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Where San Francisco’s iconic skyscrapers, streets, and parks stand today, there once was a wild landscape full of surprises—from vast hills of drifting sand to lush valleys and wetlands of many kinds. This land, home to the Ramaytush Ohlone, has been radically transformed. Nevertheless, its history remains an integral element of the city’s landscape. After two years of research, historical ecologists have unearthed countless unexpected stories of what this region looked like in the past and synthesized them into a single map representing the city’s historical landscape. Join the Exploratorium and the San Francisco Estuary Institute in exploring our ecological past and how our historical landscape can inform a vision for a healthier, more resilient city.
Sean Baumgarten's research with SFEI's Resilient Landscapes program focuses on the historical ecology of California ecosystems, using archival data to reconstruct the form and function of past landscapes and understand how they have changed over time. Over the past two years, Sean has led SFEI's study of San Francisco's historical ecology through Hidden Nature SF. Sean earned his Master of Environmental Science and Management degree with a specialization in conservation planning from the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara. He received a B.S. in wildlife, fish, and conservation biology from UC Davis.
Gregg Castro [t'rowt'raahl Salinan/rumsien-ramaytush Ohlone] has been involved in preservation of his cultural heritage for nearly three decades—both his late mother’s Rumsen Ohlone heritage, and, on his late father’s side, the since-ended Salinan Nation Tribal Council (serving two terms as Tribal Chair) and the non-profit organization Salinan T’rowt’raahl. Gregg is a member of the Society for California Archaeology (SCA) and a co-facilitator for the annual California Indian Conference, a 30+-year gathering about California Indigenous heritage. Gregg is a writer and activist within the California indigenous community, working on issues regarding cultural preservation, protection, education, and traditional practices.
Jonathan Young was born and raised in foothills of the Angeles National Forest on the outskirts of L.A. county, where he spent much of his youth exploring all that southern California has to offer. After completing his Bachelor’s degree in biology from San Diego State University, he moved to San Francisco. It was then that he began his long-term relationship with the Presidio. Starting as a volunteer habitat steward, Jonathan worked his way through several Presidio natural resources internships while completing his Master’s degree at San Francisco State University, studying urban amphibian conservation and disease ecology. Upon the completion of his studies, he was hired by the Presidio Trust as the first dedicated staff member with sole focus on wildlife. Since then he has been developing the Presidio’s wildlife program, including surveying, monitoring, managing, and restoring the diversity of animals found in the park.