Join us this summer on Thursday evenings for our latest education series about Wetland Ecology. Meet local scientists and bird rehabilitators in the Bay Area and learn how to appreciate and protect a wide range of wetland habitats. And for parents interested in attending the course, we’ve created a way to share the learning with your kids! As part of the program this summer, we’ve created a partner Wetland Creatures series for children entering grades one through four which includes curriculum from our popular Natural Science Classroom program. Bring your child(ren) along with you to attend fun, wetland-inspired nature classes run by our youth education team while you learn from local experts!
WETLAND ECOLOGY SERIES SUMMARY
|Thursday, June 13, 4:30-6:00 p.m.||Wetland Bird Rehabilitation with JD Bergeron, Executive Director, International Bird Rescue (IBR)|
|Thursday, June 27, 4:30-6:00 p.m.||Salt Marsh Restoration with Marci Ekberg, Professor of Marine Biology, Diablo Valley College|
|Thursday, July 11, 4:30-6:00 p.m.||Wetland Flora and Fauna: Sketching and Monitoring with Virginia Guhin, Education coordinator, Elkhorn Slough ESNERR; Tascha Barnes, Education Manager, The Gardens at Heather Farm; and Ford Tivakul, nature photographer and sketch artist.|
Heather Farm Pond Birdwalk and Count with Rosalie Howarth, Public Outreach Coordinator, Mt. Diablo Audubon Society
|Thursday, July 25, 4:30-6:00 p.m.||Heather Farm Pond Birds with Noelle Pipa, Natural Science Teacher, The Gardens at Heather Farm|
|Thursday, August 1, 4:30-6:00 p.m.||Taking Action: Protecting Local Wetlands with Michael Vasey, Director, SF Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR)|
Full Five-Week Course: $90 Members / $100 Public
Wetland Creatures Add-On for Children: $75 per child
Class #1 on 6/13: Wetland Bird Rehabilitation with JD Bergeron, Executive Director, International Bird Rescue (IBR)
Topics: We will focus on the types of birds that travel through Rush Ranch and surrounding sloughs at different times of the year and the issues they face that bring them into the IBR. We will learn more about the types of training needed to get involved and support bird rescue and recovery. We will also learn how to support birds on an ongoing basis by appreciating their everyday behaviors and recognizing when to intervene when they are in need of rescue. A continuing theme between sessions will be pointing out the latest issues affecting wetlands and how to advocate for their health and resilience.
About the presenter: IBR’s mission is to inspire people to act toward balance with the natural world by rescuing waterbirds in crisis. We dream of a world in which every person, every day, takes action to protect the natural home of wildlife and ourselves. JD Bergergon was appointed Executive Director of International Bird Rescue in July 2015. JD brings a birder’s passion, a childlike delight in Nature, and a deep commitment to solving the world’s challenges in unconventional ways. He has 20 years of experience in not-for-profit leadership, international development, and organizational change. JDis the Founder of Chooda, which puts on Bike Zambia, a weeklong bicycle ride that raises funds and awareness for HIV/AIDS prevention and economic empowerment for girls and women in Zambia. He previously served in senior roles at Truelift, Kiva, Accion, and the U.S. Peace Corps. He is a graduate of Washington University in Saint Louis.
Wetland Creatures Add-On for Children: Nature Detectives/Water Birds
Class #2 on 6/27: Salt Marsh Restoration with Marci Ekberg, Professor of Marine Biology, Diablo Valley College
Topics: Marci will talk about salt marsh ecosystems and the work she has done on monitoring and restoring them on the East Coast. She will explain the range of water bodies found in wetlands and how salt marshes fit into this range. She will introduce us to local land, water and tidal changes that have become more extreme with global climate change. We will also emphasize the important plants and algae involved and their role in stabilizing healthy wetlands.
About the presenter: Marci has been teaching marine and environmental science at DVC since 2015. She has 12 years of experience monitoring and restoring salt marsh habitats on the East Coast. In her most recent study, she found that Sea Level Rise is becoming a more prominent factor impacting salt marsh health and resilience. She is looking at new ways of identifying this effect so scientists can include it as part of their regular monitoring efforts.
Wetland Creatures Add-On for Children: Wet & Wild
Class #3 on 7/11: Wetland Flora and Fauna: Sketching and Monitoring with Virginia Guhin, Education coordinator, Elkhorn Slough ESNERR; Tascha Barnes, Education Manager, The Gardens at Heather Farm; and Ford Tivakul, nature photographer and sketch artist. Heather Farm Pond Birdwalk and Count with Rosalie Howarth, Public Outreach Coordinator, Mt. Diablo Audubon Society
Topics: We will learn about common factors monitored in estuaries along the West Coast and the latest techniques used to detect the effects of climate change. We will be introduced to ecological interactions between animals and plants in these systems especially between the key species and invasive species commonly found in each. We will end the session with a bird count and review sketching techniques. We will practice noticing and capturing behaviors unique to wetland birds via sketching and photography with a birdwalk at Heather Farm Pond.
About the presenters: Tascha has been teaching science in the classroom for over 10 years and manager of the GHF education program for two years. Part of her masters program requirements included monitoring invasive species in the Elkhorn Slough. She will train in Padilla Bay, WA this summer and collaborate with Virginia from TOTE (Teachers on the Estuary) at Elkhorn Slough NERR to teach about the latest techniques used to monitor climate change effects on wetlands. Tascha’s husband, Ford, has been a photographer for over 20 years and has recently become a nature enthusiast through photography and sketching. Mt. Diablo Audubon Society is committed to the sustainable balance of our community’s people, birds, other wildlife, and habitat through conservation, education, and advocacy.
Wetland Creatures Add-On for Children: Nature Detectives/Adaptations
Class #4 on 7/25: Heather Farm Pond Birds with Noelle Pipa, Natural Science Teacher, The Gardens at Heather Farm
Topics: We will review the common birds and main bird types found at the Heather Farm pond. Students will identify various bird habitats around the pond and the types of birds typically found in each. We will discuss the ecological roles of different bird groups in wetland ecosystems including their key roles in reducing disease and maintaining the diversity of the plant and animal populations. We will follow up the class with our second monthly bird count.
About the presenter: Noelle has been teaching both adults and children natural science topics for more than two years. She has a bachelors in environmental science and has been promoting environmental awareness through classroom lessons, teacher training and the first adult birding series which she led at The Gardens at Heather Farm last summer.
Wetland Creatures Add-On for Children: Native Plants, Native People
Class #5 on 8/1: Taking Action: Protecting Local Wetlands with Michael Vasey, Director, SF Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR)
Topics: We will learn about our local estuarine reserve sites, Rush Ranch and China Camp, and what is being done to monitor and restore these sites. We will learn about the main issues impacting our local and coastal wetlands today. Finally, we will learn some basic ways to advocate for and support this precious ecosystem.
About the presenter: SF Bay NERR’s mission is to improve understanding and stewardship of estuaries with a broader relevance to the Bay Area ecosystems. The tidal marshes at Rush Ranch and China Camp are research sites for scientists, classrooms for teachers, land managers and naturalists, and inspiring places for Bay Area residents. Michael Vasey has managed two wetland sites in the Bay Area (China Camp State Park and Rush Ranch Open Space Preserve) for over six years. The information gathered at these sites assists scientists in monitoring changes throughout SF Bay wetlands and guides management efforts to research and restore these habitats.
Wetland Creatures Add-On for Children: Nature Advocates