Lions and otters and whales, oh my

Quite a show today, this Friday the 13th of 2012, for young and slightly less young alike.  A most fortunate day, indeed.  I was privileged to assist on a school walk for a group of fabulous 8 year olds from Soquel.  They were well prepared to experience a great day and nailed a "pop quiz" on the natural environments of Point Lobos, along with the animals and plants that populate those habitats.  They especially aced the "leaves of three, let it be; if its shin

Funky Features of the Carmelo Formation, or how I learned to stop worrying and love geology

Oiy!!  Can I have your attention, please.  Dispositional features. Diagenetic ones. Deformational ones, too.  And don't forget Surficial features. What a great way to start a guided walk at Weston Beach, don't you think?  Gather round, and we'll learn about bedding, grain organization, ripple marks (and don't forget the ripple lamination), nodules, concretions, lithification, convolute lamination, slump structure, tilting (at windmills, anyone?), and my personal fav, honeycombing - a technical geology term if there ever was one.  And that was just the first 5 minutes!  Yep, I know what you're thinking (assuming you've gotten this far) ... that walk must have been about as exciting as a car wash.  But wait, there's more ...
The truth (and nothing but), is that docent/geologist extraordinaire, Ed Clifton, Esquire (not really, but he sure is one smart lawyer-like dude), has a way of making rocks downright interesting ... I was tempted to say, "make them come alive", but how silly would that have been in a blog about rocks.  Who knew that the formation of concretions could be so amazing.  Or what makes "siderite" nodules (impressive, huh?)  And on and on. 
There was so much to take in as Ed revealed the secrets of funky features like the prehistoric VW Bug formation (yeah, you read that right); pin point dots from mudstone impressions of worm poop (the grandkids are gonna love those); fossil tracings; mysterious "in line" sandstone holes; dinosaur skulls (not really, but they sure look like a T-Rex skull, and dinosaur skull sounds better than Ed's "septarian structures", agreed?) And wave ripples in sandstone. How cool is that?
Oh yeah, and who knew that our very own Ed Clifton does one mean Pavarotti impression. He should think about giving up the day job. 
Oiy!  Oiy!  Oiy!

Golden Hour: Scribbles from Whalers Cove

Behind me, our life giving twenty-eight million degree nuclear reactor buries itself into the Knoll.
Before me, a chilly, buttery glow blazes across the undulations of the Cove.
It settles into expectant sedimentary bluffs and crevices ... while an invigorating forty-five degrees settles into my bones.
Magic hour.
Like an alarm has sounded, everyone and everything seems to freeze in place. 

Point Lobos Foundation Annual Meeting

The annual meeting of the Point Lobos Foundation will be held on, Saturday, January 21st in Asilomar Chapel (800 Asilomar Boulevard, Pacific Grove, CA). There will be time for a social at 9:00AM with the meeting to start at 10:00 AM.  All members of the Association are invited and encouraged to attend. Click to download an Asilomar grounds map. After a short business meeting we will introduce our speaker, Mark Shelley and Katie Pofahl Sea Studios

The Making of a Movie
 “A storm grows, a sea otter pup is separated from her mother, and a young woman bound for adventure blows in to town. On a wild and windswept beach these lives collide and an entire species’ survival gets personal.”

This is the story line of a new film Produced by the Sea Studios Foundation. Mark Shelley, Executive Director of Sea Studios Foundation and Katie Pofahl, the human heroine of the movie, will describe how this film came into being and the creative and interpretive processes that attended its completion. We will get a unique insight into the technical challenges that attend filming a story in which many of the key actors are untrained wild animals.

Mark Shelley, Executive Director of the Sea Studios Foundation, graduated from Stanford University in 1972 with honors in Biology and conducted research at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for two years. Prior to beginning his film career, Mark was Program Director of Oceanics School, which ran academic programs on traditional square-­‐rigged sailing ships. While freelancing in New York City, Mark had the opportunity to work on his first National Geographic Specials, which launched his filmmaking career. As a National Geographic filmmaker and Senior Series Producer Mark has been part of numerous award-­‐winning exhibit and television programs. He is internationally recognized for his underwater filmmaking skills and has developed deep sea imaging systems for (amongst others) National Geographic Television and Film and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Mark is an expert diver, submersible pilot, an airplane pilot with an instrument rating, and an aspiring sustainable farmer. He, his wife Elizabeth and daughter Lucy live a rural life with horses, chickens, cats, and a dog.

Katie Pofahl is zoology major who worked for the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program before joining Sea Studios Foundation. Although without prior acting experience, she is an accomplished surfer, diver and kayaker who brought her love of the ocean to the role.

