Keynote Speakers

Presentation by John Muir Laws:

Friday, September 20, 2019, 7:00 – 8:30 PM

Thinking like a Naturalist: Reclaiming the Art of Natural History

John Muir LawsDid you know that your powers of observation and curiosity are not static traits but skills that you can develop and enhance? How can you get more out of every nature ramble? Developments in neuropsychology have opened doors in our understanding of the brain and cognition and how you can train yourself to see more and to be more curious about what you discover. Naturalist and illustrator John Muir Laws will demonstrate simple and fun techniques you can incorporate into your own recreational nature study, classroom, or family outings. You will learn an adaptable three-step approach that will dramatically increase your memory and observational skills, focus and heighten your curiosity, help you think more creatively, and give you a framework for exploring mysteries in nature.

Naturalist, educator and artist John (Jack) Muir Laws is in love with the natural world and has lived his life sharing this passion with others. He is trained as a wildlife biologist and is a Research Associate of the California Academy of Sciences. In 2009, he received the Terwilliger Environmental Award for outstanding service in Environmental Education. He is a 2010 Together Green Conservation Leadership Fellow with the National Audubon Society. Laws wrote and illustrated The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling (2016), The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds (2012), Sierra Birds: a Hiker’s Guide (2004), The Laws Guide to the Sierra Nevada (2007), and The Laws Pocket Guide Set to the San Francisco Bay Area (2009). He is the founder and host of the Bay Area Nature Journal Club, monthly free nature sketching workshops, field trips and events, connecting people with nature through art.

Presentation by Brian Sullivan:

Saturday, September 21, 2019, 7:00 – 8:30 PM

eBird: Innovating Citizen-science, Big Data Research, and Bird Conservation

Brian SullivanIn our fast-paced world, birds serve as an unrivaled window for studying and assessing environmental change: literal canaries in coal mines. eBird is a network of human observers spread across the planet collecting millions of data points each month, combined with the power of remote sensors that collect real-time environmental data, spun together through innovative computer science and modeling efforts that ultimately achieve real-world conservation outcomes for birds. Today eBird is arguably the fastest-growing biodiversity network in existence. Find out how we’ve taken a novel approach to crowdsourcing, and turned the birding community’s global passion for birds into a vast data resource for science and conservation.

Brian Sullivan has conducted fieldwork on birds throughout North America for the past 25 years. Birding travels, photography, and field projects have taken him to Central and South America, Australia, Antarctica, the Arctic, and across North America. He has written and consulted on various books including popular and scientific literature on North American birds. He is a co-author of several books including: Peterson Guide to Bird Identification—In 12 Steps; Better Birding—Tips, Tools, and Concepts for the Field; Offshore Sea Life ID Guide: West Coast; Offshore Sea Life ID Guide: East Coast; The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors; and the forthcoming Princeton Guide to North American Birds. He is co-creator of the groundbreaking Raptor Id app for mobile devices. He is currently Digital Publications Lead at Information Science and a project leader for eBird at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. He also served as photographic editor for the American Birding Association’s journal North American Birds from 2005-2013.