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Mar
2
Sat
RFO Public Star Party @ Robert Ferguson Observatory
Mar 2 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

The Robert Ferguson Observatory (RFO) is open to the public at least once a month, usually on a Saturday near the time of the New Moon.

Star Parties: Presentations on astronomical topics are given in the classroom throughout the course of the evening. Starting at dusk, the Observatory’s three main telescopes are open for your viewing. Docents set up additional telescopes in front of the building. Friendly and knowledgeable docents are available to answer your questions.

You must have a ticket to attend, as we are limited to 40 attendees per County Health Orders. Proof of vaccination or a negative rapid test taken within the last 48 hours are also required to attend. Tickets are available at rfo.simpletix.com

FAQs:

  1. Map and Directions
  2. When to arrive: We keep the observatory open as long as there are visitors, but you must arrive within 3 hours after start time to ensure that we remain open for you. Summer Star Parties begin with tours and presentations until it’s dark enough for observing.
  3. Bring warm clothing, even in summer—observing is done outdoors.
  4. There is a short walk from the parking area to the Observatory and you may wish to bring a small flashlight.
  5. White Light: No white lights should be used after dark; the observatory is a red-light-only area to protect everyone’s night vision. We will supply red cellophane to cover flashlights. Please note:
    ◦ Bring a SMALL flashlight (large camp lanterns, light sticks, etc., cannot be adequately covered by red cellophane).
    ◦ Cell phones or cell-phone flashlights are acceptable but must be covered in red cellophane. (No cell service at the observatory).
    ◦ Some head lamps are difficult to cover with red cellophane. Once covered, head lamps should be worn around the neck or used pointing down as they are usually very bright at eye level.
    ◦ Red flashlights are available for $5 at the observatory.
  6. Alcohol is prohibited on Observatory grounds.
  7. The Observatory is not open to the public except for scheduled events.

Classroom presentations are always offered on Star Party nights even if the weather is poor. For current conditions call the observatory at (707) 833-6979.
For more info please visit the Robert Ferguson Observatory website.


TICKETS

Mar
9
Sat
Park Rx–Yoga Hike @ Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Mar 9 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Enjoy your yoga experience in the beautiful setting of our park! Susan Topf’s Yoga Hike balances a mix of easy hiking and gentle yoga postures, breath work and guided meditation, no mat necessary. The route varies on weather conditions and group interest that typically covers 2-3 miles of varied terrain. All levels and ages welcome.

Tickets are $30 for general audiences and include parking if registered in advance online. Please wear weather-appropriate clothing to feel comfortable being in a natural setting and bring water (as needed). Meet outside the Visitor Center unless otherwise noted in confirmation email prior to the hike. Limited to 12 participants.

Sonoma County Resident? Free with a January 2024 Park Rx from a participating Sonoma County Medical Provider. Click here for Park Rx info.

Ease of access: we’re unable to determine ease of access as the route will be decided the day-of by the hike leader and other logistics (mud, small water crossings, slippery trails, etc).


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For more events at Sugarloaf, visit our calendar.

Mar
24
Sun
Park Rx– Forest Bathing Walk @ Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Mar 24 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

The practice of Forest Therapy has been shown to improve health and well-being.

Have you heard about ‘Shinrin-yoku’ or ‘forest bathing’? Here is an opportunity to take a walk and experience the practice for yourself. Learn techniques to maximize the health benefits and stress reducing qualities of this walking practice. Shinrin-yoku originated in Japan and is gaining popularity in the United States for its documented health benefits.

This practice takes a walk in the woods to another level. A centering and calming restorative practice, it promotes balance and restored vitality through a quality of presence and heightened sensory awareness. Sugarloaf Ridge State Park hosts a Forest Therapy Series as part of its Park Rx Program the 4th Sunday of the month led by certified Association of Nature and Forest Therapy (ANFT) practitioners.

