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Lagunita in the fall with a dry basin and green and orange shubs and grass.

Interpretive Signs

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How do people interact with Lagunita?

Digital version of interpretive sign titled "How do people interact with Lagunita" Full text and description found below.

Indigenous Resource Hub

Past, Present, and Future

As a wetland, this space would have attracted plants and animals that are culturally important to the Muwekma Ohlone People, such as tule rush and elk. Lagunita does not currently support tules, but the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe still gathers them at other local wetlands.
Learn about the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe at www.muwekma.org

Muwekma Ohlone Tribal members at Stanford Educational Farm

Photo caption: Muwekma Ohlone Tribal members, Stanford Educational Farm staff, and community members during the Four Directions Native Garden planting day at the Stanford Educational Farm.

Mexican Land Grant

1841

Lagunita was included in the Rancho Rincon de San Francisquito Land Grant, which was given to José Peña. A shepherd who worked for Peña likely used the wetland’s water to raise sheep, cattle, and horses. Based on archaeological evidence, this shepherd was the resident of the house next to the wetland.

Map of Rincon de San Francisquito in 1862

Image caption: An “aguajito” is drawn in the middle of the map, which notes the wetland that eventually became Lagunita. Next to the aguajito is “de la casa de Peña”, which–based on archaeological evidence–was the house of a shepherd who worked for Peña.

Horse Economy

1876 to 1903

Many laborers at the Palo Alto Stock Farm built Lagunita by digging out the basin from the wetland that was already there. The original purpose of Lagunita was to water and feed the 1000 horses at the Stock Farm.

Horse handler or trainer with a racing horse

Photo caption: A horse handler or trainer with a racing horse at the Palo Alto Stock Farm sometime between 1876 and 1903.

Academic Resource

1891 to Present

Lagunita has supported the academic mission of the university for over 100 years by hosting research projects and class field trips.

Students observe a reptile or amphibian species at Lagunita

Photo caption: A Conservation Program technician leads a group of Herpetology class students in collecting visual encounter data at Lagunita. Students stand in a circle, observing, taking data on, and photographing a reptile or amphibian species in the grass at Lagunita.

Historic Boating

1893 to 2000

In years with enough rainfall, water was added to Lagunita from nearby creeks and reservoirs to fill the basin to the top of the dam. High water levels allowed for aquatic recreation at Lagunita during the winter and spring, but Lagunita always dried out by the summer.

Two women boating at Lagunita sometime between 1891 and 1918

Photo caption: Two women paddle a small boat on the water at Lagunita sometime between 1891 and 1918. The women are wearing wide-brimmed hats, white long sleeve blouses, and long skirts. They seem to be using two long wooden planks as oars.

Conservation

1960s to Present

The modern environmental movement in the USA inspired appreciation for freshwater resources and biodiversity. Growing support for environmental stewardship was expressed in federal law, state law, and Stanford policy. Stanford moved away from aquatic recreation at Lagunita, which harmed life in Lagunita and deprived nearby ecosystems of water.

Conservation Program director holding a gartersnake at Lagunita

Photo caption: Stanford Conservation Program Director, Alan Launer, showing students a common gartersnake. This snake is a vibrantly colored intergrade between two subspecies of the common gartersnake: the San Francisco gartersnake and red-sided gartersnake.

Recreation and Beauty

Migrating ducks, scurrying ground squirrels, rustling oaks, and picturesque sunsets are just some of the many beauties that can be enjoyed during a walk around Lagunita’s trail.

Student smiling while sitting on a bench along Lagunita’s trail

Photo caption: Student smiling while sitting on a bench along Lagunita’s trail.

Timeline

The timeline pictured on this sign focuses on the time period of 1800 through the present with arrows extending back into the past and forward into the future. The following human interactions are shown on the timeline:

  • This land has been a resource to Indigenous people since before the beginning of this timeline, and continues to be a resource presently and into the future.
  • This land was part of a Mexican Land Grant in 1841.
  • The Palo Alto Stock Farm existed here from 1876 to 1903.
  • Lagunita has been an academic resource since 1891 and continues to be one in the present.
  • Boating at Lagunita took place from 1893 to 2000.
  • Modern environmental conservation work has occurred at Lagunita since the 1960s and continues to occur in the present.

