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Laguna Foundation Public Education Events

2017 Schedule

Due to area fires, some events have changed. Please see updates below. There are community members who would like to attend events, but have limited financial resources. If you'd like to make a donation to our public education programs so that we can offer free spots for talks, walks and workshops, please contact
Anita Smith, (707) 527-9277, ext. 110. Thank you.


The Laguna Watershed Year in Review
Presentation and Pie Party with Dr. Wendy Trowbridge
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Thursday, October 26, 2017, 6:30-9:00pm
$20 (non-refundable). Pre-registration required. CANCELLED. We hope to reschedule soon.

It is time again for our annual Laguna Watershed Report and Pie party! Do you wonder how things are going in our watershed? It has been an interesting year starting with a wet winter and followed by a hot summer. Come hear about flooding, fire, and global climate change, as well as an update on the Laguna Foundation’s inspiring restoration and conservation work. We will talk about groundwater recovery, water quality credit trading, and the future of vernal pools on the Santa Rosa plain. We live in a dynamic, changing watershed. Find out how it did in the 2016-2017 water year and what we can expect in the water year ahead. Bring a pie to share and get a raffle ticket for great door prizes! Bring a pie made from invasive species (e.g., blackberry) and get two raffle tickets!! We’ll provide some pies, hot drinks and ice cream.

Dr. Wendy Trowbridge is Laguna Foundation’s Director of Restoration and Conservation Programs. She is a wetland plant ecologist who has worked in a variety of systems from the Sacramento River to Ruby Lakes in Northern Nevada to rangelands in Western China. She got her PhD at UC Davis as part of a multidisciplinary study of riparian restoration on The Nature Conservancy's Cosumnes River Preserve. For 10 years she was research faculty at the University of Nevada, Reno where her research focused on invasive species, wetland communities and aquatic food webs. 

CANCELLED. We hope to reschedule soon.


Using Archaeology to Reconstruct Trade Patterns
Presentation with Dr. Jay Reti
Thursday, November 2, 7:00-8:30pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$12 (non-refundable).  Pre-registration required (see below).

This lecture will address methods that archaeologists use to assess how groups of people interacted and traded with one another in the past. Dr. Reti will discuss how artifacts, rocks, and bones tell a complex story of where people are from, where they have traveled, and who they have interacted with.  Discussions will range from local Sonoma County obsidian sources, to methods of stone tool manufacture, and reconstructing diets of people in the past. These concepts will be broadly applied to Sonoma County examples. The following Sunday, November 5, Dr. Reti will lead a three-hour workshop on "Making and Identifying Stone Tools" (details below).

Dr. Jay S. Reti is an archaeologist at UC Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Junior College. His research reconstructs how technology evolved and how technological systems were taught and inherited over time. Dr. Reti's PhD research focused on two million-year-old stone tools found in Kenya and Tanzania, and he is a project researcher for Locality Research and Preservation.


An Evening with Cosmic Comic Swami Beyondananda
Comedy Performance with Steve Bhaerman
Saturday, November 4, 2017, 7:00-9:00pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
(reduced from $45). Pre-registration required (see below). Appropriate for 18 years and older.
No-cost tickets available for those impacted by area fires. Contact Anita Smith.

“With the region dealing with and reeling from the recent fires, we have changed both the price and focus of this event. We have lowered the price to $25 and are offering some no-cost tickets so that more people will be able to afford this evening of heart-opening laughter and mind-expanding comedy.” Steve Bhaerman

Join "cosmic comic" Swami Beyondananda for an evening of heart-opening laughter, and mind-expanding comedy, and find out why noted author Marianne Williamson called Swami "the Mark Twain of our times." His humor has been described both as "comedy disguised as wisdom" and "wisdom disguised as comedy" and is guaranteed to keep you laughing till the sacred cows come home. Not only does the Swami "channel" both Bullwinkle and Elvis (at the same time, no less) but the second part of the show is questions from the audience. If you have an answerable question, the Swami will have a questionable answer for you. The Swami will have material specific to the Laguna de Santa Rosa watershed and environmental issues so pertinent today. This special adult-oriented evening benefits the Laguna Foundation’s Community Education programs, including the talks, walks, and classes which help inspire appreciation and stewardship of the Laguna de Santa Rosa, reaching more than 2,000 people of all ages per year. Hot drinks and light snacks will be provided.

