43 episodes

Golden State Naturalist is a love letter to California's ecological past, present, and future.

Come with Michelle Fullner as she climbs to the top of a beaver dam, descends into a tar pit, peers into the canopy of a giant sequoia, and basks in the glow of the Milky Way under the eerie silhouettes of Joshua trees.

Each episode, Michelle interviews captivating experts in their natural habitats across California to find out how the unique plants, animals, geology, and hydrology of this biodiversity hotspot make this state Golden.

Golden State Naturalist Michelle Fullner

    • Science
    • 4.9 • 196 Ratings

Golden State Naturalist is a love letter to California's ecological past, present, and future.

Come with Michelle Fullner as she climbs to the top of a beaver dam, descends into a tar pit, peers into the canopy of a giant sequoia, and basks in the glow of the Milky Way under the eerie silhouettes of Joshua trees.

Each episode, Michelle interviews captivating experts in their natural habitats across California to find out how the unique plants, animals, geology, and hydrology of this biodiversity hotspot make this state Golden.

    TEK (Traditional Ecological Knowledge / Indigenous Ecological Knowledge) with Frank Lake

    TEK (Traditional Ecological Knowledge / Indigenous Ecological Knowledge) with Frank Lake

    Indigenous people have lived in the place now known as California since time immemorial and are still here today.



    In this episode, join me and Frank Lake as we discuss mutualistic relationships between Indigenous Californians and the land, traditional burning, oak orchards, the powerful ways Indigenous and Western knowledges can come together, common misconceptions about pre-colonial California, reciprocity, and how we can move from a mental model of scarcity to cultivating a shared abundance that leaves no one behind. 





    Frank Lake

    California Indian History Curriculum

    Sue-Meg State Park

    Slavery in California

    Lightning safety tips

    My website is goldenstatenaturalist.com

    Support GSN on Patreon

    Follow me on Instagram

    • 1 hr 9 min
    Native Bees with Krystle Hickman

    Native Bees with Krystle Hickman

    Have you ever noticed a bee that looked a little…different? Maybe it was a bit fuzzier than a typical honey bee, or maybe it was obsidian black, bright orange, startlingly large, or as tiny as a gnat. Chances are, if you’ve seen a bee meeting any of these descriptions, you observed one of Earth’s 20,000 species of native bees (with around 1,600 of those species living in California). 

    Join me and National Geographic Explorer, TEDx speaker, and community scientist Krystle Hickman as we head outside to find native bees and discuss the widely varied social lives of bees, bee architecture, whether or not honeybees are an invasive species, buzz pollination, where to find native bees near you, the potential of native bees in agriculture, and the importance of these beings not just to humans, but to entire ecosystems.



    Follow Krystle @beesip on Instagram

    Krystle's website

    Native Bees of the Western United States (cards)

    ♥️ ⁠Valentines (including a native bee by Krystle)⁠ ♥️

    My website is goldenstatenaturalist.com

    Find me on Instagram @goldenstatenaturalist

    ⁠Article⁠ on honey bee pollination outcomes compared with native bees.

    The song is called "i dunno" by grapes, and the Creative Commons license can be found here.

    • 1 hr 8 min
    Mythologizing Place with Obi Kaufmann

    Mythologizing Place with Obi Kaufmann

    Author, artist, poet, and eco-philosopher Obi Kaufmann doesn't want to craft a better argument.

    He wants to tell a better story.

    But what does that kind of story look like? How do we begin to convey the incredible complexity of a place like California? How do we avoid unproductive divisiveness, embrace a better worldview, and move forward together in healing the land?

    Join me and Obi in a field of wildflowers on Mt. Diablo as we discuss humanity’s relationship with the earth, Mt. Diablo daisies, ways in which meaning is co-constructed, biodiversity, what a myth really is, very quiet lions, how we relate to place, and how telling a better story about this land we love, this place now known as California, might just help humans come together to care for it.



    Links:

    Obi's website

    The California Field Atlas

    See Obi speak

    Heyday Membership (add the word GOLDEN to the "How did you find us" section to receive a free bandana designed by Obi!)

