Photo by Gina Risso
Today, we introduce you to one of our park rangers, Adam Craig. Since 2005, he has worked tirelessly to keep our parks safe and well-protected for future generations.
1. How long have you worked for Marin County Parks?
I began working for Marin County Parks in the summer of 2005 as a seasonal assistant. My primary assignments included invasive species abatement and fire fuel management on park lands. Which was a great assignment for me, because I was able to physically work on virtually every square foot of our agencies land. The work gave me a big picture view of Marin’s parks. Before that, I was a seasonal firefighter for the Marin County Fire Department.
2. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in San Anselmo, Sleepy Hollow actually. I couldn’t have asked to grow up in a better place. The Sleepy Hollow is a box canyon, surrounded by open space: undeveloped ridge tops, fire roads, hiking trails, rocky outcroppings filled with blue belly lizards, creeks teaming with newts, hawks and owls patrolling over head. I rode my bicycle everywhere and played pretty much every sport a young boy could play.
3. What inspired you to pursue your career with Marin County Parks (or in general)?
I spent about six months on Maui and my experience there was dominated by natural cycles, by the earth, the ocean, and the constellations. When I returned home to Marin, I wanted to keep connected to those cycles, I wanted to work outside. And I wanted to wear flip flops (my better judgment steered me towards prioritizing adult responsibilities, but I’m still working on a steel toed sandal prototype). I really felt, and still feel, that my biggest contributions to my community would come through land stewardship and recreation.
4. What is your favorite preserve and why?
That’s a tough one, because every year, every season I discover something new. The preserve that nurtured me as a child is Sleepy Hollow/Terra Linda divide, wrapping all the way around Loma Alta. So a part of my spirit and personality will always have been influenced by her. But this Winter/Spring, My daughter and I discovered the water falls in Ignacio Valley. It’s just a magical place when the water is flowing.
5. What is your favorite free time outdoor activity?
Surfing. The only thing to have humbled me more, taught me more, or delivered so much joy and fulfillment, is my daughter.
6. What makes Marin so special?
It’s the people. It’s the way the people interact with the natural. It’s the parks, the preserves, yes. But more so, it is the greater spirit of good, the credence of supernatural that results from putting good people in a great natural setting like Marin. Heck, the world’s greatest city folk built the world’s largest suspension bridge to get here faster. Enough said eh?!
1. Gone Fishing
Saturday, July 20 8:30-10:30am
Paradise Beach Park, 3450 Paradise Drive, Tiburon, CA
Join Marin County Park rangers for our annual fishing contest! A limited number of fishing poles and bait will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis to beginners thanks to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Prizes will be awarded for the first fish, the biggest fish, and the heaviest fish. A fishing license is not required when fishing from the pier. Questions? Contact Ranger Mike Maraccini at (415) 435-9212 or MMarraccini@marincounty.org.
Saturday, July 20 9am-12pm
Hal Brown Park at Creekside, Greenbrae
Join Marin County Parks and Save the Bay for our second annual Ring around the Bay event! Hal Brown Park at Creekside serves as the North Bay location for an event that spans the entire San Francisco Bay Area. Learn the history of San Francisco Bay and Creekside Marsh and join us for a fun project that will improve native plant diversity and wildlife habitat at Hal Brown Park. Volunteers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to attend. Pre-registration is required. To register, or for more information, visit www.safesfbay.org.
Saturday, July 20 10am-2pm
Meet at the public dock on Wharf Rd in Bolinas (across from the College of Marin biology lab.
Learn to identify invasive species, get hands-on training, and be a part of the team working to protect and restore the unique ecosystem on Kent Island in Bolinas Lagoon. Space is limited, so RSVP to save yourself a spot! To receive updates or to RSVP, contact Tori Bohlen at VBohlen@marincounty.org or the Marin County Parks volunteer office at (415) 473-3778.
Saturday, July 20 6pm-8pm
This is a good time of year to adopt a crepuscular lifestyle – avoid the heat of the day and engage in outdoor activity during the evening hours. We’ll go for a short walk and enjoy a picnic dinner just as the evening activity period begins. We might get lucky and find a family of owls out for their evening hunt. We request that no animals (except service animals) attend. David Herlocker will lead. Questions: Contact David at (415) 893-9508 or DHerlocker@marincounty.org. High fire danger may cancel: Call (415) 893-9527 after 7am on the morning of the event to hear a recorded message if cancelled.
By Mehran Azizian, Marin County Parks intern
Until recently, I had never really spent much time thinking about Earth Day. Over the past few years I’d heard about Earth Day, but never knew what it was really about. However, this year I had the opportunity to take part in Earth Day events through my work with Marin County Parks. In advance of the big day, I did a bit of research.
With its origins dating back to 1970, Earth Day is a day to celebrate and demonstrate support for environmental protection. Today, Earth Day is an international movement, recognized and celebrated inin about 200 countries world-wide. Earth Day’s effects are so positive that there are numerous communities that celebrate “Earth Week”, an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues.
So after getting to know a bit about the origins of Earth Day, I was ready to take part in the celebration. On Friday April 19th, I worked to pull invasive French Broom on King Mountain Open Space Preserve with about 120 6th graders from Hall Middle School. So much broom was pulled we had to set up a “fire line” to move it all up into a giant pile. I also had the opportunity to represent Marin County Parks at the annual Earth Day Marin event that took place at Redwood High School on Sunday April 21st. Earth Day Marin was a wonderful event, with thousands of attendees, and many vendors supporting sustainability, live music, and speakers discussing climate change. I was able to spend the entire day in the beautiful weather with Ranger Rich Gibson and volunteer Finola Diaz, informing visitors about the different parks, preserves, and programs Marin County Parks has to offer. I also had the opportunity to quiz visitors on their knowledge about the flora and fauna of Marin County and hand out prizes. Finally, on Friday, April 26th, I spent the day at Marin Country Day School, assisting with service projects all day. The students spent all day pulling broom and purple velvet grass in observance of Earth Day. It was really nice to see a younger generation of kids excited about protecting and preserving the environment, and knowledgeable about the natural world around them. It definitely gave me a bit of hope for the future of our protected lands.
