Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ambystoma Californiense: California Tiger Salamander

The California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense) is a large, stocky, terrestrial salamander with a broad, rounded snout and gorgeous black-and-yellow body.
These amphibians are restricted to vernal pools and seasonal ponds in grassland and oak savannah communities in central California. The primary cause of their decline is the loss and fragmentation of habitat through human activities and encroachment of nonnative predators. 

From: Center for Biological Diversity
Picture from: Kueda

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

"Saint of Genocide"

The Carmel Mission was vandalized days after Junipero Serra's canonization by Pope Francis.  The vandals splashed paint throughout the cemetery and basilica and scrawled "Saint of Genocide" on a headstone.
The Spanish missionary arrived in what would become California in 1769 and established nine missions between San Diego and San Francisco. He viewed the indigenous tribes as heathens who desperately needed the Gospel, and baptized thousands of Native Americans.

From: LA Times
Picture from KSBW

Friday, September 25, 2015

Malacothamnus palmeri: Carmel Valley Bush Mallow

Malacothamnus palmeri: Carmel Valley Bush Mallow is a native shrub that is included in the CNPS Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants.

From: CalFlora

Relic of Saint Junipero Serra

First Class Relic that contains a piece of bone from Saint Junipero Serra at Carmel Mission

Photo by Vern Fisher

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Anniella pulchra nigra: Black Legless Lizard

This form of Anniella from the coast of Monterey Bay in Monterey County was formerly recognized as the subspecies Anniella pulchra nigra - Black Legless Lizard, but it is actually just a melanistic form of Anniella pulchra.

From: CA Herps

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

An astoundingly diverse array of indigenous cultures

 When Spanish soldiers and missionaries arrived in the land they called Alta California in the 1700s, they were entering an astoundingly diverse array of indigenous cultures' homelands. Then deadly waves of epidemic diseases swept over the terrified indigenous populations — an outcome the Spanish had anticipated.

Military and religious officials subsequently used a combination of bribes and physical force to incarcerate the survivors in filthy, disease-ridden, and crowded labor camps. By 1836, at least 100,000 aboriginal people had died as a result of the Spanish mission system.
From: East Bay Express

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tassajara Fire off Cachagua Road

"North section of the Tassajara Fire off Cachagua Road. The fire was holding at 1086 acres."
By Vern Fisher - Monterey Herald

The Highest Honor in the Catholic Church — Sainthood

"The Carmel Mission will be the site of celebration and silent protest tomorrow as the revered and reviled Father Junipero Serra, the man who built the California Mission system, will be bestowed the highest honor in the Catholic Church — sainthood — by Pope Francis. He will be the first Hispanic-American saint."
From Monterey Herald

Artemisia douglasiana: California Mugwort

  Artemisia douglasiana was named after a Scottish botanist.  The Scottish botanist was named David Douglas (1798-1834) who made many trips to the Americas.  He identified many California species of plants.
From: SFSU

Monday, September 21, 2015

Laureles Fire Contained

"The Laureles Fire was reported about 3:30pm on Saturday and within hours about 160 firefighters were battling 100 acres. The garages of two homes in the Corral de Tierra neighborhood were nearly destroyed, but the houses were not burned. By Sunday evening the blaze was 100 percent contained and the fire was no longer active."

From Monterey County Weekly

Father Serra thought he was ministering to people of equal dignity

Father Serra advocated continuously, closely, and at great risk for himself, for the Indians against the Spanish military,” says Gregory Orfalea, an instructor at Santa Barbara’s Westmont College "Unlike the Pilgrims in New England," who considered Native Americans subhuman, Serra “thought he was ministering to people of equal dignity"
From Washington Post

Laureles & Tassajara Fires 2015

Picture from: Melendez Salinas

Friday, September 18, 2015

Mountain Lion attacks on humans are rare

According to California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) website, “Mountain Lion attacks on humans are rare. There have been only 16 verified attacks in California since 1890, six of them fatal."

Picture from: San Clemente Rancho

Read more here:

Lupinus Nanus: Sky Lupine in the hills above the Carmel Valley

Sky Lupine is an annual, growing as a fire-retardant ground cover in grasslands, from about January to June. The plant dies after seeding. Seeds germinate the following spring to once again cover the area in flowering plants.

Photo From: Rod M. Yeager, MD

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Carmel Valley Ranch

Billionaire John Pritzker of San Francisco acquired 500-acre Carmel Valley Ranch in 2009, a former pear orchard that had opened as a private golf club in 1981. Drawing on fond memories of summer camp that punctuated his childhood in Chicago as son of the founder of Hyatt Hotels, Pritzker quickly began sowing the seeds for a multimillion-dollar, largely nature-based transformation.
From: SFGate