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. and 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 Presented

Saturday, October 19, 4 p.m. – B Bryan Preserve Hoof Stock Managers Eunice Contreras & Zane Krakowski on I am a Zookeeper! Presented

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

Saturday, December 21  – CANCELLED

Admission to all lectures is $5 per person 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 on Siberia – The People, Their Traditions and Their Connections to Our Coast
Saturday, March 21 – Sara Bogard
Saturday, April 18 – Scott Mercer
Saturday, May 16  – Michael Combs
Saturday, June 20  – Richard Sequest on Hell Ship or Angel of Mercy: The First Shipwreck at Pt. Arena
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 on Point Arena and the Mendocino Coast: How to See and Shoot the Coastal Landscape
Saturday, November 21  – Lauren Sinnott
Saturday, December 19 – Marlene “The Elusive Rutabaga” Padilla on A Solo Adventure Down the California Coast Trail

Spotlight On Our Next Lecture

On Saturday, January 18  at 4 p.m. Merita Whatley will present “Saving a Lighthouse and a Landscape” as part of the Lighthouse Lecture Series.  More information will be posted as it is received.

Future Lectures

On Saturday, February 15 at 4 p.m. Robin Joy Wellman will present “Siberia – The People, Their Traditions and Their Connections to Our Coast” as part of the Lighthouse Lecture Series.

Enjoy an evening of Siberian tales from Robin Joy, who was invited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ellyadia Organization, who after years of Fort Ross work, has a deep and lasting relationship with the people of Siberia.  She traveled to Siberia with Fort Ross volunteer member Amy Lemmer, and Coast Miwok members Joan Harper and Nancy Napolitan. The Sakha people and Coast Miwok people intermarried. Learn about their experiences of being the first Americans in the village of Mryrla, camping on the Siberian plains along the Angara River, attending the Solstice Festivals, experience very different foods, learning about village life, effects of climate change and the perma frost, and their visit to the Lena Pillars.  Hosted by friends, colleagues, diplomats, and villagers the stories are colorful and unique to this two week visit. Amy and Joan (Coast Miwok) will be joining the conversation. Tea and a sample of traditional blessing bread will be shared.

Robin retired after 27 years at Fort Ross State Historic Park where she worked closely with natural and cultural history interpretation providing research, curriculum development, and programs. She worked closely with many partners including Sonoma Museum, San Francisco Presidio Trust, Gualala Art Center, Sonoma State, Santa Rosa Junior College, Stanford University, Russian Orthodox churches, and many people across the cultural spectrum including tribal members from all tribes (Kashaya, Coast Miwok, Dry Creek Pomo, Sakha, Kenaitze, Kodiak, Tlingit members, and Aleut tribal members as it relates to the Northwest Pacific History, as well as Russian diplomats, and many international academics. In 2012 for the Fort Ross Bicentennial Robin was Chair for the California State Parks organizing over 38 events across the many cultures of Fort Ross.  Robin has presented internationally throughout Russia and Paris. She was recently chosen to write the forward of   ‘The California Collection’ –published by the Museum of Anthropology, Peter the Great, the Kunstkamera.

Robin Joy with Serge pole

Robin has presented for the Russian Academy of Science, Russian Geographical Society, American Embassy in St. Petersburg and Moscow, Kargopol, St Petersburg, Archangelsk, Totma and Vologda.  She was trip lead and organizer for six trips between 2012-2107 with Coast Miwok, southern Pomo, Dry Creek Pomo, Kashaya Pomo and Yakutia tribal members. Robin received the award and recognition from Congress of Russian Americans, Russian General Consul, Russian Scouts, Governor of Vologda, Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Sons of Revolution, and received California State Parks Director award for Interpreter of the Year. She continues to remain active being a presenter at the first forum in Hawaii in November of 2017 with the tribal people of Hawaii and academics related to the Russian American Company, presenting in Paris in regards to her work with the Kunstkamera, presenting in Oregon, and local conferences in as it relates to interpretation in Santa Cruz. Her passion and dedication to the telling of the Northwest Pacific has been core to her life work.

On Saturday, June 20 at 5 p.m. Richard Sequest will present “Hell Ship or Angel of Mercy: The First Shipwreck at Pt. Arena” as part of the Lighthouse Lecture Series.

This presentation will review the history of the IL’mena, formerly the brig  Lydia out of Boston, highlighting  her role in the emergence of a global trading system which impacts our economy still today. In addition, we will review the status of Dr. Jim Allan’s search for  the IL’mena which many believe is  buried in the sand in the surf line on Manchester Beach.  The timeline of this ship will be reviewed and her story told through her involvement in  seven historic events:

  • Designation as the “Hell Ship” Lydia  (1804)
  • Rescue of the American Ship Boston (1805)
  • Relay of Lewis and Clark’s  Letter to Jefferson (1806)
  •  Rescue of the Russian Ship St. Nikolai (1810)
  •  Massacre of the Nicolenos (1814)
  • Service to the Russian American Company (1820)
  • A Local Connection – The Indians at the Ross Settlement (1820)

Richard will detail some of the  people involved in these events and the overall history of the IL’mena.  This will include:

John Jewitt

Chief Maquiinna

John Jewitt, who was a survivor of the ship Boston massacre in 1803 and was held captive by local natives for two years before being rescued by the Lydia in 1805.  He later  wrote a best seller of his experience.

Chief Maquiinna, who led the attack on the Boston and was Jewitt’s slave master during his captivity.  He was himself later held captive on the Lydia in a prisoner exchange for John Jewitt.

In 1805, anchored twelve miles from the Lewis and Clark encampment on the Columbia River, the Lydia received a request  from the explorers to relay a letter to Thomas Jefferson to let the president know they had reached the Pacific.

Purchased by the Russian American Company and renamed the IL’mena, the brig was a workhorse for the company until it went aground at Point Arena in 1820.

Over the past 10 years Richard Sequest has produced a number of documentary shorts on climate change and homelessness.   In 2012 he became involved in the bicentennial celebration of the founding of Fort Ross and produced a short film, “Grounded”,  on the loss of the Russian American Company brig IL’mena, the first shipwreck at Pt. Arena.

On Saturday, October 17 at 4 p.m. Scott Sewell will present “Point Arena and the Mendocino Coast: How to See and Shoot the Coastal Landscape as part of the Lighthouse Lecture Series.

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 his website. This presentation will detail the many facets of photographing the rugged and beautiful Northern California coastline, including:

  • 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