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Calendar: Speaker Series

| July/August | September | October | November | December |

These free monthly programs feature scientists, photographers, authors, international travelers and others speaking on a wide range of topics related to birds and their environment.

Both members and non-members are invited to attend, but we encourage you to become a supporting member so we can continue this popular Speaker Series.

Time and Place: The programs are usually held on the third Wednesday of the month, except for December, July, and August. Unless otherwise noted, all meetings are held at

Cubberley Community Center, Room H1
4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto
(see street view map or map PDF)

Refreshments at 7:30 PM, program at 8 PM

July and August 2016

There are no programs in July and August. But our Nature Shop and Headquarters (get directions) are open! Join one of our other events going on this summer. Our Speaker Series resumes in September.

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September 2016

Wet and Dry: The Two Seasons of The Serengeti's "Great Migration"
Doug Cheeseman
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Doug Cheeseman Zebra Kori Bustard
Doug Cheeseman, Zebra Foal, Kori Bustard

Serengeti, a word from the Masai, translates to "Endless Plain." If you are always migrating clockwise as three to four million migratory herbivores do in the Serengeti eco-system, it is endless! Wildebeest calving in February and March in the Ndutu area (the heart of the short grass plains full of calcium) is a big highlight in the wet season versus the dry season highlight of masses to the north over the Mara River in July/August from Tanzania to Kenya and back again! Cheetah moms who follow the herds seem to time their newborns along with the many wildebeest calving. Doug will cover the movements of predators and prey, the changes in bird populations in the two seasons, and the survival strategies through the dry season for the non-migratory animals. He will explain some of the fascinating behaviors that keep this perpetually moving circle going featuring his photos taken while leading many safaris during both seasons. Wildebeest migrate by scent during the night and show up overnight on pastures where it has rained the previous day. Grass stays tall along the Mara River most of the year until herds arrive and mow it down in the dry season. Eventually it rains again on the short grass plains in the southern Serengeti and flocks of birds arrive on their wintering grounds. The wildebeest and zebra herds depart from the northern Serengeti where the Mara River sustains them and head south again. The Tommies and Eland return to the plains from the woodlands. Every year is different. Sometimes both the short rains of Nov/Dec and the long rains of Mar/Apr/May fail producing a severe drought year. What happens then? They have to be as resilient as humans.

Doug Cheeseman has been leading safari to Africa since the 70s, his first one to Kenya in August 1978 during the peak of the great migration in Kenya's Masai Mara. He has experienced vast changes from the 70s to the present, including severe drought with dust filled roads to El Nino years struggling to drive down the muddy roads. So far this miraculous ecosystem has remained intact!

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October 2016

Searching for Gold Spot: The Wild That Follows Fire
Maya Khosla
Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Maya Khosla Black-backed Woodpecker Black-backed Woodpecker
Maya Khosla and Black-backed Woodpeckers

Many people believe that forests are destroyed after wildfire – so they are logged. Searching for Gold Spot is a film about the amazing comeback of life in burned areas that are allowed to regenerate. Maya follows scientists and firefighters through the Sierra Nevada, the Cascades Mountains and beyond. She raises important issues in her 21 minute film featuring rare Black-backed Woodpeckers native to the Sierra Nevada-Cascades Region. Their nesting cavities are vital for a host of other birds and small mammals. While searching for woodpeckers, the research team also found deer, bears, sapsuckers, bluebirds, wrens, and species of raptors in these post-fire forests. Forests that experienced fire are vibrant, dazzling, full of life and rapidly regenerating; they are the "new old growth". Blending a visually exquisite celebration of wilderness with the challenges involved with saving it, Searching for Gold Spot raises important questions about conservation of the wild as we know it.

Maya Khosla is the author of Keel Bone (Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize) and Web of Water: Life in Redwood Creek. Support for Searching for Gold Spot was made possible by grant awards from the Sacramento Audubon Society and Patagonia. She produced award-winning documentary films and hopes to create a full length film on life in forests after wildlife. "Fire Works" published by the Society of Conservation Biology covers their study protocols.​

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November 2016

A Naturalist's Guide to Washington's Olympic Peninsula
Ken Campbell
Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Olympic Marmots Black-tailed Deer Ken and Mary Campbell
Olympic Marmots, Black-tailed Deer, Ken and Mary Campbell

Take a photographic tour of Washington's Olympic Peninsula with Ken Campbell to see and learn about some of the best places to view the amazing diversity of habitats and wildlife. The Olympic Peninsula has two National Wildlife Refuges, a National Marine Sanctuary, a National Forest and a National Park. With nearly 3600 square miles to explore, the Peninsula has glacier covered mountains, magnificent old-growth forests, temperate rain forests, alpine meadows, high alpine lakes, free-flowing salmon rivers, beautiful waterfalls, miles of rugged undeveloped coastline, and the biologically diverse Strait of Juan de Fuca. Though the area is known for its precipitation with the west side receiving nearly 200 inches per year, the area in the rain shadow on the east side receives less than 20 inches. The variety of ecosystems and diverse climate create an environment that is home to a unique mix of flora and fauna.

Ken Campbell is a world class woodworker and fly rod craftsman from New Hampshire who loves birding, as well as the whole natural world. Ken and Mary Campbell do a lot of volunteer work in Olympia National Park from their home now in Port Angeles, Washington. They traveled the world to all seven continents in search of extraordinary wildlife and received numerous awards for their photography. They focus on capturing wildlife in action or reflecting the natural beauty of the world around them. Ken has taught photography classes and was a judge for New England Camera Club competitions. They have had photographs published in local and national magazines, brochures and calendars and provide presentations to many community groups.

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December 2016

There is no program in December. Please stop by our Nature Shop and Headquarters (get directions) to do your holiday shopping in our wonderful Nature Shop.

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