9 Common Birds in the Santa Lucia Mountains

A California Scrub Jay cocks its head at the camera. Photo by Christy Wyckoff.  November 10, 2022 By Alix Soliman, Communications & Outreach Coordinator Birding on the Central Coast of California is a rich experience for new birders and old-timers alike, with almost 500 species identified in Monterey County alone. This area is centrally located within a major north-south bird [...]

October 2022 Newsletter

Crows roosting before a waxing gibbous moon. Photo by Nik Blaskovich. October 31, 2022 By Jamison Watts, Executive Director With the Conservancy’s burn on the San Francisquito Flats and CAL FIRE San Benito-Monterey Unit’s burn on more than 1,000 acres in Gabilan Range, October has been a busy month for prescribed fire in Monterey County. It’s exciting to see “good [...]

The Ecosystem Benefits of Dead Standing Wood, or “Tree Snags”

A tree snag on The Preserve left standing long after the death of the oak tree. Photo by Serena Lasko. October 26, 2022 By Andrew Nguyen, Stewardship Manager Throughout their life cycle, trees serve as important habitat for many wildlife species, from when they are actively growing to when they’re decomposing back into the earth. Dead trees, both standing as [...]

SLC Conducts Successful Prescribed Burn on San Francisquito Flats

CCPBA participants lay flames down on thick stands of invasive Harding grass. Photo by Michael Troutman / DMT Imaging. October 20, 2022 By Alix Soliman, Communications & Outreach Coordinator On Sunday, October 16, the Santa Lucia Conservancy conducted a successful prescribed burn in Carmel Valley totaling approximately 65 acres with cooperation from the Central Coast Prescribed Burn Association, the Santa [...]

Prescribed Burns Planned for The Santa Lucia Preserve

The Central Coast Prescribed Burn Association (CCPBA) and Conservancy staff heading out to the prescribed burn site on The Preserve in November 2021. Photo by DMT Imaging.  October 10, 2022 By Alix Soliman, Communications & Outreach Coordinator The Conservancy is planning to conduct prescribed burns this fall totaling approximately 90 acres of grasslands in the San Francisquito Flats and the [...]

September 2022 Newsletter

A rainbow forms over The Preserve after the first rains of the season. Photo by Andrew Evans. September 30, 2022 By Jamison Watts, Executive Director In the business of life, it’s all too easy to lose sight of the simple pleasures—those exquisite experiences that are often right in front of us if only we are paying attention. For those of [...]

August 2022 Newsletter

Dr. Brian Woodward presents on current scientific collaborations at The Santa Lucia Preserve. Photo by Alix Soliman. August 31, 2022 By Jamison Watts, Executive Director When the Partnership purchased The Preserve (formally Rancho San Carlos) in 1990, they scrapped the conventional land development model of carving larger properties into smaller saleable parcels for the novel idea of keeping the Preserve [...]

SLC Awarded $1.2 M CAL FIRE Grant for Palo Corona-White Rock Fuel Break Access and Enhancement Project

Santa Lucia Community Services District Fire and Fuels Management Specialist Emily Aiken and CAL FIRE BEU Fire Captain and Pre-fire Engineer Chad Cooper assess a fuel break on The Preserve. Photo by Alix Soliman.  August 16, 2022 By Alix Soliman, Communications & Outreach Coordinator CAL FIRE awarded the Santa Lucia Conservancy a $1,225,000 grant to decrease the risk of catastrophic [...]

How to Prevent Birds from Striking your Windows

An Anna's Hummingbird perches on a feeder. Photo by Adam White.  August 10, 2022 By Alix Soliman, Communications & Outreach Coordinator From a bird’s perspective, windows reflect the outside world and create the illusion of a seamless continuation of surrounding habitat, which can lead to what’s known as a “bird strike.” According to the Audubon Society, between 54 and 76 [...]

