Lighthouse Lecture Series

A big Lighthouse Thank You to Kitty Wolfe for putting together the last several years of fantastic Lecture Series presenters and for stepping up again in 2022 now that we can resume this popular program!  We have a schedule of lectures for the remainder of 2022, and as always the Lecture Series will be presented on the 3rd Saturday of the month in the Fog Signal Building Museum.  Summer lectures begin at 5 p.m., lectures the remainder of the year begin at 4 p.m.  Admission is $5 per person.

2022 Lighthouse Lecture Series

Saturday, August 20 at 5 p.m. – Mark Hancock on 5 7 Years on the Light Station
Saturday, September 17 at 4 p.m. – Katy Tahja on An Eclectic History of Mendocino County
Saturday, October 15 at 4 p.m. – Sara Bogard on Beyond Safe Havens 
November 19 at 4 p.m.  – Scott Sewell on Point Arena and the Mendocino Coast: How to See and Shoot the Coastal Landscape
Saturday, December 17 – Scott and Tree Mercer on HOW DO WE DO IT. WHY DO WE DO IT: Our Whale Monitoring Program From The Point Arena Lighthouse Peninsula

Saturday, August 20 at 5 p.m.

Mark Hancock – 5 7 Years on the Light Station

Originally scheduled for the actual 5 year anniversary of Mark’s time as the Executive Director of the Point Arena Light Station in August 2020, but cancelled due to the COVID-19 restrictions, this lecture will now cover his 7 years of service!  A humorous, poignant, informative and personal presentation of what it is like to run the 23 acre Light Station, Mark’s “stationary ship on the ocean.”  The presentation will include a slideshow of the diverse, beautiful, inspiring and fascinating things Mark has seen and experienced in his 7 years on the Light Station peninsula woven together with stories of the people, animals and experiences he has enjoyed.

Mark Hancock was born in Abington PA and moved to California in 1960.  Growing up mostly in Marin County he developed a love for the North Coast, driving his 1970 Camaro RS/SS up his favorite driveway, Highway 1, where he discovered the beauty of the Mendocino coast.  He had a varied 49 year career in the working world, starting as a janitor while still in High School, worked in credit card security at Crocker Bank where he was also instrumental in helping design the Crocker Bankcard debit card system.  He joined Pacific Bell as a Business Customer Service Rep in 1980 and moved into software application development and implementation over the next 10 years, and it is also where he met his wife of 38 years, Laverne.  He left Pacific Bell in 1990 to join a telecommunications software startup called Salestar as its third employee and was responsible for software design and requirements, Quality Assurance (QA) and testing, implementation, customer service, documentation and training and sales support.  Another software startup, Spear Technologies , hired  Mark as an Implementation Manager for its Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) software which was used by major mass transit organizations to manage the maintenance and materials provisioning for their fleets.  Mark rose to become Spear’s Director of Implementation and implemented Spear 2000 at San Francisco MUNI, Los Angeles Metro, samTrans, Utah Transit, San Joaquin Regional Transit District, Pierce Transit, New York City Transit Authority and Amtrak.  After Spear was purchased by another EAM company Mark formed his own consulting company, Pivotal Business Solutions (PBS), with his wife Laverne and his long time friend and business associate John Zacharakis.  PBS implemented an EAM system for the City & County of San Francisco’s (CCSF) Sign Shop and also supported other projects with CCSF and other clients.  A former associate of Mark’s that worked at Wells Fargo Internet reached out to him to join its QA team as its Test Data Manager, and Mark spent 4 1/2 years there.  Taking a downsizing package in 2011 allowed he and Laverne to finally move full time to Gualala, where they had bought a home in 2000.  While still working with PBS clients Mark became part of the coastal community by joining Gualala Arts as its Publicity Coordinator, a position he enjoyed for 4 years. When the Point Arena Lighthouse Keeper’s Inc. were looking for a new Executive Director in 2015 he applied and has been happily doing that job ever since.

Saturday, September 17 at 4 p.m.

Katy Tahja – An Eclectic History of Mendocino County

Historians are always gathering odd facts about subjects of interest and filing them away. Katy finally pulled them all out and with 100 photos made a 150 year history of the county 1852-2002. Her book, An Eclectic History of Mendocino County,  includes the natural world, native populations, industry and agriculture, social life, hippies, sports, roadside attractions, you name it – it might be in the book!  If you want to know what Winston Churchill was doing in the county in 1929, or where we had mud volcanos, or lady singing stagecoach drivers, or our own Miss America, or a spectacular plane crash, come to her lecture for some memorable facts about the county.

Katy Tahja is a retired librarian and an author of several books on north coast history. A Comptche resident for 47 years, her husband’s family has been on the coast since 1884.  She docents at the Kelley House Museum in Mendocino, and previously presented “Lady Lighthouse Keepers” as part of the Lighthouse Lecture Series in 2018.

Saturday, October 15 at 4 p.m.

Sara Bogard – Beyond Safe Havens

Sara Bogard’s presentation of  “Beyond Safe Havens” is a visual journey and accounting of the inhabitants, both resident and migratory, from her 2018-2022 surveys of the Point Arena Lighthouse and Stornetta Public Lands.

Sara is an ocean conservationist and citizen scientist. She shares her observations and photography with the community at large. As a volunteer, she collects data for the organizations she works with and is on call to assess and/or rescue marine mammals. Along with many volunteers on the coast, her goal is to support other marine conservation organizations to promote health and sustainability of pinniped populations in Northern California. She aspires to increase public awareness of the effects of human and current environmental factors which affect these populations and other marine life.

Her volunteer work spans across several organizations including:

The California Central Regional Harbor Seal Monitoring and Inventory Program coordinated with Point Reyes National Seashore

The Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary – Beach Watch Program

The Marine Mammal Center: Assessment, Rescue, Education, Public Relations

The Point Arena Lighthouse/Stornetta Public Lands: Weekly surveys

The Sea Ranch: Harbor Seal Docent during pupping season.

In addition she reports and photographs her sightings of live and/or dead marine mammals to other organizations which monitor marine mammals along the California coast such as the California Academy of Sciences and NOYO Center ’s Stranding Network, Golden Gate Cetacean Research, California Killer Whale Project, Mendonoma Whale and Seal.

Saturday, November 19 at 4 p.m.

Scott Sewell – Point Arena and the Mendocino Coast:  How to See and Shoot the Coastal Landscape

Winter’s Afterlight

Scott is an enthusiastic and talented photographer whose love of the land is woven throughout his work.  He will be sharing his approach to shooting the coastal landscape:

Introduction: a fantastic and unique landscape

Shooting conditions and tools: the weather, sun, tides, waves and apps to gauge them

Where to shoot, how to get there and what to expect

Your Eye: the keys to good landscape photography

The Finished Product: how to improve your shots after you’ve taken them

Scott Sewell is a photographer in love with the Pacific Coast, the High Sierra and Black and White photography. He is a fourth generation Californian whose grandfather was a forest ranger in the Central Sierra during the Great Depression. His mother, who grew up there, introduced him and his siblings to the natural beauty of the California mountains and coastline through years of family vacation travels. He has been hiking, riding and shooting both as an amateur and a professional for most of his life. His work is on sale at Point Arena Lighthouse and on the web at

Garcia River runs to the Sea

Misty Afternoon