Late fall rains signal the start of mushroom season, which can last until spring in the Bay Area. Though only experts should forage and eat wild mushrooms (following park rules about harvesting), anyone can appreciate the rich diversity of these ephemeral fruits of the forest.
QUEST tags along with fair organizer J.R. Blair and his San Francisco State University students as they collect mushrooms in San Francisco's McLaren Park. Then we tour the annual Fungus Fair in Berkeley to explore the Bay Area's tasty, dangerous and weirdly wonderful fungi.
The newts are on the move again. Each fall, after the rains start, the newts of Berkeley’s Tilden Park start migrating from the woods to waters of Wildcat Creek, where they mate and lay their eggs. South Park Drive, popular with cyclists and Sunday drivers, crosses their migratory path. Each year from November 1 to April 1 the road is closed to cars, to prevent the newts from getting squished. (How did the newt cross the road? Not by being run over, that’s for sure.)
Air pollution may seem like an urban problem, but it’s becoming an increasing concern in California’s national parks.
Sudden Oak Death is devastating oak forests along the coast, killing trees that are key to the ecology of the coastal hills. Researchers have found a way to inoculate individual trees from the disease, but are struggling in their search to find a more sweeping answer to the threat.
You may not think of salmon when visiting the redwoods in Muir Woods, but it's home to a population of Coho Salmon. Redwood forests provide ideal salmon habitat, providing woody debris to protect young salmon in the creeks and keeping them shaded and cool. But the Coho in Muir Woods' Redwood Creek are endangered, and local biologists and volunteers are working to protect the salmon and restore their habitat.
Less than an hour’s drive north from San Francisco, the 2,882 acres of Samuel P. Taylor State Park is within easy driving distance of some of northern California’s most dramatic outdoor scenery. The park features a unique contrast of coastal redwood groves and open grassland.