Coastline, Cows and Carbon Farming

Jon Gay is something of a software engineering legend — he’s a co-creator of Flash, the groundbreaking and globally popular multimedia platform. But these days he spends a lot of his time in West County working with a decidedly different kind of material: cow manure. He and his wife, Misty, are four years deep into a project to restore life and balance to a worn-down coastal farm, Bay Hill Ranch. And maybe, just tip the scales a little for climate change.

Don't Count on Recycling. There's Something Better.

Some time in 2016, on a warm summer day, a patron entered Santa Rosa’s D Street Starbucks, ordered an iced drink, and when they were finished, thoughtfully dropped the plastic cup with a straw into a plastic recycle bin. By late 2017, the straw was likely revolving inside the Giant Pacific Garbage Patch, the infamous pile of mostly plastic waste twice the size of Texas floating in the middle of the ocean. How a recycled straw finds its way from green Northern California to the desolate middle of the Pacific involves the strange and complicated path our recycled waste takes in the global economy. Now, a local company is leading the way with patented alternatives that just might make a difference.

After Wildfires, Volunteers Gather, Nurse Acorns to Replace Lost Oak Forests

Consider the acorn. By kindergarten, most children know that the smooth, brown shell hides a secret: it’s a ‘baby oak with a lunch box,’ recalls Brent Reed, now Ecological Program Manager with Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation. Inside its weather and insect-resistant coat, every acorn is a live packet of waiting pre-programed cells, primed for growth. October’s wildfires ripped through and devastated more than 31,000 acres of prime, old oak woodlands. What if acorns from surviving forests could be gathered for planting the following year in areas where forest was lost?