    Valentine Set + Mini Art Collection by GSN. Check out Obi's card! 10% of profit donated directly to CalWild.

    My website

    Follow me on Instagram and Tiktok @goldenstatenaturalist

    The song is called "i dunno" by grapes. The Creative Commons license can be found here.

    • 1 hr 8 min
    7 Ways to Connect with Nature this Year (2024 REPLAY)

    7 Ways to Connect with Nature this Year (2024 REPLAY)

    Happy New Year! 🎉

    This episode has a great story, so I added a new intro to tell you about it.

    Here are the links mentioned in the new intro!

    7 Ways to Connect with Nature zine by Kate Rutter

    Find Kate on Instagram @katerutter.

    VALENTINES (Sorry for shouting. I'm SO excited about these.) Collab with six wonderful CA artists. Thank you for supporting me and CalWild by purchasing Valentines!

    Patreon. This is another great way to support your local indie podcaster, and patrons get 10% off of Valentines!

    Find me on Instagram @goldenstatenaturalist.

    My website is goldenstatenaturalist.com.

    • 21 min
    Mistletoe with Joshua Der

    Mistletoe with Joshua Der

    Have you ever wondered why we bring a toxic, parasitic plant indoors during the holidays...and then kiss under it? Or what ecological role this plant plays?



    Come with me and Dr. Joshua Der as we discuss the ecological importance of mistletoe, its evolution, the vast array of wildlife it supports, and of course, the ancient folklore that led to all those stolen smooches.



    Helpful Links:

    Dr. Der's Publications

    Mistletoe Folklore

    My website is goldenstatenaturalist.com

    Support GSN on Patreon.

    Find me on Instagram and TikTok @goldenstatenaturalist

    • 31 min
    Living in Place: Reflections on Being a Naturalist with Justin Garwood

    Living in Place: Reflections on Being a Naturalist with Justin Garwood

    When was the last time you felt truly connected with a place? Was it somewhere rugged and wild, or was it on a leaf-strewn suburban block? What did you notice? What questions popped up in your mind? What gave you that sense of connection? 

    In this episode, join me and Justin Garwood in a Northern California temperate rainforest as we discuss how each of us can connect more deeply with the natural world, glaciers in California, an abundance of tadpoles, when to go off trail (and when not to), and what it means to be a naturalist no matter where you may find yourself. 



    Links:

    Bird species name changes

    The ten essentials

    Grizzly Glacier

    The Klamath Mountains: A Natural History

    My website is goldenstatenaturalist.com

    Support the show on Patreon 🙌🏻

    You can find me @goldenstatenaturalist on Instagram and TikTok

    GSN Holiday Gift Guide

    The song is called "i dunno" by grapes and can be found here.

    • 54 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
196 Ratings

196 Ratings

Juliahong95 ,

New fan!

A popular mountain lion in my region (Orange County) named UNO was recently hit by a car and tragically passed away. Prior to this, I've never been one to actively spend my time learning about the creatures that inhabit the parks and mountains in my area. I was devastated to see a helpless, beautiful creature suffering and did some research. I had no idea the negative impacts we are currently leaving on our precious mountain lions and many other species. This led me to learn about LA's mountain lion, P-22, and eventually the incredible Miguel Ordeñana. As a podcast lover, I wanted to see if there were any shows that focused on this area of interest and this was one of the first I found. Absolutely loved and learned a wealth of information after listening to the urban ecology episode with Miguel! Will continue checking out the other episodes... thank you for giving these people and animals a spotlight in a world that often drowns their voices!

rcklvr ,

Great Podcast

If you are interested in California nature, this podcast is the one!!

Tedbeemer ,

Reflections on Being a Naturalist review

This podcast with Justin Garwood reaffirmed my belief in walking slowly along the trail and letting Nature reveal itself; sometimes slowly, sometimes in the blink of an eye, sometimes like a smack in the face, but always awe-inspiring! Being a naturalist is having a deep and profound understanding that all things are connected, including ourselves .
Thank you Michelle, for opening the amazing natural world of California to your listeners and introducing us to some passionate and compassionate people in the pursuit of knowledge sharing and conservation of California’s natural treasures.

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