A collaborative program with the California Academy of Sciences produced an immersive tour from the canopy to the cosmos inside Morrison Planetarium, exploring the history and ecology of one of California’s most iconic and threatened tree species, the Valley oak. Academy scientists, indigenous partners, and historical ecologists from the San Francisco Estuary Institute revealed how Valley oaks and humans are intertwined in a relationship of disturbance and adaptation, with implications for the health and well-being of Bay Area communities. The first NOAA-funded Worldviews Network event on the West Coast, this program was simulcast to partner institutions across the United States. A post-presentation dialogue was held with regional partners and public audiences after the show.
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Photo by Shira Bezalel
“Re-Oaking” is an approach to reintegrating oaks and other native trees within the developed California landscape to provide a range of ecosystem services. The concept has emerged from SFEI's research into the distribution and characteristics of California's former valley oak savannas -- a distinctive, widespread habitat that was mostly lost a century ago. Now valley oaks and other native trees are being recognized for the benefits they did -- and could again – provide, as communities design the ecologically healthy and resilient landscapes of the future.