We invite you to join us on this therapeutic experience of sights, sounds, scents, touch, and memory. The outing begins at the White Barn and meanders less than one mile from the start point in a reverie of introspection and connection to the natural world.

Tickets are $20 or free with an January 2024 or newer Park Rx from a Sonoma County Medical Provider. Click here for Park Rx information. To sign up with a Park Rx, please email alma@sonomaecologycenter.org. Please have your Park Rx available at the time of sign-up, as the number of Park Rx tickets is limited and you will be asked to turn in a copy at the time of registration.

Wear layers, comfortable footwear, bring water, sun protection, and if desired, a snack or a picnic to enjoy after the event. Parking fees apply. Heavy rains cancel.

Ease of access: Creekside Nature Trail has two trailheads. The trailhead from the White Barn is ADA compliant for about 0.1 miles. Our route for this hike veers off to the left across a narrow bridge and single-track dirt trail that connects with Hillside and then backtracks. The entire route is approximately 3/4 of a mile with approximately 100ft of elevation gain. 

______________________
For more events at Sugarloaf, visit our calendar.

Apr
6
Sat
RFO Public Star Party @ Robert Ferguson Observatory
Apr 6 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm

The Robert Ferguson Observatory (RFO) is open to the public at least once a month, usually on a Saturday near the time of the New Moon.

Star Parties: Presentations on astronomical topics are given in the classroom throughout the course of the evening. Starting at dusk, the Observatory’s three main telescopes are open for your viewing. Docents set up additional telescopes in front of the building. Friendly and knowledgeable docents are available to answer your questions.

You must have a ticket to attend, as we are limited to 40 attendees per County Health Orders. Proof of vaccination or a negative rapid test taken within the last 48 hours are also required to attend. Tickets are available at rfo.simpletix.com

FAQs:

  1. Map and Directions
  2. When to arrive: We keep the observatory open as long as there are visitors, but you must arrive within 3 hours after start time to ensure that we remain open for you. Summer Star Parties begin with tours and presentations until it’s dark enough for observing.
  3. Bring warm clothing, even in summer—observing is done outdoors.
  4. There is a short walk from the parking area to the Observatory and you may wish to bring a small flashlight.
  5. White Light: No white lights should be used after dark; the observatory is a red-light-only area to protect everyone’s night vision. We will supply red cellophane to cover flashlights. Please note:
    ◦ Bring a SMALL flashlight (large camp lanterns, light sticks, etc., cannot be adequately covered by red cellophane).
    ◦ Cell phones or cell-phone flashlights are acceptable but must be covered in red cellophane. (No cell service at the observatory).
    ◦ Some head lamps are difficult to cover with red cellophane. Once covered, head lamps should be worn around the neck or used pointing down as they are usually very bright at eye level.
    ◦ Red flashlights are available for $5 at the observatory.
  6. Alcohol is prohibited on Observatory grounds.
  7. The Observatory is not open to the public except for scheduled events.

Classroom presentations are always offered on Star Party nights even if the weather is poor. For current conditions call the observatory at (707) 833-6979.
For more info please visit the Robert Ferguson Observatory website.


TICKETS

Apr
20
Sat
Headwaters to Headwaters Hike: A Mayacamas Hiking Adventure @ Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Apr 20 @ 6:30 am – 5:00 pm

Join Sonoma Ecology Center and Team Sugarloaf and embark on an unforgettable journey through the heart of Sonoma County’s most pristine and breathtaking landscapes with our exclusive fundraising hike. This event will be a grand tour of the Mayacamas Mountains in the northern half of Sonoma Valley, where we will pass close to the headwaters of Santa Rosa and Sonoma Creeks. This unique adventure offers participants a rare opportunity to traverse through areas usually closed to the public, such as the recent Perry Addition to Sonoma County parks. Whether you choose the 11-mile classic route or the 17-mile epic option, you’ll be treated to a day filled with stunning vistas, challenging trails, and the camaraderie of fellow nature enthusiasts. As you navigate through rolling hills, serene creeks, and towering oaks, you’ll push your limits and contribute to a noble cause. The hike culminates in a communal barbecue dinner, where stories of the day’s journey can be shared among new friends.