Living in Harmony with Bears

A black bear caught strolling on the Conservancy's Rancho San Carlos Trail wildlife camera in 2020. July 7, 2022 By Alix Soliman, Communications & Outreach Coordinator While they are the state animal, California’s track record with bears is grim. When the state became more densely populated during and after the gold rush, conflicts between the California grizzly (Ursus arctos californicus) [...]

June 2022 Newsletter

An acorn woodpecker searches for the best storage site. Photo by Chuck Bancroft. June 30, 2022 By Jamison Watts, Executive Director We reside in one of just 36 biodiversity hotspots in the world. Known as the California Floristic Province (CA-FP), our biodiversity hotspot stretches from the Pacific coast to the Sierra Nevada Mountains and covers over 70% of California as [...]

It’s Coyote Denning Season on The Central Coast

A coyote peeks out above the tall grass. Photo by Rodrigo Sierra Corona.  June 20 2022 By Alix Soliman, Communications & Outreach Coordinator Coyotes are currently at the peak of their denning season, lasting from May through the end of summer. Right now they are more visible, vocal, and territorial than any other time of year, as breeding pairs are [...]

Chris Thomas is Building a Fire Resistant Fortress in the Woods

Owner-builder Chris Thomas stands on a bluff overlooking his home-in-progress. Photo by Alix Soliman.  June 15, 2022 By Alix Soliman, Communications & Outreach Coordinator Among the towering redwoods and dense oaks of Potrero Canyon, a fire resistant green home is on the rise. Since June 3rd of 2020, Chris Thomas and his brother in law, Shane Coyle, have spent their [...]

SLC Welcomes Keesha Stroman, New Director of Finance and Administration

Director of Finance and Administration Keesha Stroman. Photo by Alix Soliman.  June 7, 2022 By Jamison Watts, Executive Director The Conservancy is excited to welcome Keesha Stroman to the team as the Director of Finance and Administration. Responsible for managing the Conservancy’s daily operations including finance, Human Resources, IT, facilities, and administration, Keesha comes to us with a keen business [...]

How Conservation Easements Protect Land on The Preserve

Over 90% of the 20,000-acre Preserve is protected, while the other 10% is zoned for residential development and amenities. Photo by Adam White.  May 24, 2022 By Andrew Nguyen, Stewardship Manager With a residential community at its core, The Santa Lucia Preserve is built on a model of collaborative stewardship with the Santa Lucia Conservancy serving as a guide and [...]

April 2022 Newsletter

Blooming native wildflowers are evidence of a job well done by our seasonal restoration crew. Photo by Jackson Brooke.  Within the 20,000-acre Santa Lucia Preserve exists a mosaic of oak woodlands, redwood forests, grasslands, chaparral, ponds, and streams. One of the most important facets of the Conservancy’s work is maintaining and enhancing these natural habitats which provide food, shelter, and migration [...]

Sudden Oak Death on the Santa Lucia Preserve

A volunteer pins a sudden oak death (SOD) sampling tag to a tree. April 4, 2022 By Dr. Brian Woodward, Conservation Ecologist Sudden Oak Death (SOD) is a tree disease caused by the exotic plant pathogen Phytophthora ramorum. Originally introduced with imported nursery plants, the pathogen has spread widely across coastal California and southwestern Oregon, where it has killed hundreds [...]

It’s Tick Season in Central California

A tick "questing" for a host. Photo Courtesy of Tick Proof.  March 11, 2022 By Alix Soliman, Communications & Outreach Coordinator Ticks are blood-feeding parasites that seek hosts through a behavior called questing, where they crawl up to the ends of grass stems or perch on the edges of leaves with their front legs extended. In our region, many ticks [...]

February 2022 Newsletter

Chorus frog floating in a pond on The Preserve. Photo by Matthew Savoca. February 28, 2022 By Jamison Watts, Executive Director Internationally recognized as a biodiversity hotspot, the Santa Lucia Preserve is located within the Santa Lucia Mountains at the intersection of coastal and inland climate gradients, with a variety of elevations and habitats. Over 700 plant species, 172 bird [...]