Through Hidden Nature SF, SFEI is applying cutting-edge science to imagine San Francisco’s historical landscape before European contact in 1769. Historical ecology researchers are synthesizing historical archival data and modern ecological expertise to create a completely new perspective of the familiar city. Hand-drawn 19th-century maps, startling historical photographs, and 3D visualizations will draw the public into the science of changing landscapes through accessible, highly visual, and locally relevant materials. The project will culminate with an interactive web map that the public can use to explore the historical habitats once found in San Francisco, as well as a series of stories that make connections between San Francisco’s human history and natural history and engage the public in re-imagining the city’s ecological past, present, and future.


On Wednesday, February 24th, SFEI and its partners from the Exploratorium, the San Francisco Department of the Environment, and the Presidio Trust were joined live by over 400 participants for a conversation about this project's historical mapping as well as strategies for intergrating nature into the present cityscape. View the recorded lecture on the Hidden Nature SF project website.

Visit our Hidden Nature SF website to find more updates on the latest events, stories, and research.

2019 to 2021
Programs and Focus Areas: 
Resilient Landscapes Program
Historical Ecology
Urban Nature Lab
Location Information