Background Artwork

The background is an artist’s interpretation of the historical ecology of Lagunita as a vernal pool complex. It imagines the space as many small vernal pools, which could have existed here in the past. The pools are lined with red, orange, yellow, and purple flowers growing in concentric rings.

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Who lives at Lagunita?

Digital version of interpretive sign titled "Who lives at Lagunita?" Full text and description found below.

Lagunita supports over 411 species of amphibians, reptiles, mammals, birds, fungi, invertebrates, and plants.

Biodiversity thrives in wet and dry seasons at Lagunita

Lagunita may fill with water when rain falls in the winter and is dry during the summer. Some years, Lagunita does not fill with water at all. The biological community is interconnected: impact to one species affects other species.

Wet Season

Aquatic Predation

Great blue herons are predators of Tiger salamander larvae. Tiger salamander larvae are predators of Sierran chorus frog tadpoles and fairy shrimp.

Swimmer’s Itch Parasite Life Cycle

The swimmer’s itch parasite can burrow into the feet of waterfowl, such as Mallard ducks. The parasite lays eggs in the animal’s blood , which is passed back into the water through the duck’s poop. The eggs in the poop hatch into miracidia, which infect aquatic snails, such as the acute bladder snail. The parasite develops within the snail and eventually exits as cercariae. Cercariae can restart the life cycle by infecting waterfowl, or they may burrow into human skin, causing swimmer’s itch rash.

Dry Season

Ground Squirrels: Important Prey and Ecosystem Engineer

California ground squirrels are prey for coyotes, Pacific gopher snakes, and Red-tailed Hawks. They are also ecosystem engineers, as they dig and maintain holes which can be used by other species, including adult California tiger salamanders and adult California toads.

Bugs and Plants

Monarch butterfly larvae crawl on and eat the leaves of the narrow leaf milkweed plant, and tarantula hawk wasps drink nectar from the milkweed flowers. Tarantula hawks lay parasitic eggs in California ebony tarantulas.

Living Soil

Fairy shrimp cysts and swimmer's itch eggs exist in the soil when there isn't water in Lagunita.

Year-in-the-Life of Lagunita

Follow the 12 wooden posts along the trail to learn about a year in the life of Lagunita. Click here to view Year-in-the-Life signs digitally.

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Why do we care about California tiger salamanders?

Digital version of interpretive sign titled "Why do we care about California tiger salamanders?" Full text and description found below.

California tiger salamanders are only found in California. The species is at risk of extinction.

California tiger salamander life cycle

California tiger salamanders spend most of their lives underground, but they breed in ephemeral ponds. December through July is the typical hydroperiod of a breeding pond. They lay their eggs on vegetation emerging near the water’s edge. Eggs and larvae are small, difficult to see, and very sensitive to shoreline disturbance.

If you followed the life cycle of a breeding adult salamander through reproduction and the development of its offspring, it would look something like this:

  • In March through October, adults seek refuge in underground burrows.
  • In November through March, adults migrate to vernal pools to breed.
  • In January through March, eggs hatch after 2 to 4 weeks.
  • In February through July, larvae live in pools and metamorphose as the water dries.
  • Starting in June, juveniles migrate to underground burrows, where they will spend most of their lives. They will develop into adults and the cycle will repeat.

Endemic range of California tiger salamanders

The California tiger salamander’s endemic range extends east to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, west to the outer coast range, north to Sonoma and Yolo counties, and south to Santa Barbara County. The population at Stanford is the northernmost population on the San Francisco Peninsula.

At Stanford, California tiger salamander habitat is concentrated around Lagunita and extends up into the foothills at the Dish Area. There are nine breeding ponds found at Stanford. The first breeding pond is Lagunita. The other eight breeding ponds are much smaller than Lagunita, and are found in the Dish Area. Most of the urban developed parts of Stanford’s campus are unsuitable habitat for California tiger salamanders.

