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Naturalist Notes

Webinar Series


From pinnipeds to plovers, from lace lichens to the magical mosaic of our dune flora, the nature of our coast holds a world of wonder. Explore Naturalist Notes Webinar Series! Watch experts talk about some of the captivating creatures and fantastic flora of California’s Northcoast dunes.

Orange-Red, Yellow-Red: The Oldest Western Snowy Plover on Record

Mark Colwell, PhD

Mark Colwell is a Professor in the Wildlife Department at Humboldt State University. He has studied shorebirds for 40 years, including a 20-yr study of the local population of the Snowy Plover. To kick off the Naturalist Notes Webinar Series, Professor Colwell will share the story of the oldest Snowy Plover on record, Orange-Red, Yellow-Red (OR:YR), a male that hatched on the ocean-fronting beach near Table Bluff in 2001. What can OR:YR tell us about the conservation challenges of this threatened, ground-nesting shorebird? Tune in to find out!

Ethnobotany of Humboldt's Coastal Environments

Adam Canter

The Humboldt Bay, or Wigi (pronounced wee-gee), sits at the heart of Wiyot Country, and the coastal environments surrounding Humboldt Bay support an abundance of plants that have been used for food, medicine, ceremonies, basketry, and building materials since time immemorial. Ethnobotany is the study of the traditional knowledge and uses of plants, and it’s a field that Adam Canter has been studying for 7 years as a Botanist with the Wiyot Tribe. Adam has worked as a biologist on the north coast for 16 years, including as a botanist at the Lanphere Dunes Unit of the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, making him the perfect guide for a botanical journey into the culturally significant plants of the Humboldt Bay area and stories of how the Wiyot Tribe is helping conserve these native species.

Introduction to Lichens of the Dunes

Loriel Caverly

Humboldt County is home to a diverse array of lichens, and our coastal dunes are no exception. Join us for an introduction to the lichen genera of the Lanphere and Ma-le’l dune forests with Loriel Caverly, a Certified California Naturalist, Botanist, and Lichen Enthusiast. Whether you are a long-time admirer of lichens or are just learning about these fascinating and beautiful composite organisms, we think you’ll take a liking to this topic.

Pinnipeds of the California Coast

Claire Nasr

Pinnipedia, derived from the Latin words pinna (fin or flipper) and ped (foot), is a suborder of aquatic carnivorous mammals containing seals and sea lions. Claire Nasr, Biologist and California Sea Grant Fellow, has been studying these flipper-footed creatures for 10 years and her enthusiasm for these charismatic marine mammals is contagious. Learn the difference between a seal and a sea lion, how deep an Elephant Seal can dive, and why you shouldn’t take a selfie with any of them as we dive into the fascinating world of California’s pinniped species.

Introduction to Native Bees of the Dunes

 Brian Dykstra

Did you know there are over 40 species of bees found in Humboldt’s coastal dunes? Many of these bees are native and solitary, meaning they don’t live in a hive like honey bees do. Learn about native bee biology and ecology, and how to observe native bees in the dunes with Brian Dykstra, an Instructor with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Humboldt State University, founder of the Native Bee Society, and farmer at Bee Friendly Farm in Willow Creek. Brian will discuss how a unique group of native bees supports the unique flora of the dunes, and how native bees of the dune ecosystem are a reflection of the problems facing and solutions for helping native bees in other ecosystems.

Coastal Vulnerabilities and Resilience of Humboldt's Dune-Beach Systems

Ian Walker, PhD

Ian Walker is a Professor of Geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara specializing in the geomorphology of beaches and dunes, aeolian (windblown) sediment transport, coastal erosion, and dune restoration. Professor Walker has worked on beach-dune dynamics in the Humboldt Bay region since 2013 and most recently through his work on the Humboldt Coastal Resilience Project studying sediment transport and geomorphic changes in the beach-dune barrier systems of the Eureka Littoral Cell, a 32-mile stretch of sandy coastline from Moonstone Beach to Centerville Beach. During the final installment of the Naturalist Notes Webinar Series, Professor Walker will present initial results from the ongoing Humboldt Coastal Resilience Project assessment and discuss impacts of sea-level rise and extreme storm events on Humboldt’s Coastal Dunes.

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