Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

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from One Tam



Dear Friend,

Have you been out on Mt. Tam recently? If so, you may have enjoyed some of the first wildflowers of the season! This past weekend, I hiked with my family from Rock Springs trailhead down to Pantoll, through the Matt Davis and Coastal Trails and then looped back by way of the Willow Camp Fire Road and the Cataract Trail. I spotted ground iris, lupine, poppy, and baby blue eyes. Drop me a line and tell me what you’re seeing, or tag us on Instagram at @onetamalpais.

Looking ahead to One Tam events this spring, I’m delighted to share that we are hosting our Peak Partnership luncheon on April 13 at the Corinthian Yacht Club. Please join fellow One Tam friends to celebrate the environmental accomplishments taking place throughout the Mt. Tamalpais watershed and to honor One Tam founding ambassador, community-builder, and benefactor Suzanne Badenhoop. You can purchase tickets online at

We’ll also be out on the mountain in the Tam Van and offering up ongoing public programs – read more below! We can’t wait to see you in person this spring.


Cailey Gibson

Associate Director, Individual Giving, One Tam

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Photographing organisms to upload to iNaturalist

Taking photos of plants and animals on Mt. Tam for iNaturalist is a fun way to get out on the mountain and learn about your surroundings! Photo: Lieven Leroy

It’s almost that time of year! Are you ready for City Nature Challenge 2022? Mark these key dates on your calendars, and get excited to get out and help document our amazing local biodiversity: 

  • Make and share observations: April 29-May 2 
  • Get all your observations uploaded and work on identifying them: May 3-8 
  • Results announced: May 9 

City Nature Challenge is an annual international event uniting cities everywhere in the observation and appreciation of local plants and animals. It started here in California and the enthusiasm has spread across the globe. All you need to participate is an iNaturalist account, which you can set up easily at If you’re new to this, worry not – there are great tutorials on how to use iNaturalist here

Let’s see how many observations we can make here in Marin!


Roll into Spring with the Tam Van at the Carson Falls trailhead

Tam Van

Getting involved with the Tam Van is a fun way to give back to the mountain! Photo: Marin Water

Do you enjoy being outside? Meeting new people? Wish you could make a difference and help protect your local watershed but aren’t sure where to start? Consider volunteering at the Tam Van, our mobile hub for visitors to the mountain where you will support conservation and education efforts across Mt. Tam.

This spring season, the Tam Van will support Marin Water’s frog docent program. Tam Van volunteers will be trained as docents to monitor habitat conditions and to educate hikers at Little Carson Falls, a popular hiking destination and an important breeding habitat for the foothill yellow-legged frog, a federal and state species of special concern.

We will be holding a two-part virtual orientation over Zoom beginning this Saturday morning:   

  • Part 1: Saturday, March 5 from 9-10:30 am. This educational session covers the importance of wildlife conservation, the biology of the species, and how to identify these amphibians. If you are not sure if you want to participate in the program this year, this training is a great opportunity to get your questions answered! 
  • Part 2: Saturday, March 12 from 9-10:30 AM. This training is for those who would like to become a docent. We will cover new safety protocols, how to interact with visitors, what equipment is available at the Tam Van, how to record observational data, and everything else you need to know before a Frog Docent shift.     

Please contact or 415-945-1128 to register for these trainings. For more general information about volunteering with the Tam Van, please contact Monica Stafford at 


Rising Environmental Youth Leaders SPRING INTO LEARNING 

Student interns hiking 2022

REYL participants hike together in the Marin Headlands. Photo: Adriana Castillo/One Tam

The Rising Environmental Youth Leaders (REYL) spring high school internship program is off to a great start! REYL is a climate change and youth leadership program for students interested in getting outside and taking action to protect the environment and their communities. Students receive training in environmental science and leadership skills, and opportunities to connect to their local environment and to a diverse cohort of peers. Due to ongoing COVID-19 safety concerns, we are currently hosting a hybrid program with weekly vitual meetings and monthly in-person experiences on the mountain. 

Last month our students experienced our Leadership Training weekend, where we engaged in topics such as effective communication, personal wellness, and leadership styles. Marin Water interns Terra and Riley led students on two amazing hikes in the Marin Headlands and Muir Woods. We spent the rest of the weekend building our REYL community by getting to know each other through interactive games and activities.

Thank you to our members and supporters who make this important program possible for Marin youth! We look forward to sharing more in future updates. 