Wildlife tunnels have been built under the road to connect the population at Lagunita to the population in the foothills. These tunnels allow California tiger salamanders to migrate between Lagunita and the Dish Area.

Conservation

State and Federal Protections

All people are required by federal and state law to do no harm to California tiger salamanders.

Federal and state permits are required for any human activity that might impact California tiger salamanders or their habitat. Stanford affiliates may apply for a foothills permit to cover activities at Lagunita. Use this link to apply for a foothills permit.

At Stanford

Stanford students and staff conserve California tiger salamanders!

Conservation Program staff sit in the grass on a rainy morning. They use measuring equipment to monitor California tiger salamanders.
A conservation technician holds a California tiger salamander in gloved hands.

How are our salamanders doing this year? Click here to take a look!

See how our salamanders are doing this year!

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Why is there (or isn't there) water in Lagunita?

Digital version of interpretive sign titled "Why is there (or isn't there) water in Lagunita?" Full text and description found below.

The amount of water in Lagunita is affected by local precipitation, temperature, and water present in the local watershed.

Local Watershed

This sign depicts a representation of Lagunita’s local watershed. The watershed starts in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains and flows down to the San Francisco Bay. Major bodies of surface water include Felt Reservoir, Searsville Reservoir, Los Trancos Creek, and San Francisquito Creek. Lagunita is not naturally fed by any other body of water, and does not drain into another body of water. Rather, Lagunita is fed by runoff and direct rainfall. Water exits Lagunita through percolation into groundwater and evapotranspiration of surface water. Lagunita is an ephemeral body of water, meaning it only has water during rainy seasons of years when there is enough water in the local watershed. Lagunita always dries out in the summer.

Underground, below Lagunita, are layers of sand and clay, followed by sandstone bedrock. Just downslope from Lagunita, the depth to bedrock increases dramatically, and underground aquifers are present within layers of sand and gravel, which are interspersed with layers of clay. Water that seeps out of Lagunita flows underground into these aquifers. These same aquifers receive water seeping down from San Francisquito creek.

There are also engineered components within the San Francisquito watershed. A flume diverts water from Los Trancos Creek into Felt Reservoir. Dams hold back water at Felt and Searsville reservoirs, which are attached to piping that conveys water from these reservoirs to Stanford’s main campus via the Lake Water (non-potable irrigation) system. Water can be pumped from San Francisquito Creek and underground aquifers into the Lake Water system. Stormwater capture from Stanford’s main campus also adds to the supply of water in this system. Water entering from any point in this system, can be pumped uphill to be stored in Felt Reservoir for later use. Most of the water in this system is used for irrigation on Stanford’s main campus, and some of it is used in Lagunita, under special circumstances.

The following text provides more detail about each of the major components in this system:

Lagunita Inputs

Ranked by greatest to least influence:

1. Foothills and Local Runoff may contain harmful contaminants.
2. Direct Precipitation provides clean water.
3. Engineered Water Diversions and Reservoirs move and store water from local creeks and stormwater capture.

Lagunita Outputs

Ranked by greatest to least influence:

A. Percolation from Lagunita’s porous basin recharges groundwater used by the community. In just two days, the volume of approximately 1 Olympic-sized swimming pool can seep into underground aquifers.
B. Evapotranspiration is water lost to the atmosphere through evaporation from the soil, water surface, and plant transpiration.
C. Wells extract groundwater.

Climate Change Impacts

Climate change will influence the ability of Lagunita to regularly hold surface water.

Temperatures are increasing, and the frequency and severity of drought is predicted to increase. During severe droughts, water depths are dramatically lower in local creeks. Parts of creeks that normally flow all year round may be completely dry.

