KevinMcDonald Novato
Kevin McDonald Novato

Kevin McDonald Novato explains how replanting native grasses and wildflowers is transforming local landscapes

Conservationist Kevin McDonald Novato showcases the transformative properties of replanting native grasses and wildflowers in areas hit by ecosystem damage.

A popular educator, conservationist, and published author, Kevin McDonald Novato has long advocated for efforts tied to stopping, limiting or mitigating ecosystem damage across large swathes of the United States. Now based in the San Francisco Bay Area, regarded as one of North America’s most notable hotspots for biodiversity, Kevin shines an important spotlight on the incredible benefits stemming from replanting native grasses and wildflowers in areas hardest hit by wildlife-impacting development.

“Replanting wildflowers and grasses native to a given area that’s been hit by ecosystem damage or destruction is vital,” says Kevin McDonald Novato, speaking from his home in California’s Marin County.

By replanting, replacing, and nurturing native grasses and wildflowers in and around the areas hardest hit by damage or destruction to crucial local ecosystems, it’s possible to transform the outlook for insects, birds, and other wildlife, according to Kevin McDonald Novato – all essential, he says, to the natural balance of the landscape.

Educator and conservationist Kevin McDonald Novato has long been passionate about wildlife conservation, as well as preserving unique natural habitats, curbing pollution, counteracting the negative impact of urban sprawl, and more.

A popular Marin County teacher, the educator, and author has been involved in the field since college, starting out, in fact, by replanting native grasses and wildflowers during his time as a student. “I first became involved in wildlife conservation, preserving unique natural habitats, and counteracting the impact of urban sprawl in college,” he explains, “where my fellow students and I replanted grasslands with native grasses and wildflowers.”

Kevin McDonald Novato did so, he says, as a student at Northfield’s Carleton College in Minnesota, some 2,000 miles east of his current residence in Marin County, California. “From Northfield in the Dakota and Rice counties of Minnesota, to right here in Marin County and across much of the rest of California, the transformative properties of replanting native grasses and wildflowers in areas hit by ecosystem damage must not be underestimated,” stresses Kevin McDonald Novato.

Further to supporting wildlife populations, attracting crucial pollinating insects, and preserving local natural landscapes, replanting native grasses and wildflowers is also proven to help soil stabilization, maintain erosion control, and promote improved water quality in and around lakes, ponds, and rivers, according to the expert.

Author and educator Kevin McDonald Novato was born and raised in Sonoma County, California. After graduating from Carleton College in Minnesota, Kevin McDonald Novato spent several years in Tokyo teaching English, studying Japanese, and learning karate. Now a popular California-based teacher for more than twenty years, in his spare time, Kevin McDonald Novato enjoys attending art shows and concerts with his wife. With a lifelong passion for travel, the conservationist has, to date, visited six of the world’s seven continents, with Antarctica next on the list.

Kevin McDonald Novato

Kevin McDonald Novato reveals continued importance of Bay Area wildlife conservation

Educator and conservationist Kevin McDonald Novato opens up about the critical importance of local wildlife conservation.

From preserving unique natural habitats to helping to curb pollution, wildlife conservation has long been a passion of popular Marin County teacher Kevin McDonald Novato. Involved in the field since college, McDonald is as keen as ever to reiterate the continued importance of conservation efforts in California’s Bay Area and elsewhere across the U.S.

“I’ve always been passionate about wildlife conservation,” explains California-based teacher and conservationist Kevin McDonald Novato, speaking from his home in northern Marin County.

Today a popular science and math teacher, Kevin McDonald Novato became heavily involved with wildlife conservation and ecosystem restoration during his time at Minnesota’s Carleton College in Northfield. “I became involved in ecosystem restoration in college,” reveals McDonald, “where we replanted grasslands with native grasses and wildflowers among a wealth of other projects.”

Now back in California, some 2,000 miles away from Northfield’s grasslands, Kevin McDonald Novato remains just as passionate about wildlife conservation. “Wildlife conservation is incredibly important across the board, and especially so here in the San Francisco Bay Area,” suggests Kevin.