A New Season for Bees 

Tripartate Sweat Bee - photo by Ross Peters

Through our Tamalpais Bee Lab, we learned that the tripartate sweat bee (Halictus tripartatus) is the most common bee on Mt. Tam. Photo: © Ross Peters, taken from iNaturalist. View the observation here.  

Thanks to our volunteers, the Tamalpais Bee Lab completed its fourth season of specimen collection and processing. We are now taking a break in our Bee Lab processing to plan next year’s research, and to begin a new round of collection. Please keep an eye on for spring dates to join us once again at the Bee Lab. We will need your help to process the new specimens! 

Before this study, we knew very little about our region’s wild pollinators. Now, we are gaining important baseline data and will be able to monitor how our local bee populations change over time. For example, before the Bee Lab, we didn’t know that that there are an estimated 400+ bee species on Mt. Tam! We look forward to sharing more of what we’re learning from this work – stay tuned.

We couldn’t do this work without our volunteer community scientists. We hope you’ll join us this spring to connect with the One Tam community of staff and volunteers, gain skills in scientific collections management and insect identification, and develop deep appreciation for bees!


How Are the Monarchs Doing?

Monarch by Krissa Klein vis iNaturalist

Monarch butterfly observed recently in Marin. Photo: © Krissa Klein, taken from iNaturalist. View the observation here.

We’ve heard much in the news over the last couple of years about the steep decline of the western population of monarch butterflies, with alarming and record lows reported in 2020. This winter, counters reported that happily, more butterflies appeared this year in some coastal California overwintering sites. But numbers were still quite low in the Bay Area. See how the numbers stacked up for the 2021 Thanksgiving Count across different regions in this summary from the Xerces Society. Are the monarchs recovering? We can’t say for sure. Read more about “the bounciness of butterflies” to find out why. When the data is in for the New Year’s count as well, we’ll be able to say more about how the season shaped up for monarchs. 

Here in Marin, One Tam partners are currently working to assess habitat quality and restoration potential at four historic overwintering locations on public lands in Marin. The goal is to increase the suitability of those sites for monarchs that pass through the region looking for a place to stop over during the winter months of their long migration.  

How can we support monarch conservation as we head into spring? Here are a few things you can do right now:

  • See a monarch? Share your sightings with the Western Monarch Mystery Challenge, happening now till Earth Day.
  • Gardening this season? Learn which plants are preferred food sources for butterflies, and which plants are needed for breeding, using plant lists from the Marin Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (monarchs really need these plants right now as they are on the move again, and it’s breeding season!) Remember, do not plant milkweed within 5 miles of the coast – the butterflies’ natural pattern is to move inland after overwintering (if you live in coastal areas, you can still support monarchs by planting butterfly nectar plants).
  • Want to learn more? Go deeper on monarch conservation here.


Fun Finds from the Field

One Tam Conservation Management Program surveys BoFax Rd

One Tam's Conservation Management Program surveying Bolinas-Fairfax Rd. Photo: Michael Sturtevant


While inconvenient for transit, road closures can be rare opportunities for our Conservation Management Program to work in locations that are typically difficult (or impossible) to access due to traffic. In 2017, for example, the program surveyed eight miles of Hwy 1 for weeds when it was closed for slides. Weeds can spread easily along road corridors, which is why the program surveys Mt. Tam’s road and trail network on a three-year cycle.

This winter, another such opportunity arose. Bolinas-Fairfax Road from Azalea Hill to Ridgecrest Boulevard was closed for a couple of months due to road damage from the fall rainstorms. To our delight, on the stretch from Azalea Hill to Alpine Dam we didn't find many priority weeds. This work allowed us the chance to take in the landscape from a place on the mountain we rarely see up close, and we’re happy to share a few sights from that beautiful wintry day with you.

See our fun finds from the field on our Instagram!


About Us

California newt at Lake Lagunitas, Mt. Tam

A California newt at Lake Lagunitas on Mt. Tam 

One Tam works to ensure a healthy, vibrant and diverse landscape for our beloved and iconic Mt. Tam. We are the community-supported partnership of Mt. Tam’s land agencies and managers.

One Team leads programs that care for our mountain, inspire our next generation of land stewards and strengthen our local community. We invite you to join us.

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Going Further, Together

One Tam brings together inspired community members with its five partners to support the long-term stewardship of Mt. Tam.
One Tam Partner Logos: National Park Service, CA State Parks, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Marin Municipal Water District, and Marin County Parks

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