Wildlife Ponder and Dragonfly Expert
Kathy Biggs
Sebastopol & McCloud, California, USA

Click images to enlarge


In 1995 I read an article in the local Sebastopol newspaper showing how you could change your swimming pool into a garden pond. Our children had left home and I was tired of putting chlorine in and taking leaves out of the pool, and I loved ponds. Why not, I thought! 

After researching ponds that winter, we built the pond in 1996. Having been a nature lover all my life, and an active birder, I decided that this pond should be for the wildlife, not for exotic koi or even for goldfish, neither of which is native to our area.  

Our swimming pool was an above ground “Doughboy” with a 24-foot (7.3-meter) diameter. We took down the metal sides and sold them and the pump and filtration system. We left the blue swimming pool liner in the ground, and where the dug-in deep end of the pond had been, we now had a pond -- but with a blue liner. You can read all about our pool's transformation into a wildlife pond by clicking here.

Creating the pond turns out to be one of the most wonderful things I’ve ever done. After researching the native water plants in our area, we added a dozen or so of various species to the pond. Literally, within hours, the wildlife began to visit. We’ve recorded 55 species of birds, 25 butterfly species, 26 dragonfly species, and almost a dozen mammals. Click here to see a list of the wildlife that have visited the pond with photo links. 

The gorgeous dragonflies especially captivated us with their beautiful colors and amazing antics. As a birder, I was used to making lists of what I saw, but I soon discovered that there were no guides to the dragonflies. The short story is, I ended up writing one! It began as an on-line guide to California’s dragonflies and has evolved over the years into two dragonfly websites, three dragonfly guides, one dragonfly coloring book, and a publishing company, Azalea Creek Publishing. We now publish not only our own books, but co-publish books for others. Clicking here will take you to our Southwestern USA dragonfly website.

We now have two ponds as we’ve put in a pond at our McCloud home we’re building for our retirement. It’s in far northern California, on the southeast sides of Mt. Shasta. I just can’t imagine living without a pond! Click here to visit our Shasta pond.

We’d like to encourage you to consider building a pond for wildlife. 

Kathy’s love of dragonflies led her to become the author of California’s first dragonfly guide, published in 2000, Common Dragonflies of California. It sold out at over 14,000 copies and the new revision and complete update of this guide is just now available - published May 2009. 

She is also the author of a Southwest dragonfly guide, Common Dragonflies of the Southwest. Her guides are pocket-sized and designed for the beginner. They feature large photos and succinct text, only describing the field marks needed for making identifications. They are conveniently sized for field work. 

Kathy wants to share her love of dragonflies and the outdoors not only with adults but also with children, so she co-authored the only dragonfly coloring book, Dragonflies of North America, Color and Learn, which is also available on a CD. The CD pages can be printed out multiple times or even “colored” on the computer screen using graphics programs! She’s found it appeals not only to children, but also to the adult “inner child”.

Kathy Biggs' Sebastopol and McCloud Wildlife Ponds

Dragonflies at the Water Garden
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