Swami Beyondananda is the brainchild of author and humorist Steve Bhaerman. A political science major, Steve began his career as an educator in Washington, D.C. where he started an alternative high school and authored a book about his experiences, No Particular Place To Go: Making of a Free High School. He also taught labor studies at Wayne State University, and creative writing at University of Michigan. For the past 30 years, he has been writing and performing comedy as Swami Beyondananda, and has written four books as the Swami. On the more serious side, he is co-author with cellular biologist Bruce Lipton, PhD of Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There From Here. The Swami is co-authoring a new book with world water expert Jim Lauria called "To Know Water Is To Love Water," a playful yet pertinent view of a "deep" topic designed to educate, enlighten and activate audiences on behalf of clean, abundant water for all.


Making and Identifying Stone Tools
Workshop with Dr. Jay Reti
Sunday, November 5, 11:00am-1:00pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$75. Pre-registration required (see below).

This workshop will address the fundamentals of Lithic Analysis (the study of stone tool technology).  Participants will learn the basics of how to produce sharp-edged flakes from raw rock, how to identify markers on these flakes that demonstrate it was produced by a human, and will interact with examples of stone tool technology that spans 2.5 million years of human evolution. Safety goggles and leather gloves will be provided, as well as all other workshop materials. Hot drinks and light snacks will be provided, and participants are welcome to bring their own picnic lunch to enjoy on-site after the workshop. Join us also for Dr. Reti's presentation on "Using Archaeology to Reconstruct Trade Patterns" on Thursday evening before this workshop, on November 2 (details above).

Dr. Jay S. Reti is an archaeologist at UC Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Junior College.  His research reconstructs how technology evolved and how technological systems were taught and inherited over time.  Dr. Reti's PhD research focused on two million-year-old stone tools found in Kenya and Tanzania, and he is a project researcher for Locality Research and Preservation.


Tule Twined Basket
Workshop with Charlie Kennard
Saturday, November 11, 2017, 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$95. Pre-registration required. This workshop is now FULL.
If you'd like to be on the wait list, email Anita and we'll let you know if there are any cancellations.

Enjoy a delightful day full of hands-on learning in Heron Hall and around the peaceful Laguna Environmental Center grounds with master weaver, Charlie Kennard. Each student will make a lightweight basket of Tule reed, using several different weaves. The basket will be suitable for storing nuts, onions, socks, or anything else you need to tidy up! Tule is an ideal material for beginner weavers, but is also a favorite of more experienced weavers, who can experiment with a variety of stitches, splices and rim treatments. All basket-making materials are included in the registration fee. Participants bring large scissors, a water bowl, small towel, and their lunch. Hot drinks and snacks are provided.

Charlie Kennard of San Anselmo is a long-time basket weaver and student of California Indian and European techniques. He has taught for MAPOM, Point Reyes Field Institute, East Bay Regional Parks Botanic Garden, and in many schools and at teacher trainings. Tule boats made in his workshops can be seen at the California Academy of Sciences, the Bay Model in Sausalito, the Oakland Museum, and the one in Heron Hall! You can also visit a basketry plant garden he created at the Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross, where he and four friends recently wove a basket 13 feet in diameter. Charlie is active in native habitat restoration in Marin, managing several projects for Friends of Corte Madera Creek Watershed.


What’s in a Name: Stories Behind Northbay Place Names
Presentation with Dr. Mara Vejby
Saturday, November 18, 3:00-4:30pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$12 (non-refundable).  Pre-registration required (see below).

Place names are an important, and often overlooked, part of our cultural environment. They act as anchors on the land and are important markers of territory. Place names also store knowledge of ecology, people, stories, and events of our past. Even as their origins are slowly forgotten or embellished, the names of these places are remembered. Dr. Vejby will take us on a short tour through the Northbay and share with us some of the origins behind the names we use today.

Dr. Mara Vejby is an archaeologist and the Founder of Locality Research and Preservation, which focuses on highlighting and preserving local history and archaeology. Her interest in people’s interactions with the past has shaped her archaeological research; from the Roman reuse of prehistoric sites in Gaul to her current work in cultural resource management. Dr. Vejby also lectures as an anthropologist for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Sonoma State University.


Fall to Winter Transitions: Watercolor Nature Journaling 
Workshop with Kristin Meuser
Sunday, November 19, 9:30am-3:30pm (rescheduled from October 14)
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$95. Pre-registration required (see below), plus $55 art supply kit prepared by Kristin(the $55 art kit is payable by check or cash to Kristin Meuser at the workshop)

Kristin Meuser is returning to lead a watercolor nature journaling workshop featuring the transitioning landscape of the Laguna from Fall to Winter. You will learn to sketch close up studies of plants and distant vistas of fields and mountains using a full range of colors mixed from a simple palette of eight harmonious pigments. Hands-on aids will help you create depth in your landscapes and close up sketches. Notation and prose writing combines with your sketching to bring to life the memory of your day. The beautiful Heron Hall classroom offers the opportunity to work rain or shine with its huge picture windows and outdoor overhangs. *NOTE: The kit includes a journal, a watercolor palette with 8 pigments, a waterbrush, a gel pen and pencils, plus a handy pouch to keep supplies together and easily taken on the trail. If you already have one of Kristin's art kits from another one of her classes, please notify Anita Smith so we know how many kits to provide.

