Current Research Summarized at California Islands Symposium

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Date: September 30, 2016
Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725

Next week nearly 250 scientists, historians, resource managers, and educators will discuss their current island research at the 9th California Islands Symposium held at the Ventura Beach Marriott.

The theme of the symposium, "Connecting Communities", underlines the coming together of many notable researchers, who will speak on a range of natural and cultural science disciplines in 31 different sessions such as ocean health, seabird and habitat restoration, geology, the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island, and island biosecurity.

The California Islands Symposium opens on Tuesday, October 4 at 9:00 am with a plenary presentation by Dr. Torben Rick, Curator of Human Environmental Interactions and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, on the archaeology and historical ecology of the California Islands. Rick, a native of Ventura, CA, has conducted years of archaeological research on the Channel Islands.

Writer and former Distinguished Professor at Oregon State University, Kathleen Dean Moore, will present a plenary talk on Wednesday morning, titled: "A New Geography of Hope: Sliding Baselines, Climate Change, and the Necessity of Protected Places."

Thursday's keynote topic on climate change affects in the marine environment at the Channel Islands will be presented by University of California Santa Barbara professor and marine biologist Dr. Gretchen Hofmann.

The 9th California Islands Symposium is sponsored by the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, U.S. Navy, Catalina Island Conservancy, Smithsonian Institution, University of California Santa Barbara Santa Cruz Island Reserve, California State University Channel Islands, Institute for Wildlife Studies, Santa Barbara Zoo, Growing Solutions, Channel Islands Restoration, Island Packers, Aquasports, Ocean Science Trust, REI, and Wildlands Conservation Science. It will be held at the Ventura Beach Marriott, 2055 East Harbor Boulevard, in Ventura, CA.

California Islands Art Exhibition

To cultivate a greater appreciation of the California Islands, there will be a special island art exhibition at the Ventura Beach Marriott from October 3 to 8. The display will feature original paintings, watercolors, and pen and ink drawings that reflect the beauty of the islands. Following the symposium, the exhibition will be on display at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, from October 9 through November 6, 2016.

The exhibition features contest winners including a first place winning acrylic painting by Marcia Burtt that depicts Prisoners Harbor on Santa Cruz Island. Nicole Strasburg won second place with a gouache etching of Scorpion Valley on Santa Cruz Island. Third place winner Estelle Deridder used colored pencil to illustrate a native toyon plant and native wildlife. An honorable mention was awarded to Mitsuko Schultz for her watercolor of a California Sycamore.

Film Night—West of the West: Tales from California's Channel Islands

The new documentary, West of the West: Tales from California's Channel Islands, will be shown on Tuesday evening at the Symposium. Produced by Sam Tyler and written and directed by Peter Seaman and Brent Sumner, the documentary provides an in-depth look into fourteen intriguing stories of island inhabitants, ranging from the first contact between Spanish explorers and the Island Chumash to the efforts to restore the islands' ecosystems. The full documentary has been condensed into a 110-minute version for this showing, and will be followed by a Q&A session with the film's producers.

Pritzlaff Conservation Award

At a special banquet Thursday evening the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden will present their annual Pritzlaff Conservation Award to eminent scientist Dr. Daniel Simberloff in honor of his many contributions to conservation. Following the award presentation Simberloff will be speaking about the significance of restoration accomplishments on the Channel Islands and around the globe.

Simberloff, a Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Tennessee, has worked on islands since the 1960s conducting a diverse array of research projects which have included insects, plants, fungi, birds, and mammals. He has produced over 500 publications on ecology, biogeography, evolution, and conservation biology. He was named Eminent Ecologist by the Ecological Society of America in 2006, and won the Margalef Prize for research in ecology in 2012 and the Wallace Prize of the International Biogeography Society for lifetime contributions in the fields of island biogeography and island ecology in 2015.

Last updated: September 30, 2016

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