Average yearly temperature and accumulated yearly precipitation data from 1946 to 2023 show the current impacts and potential impacts of climate change. Average yearly temperatures can fluctuate around zero to three degrees Fahrenheit between years, but a trend line shows that from 1946 to 2023 temperatures at Lagunita have risen over three degrees Farenheit. Accumulated yearly precipitation also fluctuates between years, sometimes around a 20 inch difference from one year to the next. While a trend in the precipitation data is not as clear, it is possible that droughts are becoming more frequent.

Within that time period, droughts took place during the years 1976 to 1977, 1987 to 1992, 2007 to 2009, 2012 to 2016, and 2021 to 2023. During these periods of drought, total precipitation was lower than surrounding years, and in many cases, temperatures were also higher. During drought years, parts of San Francisquito Creek can become completely dry, whereas in normal years, those same areas have water.

Temperature and precipitation is from NOAA (1946 to 2003) and Stanford’s Weather Station (2004 to 2023). Download the data:

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A Year-in-the-Life of Lagunita

These 12, three-foot tall posts, have three panels: one panel on each of three sides of the four-sided post. Together, these signs tell the story of the dynamic seasonal change found at Lagunita. The signs are placed around the Lagunita loop trail, as if it were a clock, and each hour on this clock is a different time of year. The orientation of the clock is such that 12 o’clock is the Lagunita dorms and 6 o’clock is the parking lot next to the Narnia dorm.

On each sign, the first panel uses text and an aerial image to describe the average weather and water level of Lagunita during a season, as well as the location of the sign along the loop path encircling Lagunita. The second panel displays an artistic representation of a species that is particularly notable in that season. The artwork is accompanied by a brief statement by the student artist. The third panel describes the species characteristics or behaviors and how humans can act to steward that species. Each sign is titled by the name of the organism that is highlighted on that sign.

Year-in-the-Life of Lagunita Table of Contents

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Fairy Shrimp

Fairy Shrimp Year in the Life of Lagunita sign. Full description below.

Season

This sign describes the weather and water level within Lagunita’s wetland during January. During this time of year, Lagunita experiences its heaviest rain and a medium water level. Temperatures average 45 to 58 degrees Fahrenheit or 7 to 14 degrees Celsius.

An aerial map from this time of year shows surface water extending to cover roughly 40% of Lagunita’s basin. The map also shows this sign’s location at 9 o’clock along the Lagunita loop trail.

Student Artwork

The art piece on this sign showcases five fairy shrimp swimming in greenish water. These aquatic invertebrates have bright red eyes on a small head and delicate hair-like legs. Their thorax and abdomen segments narrow to a slender tail.  It looks like they are up-side-down when they swim because their legs point upward.

This art piece is by Alice Liu, a class of 2025 computer science major. An excerpt from Alice’s artist’s statement reads: “A small group of fairy shrimp (Linderiella occidentalis) swimming in Lagunita.”

Species Behavior and Stewardship

For fairy shrimp during this season, water triggers hatching after dry season dormancy. Please stay on the trail to avoid harming fairy shrimp in the water.

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California Toad

California Toad Year in the Life of Lagunita sign. Full description below.

Season

This sign describes the weather and water level within Lagunita’s wetland during January to February. During this time of year, Lagunita experiences its heaviest rain and a high water level. Temperatures average 45 to 61 degrees Fahrenheit or 7 to 16 degrees Celsius.

An aerial map from this time of year shows surface water extending to cover roughly 75% of Lagunita’s basin. The map also shows this sign’s location at 10 o’clock along the Lagunita loop trail.

Student Artwork

The art piece on this sign showcases two California toads in amplexus. During this mating process, the smaller male toad holds onto the back of the larger female toad, giving her a hug just underneath her forearms. After mating, female toads lay long strands of black pearl-like eggs, surrounded by a clear jelly.

This art piece is by Chloe Cheng, a class of 2025 geophysics major. An excerpt from Chloe’s artist’s statement reads: “I decided to draw the California toad…to learn more about the amphibian life we have so local to us.”

Species Behavior and Stewardship

During this season, California toads mate, and after mating, toads lay translucent eggs near the water’s edge. Please stay on the trail and out of the water to avoid disturbing adults or crushing toad eggs.