“The Bay Area is regarded as one of North America’s most notable hotspots for biodiversity,” points out Kevin McDonald Novato. Urban sprawl, however, is more and more rapidly beginning to impact the area’s wildlife, destroying habitats, adding to air pollution, and contributing massively toward ongoing issues with poor water quality, he says. “Almost 500,000 acres of the natural landscape are now thought to be at risk of significant wildlife-impacting development,” reveals the expert.

Because of this, it’s crucial that the importance of Bay Area wildlife conservation continues to be discussed, according to Kevin McDonald Novato. Even with Endangered Species Act protections now in place, there’s still much to be done to ensure the future of the region’s wildlife, McDonald says. “The same is true elsewhere in California, too,” adds the conservationist, “as well as across huge swathes of the rest of the United States.”

Thankfully, a wealth of wildlife and nature organizations now exist in and around San Francisco’s Bay Area. These include the Bay Area Open Space Council, the Big Sur Land Trust, the California Native Plant Society, the Center for Ecosystem Management and Restoration, the Committee for Green Foothills, Grassroots Ecology, the Greenbelt Alliance, Marine Life Studies, Native Bird Connections, Nature in the City, the San Francisco Naturalist Society, San Francisco Nature Education, and The Watershed Project. “It’s imperative that we support these organizations and their counterparts elsewhere across the country wherever possible,” Kevin McDonald Novato notes.

Educator and published author Kevin McDonald Novato was born and raised in Sonoma County, California, and later graduated from Carleton College in Minnesota, where he played on the soccer team and worked in the arboretum. Following graduation, Kevin McDonald Novato spent four years in Tokyo teaching English, studying Japanese, and learning the art of karate. He then returned to California, where he remains today, and where he’s now been teaching for more than twenty years.

In his free time, Kevin McDonald Novato still plays soccer and, on the weekends, enjoys attending concerts and art shows with his wife. Incredibly well-traveled, educator and conservationist Kevin McDonald Novato has visited six of the world’s seven continents and plans to add Antarctica to the list in the near future.

Kevin McDonald Novato Discusses the Academic Benefits of Traveling for Kids

Teacher and avid traveler Kevin McDonald Novato recently discussed the academic benefits of traveling for kids. 

NOVATA, CA / JULY 12, 2020 / Avid travelers know that the act of traveling is far more than vacationing. Traveling, whether on brief getaways or around-the-world expeditions, offers numerous mental and physical benefits to travelers of all ages. Teacher and world traveler Kevin McDonald Novato recently discussed the academic benefits kids experience through traveling.

“Traveling offers countless benefits to children, and many of those benefits are reflected in their academic performance,” Kevin McDonald Novato said.

Kevin McDonald Novato explained that kids who travel show more confidence in a number of social situations. Kids who travel learn to live and study in environments that are far different than home. They’re able to adjust to different settings more easily, and are less likely to feel insecure when doing so. Kids who travel develop conviction, confidence, independence, and unique perspectives.  Kevin McDonald Novato added that kids who have studied in varying locations adjust to college settings more easily.

Kevin Mcdonald Novato explained research has shown that the act of traveling increases academic knowledge. Travel may seem like simply a fun activity for kids, but it is actually a way to enhance a child’s academic performance now and in the future. Through travel, kids learn to network and communicate with kids and adults with different backgrounds, cultures, and more. They develop an interest in the foods and traditions around the world and soak in an abundance of knowledge that can’t be learned in a classroom.

“When we’re traveling, whether young or old, we’re constantly learning,” Kevin McDonald Novato said. “We’re tasting new foods, experiencing new traditions, learning new languages, and developing countless other skills without noticing. Kids take these skills, as well as a broader world view, back to the classroom to succeed.”

Kevin McDonald Novato cited a 2016 study performed by the Student and Youth Travel Association stating that travel experiences trigger accelerated personal development, improved social skills, and superior academic performance. Kevin McDonald Novato explained that, as a teacher, he sees a variety of accelerated skills in kids who have the opportunity to travel.

“Kids who travel show growth and independence in numerous ways,” Kevin McDonald Novato said. “They’re used to stepping outside of their comfort zones and accomplishing tasks on their own, without an entire support system in tow.”

Kevin McDonald Novato explained that independence allows kids to problem solve more quickly and confidently in the classroom. This independence allows them to grow and develop new academic skills more quickly than those who are more afraid of stepping outside of their comfort zones.

