If you get out and about around the Bay Area, whether hiking, biking, kayaking, skiing, whatever, you probably have seen Bay Nature magazine. If not, it’s worth checking out. It’s run by a Berkeley non-profit, and it’s a mix of environmental news, essays and features, that largely tie in to the outdoors region around here. I met the magazine’s publisher on a recent hike and came away impressed with the scope of coverage and the ability for some solid environmental storytelling to be supported by the public across the area. The current issue, which is already on newsstands, features an essay on Sonoma Mountain itself.

An excerpt from that essay by Greg Sarris:

“I did not grow up on the mountain, but in town, in Santa Rosa. Still, I heard the old folks talk of the mountain then, the place where the beginning stories were first told, when Coyote, along with the help of his nephew Chicken Hawk and several other animals, created the world as we know it today: this mountain; the Santa Rosa plain below, with its winding creeks and swath of meandering lagoon; the coastal hills directly west, and beyond them, the blue sea; and Mount Tamalpais, all the way south, whose peak rises out of the landscape like the pitched roof of a redwood bark house.” (CLICK HERE FOR THE COMPLETE ARTICLE)

Anyway, the magazine is turning 10 in a couple of weeks and is having a party (re: fundraiser) to mark the occasion. Here’s the official release on the occasion:

The Bay Area is home to 7.5 million people who own 5.7 million personal computers, and newspapers and magazines are folding like the paper they’re printed on. One notable exception is Berkeley-based Bay Nature magazine, which will mark its 10th Anniversary this coming January 22 with a fundraising gala at Oakland’s Lakeside Theater in the Kaiser Center, featuring local food, wine, and presentations by local writers, artists, and musicians.

“Local print publications have a rough road,” says Bay Nature publisher and cofounder David Loeb. “Some regional nature magazines, such as California Wild and California Coast and Ocean, have folded; others, like the Berkeley Ecology Center’s Terrain, have gone digital. But we’ve found that many people still want a real magazine they can hold in their hands, keep, and share,” says Loeb.

Bay Nature magazine was conceived 14 years ago as a collaboration between Heyday Books publisher Malcolm Margolin and Loeb, who is executive director of Bay Nature Institute, the nonprofit that publishes the magazine. “Our intention,” says Loeb, “was to produce a magazine that celebrates Bay Area open spaces and nurtures a real connection between people and nature.” With recent environmental disasters such as the Gulf oil spill and the toxic sludge spill in Hungary, Loeb stresses that it’s vital for people to connect with nature right where they live. “It could happen here, too.”

Loeb attributes Bay Nature’s ongoing health to the tremendous community support it has received over the years from readers, writers, photographers, conservation groups, green businesses, and more. “So many talented people who’ve been with us all these years contributed to our 10th Anniversary Special Issue of Bay Nature,” Loeb says. The issue, which has already started arriving in people’ mailboxes, contains original poems by Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, and others; a number of nature essays, including Rebecca Solnit’s “Ascent of Mount Burdell,”and Greg Sarris’s essay about living on Sonoma Mountain; an interview with environmental journalist Harold Gilliam; plus regular features such as Michael Ellis’s “Ask the Naturalist” column.

The lineup at Bay Nature’s 10th Anniversary Gala on January 22 also features a host of local talent, including music by Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum, presentations by Heyday Books publisher Malcolm Margolin, a drawing lesson by John Muir Laws, and an awards ceremony for conservationists Harold Gilliam, Doris Sloan, and Dr. Marty Griffin.

For more information about the 10th Anniversary activities, visit http://baynature.org/gala.