Conversations About Landscape Online: Hidden in Plain Sight—The Unique Natural Landscape of San Francisco

Wednesday, February 24, 2021 • 7:00 p.m. PST

Free event but preregistration is required.

Looking at the City of San Francisco today, it can be hard to imagine a once wild and natural landscape. Within all of living memory, towering skyscrapers, iconic bridges, and busy streets have shaped the city. Before the metropolis, however, there was a remarkably unique landscape unlike any other in the region. Join us as we take a tour of San Francisco's ecological past, walk through the process of discovering these stories of the past, and explore historical ecology’s potential to inform the future with nature-friendly urban design.

About the Speakers

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. Sean plays a lead role in Hidden Nature SF. 

Peter Brastow is the Senior Biodiversity Coordinator for the San Francisco Department of Environment promoting local biodiversity policies and programs in City government. Peter convenes 15 City agencies to implement a biodiverse city vision, staffs the San Francisco Urban Forestry Council, and supports the Treasure Island Development Authority as a restoration ecologist for Yerba Buena and Treasure Island.

Robin Grossinger co-directs the Resilient Landscape Program at San Francisco Estuary Institute. 

Lauren Stoneburner supports SFEI's Resilient Landscapes team’s study of urban and historical landscapes. Her work synthesizes our understanding of historical and modern ecology and engaging communities to foster functioning urban ecosystems and healthy, resilient cities. Lauren plays a prominent role in the Hidden Nature SF team.

The San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) is one of California’s premier aquatic and ecosystem science institutes. Their mission is to provide scientific support and tools for decision-making and communication through collaborative efforts. They provide independent science to assess and improve the health of the waters, wetlands, wildlife, and landscapes of San Francisco Bay, the California Delta, and beyond. SFEI’s 50 scientists and experts provide data, technology, and tools that empower government, civic, and business leaders to create cost-effective solutions for complex environmental issues--from cleaner water and sustainable communities to climate change. SFEI has three primary programs: Clean Water, Resilient Landscapes, and Environmental Informatics.


Photo from U.S. Coast Survey, 1859.