“The positive effects of travel on academics are obvious,” Kevin McDonald Novato finished. “As teachers, we need to do what we can to help provide kids with opportunities to experience new surroundings, whether near or far.”

Kevin McDonald Novato Discusses Several Ways Health Care Can Be Improved for Veterans

Military veterans have varying opinions on healthcare in the United States. However, nearly all can agree that veterans deserve the best care possible. The VA has been working to improve healthcare for veterans, but in many ways, the system remains broken. Kevin McDonald Novato explains that nearly half of the veterans in the United States want to get their healthcare at the V.A. However, these facilities aren’t always nearby and can be difficult to access.

Kevin McDonald Novato states there are several ways the V.A. can improve to help veterans get the care they deserve. He says the V.A. understands that many veterans have difficulty traveling to receive healthcare at a VA facility. This is in part due to disability, age, illness, or a number of other factors. Kevin McDonald Novato adds the goal is to make these facilities more accessible, through transportation services, like the Veterans Transportation Service (VTS). This is a service designed to take veterans to their VA health care appointments; however, it’s not available in all corners of the country. Kevin McDonald Novato explains this service must be spread beyond its current locations.

Kevin McDonald Novato states that superior access to Telehealth programs can provide more aid to veterans who are unable to leave home or would like to travel to V.A. healthcare facilities less frequently. Video teleconferencing allows patients to meet with specialists without having to travel, especially when those specialists are a plane flight away. Kevin McDonald Novato explains veterans deserve access to the special devices that make it possible to check symptoms and check vital signs from home.

Additionally, Kevin McDonald Novato argues that veterans should not just have access to V.A. hospitals and doctors. They shouldn’t have to worry about where they get their care and should have access to quality health facilities close to home. The V.A. should work alongside community-based private care facilities, so veterans no longer have to worry about the time and cost associated with traveling long distances for appointments.

Kevin McDonald Novato finishes by stating that the system simply needs reform. Recent reports state that veterans are waiting too long for care and are having to travel too far. He states that the V.A. needs to be held accountable and access to healthcare for veterans needs to be expanded. Kevin McDonald Novato says that for all that our veterans have done for us, we as a nation need to do what we can to give back to them.

Kevin McDonald Novato Discusses How Grasslands Are More Important Ecosystems Than Most People Think

Kevin McDonald Novato Explains How Grasslands Are More Significant Ecosystems Than The Average Person Realizes

 

Grasslands are inherently underrated ecosystems. They don’t typically mesmerize visitors, like mountains, jungles, or beaches. However, grasslands serve countless purposes in helping the environment thrive. Kevin McDonald Novato recently discussed how grasslands are more important ecosystems than most people may think.

“Grasslands are often overlooked as important or beautiful ecosystems,” Kevin McDonald from Novato. “However, they are the backbone of North American land, and they are essential to maintaining a healthy environment.”

Kevin McDonald of Novato explained that grasslands account for the production of high-quality foods, including meats, fruits, vegetables, and more. Carbon is constantly circulating around the environment in a process called the carbon cycle. Kevin McDonald Novato explains this cycle is maintained by grasslands and is essential to human, plant, and animal life. Grasslands are essential to carbon sequestration, which can help reduce global warming.

According to Kevin McDonald Novato and other environmental enthusiasts, grasslands also contribute to preventing floods and maintaining clean water. The natural vegetation of grasslands, including forests, prairie vegetation, wetlands, and more, retains flood waters, preventing droughts as well as floods.

“Grasslands are essential to feeding our country,” Kevin McDonald Novato said. “The farms that exists in our nation’s vast grasslands provide the crops and meats we consume every day.”

Kevin McDonald Novato stated that for hundreds of years, farmers sustainably farmed grasslands, preserving the land itself and promoting the carbon cycle. Grasslands allow plants and animals to thrive, and when sustainable farming methods are used in our grasslands, crops become more drought-tolerant and nutritious. Free-roaming animals consume the grass, move around, and ultimately, fertilize the grasslands as well. This keeps soil moist and allows the carbon cycle to continue naturally.

“All of this is essential to reducing global warming and keeping the environment safe for all of us to thrive,” Kevin McDonald Novato said. “It’s essential to protect our grasslands to protect the environments we love, our animals, our food, and ourselves.”