These events weren’t the only Earth Day projects hosted by Marin County Parks. Marin County Parks had several community service projects for Earth Day including an event at McInnis Park, Paradise Beach Park, a restoration project on Kent Island, and the Mill Valley Bike Path/Bothin Marsh cleanup, to name just a few.
Marin County Parks isn’t the only agency within Marin that provides service projects on Earth Day. There is a large effort to spread the word of Earth Day in Marin County by the My Earth Day Marin Coalition – a collaborative between Marin County Parks, the City of San Rafael, the Marin Municipal Water District, the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership of Marin, and the Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program. The goal of My Earth Day Marin is to increase awareness of and participation in service projects throughout Marin . Over the past several years these Earth Day service projects throughout Marin have included decreasing litter in our watersheds, removing invasive plants, restoring trails, watersheds and sensitive habitat areas, removing graffiti, encouraging community involvement, inspiring youth, and enjoying our beautiful, natural environment.
I will definitely take my experience celebrating Earth Day to heart. Earth Day is a great idea and bringing awareness about environmental issues, sustainability, and support for environmental protection is definitely something that needs to be brought up on a national and international level. I think it is important to support environmental protection and sustainability every day, and not just save it for one day. Every day should really be Earth Day.
By Linda Novy, Volunteer Mounted Patrol, Marin County Parks
On April 20, in honor of Earth Day and to support Marin County Open Space, a group of equestrians from Creekside Equestrian Center, Dickson Ranch, and as far away as Penngrove, gathered at the trail head of East Sylvestris Fire Road in the Gary Giacomini Preserve to make a dent in the “pioneer” French and Scotch broom population there. By removing this relatively small area of aggressive and invasive plants, we had a chance of keeping their population contained and even eradicated. Rich Gibson, Marin County Parks Supervising Ranger, and his team thought our recommended project was a good one. He was there to welcome us at 9:00 AM sharp with a cooler filled with water, some snacks, tools, and most importantly, small packets of IvyX and Technu to subdue the poison oak we were bound to come in contact with!
Everyone had their own reasons to show up. The youngest equestrian, Jenna Dahlin, 10, who arrived with her grandmother, Sandy, said she came because: “I did it (pull broom) on a field trip and liked it. “ Meagan Amaglio, a young woman who also rides at Creekside, was there with her mother, Elizabeth. She said she wanted to participate, and that she “…didn’t want to see the broom take over.” The rest of us were there because we also wanted to give back something to the lands we enjoy on horseback and on foot. Several members of the Open Space Mounted Patrol participated: Delos Putz and his wife, Rena, Vicki Englert, Tracy Engelen, and Linda Novy. Others members of the team included Arielle Ikeda, who assists the Friendly Trails program, Katie Mason and Rebecca Bailin, all from Creekside. From Dickson Ranch, Lisa Capaldini came with Sherry Amanpour. Everyone worked diligently to eradicate the broom.
And as the broom came out, we discovered a diverse palette of California native plants struggling to survive amongst the invasive broom. Some of these plants included: Western Buttercup, Douglas Iris, Pink Honeysuckle, Sticky Monkey Flower, Coyote Brush, and Oak, Toyon, and Madrone seedlings. By removing the “competition” (the broom), we were giving these native plants a chance to grow and add to the beauty and bio-diversity of the Preserve.
We’ll all have the pleasure of watching this area develop as we ride and hand walk our horses along the Fire Road, and who knows, perhaps we’ll take the time to stop and pull out some of the remaining or re-sprouting broom plants. As equestrians, we have the opportunity to not just add our horses’ hoof prints and fertilizer to the trail, but to demonstrate reciprocity. Next time we have a broom pull, we hope you’ll join us and contribute some sweat equity to our beautiful Open Space Preserves.
For more information about upcoming volunteer events, please visit our website at www.marincountyparks.org.
By Katherine Mindel Jones, Marin County Parks
If you’ve spent time on the trails of Mt. Burdell recently, you’ve probably caught a glimpse of cows grazing placidly on the hills above San Marin. Livestock grazing has actually taken place on Mt. Burdell for more than a century. When the Marin County Open Space District acquired the preserve, which was part of a former ranch, in the mid-1970s, the District continued the practice. As far back as 1974, the District leased Mt. Burdell to local ranchers for grazing purposes and to provide fire fuel reduction to protect nearby homes.
Today, grazing is conducted by Hicks Valley Cattle and rancher Dr. Bill Barboni, a fourth generation Marin rancher, under a 5-year Lease Agreement. Grazing is beneficial to the Mt. Burdell preserve in many ways. It reduces fire fuels; preserves habitat for native species including fragrant fritillary, savannah sparrow and grasshopper sparrow; and sustains high quality forage to support local agriculture. The grazing season begins in early January each year and ends sometime in June; so over 150 cows (but no bulls or cows with calves) will graze on Mt. Burdell for the next few months.
Recently, Marin County Parks and Bill Barboni worked together to obtain Organic Certification, from the Marin County Department of Agriculture, making Mt. Burdell an organic certified rangeland. Dr. Barboni monitors the cows and the fence lines by horse a few times a month. If you see him, be sure to say hello!