Wrapped in Rough, Wrinkled Skin

smallChorus Frog
By Marcia Hanscom

A friend recently invoked the spirit of the snake, telling me about her experiences with a friend from afar that she referred to as a “snake” – but really meaning she didn’t want much to do with him. How did snakes get such a bad rap? And how is it that most of us feel at least a little squeamish when talking about the fauna with which we share the planet that pre-date our species by millions of years? Reptiles and amphibians are intriguing to us as children, but by the time we become adults, it seems that only those who belong to the local herpetology society or are hard-core naturalists retain that sense of wonder.
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Tale of the Alkali Rye

Close-up of Alkali Rye by Jonathan Coffin, first-used by First Nation People for food
Blue-green Alkali Rye grasses are lush this summer as they spread through Ballona Creek’s estuary. Sweeping fresh color over damaged wetlands, they restore splendor to a landscape brought back to life by a community’s love.

The Alkali Rye is my favorite grass and its beauty seems even greater when I recall how – just five years ago -- Westside Global Awareness School children helped bring it back.


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Summer Solstice a Second Spring for LA Coast

Acmon Blue butterfly nectaring on Dune Buckwheat
Summer Solstice is here.   But it’s really second spring on the Los Angeles coast. The first spring comes soon after the rains of our winter downpours. Sometimes it’s February, March or even April when brown grasses and golden fields green up, and brilliant wildflowers – yellow, purple and white - sprout everywhere. Read More...

Summer at the Marsh Part 2


The summer I learned from our school system meant that the season began in mid-June and ended just after Labor Day. That time period for summer matches up pretty closely with the season of the summer solstice.

wildflower
But in southern California our subtropical climate is different from northern geographies where snow and leaves on the ground mark the seasons of winter and fall. Read More...