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Oakmont Sunday Symposium

Oakmont Berger Center

Sunday February 3rd 2019 - 10:30am to

Science in focus at Sunday Symposium

Oakmont's Sunday Symposium meets every Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-noon, at the Berger Center. A $3 donation is suggested. All Oakmont residents and their guests are welcome. For more information, go to

Feb. 3 - “Darwin and San Francisco: The 1905 Galapagos voyage you never heard about,” by Matthew James

In 1906, eight sailor-scientists from the California Academy of Sciences completed one of the most important expeditions in the history of evolutionary and conservation science. They validated the ideas of Charles Darwin and brought back over 78,000 artifacts and specimens. Despite its significance, this important expedition received no extended written treatment. Dr. Matthew James will tell the story of why they went, what they did and why their work is still important for us today.

James, a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences and Professor of Geology and Paleontology at Sonoma State University, has been writing about the Galapagos Islands in historical, scientific and research capacities for over 35 years. He is also interested in woodworking, wood turning on a lathe, and Japanese woodworking tools and techniques. Each academic year, James undertakes several expedition-style field trips with students to places such as the Burgess Shale fossil deposits in Canada, the Death Valley area, and throughout Nevada.

Feb. 10 “The Owls of Sonoma County,” by Mary Blake

Did you know that owls have amazing eyesight, with some being able to detect a vole up to a half-mile away? Did you know that some owls have asymmetrical ears allowing them acute hearing? Did you know that owls are zygodactl, meaning that their feet have two forward-facing toes and two backward-facing toes? Did you know that owls keep balance in the food chain by eating rodents that prey on the farmers' crops? After her presentation, Mary Blake will bring out a great horned owl and a Western screech owl. Both have been injured and cannot survive in the wild.

After retiring from a career in project leadership and production management, Blake developed her interest in owls, volunteering for 14 years at WildCare, a wildlife rehabilitation and environmental education facility helping feed and care for injured, sick and orphaned wildlife. She currently volunteers for the Hungry Owl Project where she takes owls to visit schools and other organizations, helping introduce children and adults to these special birds.

All Oakmont residents and their guests are welcome.

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