2019 Lighthouse Lecture Series

Point Arena Lighthouse is pleased to present the sixth season of the popular Lighthouse Lecture Series. Each presentation takes place in the Fog Signal Building Museum on the third Saturday of the month and features a local naturalist, historian, volunteer or expert presenting on topics of public interest relevant to the Lighthouse or our area. Lectures in September through May will begin at 4 p.m. lectures in June through August will begin at 5 p.m.  All lectures last approximately one hour. Lighthouse volunteer extraordinaire Kitty Wolfe put together this great lineup for this year:

Saturday, January 19, 4 p.m.  – CANCELLED due to illness

Saturday, February 16, 4 p.m. – Robin Joy Wellman on California Collection – The Project of the Sonoma- Mendocino Artifacts in St. Petersburg Kunstkamera – Presented

Saturday, March 16, 4 p.m. – Sara Bogard on Open Space Preserved: Harbor Seals and other Inhabitants of the Point Arena Lighthouse and the Point Arena/Stornetta Public Lands – Presented

Saturday, April 20, 4 p.m. – Katy Tahja on Emily Fish Introduces Lady Lighthouse Keepers! Presented

Saturday, May 18, 4 p.m. – Dr. Nancy R. Morin on Plants of the Mendonoma Coast–what have we learned, and what mysteries remain? Presented

Saturday, June 15 – Scott Mercer on Large Baleen Whales of the Local Coast Presented

Saturday, July 13 – Michael B. Combs on Point Arena in the 1950’s – Growing Up in a Beehive of Activity Presented

Saturday, August 17, 5 p.m. – Eric Wilder – Kashaya Pomo Song Story Presented

Saturday, September 21, 4 p.m. – Doug Forsell on Birds and Mammals of the Eastern Aleutian Islands, or why Tufted Puffins are the Coolest Seabirds

Saturday, October 19, 4 p.m. – Judy Bryan Mello on Those Horses in Striped Pajamas. Meet the Zebra at B Bryan Preserve

Saturday, November 16, 4 p.m. – Jeanne Jackson on The Fascinating World of Fungi

Saturday, December 21, 4 p.m. – Lisa Mortimeyer-Giacomini on Superfoods on our Coast – Hunting, Gathering, Cooking, Preserving

Admission to all lectures is $5 per person (except October 19 lecture by Judy Bryan Mello, see details in Future Lectures below), with the proceeds benefiting the Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers, Inc.  To make reservations or for more information on our lecture series and other special events, see our Calendar of Events or call the Lighthouse at 707-882-2809 extension 1.

2020 Lighthouse Lecture Series

A big Lighthouse Thank You to Kitty Wolfe for putting together the fantastic 2019 Lecture Series slate of presenters and for coming up another stellar line up for 2020!  Topics will be added as the presenters provide their information.
Saturday, January 18 – Merita Whatley on Saving a Lighthouse and a Landscape
Saturday, February 15 – Robin Joy Wellman
Saturday, March 21 – Sara Bogard
Saturday, April 18 – Scott Mercer
Saturday, May 16  – Michael Combs
Saturday, June 20  – Richard Sequest
Saturday, July 18 – Katy Tahja
Saturday, August 15 – Mark Hancock on 5 Years on the Light Station
Saturday, September 19 – Eric Wilder
Saturday, October 17  – Scott Sewell
Saturday, November 21  – Lauren Sinnott
Saturday, December 19 – Marlene Padilla

Spotlight On Our Next Lecture

On Saturday, September 21 at 4 p.m. local naturalist Doug Forsell will present “Birds and Mammals of the Eastern Aleutian Islands, or why Tufted Puffins are the Coolest Seabirds” as part of the Lighthouse Lecture Series.  Admission is $5 and the lecture will be presented in the Fog Signal Building at 45500 Lighthouse Road, Point Arena.

Doug spent the summers of 1980 and 1981 as part of a team of four biologists surveying the Eastern Aleutian Islands by Zodiac inflatable boats. Our mission was to accurately estimate the distribution and abundance of nesting seabirds to prioritize acquisition of islands for incorporation into the Aleutian Islands National Wildlife Refuge, and to identify important seabird colonies so the areas surrounding them could be excluded from planned offshore oil leases. They estimated almost 2 million seabirds nested there, including three of the four largest colonies of tufted puffins and probably over one third of the world population.

This talk is not just about the incredible wildlife and scenery of the Aleutians, but also how we estimate seabird numbers, the trials and tribulations of working in a very inhospitable environment, and the secret nightlife of tufted puffins.

Doug Forsell has studied waterbirds for over 45 years. He received his Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Humboldt State University, where he studied the predatory efficiency and energetics of wintering belted kingfishers along the Mad River. He worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1976 until his retirement in 2012. He spent ten years in Alaska primarily studying the at sea distribution and abundance of marine birds, but he also worked on their food habits, colony surveys in the Aleutian Islands, mortality of seabirds in high seas Japanese gillnet fisheries, and recovery efforts of the then endangered Aleutian cackling goose. He co-authored a techniques manual for shipboard surveys, a publication on the winter distribution and abundance of wintering seabirds of Kodiak Island, and an atlas of the at sea distribution of seabirds in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea.

He spent four years as the refuge manager and biologist of five remote tropical Pacific islands where he studied the breeding biology of 12 species of tropical seabirds and monitored wintering green sea turtles and reef fishes. Living on Johnston Atoll, he also monitored contaminants in reef biota and sought to mitigate the effects of 1,300 people sharing one square mile of land with over 250,000 seabirds.

