A Shifting Lens – Pepperwood Highlighted in Sonoma Magazine

Pepperwood’s Ecology Research Manager, Michelle Halbur conducting grassland monitoring in springtime, 2023.

“Imagine taking an empty picture frame and laying it flat on a grassy meadow on the same day each spring. Inside that rectangle is a microcosm – a living, breathing universe unto itself. In the height of the spring season, it might be buzzing with pollinators. A snake might slither past or a gopher might pop up. Filling the diorama, native grasses and wildflowers jockey for space with invasive species in a patchwork quilt of ground cover.

If you were to study the picture inside that frame, year after year, measuring how it changes and evolves, the data would unfold like a time-lapse video, charting the effects of extreme weather patterns, non-native plants, controlled grazing, and rampant wildfire—the real-time window into the local impacts of climate change.”

So begins this exquisitely written article that follows the springtime ecological monitoring of two Sonoma County ecologists: Pepperwood’s own Ecology Research Manager, Michelle Halbur, and the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation’s Conservation Science Program Manager, Sarah Gordon. Author, John Beck tells a story of on-the-ground science tracking our changing climate, capturing the nuance of the topic with illustrative language. Page 62-69 of the March/April 2024 edition of Sonoma Magazine – pdf here.

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