Taking Photos of Nature for Science, Management
and Conservation: The Power of Technology
and Community-Collected Data
Rebecca Johnson, PhD
Co-Director, Center for Biodiversity and Community
California Academy of Sciences
Many of us Marinites are finding that a retreat to nature during these pandemic months can be a tonic for, well, everything. The renowned entomologist E. O. Wilson has popularized a hypothesis called “biophilia,” which argues that our natural affinity for life is the very essence of our humanity and binds us to all other living species. And that the love of nature is restorative.
Our speaker today, Dr. Rebecca Johnson, co-directs the Center for Biodiversity and Community at the California Academy of Sciences, where she is also a Research Associate in the Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Geology. She is a passionate advocate of citizen science and community engagement to discover and understand our natural world. In her talk, she will describe the importance of engaging the public in environmental science right in our own backyard.
Through her work, Dr. Johnson supports and grows a community of naturalists working together to discover nature. She is passionate about building coalitions around place-based nature connection, biodiversity documentation, and using species observations to understand climate change and stem biodiversity loss. She and her co-director, Alison Young, were honored with the Bay Nature 2017 ‘Local Heroes for Environmental Education Award.’ She spearheads the Academy’s biodiversity work with the City of San Francisco and along the California Coast and is a founding member of the San Francisco Children & Nature Team. Dr. Johnson earned her B.A. in Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley; her M.A. in Systematics and Ecology from San Francisco State University; and her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She lives in San Francisco with her family. The slides from her presentation can be viewed here.
Jennifer Garrison, PhD
Faculty Director of the Global Consortium for
Female Reproductive Longevity and Equality --
Buck Institute for Research on Aging
While aging research is seeing unprecedented acceleration, the area of women’s reproductive longevity remains underappreciated or even ignored. Ovaries show signs of aging decades before other tissues. They are the “canary in the coal mine” for aging. Beyond reproduction, the end of fertility sets off a cascade of negative effects in women’s bodies. On a societal level, reproductive equality impacts women’s health, family planning, infertility, and career development.
Research at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and the newly established Center and Global Consortium for Reproductive Longevity and Equality aims to intervene in that process and balance the scales. The goal of these new endeavors is to foster research to prevent or delay reproductive aging.
Jennifer Garrison, PhD, will join us on Wednesday, September 9, to discuss her research at the Buck Institute and the newly established Center and Global Consortium for Reproductive Longevity and Equality.
Dr. Garrison is an Assistant Professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Faculty Director of the Global Consortium for Female Reproductive Longevity and Equality, and Associate Director of the Buck-USC Biology of Aging PhD Program. She holds secondary appointments in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California (USC).
The Garrison lab at the Buck Institute studies how coordinated communication between tissues sets up a delicate balance across all organs. They hypothesize that disruptions in communication between the brain and the rest of the body lead to systemic aging. In particular, her lab aims to understand the complex interactions between the ovary and brain during middle-age and to identify the neuronal factors that lead to the onset of reproductive decline in females.
Dr. Garrison received her BA in Molecular Cell Biology from UC Berkeley, completed her PhD at UCSF in Chemistry and Chemical Biology where she was a National Science Foundation Fellow and an ARCS Scholar, and was a Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Rockefeller University. She was named an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Neuroscience Research Fellow and an Allen Institute for Brain Science Next Generation Leader and is the recipient of a Pathway to Independence Award and a Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) for Early Stage Investigators from the National Institutes of Health, a Glenn Medical Foundation Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging, and a Junior Fa
HEY, EVERYONE -- LET’S CHAT!
Most years, Wednesday Morning Dialogue doesn’t convene an August meeting because so many of us are away on vacation. Not this year.
Rather than skipping the August meeting during this unusual summer of COVID-19, we’re offering a facilitated Zoom gathering conceived to allow our members to share whatever may be on your minds. We hope that this online meeting will be a forum for our Dialogue members to share resources, feelings and experiences, and another chance to deepen our friendships.
