Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District

We inspire and partner with our community to protect the natural resources and agricultural future of our District.

Can Planet Earth Feed 10 Billion People?

All parents remember the moment when they first held their children—the tiny crumpled face, an entire new person, emerging from the hospital blanket. I extended my hands and took my daughter in my arms. I was so overwhelmed that I could hardly think.

Afterward I wandered outside so that mother and child could rest. It was three in the morning, late February in New England. There was ice on the sidewalk and a cold drizzle in the air. As I stepped from the curb, a thought popped into my head: When my daughter is my age, almost 10 billion people will be walking the Earth. I stopped midstride. I thought, How is that going to work?

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Source:  Charles C. Mann, The Atlantic, March 2018.

The Edge of the Petri Dish

Can Humankind Avoid Its Biological Destiny?

Mann Cover

In June 30, 1860, Samuel Wilberforce, DD, 36th Bishop of Oxford, attended the 30th annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, held at Oxford University. Countless students have been taught that during the meeting, Wilberforce attacked evolution, setting off an impromptu debate which became a “tipping point” in the history of thought. I was one of those students. The debate, my biology professor explained, was the opening salvo of the war between Science and Religion — and Religion lost. My textbook backed him up. Wilberforce’s anti-evolution assault, it said, was swept aside by researchers’ “careful and scientific defense.” In a flourish unusual in an undergraduate text, it boasted that the pro-evolution arguments “neatly lifted the Bishop’s scalp.” That day the forces of empirical knowledge had beaten back the armies of religious ignorance.

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Source:  Charles Mann, Breakthrough Journal No.8, Winter 2018

This scientist thinks she has the key to curb climate change: super plants

If this were a film about humanity’s last hope before climate change wiped us out, Hollywood would be accused of flagrant typecasting. That’s because Dr Joanne Chory is too perfect for the role to be believable.

The esteemed scientist – who has long banged the climate drum and now leads a project that could lower the Earth’s temperature – is perhaps the world’s leading botanist and is on the cusp of something so big that it could truly change our planet.

She’s also a woman in her 60s who is fighting a disease sapping her very life. In 2004, Chory was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, which makes the timetable for success all the more tenuous.

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Source:  Adam Popescu, The Guardian, April 16, 2019

Planting 1.2 Trillion Trees Could Cancel Out a Decade of CO2 Emissions, Scientists Find


There is enough room in the world’s existing parks, forests, and abandoned land to plant 1.2 trillion additional trees, which would have the CO2 storage capacity to cancel out a decade of carbon dioxide emissions, according to a new analysis by ecologist Thomas Crowther and colleagues at ETH Zurich, a Swiss university.

The research, presented at this year’s American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Washington, D.C., argues that planting additional trees is one of the most effective ways to reduce greenhouse gases.

Trees are “our most powerful weapon in the fight against climate change,” Crowther told The Independent. Combining forest inventory data from 1.2 million locations around the world and satellite images, the scientists estimate there are 3 trillion trees on Earth — seven times more than previous estimates. But they also found that there is abundant space to restore millions of acres of additional forests, not counting urban and agricultural land.

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Source:  Yale Environment 360, February 20, 2019

Sudden Oak Death Blitz

Thursday, April 25 – Petaluma

Saturday, April 27 – Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Sonoma Valley, Yorkville

Sunday, April 28 – Penngrove

Test your trees for free!

Monitor disease spread in a rainy year, be on the lookout for new dangerous strains, and test oaks for SOD with OakSTeP

Things are not “as usual.” At this one-hour meeting you will learn to:

  • Identify symptoms of SOD on bay laurel, oaks, and tanoak
  • Collect symptomatic leaves from bay laurel and tanoak to be analyzed at NO COST
  • Make important contributions to science

New this year:

– Leaves will be tested for the new and aggressive EU1 pathogen strain. Already in Oregon forests, we need to look for it in California to have a chance of eliminating it if found.

– Introducing the OakSTeP program that will provide an easy and affordable way for licensed arborists, tree care specialists, preserve mangers and qualified government workers to test oaks for SOD. Join the OakSTep program for FREE if you register in person during a SOD blitz ($200 value), and get priority for sample processing.

– Thinking of doing something to control SOD, or have done so already? We’ll have a questionnaire and important information and tips at the trainings.

– El Fairfield Osborn Preserve blitz es un evento bilingue (Inglés y Español)

Unless otherwise noted, you collect leaves at locations of your choice and drop them back at the meeting site that weekend. We drive leaves to UC Berkeley Lab for analysis on Monday. You get results in early fall.

Learn about what is happening with your trees and your forest. Find out if SOD is present. Contribute data on current disease distribution. Click here for more about the SOD Blitz

Register online for one of these six meetings:

 Thursday, April 25 at 5:30 pm

1) Petaluma Community Center

320 N. McDowell Blvd, Petaluma

Saturday, April 27 from 9:00 am – 1:00pm

2) Galbreath Preserve *docent-led sampling event at the preserve

Meet at the Yorkville Post Office, 25400 CA-128, Yorkville

In conjunction with Sonoma State University; See registration page for restrictions

Saturday, April 27 at 9:30 am

3) O’Reilly Media community room

1005 Gravenstein Hwy N., Sebastopol

4) Spring Lake Park, Environmental Discovery Center

393 Violetti Road, Santa Rosa

5) Sonoma Valley Regional Park  

13630 Sonoma Hwy, Glen Ellen

Sunday, May 6 from 10:00am – 1:00pm

6) Fairfield Osborn Preserve *docent-led sampling event at the preserve

Fairfield Osborn Preserve, Lichau Rd, Penngrove 94951

In conjunction with Sonoma State University; See registration page for restrictions

*This is a bilingual event (English & Spanish) / Este es un evento bilingue (Inglés y Español)


There is no cost for this activity. Hosted by the UC Master Gardener Program of Sonoma County SOD Specialists and the University of California Cooperative Extension, Sonoma County. Funding provided by the USDA Forest Service.


Bluebird Man

Bluebird Man is the story of 94-year-old Al Larson, a self-taught conservationist who has committed the last 35 years of his life to recovering North America’s bluebirds. Breathtaking scenery, intimate conversations and stunning footage of all three species of bluebird create a powerful film that reveals the secret behind Al’s longevity while providing inspiration for our next generation of citizen scientists.

Fencing Knot 1 – End or termination Knot

These instructional videos come to us from Tim Thompson, an Agriculture teacher from Australia who makes a new farm skill how-to video each week.

First of three videos showing how to tie up and strain a fence without needing expensive gimmicks. All you need are a good set of strainers and some pliers. The second Video can be found here;

Source:  Tim Thompson, August 27, 2017