Petaluma's Point Blue a standout for conservation efforts

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Much of Point Blue Conservation Science’s $14 million annual budget comes from private donors and grants from foundations and corporations. Collaborators have included local, state and federal agencies responsible for managing land and water resources; government partners throughout Central and South America; and international bodies such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. They’re not the only ones to benefit, however. A few highlights closer to home include:

Restoring watersheds: Point Blue’s highly acclaimed STRAW program (Students and Teachers Restoring A Watershed) brings together students, teachers and members of the community to plant native vegetation along streams and in wetlands, mostly in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Last year, STRAW accomplished its first Sierra Nevada meadow restoration project in Plumas County. STRAW also is developing its first high school native plant nursery at Casa Grande High School in partnership with Petaluma. Email Laurette Rogers at

Protecting seabirds: In collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Point Blue is protecting the largest colony of seabirds south of Alaska. Here, 350,000 breeding seabirds share space with some 5,000 seals and sea lions. Point Blue’s scientific work on the Farallones includes documenting population dynamics, diet composition and reproductive success of 13 seabird species, five seal and sea lion species, and white sharks. Email Pete Warzybok at

Observing migrating birds: Point Blue’s Palomarin Field Station in Bolinas is among the longest running bird observatories in North America, located at the southern end of Point Reyes National Seashore. Scientists here recently used 36 years of data on migrating birds to inform the EPA’s Indicators of Climate Change in California. Palomarin is also world-renowned as a training ground for the next generation of conservation scientists through intensive field-based internships. Since 1966, Palomarin has “graduated” more than 500 interns from 22 countries. About 80 percent develop careers in academic research, applied conservation or natural resource management, the majority related to birds. The Palomarin Field Station is the only Point Blue field site that’s open to the public on a regular basis. Individuals and small groups can drop in. For groups of seven more, email to schedule a visit.

Clearing the way for California whales: Data from Point Blue’s California Currents program are being used to help prevent collisions between whales and ships, especially in the busy shipping lanes in the San Francisco and Channel Islands regions. Now you can help by reporting your own whale sightings through a new app called Whale Alert. This information allows vessel operators to avoid collision with whales by slowing down and heightening their visual awareness. Email Jaime Jahncke at To download the app, go to

Sonoma Gives

Read more stories about locals giving back to the community here

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