Help Preserve our Historic Whalers Cabin

More than 150 years ago Portuguese whalers from the Azore Islands arrived at Point Lobos and set up living quarters in the meadow at the southeast end of Whalers Cove. The whalers and their families made up a small community of 50-60 people.
The Whaling Station Museum at Whalers Cove is the only on-site whaling museum on the west coast and was added in 2007 to the National Register of Historic Places. It documents the historic whaling activities at Point Lobos with displays of historic whaling equipment and exhibit panels describing the lives of the whalers and their families.
Today, new challenges face those of us who value Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. These challenges will impact State Parks with a massive decrease in State funding, a theme that will continue for many years to come.
The Point Lobos Foundation has recently embarked on a $40,000 project to restore the worn and weathered roof at the Whaling Station Museum in order to prevent long term damage to the Museum and its collection. Ultimately, this project will have a positive impact on our community and on those who visit the Museum.
With YOUR help, we can preserve the historical importance of The Whaling Station Museum for future generations to enjoy.
Please consider making a gift to The Point Lobos Foundation Whalers Cabin Fund.
As we enjoy the magnificence of Point Lobos State Reserve today, may we all share the responsibility of protecting and preserving these lands and waters for the enjoyment of future generations! Click here to make a donation.


Interested in becoming a Point Lobos Docent

Interested in becoming

 a Point Lobos Docent

If you enjoy sharing your love of nature with people from all corners of the globe…

If you love learning natural and cultural history…

If you enjoy spending time in the company of others who share your interests…

You might want to learn about the opportunity to join the

2012 Docent Class at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

Information meetings will be held:

Saturday, November 19, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

For details, please contact Melissa Gobell, Docent Program Coordinator at:

831 625-1470



Sister Anna Voss Memorial Fund

The Point Lobos Foundation would like to announce the formation of the Sister Anna Voss Memorial Fund.

Sister Anna Voss was the first Director of Docent Training at Point Lobos.  She established that training in 1972.  She was also instrumental in establishing the Guide Training at the Aquarium  (born Aug. 10, 1907)

Sister Anna developed many of he materials that are still in use today at Point Lobos.  She photographed nearly every plant type and formation to illustrate her training lectures.  In 1992 she received a commendation from the State Park System for her outstanding service and contribution.  In founding the Point Lobos Docent Program, she created the framework for one of the largest docent programs in the California State Parks.

Use of donations made to the Sister Anna Voss Memorial Fund, and the income generated by it, is restricted do the following purposes:

  1. Point Lobos Docent Group education and direct support.
  2. School education outreach programs relating to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.

Click to donate to the Sister Anna Voss Fund, the docent program and School education outreach programs at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.

Progress on the Bird Island Trail Makeover

Point Lobos Foundation members were treated on September 10th to quite an evening at the Reserve. A delicious catered picnic at the Bird Island picnic area. Live music. Raffle prizes. Very good company. The scene was graced by a lovely sunset, with its subtle afterglow on the gentle swells of the Pacific. And, to crown it all, the majestic full moon, rising over the Santa Lucias.
And we went on a guided walk on the Bird Island Trail.

John Hiles, State Parks trail crew foreman, showed us the work done so far. The viewing platform near the nesting area is simply superb, and will instantly become a prime Reserve destination once the trail is finished. The accessibility makeover project is now about half-done. Work should be completed in February. Those nesting gulls and cormorants and black-crowned night herons are going to get a lot of admiring attention in 2012, including that from folks whose limited mobility will make this their first close view of Bird Island.
Kudos to John Hiles and his crew, and to the State and the PLF for making this happen.

Exciting Sightings

Over the past few months I seen things I never saw before.  Can you imagine!  With almost 31 years as a ranger at Point Lobos...each day brings something new.
I received an interesting email from Barabra of Lakewood Colorado.  I just had to post this for our friends to see. How extraordinary!  Here are Barabra's words and the photos.
One of the first human visitors of the day, I was walking alone on the forested loop path when I came upon a small bird on the ground. We looked at each other rather intently for several seconds and then he flew up to my head and started pecking at my scalp. I was delighted, though startled.   I believe he was looking for nesting material.  
 Another tourist captured him on her camera, as you can see by the twophotos below. If her husband hadn't been fearful for me and shooed him away, I think the little guy might have continued for some time.
The docent I talked to upon my return said he'd never heard of a similar occurrence. Thus, I thought you might be interested. Also, I'm curious what kind of bird he is and if you thought he had the same goal that I thought he did.
My hair stylist was much amused by the photos. I admit that I don't do much with my hair and to some it might be construed as ideal nesting material.
Thanks for your insight,
Barbara Millman
Lakewood, Colorado
I was able to talk with several birders from our area and all agreed...a Pine siskin.  Thank you Barbara for sharing your wonderful story.

Moonlight Walk 2011

Point Lobos Foundation Invites you to Moonlight Walk 2011

This event is free for current members of the Point Lobos Foundation. Join us for an exclusive guided tour of the new and upcoming Bird Island Trail led by the head of State Parks trail crew. There will be food, door prizes and new events. We look forward to seeing you on: Saturday, September 10th, 2011 from 5:00-9:00PM at Bird Island Trail. Please register on-line at Moonlight Walk 2011  Complete all sections. You will receive an email confirmation of completed registration or contact Lisa Cook, Development Director at or 1-866-338-7227 ext 101