Doug moved to the Chesapeake Bay area in 1990, where he worked to implement the Waterfowl Management Plan of the Chesapeake Bay Program. His major activities involved interpretation of waterfowl population trends and habitat requirements, surveys of waterbirds in offshore waters, assessing the mortality of waterbirds in anchored gillnets, modeling diving duck distributions, and identifying and mitigating threats to birds and their habitats. In his last few years he worked on seawatches and aerial winter waterbird surveys of offshore Atlantic coastal waters to better define the numbers and movements of coastal birds to mitigate the effects of sand mining, entanglement in fishing gear, and wind power development.

Doug retired in 2012, and moved to the Mendocino Coast south of Point Arena where he spends his time conducting monthly bird and mammal surveys on 9 beaches, and working on various citizen science projects such as the Sonoma County Breeding Bird Atlas, monitoring cormorant productivity, and searching for marbled murrelet nest areas.

Future Lectures

On Saturday, October 19 at 4 p.m Judy Bryan Mello will present “Those Horses in Striped Pajamas. Meet the Zebra at B Bryan Preserve” as part of the Lighthouse Lecture Series.

Ever wondered why Zebra have stripes? Did you know there are different species of zebra? Are they black with white stripes or white with black stripes? This presentation will highlight the visual differences in the three species, discuss their nasty behaviors and their plight in their native lands of Africa. The 110 acre B Bryan Preserve in Point Arena is one of a few places in the United States that house all three species of zebra.

B Bryan Preserve was founded in Point Arena in 2004 by owners Dr. Frank Mello and Judy Bryan Mello. BBP is one of a handful of private facilities certified by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The facility is known for their breeding of Roan, Sable and Greater Kudu antelope, three species of Zebra as well as a bachelor group of male Nubian giraffe. Recent additions to the preserve are a herd of Black Wildebeest and African Cape Buffalo.  The Preserve is open for visits daily by advance reservation. They also offer lodging in cottages on property.

Judy and her husband Frank are the owners of B Bryan Preserve.  Frank is originally from California and met Judy in Mississippi through work. In 1998, Frank went to West Texas and fell in love with Sable antelope, so much so that he brought some back to Judy’s family ranch in Mississippi. That was the beginning of B Bryan Preserve. In 2004, Frank retired from corporate life and Judy had an opportunity to move out West with her work. They loaded up 11 animals and moved to their new home in Point Arena. B Bryan Preserve is one of the few private facilities that is certified as a related facility with the American Zoological Association and now houses over 65 animals – Endangered Grevy’s, Hartmann’s and Mountain Zebra, Sable, Roan and Kudu antelope and a bachelor herd of the endangered Nubian Giraffe. In addition to her work at the Preserve Judy still has her corporate job that requires weekly travel and serves on the board of the Point Arena Merchants Association (PAMA).

For this Lecture Series presentation only the admission will be $7.50 per person, but that will include one raffle ticket.  Judy will be offering a raffle prize of a two person B Bryan Preserve tour and goodie bag ($150 value) to benefit the Lighthouse. Additional raffle tickets to improve your chances of winning are $5 each or five for $20.  Drawing will be held at the conclusion of the lecture and you must be present to win. 

Photo by Craig Tooley

On Saturday, November 16  at 4 p.m. Jeanne Jackson will present “The Fascinating World of Fungi as part of the Lighthouse Lecture Series.

Mendonoma Sightings author Jeanne Jackson, joined by fungi foragers Hal Ferguson and Catherine Miller, will present a slideshow of edible and non-edible mushrooms that grow on the Mendonoma Coast. You will learn some of the basics of foraging, a fun activity for the entire family. This lecture will be perfect for beginning foragers.

Photo by Craig Tooley

Fungus has symbiotic relationships with various trees. You will learn which type of tree you might hope to find a particular type of mushroom, when the first mushrooms appear and what time of the year various edibles appear.  If the first edible mushrooms have appeared in time for this presentation a tasting will be provided. Recipes for some of the most common edibles will also be shared.

Jeanne moved to the coast 21 years ago from the San Francisco Bay Area where she grew up. 11 years ago she queried Editor/Publisher of the Independent Coast Observer, J. Stephen McLaughlin, about writing a column where people share their nature sightings. Jackson’s popular column has expanded to be one full page (and sometimes more). To further share the many photos she receives every week, she started a daily Sightings blog from her website www.mendonomasightings.com. Jeanne enjoys hiking with her husband, Richard, and their rescue golden retriever, Sunny, believing that her connection with Nature adds immensely to her life.

On Saturday, December 21 at 4 p.m.  Lisa Giacomini  will present  “Superfoods on our Coast – Hunting, Gathering, Cooking, Preserving”  as part of the Lighthouse Lecture Series.

Superfoods are foods that are nutritionally dense in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and flavor. These “free”, natural and organic foods exist everywhere in our coastal environment. This series will talk about where to hunt for them, how to gather or catch it, cook it, store it and preserve them.  We will cover ocean to mountains between the shoreline and the ridgelines near Point Arena. This presentation is a list of tips and tricks to make your outdoor life fun and healthier here on the South Coast.  Lisa is a firm believer that food is medicine and will also touch on how nutrition from these Superfoods wards off everything from heart disease to cancer. This series is not intended to impart too much science, but more about how to find, prepare and enjoy many different types of wild foods found here.

Lisa is the owner of Giacomini Specialty Products, known locally as Baby Tomato which is also a trademark and brand. Baby Tomato also does private events, personal chef, medicinal foods for clients, event planning, and fundraising for non-profits and all things “food”. All Baby Tomato foods are made with the freshest, most local and seasonal foods of the coast whenever possible. Lisa is a 30 year experienced free diver, hunter and avid outdoors person and helps others to develop the skills they need to thrive here.