Speaker Series

Everyone is welcome to attend membership meetings in the Recreation Room of the San Francisco County Fair Building (SFCFB) at 9th Avenue and Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park. The #71 and #44 buses stop at the building. The N-Judah, #6, #43, and #66 lines stop within 2 blocks.
Before our programs, we take our speakers to dinner at Chang’s Kitchen, 1030 Irving Street, between 11th and 12th Avenues. Join us for good Chinese food and interesting conversation. Meet at the restaurant at 5:30 pm. RSVP appreciated but not required. If you wish to notify, please call Jake Sigg at 415-731-3028.



September 5, Thursday, 7:30 pm

A Farallon Floranal: The Ecology and Plants of the Farallon Islands

Speaker: Peter Pyle

The Farallon Islands, part of the City and County of San Francisco, is a National Wildlife Refuge located 27 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge. Cold ocean currents and other environmental factors there lead to high ocean productivity and a thriving marine wildlife ecology. Biologists working for PRBO/Point Blue Conservation Science and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have resided on Southeast Farallon Island every day since April 1968, studying all aspects of the island's environment and ecology. Peter Pyle spent over 2,100 nights at the island's biological station in 1980-2003, primarily focused on birds, marine mammals, and white sharks, but also dabbling in everything else including bats, dragonflies, salamanders, butterflies, crickets, mushrooms, and, yes, even the island's unique fog-whipped flora. Peter's talk will briefly cover the ecology and conservation of the islands' marine vertebrates. He will then present a history of botanical investigation on the island, his first successful attempt to key out a plant, and information on the ca. 45 each of indigenous and non-native species that have been recorded there. He will consider everything from the dominant and endemic "Farallon Weed" (Lasthenia maritima) to pioneer scouts that have been recorded only once, to efforts at invasive species removal. He will also bring up for discussion the possible effects that the proposed eradication of invasive house mice may have on the island's flora.

Peter Pyle has worked as an ornithologist and marine biologist throughout the Pacific. During the 1980-2000's much of his research was conducted on birds and white sharks at the Farallon Islands, California. and he is now an identification specialist and consultant for the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary's Beach Watch program. He is a Research Associate both at the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, and the B.P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu. To date he has authored or co-authored over 180 papers in scientific journals and four books, and has described a new species of shearwater (Puffinus bryani) and named it after his grandfather, Edwin Bryan. Peter currently works as a staff biologist for the Institute for Bird Populations in Point Reyes Station.


Future Programs:

October 3, Thursday, 7:30 pm

Mapping California’s Important Plant Areas

Speaker: Sam Young

California is a globally significant biodiversity hotspot. With roughly 6,500 native plant taxa, the Golden State boasts similar botanical diversity to Japan and New Zealand. It’s mild climates and rugged landscapes have also made California a highly desirable place to live, with a population close to 40 million people and growing. Demands for housing, resources, and a changing climate are placing increasing pressure on California’s unique flora.

Regional scale planning efforts are being developed to meet the demands of an increasing population. It is essential that botanical data and conservation value be well represented in these efforts. The CNPS Important Plant Area (IPA) Program seeks to identify the most important areas for preserving California’s botanical biodiversity heritage. Identification and protection of IPAs have been called out as essential components for biodiversity conservation both at home through the California Biodiversity Initiative and on the world stage through the Global Plant Conservation Strategy.

Join Sam Young, CNPS Important Plant Areas Program Manager, for a discussion on California’s plant biodiversity, IPA methods, and strategies for realizing IPA conservation goals.


November 7, Thursday, 7:30 pm

Management of the Rare Plants and Butterflies of San Bruno Mountain

Speaker:  Hannah Ormshaw

San Bruno Mountain State and County Park is a habitat island amidst a sea of urbanization, and is home to a variety of rare, threatened, and endangered plant and wildlife species - some of which occur only in this park. This talk will outline recent efforts to map and catalog rare plant populations, describe the critical habitat requirements for the four protected butterfly species found in the park, and discuss the ongoing efforts for habitat management for the benefit of these protected species.

Hannah Ormshaw is a Natural Resource Specialist for the San Mateo County Parks Department, and is the primary staff person involved in the implementation and oversight of the San Bruno Mountain Habitat Conservation Plan. She is regularly out on the mountain conducting butterfly monitoring activities, doing vegetation surveys and mapping, and coordinating habitat management activities. She is also the senior biologist for all natural resource management activities in all county parks, and is academically trained as a geographer.


No program in December