Kevin McDonald of Novato has spent countless hours working to restore and conserve our nation’s grasslands. He has replanted grasslands with native grasses and wildflowers, which help all aspects of the environment thrive, while preventing flooding and drought. Kevin McDonald Novato explained that it’s essential to inform the public of the importance of preserving grasslands, so they’ll promote the protection of these essential ecosystems.

“We need to stop destroying our grasslands and start reconstructing them,” Kevin McDonald Novato said. “It’s our job to protect these ecosystems and help them thrive. Ultimately, we’ll be the ones who thrive as well.”

Kevin McDonald Novato Discusses New Ecosystem Restoration Camps and How They Can Help Save Earth

Conservation enthusiast Kevin McDonald Novato discusses new ecosystem restoration camps and how they can help save our planet

Global temperatures are on the rise, and conservationists know there’s no better time than now for humans to start having a more positive impact on the environment. Kevin McDonald Novato is a conservation enthusiast who has worked in the ecosystem restoration of grasslands and more. Recently, Kevin McDonald Novato discussed ecosystem restoration camps and how they’ll give everyday people an opportunity to make a direct, positive impact on the environment.

Kevin McDonald Novato explains that ecosystem restoration camps are located around the world. They serve as travel destinations where people can work to aid and replenish local ecosystems. These camps offer a variety of short or long-term opportunities for volunteering. The restoration activities and cost vary greatly by location but all camps offer educational experiences and opportunities for everyday people to give back to the planet that gives so much to use.

Kevin McDonald Novato added that restoration camps are located everywhere from Europe to Africa, Central America, Asia and more. If there’s a country or region of the world on your bucket-list, it’s possible to turn your dream vacation into one that aids the environment.

“So many times, tourists are simply naive to the negative impacts travelers can have on the environment. For instace, coral reefs around the world need a break from human impact and wild animals should be observed in their natural habitat from a respectful distance. “Kevin McDonald Novato said. “These ecosystem restoration camps don’t just promote responsible travel, they promote travel that actually improves the environments we visit.”

Kevin McDonald Novato explained that ecosystem restoration camps are a relatively new concept that is expected to fully take flight in the coming years. As tourists are veering away from elephant rides and high-rise hotels, experts believe they’ll venture toward experiences that have more of a positive impact on the communities they visit.

“These camps offer opportunities to learn new skills,” Kevin McDonald Novato said. “In addition to a comfortable and rewarding stay, participants are leaving with entirely new abilities to benefit the ecosystems in their home towns as well.”

Kevin McDonald Novato explains that participants can learn how to replant indigenous species in Egyptian deserts, develop agro-forestry skills in Spain, or build healthier soils in Mexico. These are skills that extend beyond individual locales and can be taken with campers throughout their lives to benefit other areas.

“A major interest in ecosystem restoration camps as travel experiences could be exactly what our planet needs,”Kevin McDonald Novato said. “All of the areas restored by these camps will be places ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren can enjoy for decades to come.”

Kevin McDonald Novato Discusses Ecosystem Restoration And Why It’s More Important Now Than Ever Before

Conservation enthusiast Kevin McDonald Novato discusses ecosystem restoration and why it’s more important now than ever before.

Ecosystem restoration aims to repair damage humans have caused to biodiversity and ecosystems around the globe. The concept alone may seem like a tall order, but conservation enthusiasts like Kevin McDonald Novato explain that it’s not too late to start restoring our world’s precious ecosystems.

Kevin McDonald Novato explains that restoration projects are designed to provide re-vegetation, habitat enhancement, remediation and mitigation. He says that most restoration projects are geared toward creating ecosystems with their native species. Other types of restoration projects are designed to serve specific functions, like preventing erosion or improving pollination.

“There’s no better time than now to start restoring destroyed ecosystems,” Kevin McDonald Novato says. “The longer we wait to start restoring, the bigger, more time consuming and more costly the projects become.”

Kevin McDonald Novato explains that ecosystem restoration offers countless benefits for the environment and humans as well. Improved carbon storage and superior water quality are just two of the many perks humans and all creatures will see when ecosystems are restored. Kevin McDonald Novato adds that certain species of animals can be saved from extinction and events like flooding can be deterred.

