State Park's Extraordinary Biodiversity

California Biodiversity Day 2021 Logo


September 3 – 11, 2022


This year marks the 4th annual celebration of California Biodiversity Day since it was first established in 2018 by Governor Brown, along with the Biodiversity Initiative. Since then, several Executive Orders and other actions by the Newsom administration – such as the 30 x 30 Conservation Strategy - have built on this foundation to understand and protect our state’s unique and precious natural resources.

This year, 19 of our parks will be hosting Biodiversity Day events all over the state - from Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in the north to Cuyamaca Rancho State Park in the south. Click open the dates below to see the details of these events ranging from tide pool tours and bird walks to bioblitzes and webinars. Join an event or go out and record species you observe with the iNaturalist app!

To learn more about California’s amazing biological diversity, read the section below the list of events or click on the links to the right side of the page. Get out to explore and appreciate California’s amazing biodiversity in our state parks!

Biodiversity Day Events at CA State Parks

Palomar Mountain State Park
In celebration of Biodiversity Day 2022, Palomar Mountain State Park is hosting a COLORING CONTEST! Contestants will be tasked with submitting their version of the park’s Doane Pond Coloring Page. Click on the link below to access the coloring page and read the rules for the contest! Coloring Page and Rules. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram: @palomarmountainsp.

Gaviota State Park, El Capitán and Refugio State Beaches
Happy California Biodiversity Day! To celebrate the amazing biodiversity of California, we encourage you to discover, identify, and record your observations of the biodiversity found along the Gaviota Coast which includes Gaviota State Park, El Capitán and Refugio state beaches. It’s a Gaviota Coast State Parks BioBlitz! Did you spot a cool plant or animal? How about that insect? Take a picture and upload your incredible findings to iNaturalist from September 3 to 11. Click here.

Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Preserve
Mono Lake Regional BioBlitz! Observe and record as many species as you can to celebrate California Biodiversity Day! It's a do-it-yourself BioBlitz for the greater Mono Lake area, including Lee Vining Canyon & Lundy Canyon. You will need a smartphone with the iNaturalist app installed (or you can use a camera and upload to iNaturalist on your home computer afterwards). Make observations of plants and animals, including signs of life such as nests, scat, tracks, etc. (https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/ca-biodiversity-day-2022-mono-lake-lee-vining-canyon-lundy-canyon)

Prairie Creek Redwoods and Humboldt Redwoods State Parks
BioBlitz Competition Prairie Creek Redwoods vs Humboldt Redwoods - Year 3. BioBlitz Competition between Prairie Creek Redwoods vs Humboldt Redwoods State Parks. Which park will catalogue the most plants and wildlife using the iNaturalist app? And which person will record the most organisms overall? The BioBlitz starts on Sunday (September 4) through Saturday (September 10). Follow us on Facebook at @HumboldRedwoodsStatePark and @NorthCoastRedwoods and Instagram at @HumboldRedwoodsStatePark.

Palomar Mountain State Park
Join us for Biodiversity Week! It is late summer, and the changing seasons bring added diversity to the park’s mountain ecosystem. Help us catalogue the incredible biodiversity at Palomar Mountain during this week’s Bioblitz! See something you don't recognize? Want to document a beautiful flower? Record anything and everything you see around the park using the iNaturalist app. Click here.

Chino Hills State Park
Guided Biodiversity Day Hike from 9-11 a.m. Join us at the park’s Discovery Center for a program and guided hike exploring the vast biodiversity of our 14,000 acres of park land. Identification guides and binoculars will be provided. Day use parking fees are required. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @chinohillsstatepark

El Capitán State Beach
Join us at El Capitán State Beach to discover the biodiversity of the Gaviota Coast. On Saturday at 8 p.m., a campfire program will highlight our latest BioBlitz and we will share about the incredible diversity of our coastline. Follow us on Instagram: @gaviotacoast.stateparks

Angel Island State Park
Guided Bird Walk 10:30 a.m. to noon.Join us on a relaxed guided bird walk around Ayala Cove on Angel Island! We’ll identify birds by sight and sound and will observe and learn about their behaviors and the biodiversity necessary for them to thrive. Bring binoculars and a sense of wonder (we may also have a few sets of binoculars to loan if needed). Meet at 10:30 a.m. at the “Welcome” sign at the ferry dock on Angel Island. This tour is about .5 miles and is wheelchair accessible. Find ferry information from San Francisco here or from Tiburon here. Questions or RSVPs can be sent to tours.angelisland@parks.ca.gov.

