“Recently, I was standing on top of an ATV, collecting lace lichen from the branches of an oak tree for a project,” Sally Isaacson recalled. “I had a big dog named Lola with me. She started barking and suddenly backed up very quickly. I heard noises in the brush, and soon Lola went in and came out with a fresh deer leg.” Living near Gaviota has given Isaacson glimpses of rare wildlife, like the mountain lion she and Lola encountered. It’s an awareness the botanist refined wandering the Irish countryside as a girl among the flowers and wild animals. “Lately, my passion has been teaching my little granddaughter about animals and plants,” Isaacson said, a sense of wonder and adventure that sparks her Backyard Wildlife column, found here.