The Environment

Marin & Bay Area Earth Day Events 2017

April 11, 2017

Earth Day Stinson BeachEarth Day celebration at Stinson Beach. Photo: Marco Sanchez.

Earth Day 2017 takes place on Saturday, April 22. It’s a great time to celebrate and teach our children the importance of preserving our planet’s resources. Families will find plenty of ways to observe the occasion here in Marin County and the Bay Area, and we've created a list of local events that either celebrate Earth Day or help families learn about nature and the planet.

  • My Earth Day Marin
    Various locations throughout Marin County
    Friday, April 14–Wednesday, April 26
    The My Earth Day Marin Coalition will host a wide variety of service projects and activities throughout Marin County in honor of Earth Day. Most events are for all ages and abilities. Visit My Earth Day Marin for more info and a complete list of opportunities.
  • Novato Clean & Green Day
    City of Novato Civic Green
    Saturday, April 22, 9 am–1 pm

    Bring the family and celebrate Earth Day by cleaning up our beautiful town. Help remove litter from streets, bike path, parks, creek banks and more. Some supplies will be provided. Meet at Novato Civic Green, 901 Sherman Avenue. Find out more here.

Christmas Tree Recycling in Marin

January 1, 2017

Christmas tree recyclingAs December draws to a close and the New Year begins, the time comes bid farewell to your Christmas tree. It's a sad but inevitable fact of life that your tree has to go at some point, unless you have an artificial Christmas tree, in which case you can stop reading right here.

Fortunately, your local disposal agency is usually more than happy to take your dried out old Noble Fir off your hands and do the green thing with the tree by recycling it. If for some reason you can't leave your tree out by the curb with your yard waste, you can drop it off at a number of different locations, including all Marin County Fire Department stations (through January 21), throughout Marin County.

Keep in mind that you need to remove all ornaments, lights, tinsel, and plastic tree bags from the tree before you put it out for pick up. (Don't forget to remove metal or plastic stands, too.) Here's a rundown of Christmas tree disposal details for communities in Marin:

Marin Sanitary

For Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Las Gallinas Valley, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Ross Valley (Sleepy Hollow and Oak Manor): Trees will be collected at the curb on your regular yard waste pickup day during the month of January. One pickup per residence. If trees are greater than 6 feet in length, please cut them in half. Remove all metal stands, plastic tree bags, and ornaments. Flocked trees will not be accepted.

Fast Food Gets Healthy at Amy's Drive Thru in Rohnert Park

March 7, 2016

Amy's Drive Thru Rohnert Park

The terms "fast food" and "health food" have never really been synonymous—until Amy's Drive Thru opened last summer in the Sonoma County town of Rohnert Park! Created by the same people who run the Amy's Kitchen, famous for its vegetarian and vegan frozen pizzas, mac-and-cheese, burritos, and other prepared foods, Amy's Drive Thru is like a traditional fast food restaurant with, as the name implies, a drive through, but everything is either vegetarian or vegan, as well as made from sustainable, local, and organic ingredients. We've stopped by Amy's for lunch a few times when up in the area, and really enjoyed their unique healthy take on traditional fast food treats.

Environmentalist Bill McKibben Kicks Off the 2013 Leadership Lecture Series at Dominican

September 24, 2013

Bill McKibbenBestselling author and environmental activist Bill McKibben kicks off the 10th season of the Institute for Leadership Studies (ILS) Leadership Fall Lecture Series at Dominican University of California on Wednesday night, September 25. McKibben, author of more than a dozen books about the environment and winner of the Sophie Prize in Norway and the Gandhi Peace Award, will discuss his latest book, Oil and Honey: the Education of an Unlikely Activist.

Time Magazine has called McKibben “the planet's best green journalist” and the Boston Globe said in 2010 that he was “probably the country's most important environmentalist.”

In the summer of 2011, McKibben was handcuffed and jailed after leading the largest civil disobedience in 30 years by protesting in front of the White House against the Keystone XL pipeline. In Oil and Honey, McKibben joins forces with a Vermont beekeeper, raising one year’s honey crop and building a social movement. His much-larger fight is finding solutions against the fossil-fuel industry as a whole.

Watching the Salmon of Lagunitas Creek

January 2, 2013

Salmon crossing on Lagunitas Creek While many think of heading out to Point Reyes for whale watching in the winter, it's also possible to get a glimpse of another fascinating aquatic creature in Marin County: the coho salmon. Winter, from approximately late November through February, is spawning season for the endangered coho salmon, and West Marin's Lagunitas Creek is home to one of the largest populations of wild coho in California. There are several places along the creek where you can view these magnificent fish on their final journey upstream.