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Amphibian Larvae

Amphibian Larvae Year in the Life of Lagunita sign. Full description below.

Season

This sign describes the weather and water level within Lagunita’s wetland during February to March. During this time of year, Lagunita experiences rainy weather and a high water level. Temperatures average 47 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit or 8 to 18 degrees Celsius.

An aerial map from this time of year shows surface water extending to cover roughly 100% of Lagunita’s basin. The map also shows this sign’s location at 11 o’clock along the Lagunita loop trail, next to Elliott Program Center.

Student Artwork

The art piece on this sign showcases three species of amphibian larvae commonly found at Lagunita, when there is water in the basin. The top species is a California tiger salamander, which has external gills and a flat tail. The middle species is a Sierran chorus frog, which has a rounded hourglass-shaped body and thin tail, with eyes on the side of its head. The species farthest to the right is a California toad, which has an elongated body and flat tail, with eyes on the top of its head.

This art piece is by Chloe Cheng, a class of 2025 geophysics major. An excerpt from Chloe’s artist’s statement reads: “I don't come from any kind of herpetology background, so it has been a fun process to do a closer study of these animals.”

Species Behavior and Stewardship

During this season, salamanders, frogs, and toads develop in water until they can survive on land. Please keep dogs on leash and on trail to avoid disturbing or killing amphibian larvae. For more information about keeping dogs on leash and on trail, please see County of Santa Clara Ordinance B31-31.

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Coastal Tidy Tips

Coastal Tidy Tips Year in the Life of Lagunita sign. Full description below.

Season

This sign describes the weather and water level within Lagunita’s wetland during March to April. During this time of year, Lagunita experiences light rain and a high water level. Temperatures average 49 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit or 9 to 20 degrees Celsius.

An aerial map from this time of year shows surface water extending to cover roughly 75% of Lagunita’s basin. The map also shows this sign’s location at 12 o’clock along the Lagunita loop trail, in front of the Lagunita dorms.

Student Artwork

The art piece on this sign showcases the Coastal tidy tips, with their bright yellow petals and the distinct white tips. This cheery native flower blooms early in the year at Lagunita.

This art piece is by Ryan Guan, a class of 2024 computer science major. An excerpt from Ryan’s artist’s statement reads: “...showcasing the white tips of each petal as well as the inner disk flowers beginning to bloom.”

Species Behavior and Stewardship

During this season, Coastal tidy tips are some of the first flowers and nectar sources of the year. Please no smoking or fires, as uncontrolled burns can harm wildlife and humans. For more information about smoke pollution control, please see County of Santa Clara Ordinance No. NS-625.5.

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Killdeer

Killdeer Year in the Life of Lagunita sign. Full description below.

Season

This sign describes the weather and water level within Lagunita’s wetland during April to May. During this time of year, Lagunita experiences mostly clear weather and a medium water level. Temperatures average 51 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit or 11 to 21 degrees Celsius.

An aerial map from this time of year shows surface water extending to cover roughly 50% of Lagunita’s basin. The map also shows this sign’s location at 1 o’clock along the Lagunita loop trail, in front of Roble dorm.

Student Artwork

The art piece on this sign showcases three different life stages of the killdeer bird. The first is the adult, with its stilt-like legs and iconic black stripes on its neck. The second is the fluffy, recently hatched killdeer. The third is the speckled, light blue killdeer eggs. At all of these life stages, killdeer are very small, standing only about seven inches tall as adults.

This art piece is by Chloe Cheng, a class of 2025 geophysics major. An excerpt from Chloe’s artist’s statement reads: “This drawing is a nod to one of my favorite cheery, charismatic, face-of-the-wetlands bird.”

Species Behavior and Stewardship

For killdeer during this season, their tiny eggs, laid on the ground, are hard to spot. Please stay on the trail and especially out of the basin to avoid accidentally crushing tiny eggs and young birds.

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Red-Tailed Hawk

Red-Tailed Hawk Year in the Life of Lagunita sign. Full description below.

