walter Duffy and Michael Sparkman of Humboldt …

Smokey the Bear: An American Icon

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If you have ever visited a National Forest you are probably familiar with the famous quote, “Only YOU can prevent wildfires,” by none other than Smokey the Bear. Smokey first appeared to us in 1944 as the symbol of fire …

A Surprise in the Forest

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Hiking through the forest is often meditative for me. The familiarity of the trees, the sound of the birds, and the smell of the plants allow my mind to wander and ponder life. But sometimes I am stopped in my …

Native American Use of Fire

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In discussing fire, it is important to think about who managed the forests before us, and how that has influenced what the forests look like today. Many different Native American groups lived throughout the redwood region, each utilizing the natural …

Acorn woodpecker. Photo by Walt Koenig

Is That Your Egg or Mine?

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While walking through a forest with oaks, it is hard not to notice the loud, parrot-like “waka waka” call of the beautiful acorn woodpecker. Their bright red, white, and black coloring is similar to many other woodpeckers, yet their call …