Half Moon Bay State Beach
Junior Rangers program from 1:30-2:30 p.m. This 1-hour program for 7-to-12-year old’s teaches about the importance of nature and our coastal heritage through exploration, games and various activities. Become a Junior Ranger and earn prizes while learning how to protect the ocean! Meet at the Campfire Center. Vehicle day-use fee is $10. For more information, call (650) 726-8814.More information here.

Palomar Mountain State Park
"How to Use iNaturalist and Seek” video premiering at noon on September 3. Watch it on our Instagram or Facebook at @palomarmountainsp! Have you ever been out on the trail and saw a plant or critter you’ve never seen before, but you just had to know what it was? That’s where iNaturalist comes in. iNaturalist is a fantastic app available for both iPhone and Android that allows you to upload photos of plants and animals, identify species, share your findings with other naturalists, and contribute to citizen science projects! Kids can participate too with a special version of iNaturalist called 'Seek' that does not collect their personal data. This short 5-minute video will show you on how to download iNaturalist and start using it immediately to upload your findings and explore the incredible biodiversity of our region as seen through the eyes of naturalists like you.

Chino Hills State Park
Self-Guided Biodiversity Hike. Join us at the park’s Discovery Center and pick up a guided hike booklet to take your own hike and explore the more than 90 miles of trails and 14,000 acres of park land. Feel free to take photos and we will have staff on site to ID any photos taken during your hike. Day-use parking fees are required. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @chinohillsstatepark

Crystal Cove State Park
Start the day off right in the park’s beautiful backcountry with a guided Biodiversity Day hike! Join a park naturalist at 9 a.m. for an easy 1/2 mile-in and 1/2 mile-out adventure down Moro Canyon and back. We'll be stopping to admire the diversity of plant and animal species that make this park such a wonderful place to explore! Meet at the Berns Amphitheater - Pacific Coast Highway inland at the stoplight "School/State Park". There’s a $15 day-use fee. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram: @crystalcovestatepark

Montaña de Oro State Park
Join us for a guided walk on the Bluff Trail from 10-11 a.m. where we’ll discuss how State Parks is restoring the Bluff Trail. We’ll talk about invasive weed management strategies, collection of native seed, and planting native seed/stock. If we’re lucky, we’ll also see and discuss snakes! Wear closed toed, sturdy shoes and dress in layers for the coast. Bring water and binoculars if you have them. The group will meet at the north Bluff Trailhead in the park, located adjacent to the Valencia Peak Trailhead, just 200 yards south of Spooner Ranch house. The walk is about an hour with 2 miles of flat walking. Parking is free.

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
Watch two videos on the park’s social media! The first video will be posted at 9 a.m. on Native Milkweeds and Biodiversity. Biologist Mary Duffy discusses how native milkweed plants help support biodiversity and how they can be used in native gardens throughout San Diego County. The second video posted at 10 a.m. on Micro-Environments and Biodiversity in Cuyamaca. Environmental scientist John Lovio talks about the many micro-at the park and how this contributes to the biodiversity visitors see when they explore Cuyamaca. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram: @cuyamacaranchosp.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
BioBlitz and Weed Bash! Join staff and volunteer docents from 9 a.m. to noon with a combination BioBlitz and Weed Bash! To celebrate California Biodiversity Day, we'll be counting species and pulling weeds as we walk the trails of the iconic state natural reserve.

  • Trail Walk: We'll split into small groups and each cover a different part of the park. Walks will be about two hours at a leisurely pace with plenty of stops and breaks along the way. Each group will be guided by staff and/or a volunteer docent.
  • BioBlitz: Support community science! As we walk the trails, we'll identify and log the different species that we see. Learn how to use the iNaturalist app on your smartphone to identify species and record biodiversity. Please download the app ahead of time as cellular reception is limited and wi-fi will not be available.
  • Weed Bash: Support efforts to promote biodiversity at Point Lobos by joining the Native Plant Patrol! Non-native, invasive plants reduce biodiversity by crowding out the native plants that form the basis of our local ecosystem. As we walk the trails, we'll be pulling out some of the sneaky invasive plants that use the trail system to spread around the park.
  • Logistics: Meet at 9 a.m. at the Piney Woods parking lot of the park. Wear sturdy shoes and bring sunscreen, water, an extra layer, and a smartphone with the iNaturalist app. All other tools and training will be provided. Day-use fee is $10. Please RSVP to Samuel.Winter@Parks.ca.gov

