Explore Nature’s Healing Powers Right at Home

Russian Gulch State Park

On all my Zoom calls with family and friends lately, we are exchanging recommendations for a good read. We’re all looking for something uplifting, while substantive. Fascinating without being too fantastical.  So of course I am telling everyone about one of my all-time favorite books that will hit the spot: The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative by Florence Williams. If you’re a lover of the outdoors—whether… Read More

Take a Closer Look at Birds in Your Neighborhood, Learn About Local Climate, & Recycle Empty Toilet Paper Rolls

bird watching

With just four materials (see instructions below), you can make your own bird feeder and watch birds in your neighborhood! Recognizing and noticing the different types and numbers of bird species in your area can be a sign of how the local climate is behaving. Climate change does a lot more than just heat up our planet, it can also cause more intense weather, including floods, heatwaves, and droughts. This extreme weather… Read More

Beach Day for Kids, Dogs & Anyone Who Loves the California Coast

dillon beach california

My family first discovered Dillon Beach when looking for a weekend getaway — not too far from our home in Oakland, good for multiple generations — as we were celebrating my father-in-law’s 70th birthday. With just one small store and restaurant, this beach remains less well known than the Point Reyes National Seashore and Tomales Bay coastline to the south and Bodega Bay to the north. Public access to Dillon Beach is… Read More

A Loop Around Joaquin Miller Park


Joaquin Miller Park has a ton of hiking trails that you can choose from. This park features second-growth redwood trees and is very lush and shaded. It’s a wonderful place to hike rain or shine. The trail is always blanketed with redwood leaves so it’s never muddy, and on hot days it’s a natural air conditioner.  The redwoods in Joaquin Miller Park are considered to be one of the few Redwood forests… Read More

An Easy Hike Up Mitchell Canyon

Mitchell Canyon Mount Diablo

The Mitchell Canyon Trail in Mount Diablo State Park is a peaceful hike in the shadow of our devil mountain. It begins near the parking area for Mitchell Canyon. The wide trail has a very gentle uphill grade for 2 miles, mostly shaded, with just one short steep stretch. Mitchell Canyon is one of the more historic spots on the mountain. Legend has it that in the winter of 1826-1827, the famous… Read More

Trails Open but Doors Closed at Sonoma Developmental Center

Sonoma Developmental Center

Last year we were thrilled to learn that more than 700 acres of open space and wildlife habitat at the now-closed Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC), near Glen Ellen in Sonoma Valley, were being prioritized as open space in a new $40 million planning agreement between state and county officials!  Since then, Greenbelt Alliance joined several hundred people to share visions for the future of the beautiful oak-studded lands and campus at a… Read More

Climate & Wildfire Resiliency Update

Sonoma Climate and Wildfire Resiliency Update

As we face another dry winter and a long wildfire season ahead, Greenbelt Alliance is delving deeper into the ways that we can help our growing communities become more climate and wildfire resistant.  Greenbelt Alliance has been advocating for climate-healthy growth within existing cities and towns and the protection of our greenbelts for decades. We are now entering an era when the climate crisis makes this solution a matter of life and… Read More

Protect Coyote Valley: Build In Urban Areas


Coyote Valley is 7,400 acres of lush farmland and vast open space that provides an awe-inspiring landscape to explore. It is a crucial water resource for Silicon Valley. Its flood plain protects San Jose. It is home to wildlife, including endangered species. Coyote Valley is critical to the ecosystem of the entire South Bay. We must preserve it and encourage growth within existing cities and towns.  On April 30, the San Jose… Read More

Mixed Election Results Tell Us It’s Time to Get Creative

March 2020 Mixed Election Results

Here at Greenbelt Alliance, election day is always hotly anticipated, even when it is not a presidential primary. We’ve been working on local land-use ballot measures since the 1960s and have seen great success (and a few heartbreaking losses) in locking in Urban Growth Boundaries around our cities, stopping sprawl development from taking over precious natural and working lands, and securing much-needed funding for permanent protection of open space, increased public transportation… Read More

What Are Urban Growth Boundaries and Why Do We Need Them?

An urban growth boundary (UGB) separates urban areas from the surrounding natural and agricultural lands, or greenbelts. It puts a limit on city expansion.