Sign up today to secure your spot in this remarkable experience and help us support the preservation of Sonoma County’s natural treasures. Sponsorship opportunities are available for those looking to make an even greater impact.

This year, we have two versions:

  1. Classic Route  – from the Los Alamos parking lot in Hood Mountain Regional Park to Sugarloaf’s day-use picnic area via the McCormick Addition and Bald Mountain Trail. 11 miles; 3,200 ft of elevation (bus from Sugarloaf).
  2. Epic Option – Sugarloaf’s main parking lot to Goodspeed Trail into Hood Mtn, down to the McCormick Addition and joining the rest of the group. 17 miles; 5,600 ascent. This is a rigorous hike for advanced hikers only (limited to 15 tickets).

WHY SUPPORT US?

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park is operated by Sonoma Ecology Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. While Sugarloaf is a California State Park, we do not receive operational funding from the State. It is our visitors, donors, volunteers, and members who make it possible for us to keep Sugarloaf Ridge State Park open for the community to enjoy.

Since 2012, Sonoma Ecology Center has worked to make the park accessible and welcoming to a broader audience through community-focused programs.

Some of our programming highlights include:

  • Our Senderos Program targets the Spanish-speaking community, bringing thousands of new visitors to the park for nature events and first-time camping experiences. Learn More.
  • The Slow Journeys Program offers nature hikes and events on flat, smooth paths, ensuring accessibility for all visitors. Learn More.
  • The ParkRx Program at Sugarloaf is the nation’s most active, providing over 1,000 participants annually free access to approximately 90 activities, including fitness hiking series, yoga hikes, Tai Chi classes, and forest therapy sessions, all prescribed by medical providers. Learn more.
  • We have earned recognition as a role model in establishing impactful relationships with the local Native American tribe, the Mishewal-Wappo. Our relationship is grounded in respect, patience, and courage. Learn More.


What are the keys to our success in building
vibrant and inclusive programing?

  • Deep community ties: We continuously strengthen our connections across all community sectors, enhancing our understanding of community needs and fostering collaborations with other local organizations.
  • Innovative marketing and outreach: Our multi-channel marketing strategy reaches every community member, featuring a large email list, a dynamic social media presence, collaborations with local newspapers and websites, online advertising, and partnerships with numerous local organizations and groups.
  • A Committed Volunteer Program: Many of our programs, including ParkRx and Slow Journeys, rely on a dedicated and skilled volunteer force, allowing us to offer these events at a significantly lower cost than other organizations.
  • Test-and-learn philosophy: We continuously evolve our programs through learning, modifying, and documenting, ensuring they become impactful and financially sustainable.

By supporting us, you contribute to a legacy of inclusivity, innovation, and community engagement at Sonoma Ecology Center’s management of Sugarloaf Ridge State Park.

Tickets: $95 each. Tickets include parking, shuttle transportation to Hood Mtn, snacks, drinks, and a BBQ dinner.
Underwriting Options: Help us defray the event’s costs and make it a true fundraiser. All of these options are tax deductible and include one ticket to the classic route of this hike.

  • Epic Underwriter: $5,000
  • Monumental Mover (and Shaker): $2,500
  • Peak Provider: $750
  • Sugar Sponsor: $500

ROUTE DETAILS

Classic Route:  Participants will arrive at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park by 8:45am, with shuttle buses departing at 9:00am for Hood Mountain Regional Park. The hike begins at the Los Alamos parking lot, taking the Santa Rosa Creek Trail to Homestead Meadow and entering Sugarloaf via the McCormick Addition. The route ascends Quercus Trail, passes the former site of the Grandmother Oak, and stops briefly at Red Hill before continuing up Maple Glen Trail. After lunch atop ‘Hill 2530,’ hikers return to Sugarloaf via ascending Bald Mountain, concluding with a barbecue dinner in the day-use area around 3:30pm. The journey spans roughly 11 miles and climbs 3,200 ft in elevation.