Season

This sign describes the weather and water level within Lagunita’s wetland during May. During this time of year, Lagunita experiences mostly clear weather and a low water level. Temperatures average 54 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit or 12 to 21 degrees Celsius.

An aerial map from this time of year shows surface water extending to cover roughly 20% of Lagunita’s basin. The map also shows this sign’s location at 2 o’clock along the Lagunita loop trail, uphill from the BBQ Pit area.

Student Artwork

The art piece on this sign showcases an adult Red-tailed Hawk which has a pale colored chest with dark streaks and a rich brown color on its head and back. The adult sits on a nest in a tree with four eggs.

This art piece is by Alice Liu, a class of 2025 computer science major. An excerpt from Alice’s artist’s statement reads: “This piece depicts a red-tailed hawk nesting in a tree.”

Species Behavior and Stewardship

Red-tailed hawks and other raptors become stressed and attack unknown flying objects in their territory. Please no flying objects, such as drones, except as authorized by Stanford University. Please see doresearch.stanford.edu for more information about unmanned flying vehicles. Violators may be subject to civil or criminal penalties.

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Black-Tailed Jackrabbit

Black-Tailed Jackrabbit Year in the Life of Lagunita sign. Full description below.

Season

This sign describes the weather and water level within Lagunita’s wetland during June. During this time of year, Lagunita experiences sunny weather and a low water level. Temperatures average 57 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit or 14 to 23 degrees Celsius.

An aerial map from this time of year shows surface water extending to cover roughly 5% of Lagunita’s basin. The map also shows this sign’s location at 3 o’clock along the Lagunita loop trail.

Student Artwork

The art piece on this sign showcases a beige jackrabbit, with the black tips of its ears and yellow eyes sprinting through green grass.

This art piece is by Tracy Wei, a class of 2026 symbolic systems major. An excerpt from Tracy’s artist’s statement reads: “I chose to illustrate this jackrabbit in sprinting position…bursting off with a loud sound and great speed.”

Species Behavior and Stewardship

During this time of year Black-tailed jackrabbits can be found running and hiding around Lagunita. Please keep dogs on leash and on trail to avoid startling, chasing, or injuring jackrabbits. For more information about keeping dogs on leash and on trail, please see County of Santa Clara Ordinance B31-31.

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Intergrade Gartersnake

Intergrade Gartersnake Year in the Life of Lagunita sign. Full description below.

Season

This sign describes the weather and water level within Lagunita’s wetland during July to August. During this time of year, Lagunita experiences sunny weather and has a dry basin. Temperatures average 59 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 to 24 degrees Celsius.

An aerial map from this time of year shows no water in Lagunita’s basin. The map also shows this sign’s location at 4 o’clock along the Lagunita loop trail, in front of Jerry dorm.

Student Artwork

The art piece on this sign showcases a female gartersnake giving birth to three live young. These intergrade gartersnakes have bright red and blue patterning.

This art piece is by Christina Qin, a class of 2024 computer science major. An excerpt from Christina’s artist’s statement reads: “It was especially fun drawing this piece trying to find ‘garter snake live birth’ reference photos…”

Species Behavior and Stewardship

During this time of year, these intergrade gartersnakes give birth to live young. These protected snakes are well camouflaged. Please stay on the trail to avoid accidentally stepping on an adult snake or its tiny young.

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Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpecker Year in the Life of Lagunita sign. Full description below.

Season

This sign describes the weather and water level within Lagunita’s wetland during August to September. During this time of year, Lagunita experiences sunny weather and has a dry basin. Temperatures average 58 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit or 14 to 24 degrees Celsius.

An aerial map from this time of year shows no water in Lagunita’s basin. The map also shows this sign’s location at 5 o’clock along the Lagunita loop trail.

Student Artwork

The art piece on this sign showcases an adult woodpecker, with its iconic red cap, placing an acorn in a hole in a tree. The hole is surrounded by many other acorn filled holes, together these holes and acorns make up a granary.

