Time: Refreshments at 7:00PM; program at 7:30PM
Speaker: John Richardson
Topic: Alexander Humboldt's Web of Life - Birds of Colombia and Ecuador
Green-and-gold Tanager - Copalinga
Rainbow Starfrontlet (Coeligena iris) - Utuana, Ecuador
White-tailed Jay - Jorupe
Description: Alexander Humboldt traveled in northern South America for almost five years from 1799-1804, meeting Thomas Jefferson in Washington before returning to Europe. His many scientific observations at all geographical elevations of living organisms contributed to his theory of the unity of nature - a holistic method of combining geology, geography, magnetism, volcanism, botany, biology, meteorology, and how everything interacts. He was the first to recognize human induced climate change. He is the father of the field of biogeography and geomagnetics and modern meteorology. His body of work throughout his life was staggering and without peer. More places and species are named after Humboldt than after any other human being. I tried to follow some of his path in Colombia, Ecuador, and into Peru over the past few years. We'll cover a snapshot of his life and contributions, and weave in some avian species he may have seen during his travels.
After receiving both a BS in Biology and BA in History, John Richardson entered the world with both eyes open. Being inquisitive and observant comes naturally to him. His keen interest in photographing landscapes and people over the years made him aware that the human condition, especially in developing countries where over-population and environmental degradation is rampant, was placing a great strain on the environment and climate. Unfortunately most of the remaining Biological Hotspots of the natural world we inherited are found in these countries, many of which tend to be unstable and easily manipulated by big money. John has committed himself, through his photography, to capture images of birds, reptiles, mammals, amphibians, and insects - especially those which are extremely threatened. By bringing these species alive in their stunning colors and vivid displays, he hopes to inspire others. Alexander von Humboldt greatly inspired John, like he did to so many others before examining the Web of Life all around us.