January is one of the best times to go look for coho in Lagunitas Creek, especially a few days after a rainstorm. Salmon can range in size from two to three feet, and the spawning males turn a bright red color and develop a hooked upper jaw called a "kype." Spawning female coho are a darker, more muted red with a white tail. Salmon fresh from the Pacific which haven't yet developed their spawning colors are a gray or olive color. You may also see steelhead trout in the creek; both male and female steelheads are silver with black-spotted backs and pink stripe down the side.

Coho salmon spend the majority of their lives in the Pacific Ocean, but travel back to the freshwater streams where they were born to spawn. After spawning, the adult salmon die and the life cycle begins again. Young coho hatch in the fresh water, where they live for about a year until they make their trip downstream to the ocean.

Wildflowers and Elephant Seals at Point Reyes's Chimney Rock

April 14, 2012

Chimney Rock elephant sealsIn the spring, lovers of wildlife and wildflowers head to the Point Reyes National Seashore to experience the area's abundance of both. One of our go-to spots for an outdoors outing in Point Reyes is Chimney Rock, where you can see both amazing widlflowers and massive Northern Elephant Seals lounging on the beach below the cliffs.

Also worth visiting here is the historic Chimney Rock Lifeboat Station, where Coast Guard crews set out to rescue victims of the many shipwrecks off the coast of Point Reyes. We visited over Spring Break, and wildflowers are starting to appear all over—in coming weeks it should be pretty amazing, especially after our recent rains.

If you visit Chimney Rock in the late winter or spring, your first destination upon arrival should be the Elephant Seal Overlook. It's a short hike on a well maintained gravel trail overlooking Drakes Bay, about 1/2 mile round trip between the parking area and the overlook. The overlook at the end of the trail gives you an unsurpassed view of the Elephant Seal colony on the beach below.

Spring Cleaning: You and Fertility

May 2, 2011

Mom and babyWith spring upon us, Laurel Fertility Care offers some tips on how to improve your chances for motherhood by being good to both yourself and Mother Earth.

This spring, clean Mother Earth while improving your chances of motherhood. “Women trying to conceive often forget the importance of taking care of themselves,” commented Dr. Lee Kao. “We often see patients who are so focused on caring for everything else that they actually decrease their success by not focusing on themselves first.”

On behalf of Laurel Fertility Care, below are four tips to help you on your journey to motherhood while making the Earth a better place to grow your family.

  1. Clean your kitchen: increase your veggies; decrease your red meat. Researchers reported that “shifting entirely from an average American diet to a vegetable-based diet would reduce the same emissions as 8,000 miles driven per year.” Harvard doctors suggest in The Fertility Diet to replace one meal of red meat with veggies per week to increase your fertility success.

Teaching Your Children about Earth Day

April 19, 2011

Earth DayEarth Day is Friday, April 22. It’s a great time to celebrate and teach our children the importance of preserving our planet’s resources. Teaching our children a few simple habits will help them to grow up preserving the environment through their daily activities. There are many small things your kids can do every day to keep the world cleaner and greener.

Earth Day ideas and activities

  • Plant a tree or flowers in the garden. Take your children to a local nursery and pick out a small tree or some flowers that you can plant in your yard or garden. Explain to your children that trees and plants reduce the greenhouse gases and give us cleaner air.
  • Use both sides of paper when coloring. Teach your children that when they are doing art projects, like coloring, to use both sides of the paper. Explain to them that using the paper more than once will help save trees.
  • Reuse & Recycle. Get the children involved when it comes to recycling and explain to them why it is important. Show them the different types of items that can be recycled and have them help separate trash from recyclables.
  • Conserve water. Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth. As much as 2 gallons of water is wasted when the water is left running while you are brushing your teeth. Also, limit the amount of time when washing hands or in the shower. The best way to teach your kids is by being a good example. Just because we've had plenty of rain this season doesn't mean water is a limitless resource.
  • Turn off the lights. Explain to your children that lights, computers, and televisions use energy, and that energy is in short supply, so turning off the lights or TV when they are not in the room is important.

Earth Day 2011 in Marin

April 18, 2011

kids picking up trashPresenting an Earth Day guest post by Marin mom and homeschooling parent Barbara McVeigh. Read more of her writings on her blog,

Our planet Earth, our home—it’s a spinning ball sustaining up to a 100 million life species and hanging suspended-like in a vast vacuum. It’s the ultimate marvelous concept when you really stop and think about it. And, lucky for us, we have a day marked to do just that.

Earth Day started as a grassroots effort over forty years ago by a small band of folks. Now the celebrated day is living proof that small efforts can grow tremendously into great changes. Last year over 500 million people and over 175 countries participated in Earth Day activities helping our planet, our home, be healthy.

Marin is offering lots of opportunities for families to participate in stewardship efforts, including those to help our watershed, wildlife habitats and community gardens or Earth Day again this year.

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