This art piece is by Tracy Wei, a class of 2026 symbolic systems major. An excerpt from Tracy’s artist’s statement reads: “...it's so clever how acorn woodpeckers will cache acorns in oak trees and eat the insect larvae that eat at these acorns…”

Species Behavior and Stewardship

Uncontrolled fires endanger habitat and people. To help protect species like the Acorn Woodpecker, please no smoking or fires. For more information about smoke pollution control, please see County of Santa Clara Ordinance No. NS-625.5.

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California Ebony Tarantula

California Ebony Tarantula Year in the Life of Lagunita sign. Full description below.

Season

This sign describes the weather and water level within Lagunita’s wetland during September to October. During this time of year, Lagunita experiences mostly clear weather and has a dry basin. Temperatures average 55 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit or 13 to 24 degrees Celsius.

An aerial map from this time of year shows no water in Lagunita’s basin. The map also shows this sign’s location at 6 o’clock along the Lagunita loop trail, next to the parking lot by Narnia dorm.

Student Artwork

The art piece on this sign showcases the fuzzy, brown to black colored, California ebony tarantulas as they walk through golden grasses.

This art piece is by Christina Qin, a class of 2024 computer science major. An excerpt from Christina’s artist’s statement reads: “The California ebony tarantula migrates on the dry grass of Stanford in search of a potential mate.”

Species Behavior and Stewardship

During this time of year, male California ebony tarantulas migrate to find mates. They are native and harmless to humans. Watch your step! They might be using the same path as you. Please stay on the trail to further avoid accidentally crushing a tarantula that could be camouflaged in the grass.

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Black-Capped Chickadee

Black-Capped Chickadee Year in the Life of Lagunita sign. Full description below.

Season

This sign describes the weather and water level within Lagunita’s wetland during November. During this time of year, Lagunita experiences light rain and has a dry basin. Temperatures average 49 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit or 9 to 18 degrees Celsius.

An aerial map from this time of year shows no water in Lagunita’s basin. The map also shows this sign’s location at 7 o’clock along the Lagunita loop trail.

Student Artwork

The art piece on this sign showcases the contrast between the Black-capped Chickadee’s white cheeks and its black cap and bib. It also shows the fluffy beige underside below its dark gray wings.

This art piece is by Mededith Gavin, a class of 2026 biology major. An excerpt from Meredith’s artist’s statement reads: “I drew this bird because chickadees are my favorite–I love their call and they're sentimental birds for me.”

Species Behavior and Stewardship

As prey for larger birds, chickadees hide from larger flying objects. Time spent hiding can take away from time spent foraging or caring for young. Please no flying objects, such as drones, except as authorized by Stanford University. Please see doresearch.stanford.edu for more information about unmanned flying vehicles. Violators may be subject to civil or criminal penalties.

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Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser Year in the Life of Lagunita sign. Full description below.

Season

This sign describes the weather and water level within Lagunita’s wetland during December. During this time of year, Lagunita experiences its heaviest rain and a low water level. Temperatures average 45 to 58 degrees Fahrenheit or 7 to 14 degrees Celsius.

An aerial map from this time of year shows surface water extending to cover roughly 5% of Lagunita’s basin. The map also shows this sign’s location at 8 o’clock along the Lagunita loop trail.

Student Artwork

The art piece on this sign showcases the differences between the female and male Hooded Merganser ducks. Adult female Hooded Mergansers have a cinnamon colored head and crest, while adult males have a black head with a white crest that is black outlined.

This art piece is by Ryan Guan, a class of 2024 computer science major. An excerpt from Ryan’s artist’s statement reads: “A male and female hooded merganser with their striking crests raised.”

Species Behavior and Stewardship

At this time of year, these migrating birds can be found at Lagunita. Watch them fly, forage, swim, and dive. Please keep dogs on leash and on trail to avoid chasing, injuring, or killing Hooded Merganser ducks. For more information about keeping dogs on leash and on trail, please see County of Santa Clara Ordinance B31-31.

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