“The benefits of ecological restoration are numerous for plants, animals and humans,” Kevin McDonald Novato says. “The work we do to protect our ecosystems will benefit us as well. It’s a total win-win.”

Kevin McDonald Novato adds that waiting too long to restore ecosystems can put them beyond repair. As global temperatures rise, certain plant and animal species may not survive in areas where they once thrived. He explains that if we don’t repair the ecosystems now, they may never be reparable.

Conservation enthusiasts like Kevin McDonald Novato are constantly working to tackle the wide range of projects that make up the concept of ecosystem restoration. He has worked to replant native species of wildflowers in grasslands and removed unwanted weeds and non-native species. He has helped revegetate disturbed areas, helping prevent unnatural erosion and more.

“I don’t think we will ever be able to stop these restoration projects, with industries constantly expanding and global temperatures on the rise,” Kevin McDonald Novato says. “We understand that ecological restoration is constantly a work in progress, and those of us who care, will never stop working to protect earth’s plants, animals and ecosystems.”

Teacher and Wildlife Conservation Enthusiast Kevin McDonald Novato Discusses the Ecological Benefits of Wildflowers

Monday, May 11, 2020 8:50 AM

Teacher and wildlife conservation enthusiast Kevin McDonald Novato discusses the ecological benefits of planting wildflowers. 

NOVATO, CA / MAY 11, 2020 / Immaculate lawns and other green spaces have been an American goal for decades. However, wildlife conservation enthusiasts like Kevin McDonald Novato are expressing the importance of wildflower growth for the environment, insects, and other wildlife. Kevin McDonald Novato recently discussed the ecological benefits of wildflower growth and why we should do our part to maintain or even develop new wildflower-rich areas.

Enthusiasts like Kevin McDonald explain that wildflowers provide many natural things insects need to survive. These items range from pollen, nectar, and leaves consumed as food to areas for breeding and protection from predators.

“Wildflowers are beneficial to insects, which means they’re also beneficial to all other creatures,” Kevin McDonald Novato says. “The insects are consumed by bats, birds, reptiles, and more. These creatures are then consumed by mammals, and the circle of life continues.”

Kevin McDonald also states that wildflowers benefit the environment even when they’re not in bloom. The seeds can be a necessary food source for small mammals, birds, and insects trying to survive in the winter months. Even more, Kevin McDonald Novato explains the roots of the wildflowers stabilize the soil surrounding them, keeping the soil healthy.

Conservation enthusiasts like Kevin McDonald Novato explain that growing a meadow of wild flowers in your yard or somewhere in need is a low-maintenance way to beautify outdoor space. He and other wildlife enthusiasts understand wildflower meadows can’t exist everywhere, especially in urban areas, but they express that even growing wildflowers in small spaces can benefit the area’s environment greatly.

“Wildflowers benefit the environment in countless ways, but they also benefit us as humans,” Kevin McDonald says. “They keep the food chain functioning properly, stabilize soil so toxic algae doesn’t spread into our water, and they’re pleasing to the eye.”

Kevin McDonald Novato explains that wildflowers can benefit the physical and mental well-being of humans. Seeing a gorgeous plot of wildflower in the city will surely bring about more positive feelings than seeing a slab of concrete or dirt. He adds that cultivating a wildflower garden is a simpler way to enjoy many of the perks of having a garden.

“Creating a natural garden, whether in a city, the countryside, or your backyard, offers a low-maintenance way to experience the joys of gardening,” Kevin McDonald Novato says. “Even the elderly or those with limited mobility can enjoy this simple way of gardening that still offers the joys of learning and watching your beautiful plants grow.”

Kevin McDonald Novato Writes Book for Young Readers

Tin Can Sailors Save The Day by Kevin McDonald of Novato Describes the USS Johnston and the WW II Battle of Samar

The USS Johnston was one of the Taffy Three, a group of American warships under siege by the Japanese in the battle off Samar in the Phillippines on Oct. 25, 1944. Although the Americans were taken by surprise, the battle resulted in a U.S. victory.