Andrew Molera State Park
Join us for the BioBlitz at the park between 1-3 p.m. Our interpretive staff will help celebrate biodiversity day with a guided walk through riparian habitat of Big Sur to the beach and the river mouth. Learn how to use iNaturalist and Seek apps on your smartphone to identify species and see who can log the most. (Please download the apps ahead of time, as there may be limited reception at the park). Meet at the entrance kiosk in the park’s parking lot. Wear layers and sturdy shoes that can get wet and bring water for this two-mile round-trip hike. Day-use fee is $10 per vehicle.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
Join us from 10-12:00 p.m. with Interpreter Alec Knapp for a guided biodiversity hike along the Bird Island Trail to explore its stunning scenery and plethora of species. As part of California Biodiversity Week, we will utilize the iNaturalist app to record as many species as possible on the hike in efforts to support community science. (Please download the app ahead of time as cellular reception is limited and wi-fi will not be available). Hike distance is roughly 1-mile, meet at the Bird Island Picnic Area. Bring sunscreen, water, and an extra layer. Day-use fee is $10 per vehicle. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram: @PointLobosStateNaturalReserve.

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park and Sonoma Ecology Center
What does a feather look like under a microscope? What tiny parts does an insect have? What about a leaf, a lichen, or a rock? Join Dr. Dan Levitis, Community Science Coordinator from 6-8 p.m. for an evening of microscopic examination. Without digging, harvesting, or removing items from the environment, find natural items near the Visitor Center and look at them through digital microscopes set up on the tables behind the Visitor Center. This is a free event, RSVP not needed. We’ll be using iNaturalist to document our findings. If you haven’t used iNaturalist, or haven’t made an observation for a while, this is your chance – just make sure to load the iNaturalist app on your phone before you arrive and that your device is fully charged. Participants of any level of experience or mobility can help find, photograph, and/or identify life in the park. More information here. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram at @sugarloafpark and Twitter at @SugarloafRidge.

Russian Gulch State Park - Recreation Hall
A Celebration of the Biodiversity in Mendocino County from 3-5 p.m. Everyone is welcome to join us for a celebration of the biodiversity in Mendocino County. It will be informative and fun, with live music. Please note a day-use fee will apply for guests without a valid park pass.

Palomar Mountain State Park
Biodiversity Showcase at Doane Pond with special guest! Join us at Doane Pond 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a showcase of Palomar Mountain’s AMAZING biodiversity! Come for games, prizes, fun facts, brochures, and handouts, and get advice on the best places to see plants and animals in the park. PLUS, a chance to meet a member of our environmental sciences staff! Park at the Doane Pond parking lot and parking fee is $10 at the Park Headquarters with cash or card, or at the nearby Self Pay Station with CASH ONLY. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram: @palomarmountainsp.

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
The Birds of Cuyamaca guided walk. Join environmental scientist John Lovio starting at 9 a.m. on a walk around the Stonewall Mine area as he points out the birds that call this area home. Learn some of the common birds and there sounds along with listening and looking for migrants on their way to their winter homes. Meet at Stonewall Mine Parking. Day-use fee is $10. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram: @cuyamacaranchosp

Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Join us at the Tall Trees Grove from 10a.m. to 2 p.m. to explore the redwoods and the creek with naturalists. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram: @HumboldtRedwoodsStatePark.

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Biodiversity Campfire Program at 7 p.m. Get a glimpse into the species of Big Sur through a photo showing of what visitors have logged in the iNaturalist app. Learn how you can be involved in helping scientists and park staff through community science participation. Meet at the park’s Campfire Center near Day-use Lot #1 for this one-hour program. Wear warm clothes and bring marshmallows if you would like to roast them after the show.

Natural Bridges State Beach
Biodiversity themed Tide Pool tours in honor of California Biodiversity Day. The tour is set from 4-5:30 p.m. and second tour is set for Sunday Sept 11from 5:30-7:00 pm. The tour begins at the state beach’s visitor center and last for an hour and a half. There will be a short presentation on the biodiversity in our tidepools followed by a guided exploration of the tidepools with a state park interpreter. Guests can sign up for the tours here. The visitor center address is: 2320 W Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. Map link to the visitor center can be found here. For questions about this tour, please contact the Visitor Center at (831) 423-4609 or email Naturalbridges@ports-ca.us.

