Learning to appreciate the county’s natural riches just might
start with the phrase “April showers bring May flowers.”
Learning how to identify these
fleeting and stunning bursts
of color is something I loved
exploring nearly 20 years ago.
There has since been a documentary made
on these folks called Rebels With a Cause.
Sadly, my career as a docent was short-lived,
as I’d joined this group during maternity
leave, thinking I would have lots of downtime.
I’m forever grateful to the patient docent
trainers who helped me distinguish between
a newt and a lizard and who taught me one of
my favorite silly riddles: How do you tell the
difference bet ween a crow and a raven? It’s a
matter of a pinion (ravens have wedge-shaped
tails, while crows have flatter, fan-shaped tails
due to feathers known as pinions).
The area is now called the Martin Griffin
Preserve, after one of the aforementioned
conservationists, and still offers outdoor edu-
cation, including a wildflower hike on May 27.
Being drawn to Marin’s natural beauty
was also one of the themes of Dawn Denberg’s
Backstory column. When she turned in the
story, we discussed how old we felt, considering
the fact that we had met more than 20 years ago
and both moved to Marin from San Francisco to
be able to enjoy the spectacular open space and
share it with our yet-to-be-born kids.
Yes, it’s expensive to live here, but access to
miles of natural splendor covered with wildflowers and so close to a major city doesn’t come
cheap. As an aside, I suggested she send the
couple she interviewed a copy of Rebels With
a Cause, a must-see for any new resident who
wants to understand what we have here and
why we have it. If you haven’t seen it, it can be
purchased for $25 at rebelsdocumentary.org.
Mimi Towle, Executive Editor
AFTER A VERY rainy winter — with some projections putting the season’s total in Marin beyond 93 inches — California is officially out of extreme
The program was run by a dynamic group
drought. And yes, thanks to the Marin
Municipal Water District, we have learned
some valuable lessons in conservation, which
is important, as our reservoirs only hold two
years’ worth of water. Beyond that, all this
moisture could have one happy side effect: a
banner spring for wildflowers. To help you
understand the blooms you’re looking at, pho-
tographer Victor Volta has partnered up with
plant expert Kier Holmes to showcase some of
our county’s cellulose celebrities.
Learning how to identify these fleeting and
stunning bursts of color is something I loved
exploring nearly 20 years ago as a docent at
Audubon Canyon Ranch’s Bolinas Lagoon
Preserve. I always fell for the bright orange of
the California poppy, the shocking magenta of
the chaparral pea flower or the delicate white
of the milkmaids, usually the first to bloom.
of former teachers who knew how to simplify
ecological concepts into digestible nuggets.
The goal was to learn enough about the flora
and fauna so we could educate schoolchildren
around the Bay Area who visited the ranch on
field trips. As we roamed the miles of trails
surrounding the preserve, I also learned about
conservationists who — in the ultimate clever
chess move — were responsible for putting an
end to plans for a massive development of the
Bolinas Lagoon by purchasing Kent Island in
the middle of the lagoon.