Author Archives: Emily Burns

Emily Burns, the League’s former Director of Science, led the research program that includes the Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative. She holds a PhD in Integrative Biology on the impacts of fog on coast redwood forest flora from the University of California, Berkeley.

Foggy Focus

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The new issue of Bay Nature has an article on the fantastic and ephemeral feature of our local climate — fog. The article, Demystifying Mist, describes the science of studying fog and conjures up images of misty forest days that Continued

Climbing at Dawn

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Today is the first day of summer, the longest day of the year. Often the summer solstice makes me think of long evenings and late sunsets, but of course dawn comes incredibly early too. Today, I remember my earliest morning Continued

How the Banana Slug Got its Name

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Every once in awhile, I stumble across something that just makes me laugh. The sight of this banana slug posing on its namesake was no exception! After seeing the yellow slug and banana peel together, it is no surprise to Continued

Where have all the flowers gone?

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“Where have all the flowers gone? Long time passing.”  -Pete Seeger Over 170 years ago, early loggers began extracting redwood from the San Francisco bay area. The trees they cut were monumental and today we can still find the remnant stumps Continued

Redwoods at the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show

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This week, a redwood forest came alive at the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show. Our partners, the Garden Club of America, celebrated their centennial with an lush exhibit featuring understory ferns and flowers of the coast redwood forest. Large translucent photographs Continued

Burl Thieves Attack Redwoods

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Last year, I saw a man ride a bicycle down the road from Ladybird  Johnson Grove in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park carrying a large chainsaw. I was baffled at the sight and now realize just how terrible an omen Continued

Pelican Recovery Brings Hope

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I grew up in Northern California and witnessed the inspiring recovery of an endangered species over the past few decades. As a frequent beach goer throughout my life, I remember it was unusual to see brown pelicans diving along the Continued

Seen Sorrel Cry?

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They were perfectly placed drops of water on the outer edge of each redwood sorrel (Oxalis oregana) leaflet. At first, I thought that I was just seeing drops of fog that had not yet evaporated. Then, I realized that these Continued

Humboldt’s Original Skunk Weed

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It smells a little skunky along the trail. Did a fellow hiker light up a joint ahead of you or it could be a botanical wonder of the coast redwoods and beyond?! Skunk cabbage emerges early in the year in Continued

Giant redwood crowns loom over a canopy of lesser trees (Picea sitchensis, Tsuga heterophylla) in JSRSP. Photo by Stephen Sillett

Clone the best, forget the rest?

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People are cloning the world’s oldest redwoods. Archangel Ancient Tree Archive is planting their clones en masse around the world in an effort to create robust forests of the future. They say these ancient clones will reverse deforestation across the Continued

Secret Life of Ferns

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Ferns are under-appreciated, despite the fact that as a group they have more than 12,000 species worldwide and their lineage is even older than the redwoods! Maybe I’m a fern nerd (well, no maybe about it actually), but I can’t Continued

I Smell Cyanide!

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The fantastic yellow-spotted millipede, Harpaphe haydeniana, roams freely through the coast redwood forest. Often found crawling in the duff on the forest floor, H. Haydeniana is multi-legged invertebrate that demands respect. When it senses danger, this millepede curls up in a ball Continued

Ferns in the Redwood Canopy

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In last week’s blog, I described my climb into a large double redwood to help Steve Sillett and his team make measurements for our Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative. While up in this tree, I was suspended alongside enormous fern Continued

forest floor

200 Feet Up a Redwood

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Harness cinched. Helmet buckled. Camera and notebook tucked in tightly. Knowing this was one of the last days this spring to collect coast redwood canopy data, we scurried up climbing ropes into the leafy forest canopy of Del Norte County. Continued

Trillium is toxic!

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Have you ever seen this stunning flower in the redwood forest? It is a Giant Wake Robin, or Trillium chloropetalum, and was recently seen blooming in the Santa Cruz Mountains

... Continued

Sequoias Suddenly Snowless

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I fastened on my snowshoes and set off for a wintertime hike among the giant sequoias.  I quickly realized the snow in the forest was patchy at best and completely melted at worst, and it’s only March! It was shocking Continued

Bay Lights – 1.5 Redwoods Tall

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  Outside our office this week the San Francisco Bay Bridge began twinkling with the artistic illumination of 25,000 new LED lights strung along the west span.  After dusk, views of the bridge are spectacular as waves of light pulse along 1.8 Continued

Another Side of Cemex

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This week I explored Cemex Redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains with my colleagues.  I’d been there many times, but this time felt different because I walked into corners of the expansive property that I hadn’t seen before. During my Continued

Spring is coming!

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Punxsutawney Phil predicts spring will come early this year. As much fun as it is to trust the behavior of a charismatic groundhog, I also love searching for my own signs of spring a little closer to home. Wildflowers are Continued

Redwood Sorrel Sun Salutations

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Ever wonder why redwood sorrel (Oxalis oregano) leaves appear to wilt in the sun?  The leaves fold downwards when sun flecks shine onto patches of this tiny plant that carpets the coast redwood forest floor.  This is a protective response Continued