Epic Option (for advanced hikers only): Meet at Sugarloaf’s Visitor Center at 6:15am for a 6:30am departure via Pony Gate and Goodspeed Trails. Meet up with the group hiking from the Los Alamos parking lot at the Santa Rosa Creek crossing (in Hood Mtn Regional Park) at about 10:00am, before entering Sugarloaf’s McCormick Addition.

Pack a lunch for the stop at Hill 2530, at least half a gallon of water and electrolytes, sun protection, and additional socks. Be prepared to walk 11 or 17 miles (depending on the route you registered for) over steep and sometimes rough terrain, with a stream crossing of minimal depth. Dress appropriately for the weather and the ticks.

Ticket sales end on 4/16 to give us an estimate of how many buses we will need for shuttling and how much food to prepare.

______________________
For more events at Sugarloaf, visit our calendar.

Apr
27
Sat
Nocturnal Serenades–CNC Weekend 2024 @ Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Apr 27 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Soundscapes are auditory landscapes that encapsulate the diverse and harmonious interplay of ambient sounds, from the wildlife to the non-biological, creating a rich and immersive sonic environment. Venture out on this auditory experience with Jack Hines, Soundscape Ecologist at Ear to the Wild and Sonoma Ecology Center’s GIS Specialist. As part of this year’s City Nature Challenge, we will learn about recording sound for submission to platforms such as iNaturalist or Merlin for species identification, or options to improve sound quality of recordings using external microphones. No mobility is required, as we will simply remain around the White Barn parking lot and adjacent areas, including the creek on the Creekside Nature Trail.

Meet at the White Barn. Bring water, layers, a full battery on your mobile device (or alternatively, an audio recording machine), a flashlight to light the way, and if you desire, a cushion to sit on. Tickets are $5 for adults and free for children ages 7 to 18. This event is not recommended for children under 7 years old. Parking fees apply; rain cancels.

The 2024 City Nature Challenge runs from April 26 to 29. It’s a bioblitz-style friendly competition where cities are in a contest against each other to see who can make the most observations of nature, who can find the most species, and who can engage the most people. Learn more about City Nature Challenge or view the Sugarloaf Project here!

Participants of any level of experience can help find, photograph, record, and/or identify life in the park. Smartphones with the iNaturalist app will be our main tool, but those lacking phones are also welcome to participate. If you haven’t used iNaturalist, or haven’t made an observation for a while, this is your chance – just make sure to load the iNaturalist app on your phone before you arrive. This event is part of the Challenge along with other events scheduled from April 26-29.

Ease of Access: The White Barn parking area has one van-designated parking spot and multiple regular parking spots that can easily be used by accessible vans. There is an accessible porta-potty a few feet from the van-designated parking spot. The parking area is adjacent to the road that leads to the group camp, outside Robert Ferguson Observatory. The road to the group camp is flat, paved, and about 1/4-mile one-way. The Creekside Nature Trail is ADA-compliant. There are no lights other than a safety light at the White Barn.

______________________
For more events at Sugarloaf, visit our calendar of events.
RFO Public Star Party @ Robert Ferguson Observatory
Apr 27 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm

The Robert Ferguson Observatory (RFO) is open to the public at least once a month, usually on a Saturday near the time of the New Moon.

Star Parties: Presentations on astronomical topics are given in the classroom throughout the course of the evening. Starting at dusk, the Observatory’s three main telescopes are open for your viewing. Docents set up additional telescopes in front of the building. Friendly and knowledgeable docents are available to answer your questions.

