Category Archives: Natures

Ecosystems and the living and non-living things that constitute them.

Our River

Place names in Aulinta are still going through changes instigated by questions like: what names should remain from colonization? Which individual people’s names do we need to get rid of? Like, Henry Cowell, was he just a base resource-extracting capitalist or an active virulent racist? Can his name stay around as a legacy name or does it need to go? Can certain names become in effect dead metaphors?

In the context of these issues, our river is still being called the San Lorenzo, though that might change at some point in the future.* Whatever it’s called, here’s some pictures of life along the river and in the marshy areas surrounding.

Black Phoebe

American Coot


Common Merganser

Common Goldeneye


Cooper’s Hawk with its prey, a non-native pigeon

*Update: Until we find or reconstruct Awaswas Ohlone names, the river is being called the Aulinta River.

Stilt Village

Stilt Village is a small community at the last bend in the river, right by Phoebe Marsh. People who come from all over to learn and teach about wetlands restoration can choose to live in the Village if they like. The visitor center and community building was designed by Berndt Savig, our most famous Norwegian transplant, using design principles from fjord structures.


Individual houses in Stilt Village and in the other stilt communities in Schwann Lake, Corcoran Lagoon, and other local lakes, lagoons, and waterways take their inspiration from the traditional stilt-based structure designs of multiple cultures, both ancient and modern: Bronze Age Alpine lake villages known only from archeological evidence; the Iron Age crannogs of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales; the coastal houses found today throughout Oceania; the palafitos of the Amazon and Orinoco rivers and Lake Maracaibo; bahay kubos from the Philippines; pang uk houses from the Tankas of Hong Kong and Lantau; Cajun designs from the Gulf Coast bayous; fanciful designs from the brains of the kind of people who want to live over water.

We are proud of the excellent work Anja Roodkapje and other experts accomplish in our floodplain. Still a work in progress, our restoration research and practical applications include investigating potential answers to many thorny questions: How do you best do clean-up of, for example, the sites of former car repair shops or light industry areas? If you move out the buildings, and you pull up and recycle all the asphalt street pavement, do you also need to remove the concrete sidewalks? What about non-native landscaping plants? What about that big Chilean monkey puzzle tree on the former intersection of Walnut and Chestnut Streets?

Come to our center and help us consider these questions and many others. Applications need to be submitted between April 1st and June 30th, with acceptance letters going out no later than August 15th. We want you to have time to travel here before the rains start, usually in November.

Meanwhile, here is another photo of the community building, this time during the Perseid meteor shower two years ago.


The smooth-ish lawn by City Hall is kept cropped short by the Santa Cruz Island, American Jacob, and Navajo-Churro sheep of the Woolarama Convergence Heritage Sheep Breeding Program. A strange mid-American affectation among the clumps of native grasses and the burned stubble and green shoots of landscapes maintained with traditional cultural management practices.

But even Aulintans need a place to play croquet now and again.