Kristin Meuser has been painting the land for over 35 years. Several years ago her love of nature led her to the Sierra Nevada Field Campus where she studied nature journaling with Jack Laws, watercolor with Andie Thrams, and writing with Sarah Rabkin. Kristin's career as a graphic designer gives her journal pages a sense of structured variety and a delightfully cohesive overall effect. She has been teaching watercolor nature journaling for the past 5 years privately and at art and retreat centers in California. Her work is found in private collections, it has been shown regionally, and has been represented by the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite. For more information, visit Kristin's website.


Be Smarter Than Your Camera!  Beyond Beginners Digital Photography
Workshop with Dave Strauss
Saturday, December 9, 9:00am-1:00pm
Location: Heron Hall, Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
$75.  Pre-registration required (see below).

Want to be smarter than your camera? This workshop is an introduction to the four fundamental variables in photography and the benefits and opportunities of photography in manual mode. The current generation of “smart” digital cameras has amazing capabilities, but they make decisions for you about focus, aperture, shutter speed, and ISO based on algorithms that may or may not comport with your creative intentions. This workshop is intended for smart-camera photographers who want to venture beyond the “green” and automatic scene modes, and to learn how manual mode opens up creative opportunities and improves photographs in challenging situations. Participants should have a digital camera that provides for manually setting aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and focus. Participants should determine how to switch into manual mode, and how to make changes to aperture, shutter speed, and ISO on their respective cameras prior to the workshop. This is NOT a beginning photography class. Participants should be familiar with their cameras and have some experience taking pictures with that camera. The workshop will take place inside Heron Hall. Participants are welcome to bring their own picnic lunch to enjoy after the workshop, as the instructor will be available for 30-45 minutes of after-class informal coaching. 

Dave Strauss was born and raised in Marin County. He graduated from UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design and began a 43-year career in computer systems, industrial automation, and electronics. Dave has been an enthusiastic photographer since childhood.  At age seven, his first camera was a Kodak Brownie. While he has made tens of thousands of photographs throughout his life, he re-engaged seriously and professionally with photography when he retired from the electronics industry in 2013. In recent years, his photos have won awards, been shown in galleries and museums, and have been published in many media, including magazines, books, websites, and scientific journals. Today, Dave operates from his studio in Oakland, specializing in wildlife, studio portraits, editorial, and advertising photography for periodicals, biological/paleontological research specimen imaging, and fine art capture. Visit Dave’s website here. The current art exhibit in Heron Hall is of Dave’s wildlife photography, “Form & Color: It’s Wild Out There,” and is on display through January 3, 2018.


Also on tap, coming up . . . Stay tuned for details!

  • Winter Flash Kayaking opportunities (make sure you're on our email list!)
  • Waterfowl of the Laguna and Pacific Flyway, presentation with Dave Barry, January 6
  • Sunrise Natural History Walk with "Duck Man" Dave Barry, January 7
  • World Wetlands Day, February 2
  • Laguna Watershed Perspectives, Taylor Mountain Hike, February 18
  • Spring Birdwatching with Lisa Hug March 18, April 15, May 20
  • Dia del Nino Open House, April 29
  • Delta Pond Rookery Walks, May 6
  • Tracking and Nature Journaling classes
  • Wildlife Watching Evenings at the Laguna Environmental Center
  • Laguna for Little Ones, playscape fun for moms and toddlers
  • Talks about climate adaptation, botany, anthropology, reptiles, arachnids, bats, and butterflies
  • And much, much more!!!

For more information, contact Anita Smith, Public Education Manager, (707) 527-9277 x110 or by email at


CANCELLATION POLICY: If you are registered for an event and need to cancel, please notify us as soon as possible. Cancellations received more than 30 days in advance of the event date will receive a refund minus a $10.00 processing fee. Cancellations made between 30-7 days in advance will receive a 50% refund. We are sorry but refunds cannot be given on cancellations made less than 7 days in advance. Please also note that we often need a minimum number of participants to conduct most events. If the Laguna Foundation needs to cancel the event for any reason, we will notify you as soon as possible (at least 1 day prior to the event) and you will receive a full refund.

NON-REFUNDABLE FEES: Events that cost $20 and less are non-refundable (except in case of our cancelling for inclement weather or other extenuating circumstances, in which case we will issue full refunds). This is due to administrative costs and significant processing fees associated with online registration services such as Eventbrite. Thank you for your understanding and for your interest and support of our programs!

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