You must have a ticket to attend, as we are limited to 40 attendees per County Health Orders. Proof of vaccination or a negative rapid test taken within the last 48 hours are also required to attend. Tickets are available at rfo.simpletix.com

FAQs:

  1. Map and Directions
  2. When to arrive: We keep the observatory open as long as there are visitors, but you must arrive within 3 hours after start time to ensure that we remain open for you. Summer Star Parties begin with tours and presentations until it’s dark enough for observing.
  3. Bring warm clothing, even in summer—observing is done outdoors.
  4. There is a short walk from the parking area to the Observatory and you may wish to bring a small flashlight.
  5. White Light: No white lights should be used after dark; the observatory is a red-light-only area to protect everyone’s night vision. We will supply red cellophane to cover flashlights. Please note:
    ◦ Bring a SMALL flashlight (large camp lanterns, light sticks, etc., cannot be adequately covered by red cellophane).
    ◦ Cell phones or cell-phone flashlights are acceptable but must be covered in red cellophane. (No cell service at the observatory).
    ◦ Some head lamps are difficult to cover with red cellophane. Once covered, head lamps should be worn around the neck or used pointing down as they are usually very bright at eye level.
    ◦ Red flashlights are available for $5 at the observatory.
  6. Alcohol is prohibited on Observatory grounds.
  7. The Observatory is not open to the public except for scheduled events.

Classroom presentations are always offered on Star Party nights even if the weather is poor. For current conditions call the observatory at (707) 833-6979.
For more info please visit the Robert Ferguson Observatory website.


TICKETS

May
18
Sat
RFO Public Star Party @ Robert Ferguson Observatory
May 18 @ 9:00 pm – 12:00 am

The Robert Ferguson Observatory (RFO) is open to the public at least once a month, usually on a Saturday near the time of the New Moon.

Star Parties: Presentations on astronomical topics are given in the classroom throughout the course of the evening. Starting at dusk, the Observatory’s three main telescopes are open for your viewing. Docents set up additional telescopes in front of the building. Friendly and knowledgeable docents are available to answer your questions.

You must have a ticket to attend, as we are limited to 40 attendees per County Health Orders. Proof of vaccination or a negative rapid test taken within the last 48 hours are also required to attend. Tickets are available at rfo.simpletix.com

FAQs:

  1. Map and Directions
  2. When to arrive: We keep the observatory open as long as there are visitors, but you must arrive within 3 hours after start time to ensure that we remain open for you. Summer Star Parties begin with tours and presentations until it’s dark enough for observing.
  3. Bring warm clothing, even in summer—observing is done outdoors.
  4. There is a short walk from the parking area to the Observatory and you may wish to bring a small flashlight.
  5. White Light: No white lights should be used after dark; the observatory is a red-light-only area to protect everyone’s night vision. We will supply red cellophane to cover flashlights. Please note:
    ◦ Bring a SMALL flashlight (large camp lanterns, light sticks, etc., cannot be adequately covered by red cellophane).
    ◦ Cell phones or cell-phone flashlights are acceptable but must be covered in red cellophane. (No cell service at the observatory).
    ◦ Some head lamps are difficult to cover with red cellophane. Once covered, head lamps should be worn around the neck or used pointing down as they are usually very bright at eye level.
    ◦ Red flashlights are available for $5 at the observatory.
  6. Alcohol is prohibited on Observatory grounds.
  7. The Observatory is not open to the public except for scheduled events.

Classroom presentations are always offered on Star Party nights even if the weather is poor. For current conditions call the observatory at (707) 833-6979.
For more info please visit the Robert Ferguson Observatory website.


TICKETS

Jun
8
Sat
RFO Public Star Party @ Robert Ferguson Observatory
Jun 8 @ 9:00 pm – Jun 9 @ 6:00 pm

The Robert Ferguson Observatory (RFO) is open to the public at least once a month, usually on a Saturday near the time of the New Moon.