DO bring your own questions, comments, topics and requests to the meeting, too. We propose a few questions as thought-starters for the dialogue:
* What challenges have you found during these months spent sheltering-in-place?
* What coping strategies are you using?
* Any external resources you’ve found useful?
* How are you finding self-fulfillment in quarantine?
* Cooking? Does anyone have any new approaches to our daily cooking responsibilities? Any new ways to be creative and change it up?
* What are you reading and watching on TV?
(One caveat: please avoid COVID-19 talk. The science is unsettled, and we would prefer not to get bogged down discussing conflicting theories.)
For a list of recommendations from Dialogue Members of things to do during the COVID-19 pandemic while you are sheltering at home, click here.
100 YEARS STRONG
A History of Women’s Right to Vote in the United States
President, League of Women Voters, Marin County
Now here is something to celebrate! After decades of struggle, women in the United States won the campaign for women’s suffrage in 1920 and women finally gained the right to vote. Today’s speaker, Ann Wakeley, will present a history of the road to passage of the 19thAmendment to the US Constitution.
Not coincidentally, 1920 was the same year that the League of Women Voters was founded. With the use of photos, newspaper headlines and other graphics from the period, Ann will weave the raucous and often dangerous story of the journey from Seneca Falls to the final vote in the Tennessee legislature to ratify the 19th Amendment, providing a few insights into the history of the League along the way.
Ann Wakeley currently serves as President of the League of Women Voters of Marin County. As such, she is involved in many aspects of the League’s work in voter education and advocacy. In addition, she co-chairs the Education/Libraries Committee and helps to lead work on the Schools and Communities First initiative, which proposes to bring much-needed tax dollars to public schools and local governments.
In her professional life, Ann was an academic researcher and educator with a background in developmental psychology and a doctorate in early childhood special education. Her research focused primarily on the development of very young children, including those at risk for learning delays. During the last 20 years of her career she turned her attention to early mathematical development, working with teachers and parents to help them support young children’s learning and school readiness through play and everyday experiences. When she retired in 2013, she joined the League of Women Voters and has found new opportunities to advocate for educational equity and to develop a passionate interest in voter education and voting rights.
Planning & Providing for the Future
Topher Delaney & Calvin Chin
Philosophy is foundational to the work of landscape artists Topher Delaney and Calvin Chin. “In scope and scale, their broad range of installations serve as dynamic physical evidence of a visual + spiritual + cultural literacy integrating wonderful exemplars of horticulture and transformative cyclic aspects of nature with distinctive specific cultural linguistic narratives.”
We turn to our gardens for beauty, to create something, to put our hands in the earth and reconnect to the cycles of life. Now more than ever, when our homes are truly our sanctuaries, our gardens may take on even greater importance for respite, inspiration and hope.
Topher Delaney, in conjunction with her partner, Calvin Chin, will give an encore talk to Wednesday Morning Dialogue on Wednesday, June 10, via Zoom. Topher and Calvin will discuss their philosophy of optimism – “We have faith in a future … and so we plant for others to prosper” -- show off some of their projects – “gardens of three-dimensional fine art/horticulture/literature” – and answer your gardening questions, too.
(For visual reference, you have probably seen their transformative, whimsical landscape installation at Cost Plus Plaza/Trader Joe’s on Redwood Highway in Larkspur.)
Topher Delaney applied her degree in philosophy/art history from Barnard College to a landscape architecture degree at U.C. Berkeley. She then dug in and began creating site-specific garden installations around the Bay Area. With partner Calvin Chin, Topher has established the Virgie Giles Foundation, a 501(c)3 aimed to develop tangible policies of benefit in three areas:
Our June gathering will be conducted virtually through Zoom due to the current shelter-in-place restrictions. Please watch for a Zoom meeting invitation via email in the days prior to the June 10 meeting.