Natural Bridges State Beach
Biodiversity themed Tide Pool tours in honor of California Biodiversity Day. The tour is set from 5:30-7:00 p.m. The tour begins at the state beach’s visitor center and last for an hour and a half. There will be a short presentation on the biodiversity in our tidepools followed by a guided exploration of the tidepools with a state park interpreter. Guests can sign up for the tours here. The visitor center address is: 2320 W Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. Map link to the visitor center can be found here. For questions about this tour, please contact the Visitor Center at (831) 423-4609 or email Naturalbridges@ports-ca.us.

 

STATE PARKS PROTECT CALIFORNIA’S EXTRAORDINARY BIODIVERSITY

WHAT IS BIODIVERSITY?

The term biodiversity (from “biological diversity”) refers to the variety of life in a particular place. Though often measured as the number of species, it can be applied to all scales of living things, from genes up to ecosystems. Jack London SHP Coast Redwood TreesCalifornia has 52 species of conIfers. Growing from sea level up to treeline, the long list includes our coast redwoods – the world’s tallet trees- and giant sequoias – the most massive trees. No other state or comparably sized region in the world contains more conifers. Jack London State Historic Park.Just think of our varied iconic landscapes - from deserts to high mountains to coastal bluffs and redwood forests - and the multiple ecosystems withineach type. Then imagine all the plants and animals that each ecosystem supports, with each population containing a diverse gene pool. That’s biodiversity!

CALIFORNIA’S AMAZING BIODIVERSITY

DID YOU KNOW that California is home to more species of plants and animals than any other state in the country? In fact, over 30% of all plant and vertebrate species in the U.S. occur in California! We have over 6,500 types of native plants – that’s some of the highest plant diversity in the world! And over 1/3 of those plants are endemic, meaning they only grow here. Our state is recognized as one of theworld’s 36 Global Biodiversity “Hot Spots”, places with the highest biological diversity along with the greatest threats.

But biodiversity is not only the number of life forms in a given area. It also refers to the variety of ecosystems that those species comprise. Again, California ‘s range of geography, geology, elevation, soils, and a Mediterranean-type climate have produced incredible diversity at the ecosystem and landscape levels. From the rugged coast to the high sierra and from the arid deserts to the North Coast temperate rain forests, we can explore most of the world’s ecosystems and habitat types within relatively short distances.

STATE PARKS PROTECT CALIFORNIA’S EXTRAORDINARY BIODIVERSITY

With a mission that includes the mandate to help preserve biological diversity, California’s State Parks System encompasses nearly 1.5 million acres in 280 park units and provides reserves Mariposa Lilies
Among our state’s gorgeous variety of wildflower are more than 45 species in the genus Calochortus, best known as mariposa lilies. Growing from an undergound bulb to evade summer drought, many are widespread while some are “narrow endemics”, occuring in specific small areas.
for the protection of our rich treasure of native flora and fauna in natural landscapes. The State Park System is itself diverse, protecting large areas in all the state’s ecological regions with some of the best remaining examples of natural California.

CALIFORNIA BIODIVERSITY BY THE NUMBERS

>6,500 species of plants, with >2,000 only in California (endemic)

>1,000 species of vertebrates; 65% only in California (endemic)

  • 650 birds; 220 mammals; 100 reptiles; 75 amphibians; 70 freshwater fish; 100 marine fish and mammals

~30,000 species of insects with over 1,600 native bees

California’s amazing biodiversity took millions of years to evolve, but its future is uncertain. The pressures of our growing population, habitat loss, invasive species, catastrophic wildfires, and climate change are among today’s serious threats to biodiversity.

Anza-Borrego Desert SP Wildflowers
Cactus, succulents, and annual wildflowers burst into bloom at Anza Borrego Desert State Park,
the largest unit in the State Parks System and an excellent example of our desert ecosystem.

THE CALIFORNIA BIODIVERSITY INITIATIVE

In 2018, Governor Brown launched California’s Biodiversity Initiative with the goal of securing the future of California’s biodiversity and integrating biodiversity protection into the state’s environmental and economic goals and efforts. He also created California Biodiversity Day to be celebrated annually on Sept. 7. Let us all celebrate, appreciate, and protect our amazing biodiversity!