Star Parties: Presentations on astronomical topics are given in the classroom throughout the course of the evening. Starting at dusk, the Observatory’s three main telescopes are open for your viewing. Docents set up additional telescopes in front of the building. Friendly and knowledgeable docents are available to answer your questions.

You must have a ticket to attend, as we are limited to 40 attendees per County Health Orders. Proof of vaccination or a negative rapid test taken within the last 48 hours are also required to attend. Tickets are available at rfo.simpletix.com

FAQs:

  1. Map and Directions
  2. When to arrive: We keep the observatory open as long as there are visitors, but you must arrive within 3 hours after start time to ensure that we remain open for you. Summer Star Parties begin with tours and presentations until it’s dark enough for observing.
  3. Bring warm clothing, even in summer—observing is done outdoors.
  4. There is a short walk from the parking area to the Observatory and you may wish to bring a small flashlight.
  5. White Light: No white lights should be used after dark; the observatory is a red-light-only area to protect everyone’s night vision. We will supply red cellophane to cover flashlights. Please note:
    ◦ Bring a SMALL flashlight (large camp lanterns, light sticks, etc., cannot be adequately covered by red cellophane).
    ◦ Cell phones or cell-phone flashlights are acceptable but must be covered in red cellophane. (No cell service at the observatory).
    ◦ Some head lamps are difficult to cover with red cellophane. Once covered, head lamps should be worn around the neck or used pointing down as they are usually very bright at eye level.
    ◦ Red flashlights are available for $5 at the observatory.
  6. Alcohol is prohibited on Observatory grounds.
  7. The Observatory is not open to the public except for scheduled events.

Classroom presentations are always offered on Star Party nights even if the weather is poor. For current conditions call the observatory at (707) 833-6979.
For more info please visit the Robert Ferguson Observatory website.


TICKETS

Jun
29
Sat
RFO Public Star Party @ Robert Ferguson Observatory
Jun 29 @ 9:00 pm – Jun 30 @ 6:00 pm

The Robert Ferguson Observatory (RFO) is open to the public at least once a month, usually on a Saturday near the time of the New Moon.

Star Parties: Presentations on astronomical topics are given in the classroom throughout the course of the evening. Starting at dusk, the Observatory’s three main telescopes are open for your viewing. Docents set up additional telescopes in front of the building. Friendly and knowledgeable docents are available to answer your questions.

You must have a ticket to attend, as we are limited to 40 attendees per County Health Orders. Proof of vaccination or a negative rapid test taken within the last 48 hours are also required to attend. Tickets are available at rfo.simpletix.com

FAQs:

  1. Map and Directions
  2. When to arrive: We keep the observatory open as long as there are visitors, but you must arrive within 3 hours after start time to ensure that we remain open for you. Summer Star Parties begin with tours and presentations until it’s dark enough for observing.
  3. Bring warm clothing, even in summer—observing is done outdoors.
  4. There is a short walk from the parking area to the Observatory and you may wish to bring a small flashlight.
  5. White Light: No white lights should be used after dark; the observatory is a red-light-only area to protect everyone’s night vision. We will supply red cellophane to cover flashlights. Please note:
    ◦ Bring a SMALL flashlight (large camp lanterns, light sticks, etc., cannot be adequately covered by red cellophane).
    ◦ Cell phones or cell-phone flashlights are acceptable but must be covered in red cellophane. (No cell service at the observatory).
    ◦ Some head lamps are difficult to cover with red cellophane. Once covered, head lamps should be worn around the neck or used pointing down as they are usually very bright at eye level.
    ◦ Red flashlights are available for $5 at the observatory.
  6. Alcohol is prohibited on Observatory grounds.
  7. The Observatory is not open to the public except for scheduled events.

Classroom presentations are always offered on Star Party nights even if the weather is poor. For current conditions call the observatory at (707) 833-6979.
For more info please visit the Robert Ferguson Observatory website.


TICKETS