Discover Nature Webinar: Redwoods & Climate Change

Thursday, August 26, 2021
10am – 11:30am

$10 suggested donation (Free for Friends of Pepperwood)
All ages welcome (under 13 welcome with adult supervision)
VIRTUAL – meet on Zoom

Coast redwood distribution is tied closely to summer fog, which has decreased over the past 70 years. Summer temperatures are predicted to increase, rainfall patterns are expected to change, and fire conditions are becoming more frequent. Join biologists Michelle Geary and Hugh Leonard to learn about how this iconic California species might be impacted by our changing climate. Some predictions suggest that within the next 25 years, less foggy parts of the range such as eastern Sonoma County may no longer fall within the species’ “climate envelope”. Established trees may be able to persist – but will seedlings be able to survive and keep populations healthy?
Michelle and Hugh will also share how their unique community-college-based research team is studying the effects of climate change on coast redwood seedling survival at the eastern most and southern most extremes of the redwood range to determine, predict, and monitor the effects of climate change and fire on these populations. Understanding the threats to persistence of these populations may help us devise strategies to preserve them – and this team of early-career researchers is helping pave a path towards those solutions.

Michelle Geary is a plant ecologist who did her doctoral research on tanoaks in Mendocino County and currently leads research teams studying coast redwood seedling survival and mechanisms for how plants deal with excess light stress. Since 2003 she has been teaching plant biology, environmental biology, and cell/molecular biology at West Valley College in Saratoga, California in the shadow of the Santa Cruz mountains.



Hugh Leonard started at West Valley College, transferred to UC Santa Cruz, and received his B.S. in biology in spring 2020. He is starting his doctoral work in fall 2021 at UCSC, looking at how mechanisms for dealing with water stress affect survival of different tree species in California forest ecosystems. He has been one of the team leads for the West Valley Redwood Research Team since early 2018.



This webinar will consist of a live multimedia presentation and include time for facilitated Q&A.

*This lecture will be held online using the Zoom Webinar platform. Once you register, you will be emailed the link and instructions on how to join the Zoom Webinar at the scheduled time. You can join this event using a computer, smartphone, or tablet – in your web browser or by downloading the Zoom application.

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Register for this event using the secure form below. 

To register, select the applicable level below, either General or Friends of Pepperwood and click +Add. On mobile devices, please scroll all the way to the right to find the +Add button. In the pop up window, enter your information and scroll to the bottom to click “Continue”. Next, on the main form, you may add your additional donation amount in the open field, then click the green “Continue” button to move to the final page for payment. Click the green “Process” button on this final page to complete your transaction. 

For all questions about this event, please contact Holland Gistelli, Education Program Coordinator, at or (707) 591-9310 x 124.

Friends of Pepperwood: Enter the code you received as a current Friend of Pepperwood to receive your discount. If you’re not sure about your Friends of Pepperwood status or don’t know the code, contact Sloane Shinn, Community Associate, at or (707) 591-9310 x 133. Click here to become a Friend of Pepperwood today!

Registration for Friends of Pepperwood opens Monday, July 19, 2021. Registration opens for the public on Friday, July 23, 2021.