Kevin McDonald Novato, a high school teacher at Terra Linda High School in Santa Rosa, has written the book to honor veterans and to tell how the USS Johnston helped save the Taffy Three. Kevin McDonald tells the story through the eyes of three men aboard that ship, Captain Ernest Evans, Gunnery Officer Bob Hagen, and Seaman First Class Dusty Rhodes.

“World War II has fascinated me ever since I was a child,” says Kevin McDonald Novato. He has always been interested in the ships and artillery used, as well as in the men, barely out of high school, who fought. Kevin McDonald Novato chose these three men because he wanted to present the battle through the eyes of men of different ranks and also because of the information available on them. A significant amount of material existed on Evans and Hagen; Rhodes was still alive and could be interviewed, Kevin McDonald Novato said.

In addition to having written the book, Kevin McDonald Novato, also has given talks to high school students about how to write a biography, using Tin Can Soldiers Save the Day as an example.

Kevin McDonald Novato has been a teacher for more than 20 years. Before Terra Linda, Kevin taught in Santa Rosa City Schools. He also has taught in the Novato United School District. He has taught math, science, language arts, and history, as well as designed curriculum for these subjects. While most of his career has been in California, he also taught English to students in Japan for 3 1/2 years. He also is a philanthropist. One charity he supports is Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, where his father, the late Dr. John L. McDonald founded the first emergency room in Sonoma County.Kevin McDonald of Novato also spoke at the dedication of a new emergency room and trauma center named for his father. Dr. McDonald, who also founded REACH Air Medical Services, served in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Kevin McDonald also is a member of the USS Johnston/Hoel Association.

Born and raised in Santa Rosa, Kevin McDonald attended Carleton College in Minnesota where he played soccer and worked in the arboretum. He is still an avid soccer player and coach.

Tin Can Soldiers Save the Day by Kevin McDonald is available on Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Hellgate Press.

Kevin McDonald Novato Explains The 5 Key Changes That Are Transforming Education Right Now

Kevin McDonald Novato Explains The 5 Key Changes That Are Transforming Education Right Now  

Kevin McDonald of Novato explains the five key changes that are transforming education for teachers and students right now.

NOVATO, CA / APRIL 30, 2020 / The education system in the United States is constantly changing. California teacher Kevin McDonald of Novato explains that the year 2020 has brought about a number even more unique changes, mostly due to an exponential growth in the use of technology.

Kevin McDonald Novato explains that technology has drastically revolutionized all industries, and education is one of those sectors where students, teachers, and parents are seeing drastic changes. One of the most impressive technological advancements Kevin McDonald has seen is the addition of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in classrooms. He explains that these next-level technologies, like AI-enabled software can understand and adapt to each student’s unique abilities. The use of AI in learning environments is expected to increase by roughly 50 percent in the next year.

“Many times, as humans, we’re resistant to technological changes,” Kevin McDonald Novato says. “But the changes associated with AI are going to provide a higher quality education for everyone, especially kids who may need special attention in some areas.”

Kevin McDonald Novato explains that another major change in the education system is increased accessibility for students with disabilities. Technology has made text-to-voice and voice-to-text opportunities drastically more available. Tech-driven learning tools are making receiving a quality education more accessible for kids who may have difficulty with sight, hearing, or speech.

According to Kevin McDonald Novato and other teachers, immersive and experiential learning are growing as well. These types of education are more specifically preparing kids for certain needs in the workforce. These preparations are expected to help conquer challenges met across numerous industries. Many times, these changes are seen more at a high school or university level, as these are the students currently preparing to enter the workforce.

“We’re also seeing a major shift toward personalized learning,” Kevin McDonald Novato says. “Technology has made it possible to tailor education to suit and individual student, through tech-enabled programs, devices, and more.”

Finally, Kevin McDonald Novato explains that one of the most impressive changes he has seen in 2020, is the push toward lifelong learning. McDonald explains that education isn’t just stopping at the high school or university levels. He’s seeing his students develop a new, more flexible outlook on learning, which they can carry into the jobs they eventually acquire in life.

“We’re seeing students who are more agreeable to learning new technologies and skills, and this, I think, is going to benefit society greatly,” Kevin McDonald Novato finishes. “This new generation entering the workforce is one that’s eager to learn new abilities on the job, and that eagerness gives me a lot of hope for the future.”