December 2022 Newsletter

Albino redwood on the Santa Lucia Preserve. Photo by Alix Soliman.  December 31, 2022 By Jamison Watts, Executive Director It is with pride and tremendous gratitude that we reflect on the impact we’ve made together in furthering SLC's mission to protect and steward the unique natural capital of the Santa Lucia Preserve while promoting environmentally sustainable communities. We have you — [...]

November 2022 Newsletter

CSUMB UROC intern Mario Coronado Cartmell plants valley oak acorns with Dr. Sabine Cudney and Dr. Brian Woodward. Photo by Alix Soliman. December 1, 2022 By Jamison Watts, Executive Director In this season of reflection and giving thanks, I would like to express my utmost gratitude for your support and partnership in furthering the Conservancy’s mission of stewarding and protecting [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

January 2022 Newsletter

Shooting star blooming on Black Mountain. Photo by Jenna Allred.  February 2, 2022 By Jamison Watts, Executive Director With the Colorado Fire in Big Sur nearly contained, the ongoing drought across California, and year 3 of the pandemic, adapting to the “new normal” has become a leading theme in my work and life, as I’m sure it has for you. Like most [...]

2021: A Year of Growth and Change

Albino redwood growing from the base of its emerald parent tree. Photo by Alix Soliman.  December 21, 2021 By Jamison Watts, Executive Director After the first storms of the season, The Preserve is awash in new green grass, windswept leaves, the sweet smell of fecund earth, and the sound of babbling brooks and streams. As we wrap up a year of [...]

Conservancy Newsletter September 2021

Teri G. submitted this black bear photo to the Conservancy on behalf of Bruce Dormody. It was spotted at neighboring San Clemente Rancho. There was another sighting along Rancho San Carlos Road. While we're having a much quieter bear season compared to last year (when bears were getting into trash cans and gardens), it is important to be mindful that [...]

Conservancy News | October 2020

The Conservancy is pleased to share its third newsletter of 2020 featuring stories with new members on The Preserve, updates on our research and stewardship activities, and wildlife sightings over the past few months – including a black bear! Click here to read the full newsletter.

A Note from the Directors

Dear Community, In this time of uncertainty and transition, we would like to reassure you that the Santa Lucia Conservancy is continuing to adapt to the circumstances and make changes to our operations to help ensure the continued health of our team, our community, our conservation grazing herd and the land we all love. Consistent with the recent Shelter in [...]

Decoding Our Nine Owl Species

The Preserve is home to a stunning diversity of over 150 different bird species. Nine of those feathered residents are owls. What may come as a surprise is that they are wildly different in appearance, habitat use, and in the night-time calls they make. For instance, only one of the owls has a “hoo-hoo-hoohoo” call. Ready to learn which species [...]

Shaping the Future of the West

In February, the Conservancy’s Grazing Team attended the Society for Range Management (SRM) Annual Meeting. Trading The Preserve’s mild winter and ocean views for a snowy Denver, we spent a week connecting with and learning from the greater range community.  For those of us who spend our days out on the grasslands, and their grazed subsets often referred to as [...]

Sharing the View

Welcome to the holiday edition of our newsletter. As the rains return to The Preserve and snowberries and hollyleaf cherries highlight the subtle beauty of the winter woods, this is a wonderful time for reflection and for looking forward with hope and excitement. 2020 will be our Silver Anniversary, and we are planning on a memorable year ahead. The Conservancy was created 25 years ago as an [...]

Can You Map a Sense of Place?

The oldest recorded map in human history is from 6th Century Babylonia, but we have likely been using mental and depicted maps for much longer. Holding far more information than ‘x marks the spot’, maps have been critical to early civilizations finding and revisiting food sources, explorers sailing around the world, a landowner showing the extent of their land grant [...]

The Little Things that Run the World

I can’t believe the day we just had. Emerging from the pond, I reflect on our successful haul: California newts, aquatic garter snakes, vulnerable California red-legged frogs, hundreds of Pacific chorus tadpoles, a gorgeous alligator lizard I snatched from the grass at the water’s edge and too many giant water bugs to keep count. In the South giant water bugs, [...]

A Year of Looking After Our Land

The world’s most prominent scientists warn that globally, the ecosystems that provide all the elements needed for the human civilization to thrive are in great peril. For the first time in history, a single species, rather than geological shifts or planetary catastrophes is fueling the world’s sixth mass extinction. But there are hope spots, like The Preserve, around the world, [...]

Wild Preserve

Nature’s Engineers and the Return of the Burrowing Owl The California ground squirrel is a wonderous and critically important component of a healthy grassland. You may not think of them as nature’s engineers, and may even have some other choice names for them! But, in fact, they are essential ecosystem engineers that increase water infiltration into the ground, improve soil [...]