California Academy of Sciences
April 2004 Calendar of Events
Exhibits, Courses, Programs, and Lectures


The California Academy of Sciences is currently closed to the public in Golden Gate Park. The Academy will open a new downtown museum May 1, 2004 at 875 Howard Street. In the meantime, the Academy is offering a limited schedule of courses, programs and lectures. Check each listing for program locations. The new Academy will open in Golden Gate Park in 2008.

Conversations at the Herbst Theatre Featuring Simon Winchester

Author of Krakatoa, The Professor and the Madman, and The Map That Changed the World. Simon Winchester will be at the Herbst Theatre as a part of the City Arts and Lectures series in conversation with Michael Krasny. To order tickets, call City Box Office at (415) 392-4400 or visit www.cityboxoffice.com. $18 Herbst Theatre. Wednesday, April 7, 8 p.m.

Spring Birdwatching
Search for spring migrants and resident birds in Golden Gate Park. Wear warm, layered clothing and walking shoes, bring binoculars and water. Ages 8 and up. Reservations required; space limited. Free; Meet at the corner of Middle Drive Road and 9th Avenue. Rain cancels program. Friday, April 9, 9-11:30 a.m.

Easter Program
The Academy is co-sponsoring a program of Easter events at COPIA: The American Center for Wine, Food, and the Arts in Napa. The program features Andrey Anisimov painting Russian icons on hardwood eggs, Alberta Astras etching eggs in the Lithuanian style, Giedra Gusta using leaf stencils and vegetable dyes to make Lithuanian marguciai, and Joan Bridges using a wax-resist technique to make Ukrainian pysanky. The Academy presentations are part of a larger Spring Festival that includes family activities, games, and egg races.

Saturday, April 10, noon-4 p.m.; All events take place at COPIA in Napa, and are free after general admission; $7.50 Academy members, $12.50 non-members; For directions and information, call COPIA toll-free at (888) 512-6742, or visit their Web site at www.copia.org.

Mars-like Soils in the Atacama Desert
Benjamin Dean lecture with Chris McKay, Ph.D. NASA/Ames Research Center
The Atacama Desert of Chile is the driest place on Earth. Recent field research shows that if the Viking missions that went to Mars in 1976 had instead visited Earth searching for life, this is the only place on our planet where no evidence for life would have been found. In the Atacama Desert, we can cross the "dry limit" of microbial life. Tickets may be purchased at the door, when available. $3; JCCSF. Monday, April 12, 7:30-9 p.m.

Conversations at the Herbst Theatre Featuring Eric Schlosser
Author of Investigative Reporter, and Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser will be at the Herbst Theatre as a part of the City Arts and Lectures series in conversation with Jerry Lowenstein, Ph.D. To order tickets, call City Box Office at (415) 392-4400 or visit www.cityboxoffice.com.; $18; Herbst Theatre. Tuesday, April 13, 8 p.m.

Mountain Lake and Beyond
Explore the Lobos Creek Watershed from Mountain Lake to Baker Beach. Investigate how this water source affects plant and animal life by examining the native plant community and zooplankton, reptiles, and amphibians. Pre-registration required for this class for children ages 9-12. $45. Wednesday, April 14, 8:30 a.m.-noon.

Pier Dwellers
Experience the wild world living on and under the San Francisco waterfront piers. Observe and learn about behaviors of marine mammals and local seabirds. Touch the secret underwater creatures that live below the surface of our oceans, and see what makes these "spineless wonders" unique. Pre-registration required for this class for children ages 9-12. $45. Thursday, April 15, 8:30 a.m.-noon.

Wetland Wonders
Spend the morning at Crissy Field wetland observing migratory birds, uncovering sand crabs, and assisting in a restoration project. Discover how Native Americans used local plants in their day-to-day environment and how this tidal marsh was transformed from trash to treasure. Pre-registration required for this class for children ages 9-12. $45. Friday, April 16, 8:30 a.m.-noon.

Family Discovery Hike
Take a spring walk around Golden Gate Park and look for hawks, turtles, millipedes, dragonflies, and more. Wear warm, layered clothing and walking shoes, and bring binoculars and water. Ages 8 and up. Reservations required; space limited. Free; Meet at the corner of Middle Drive Road and 9th Avenue. Rain cancels program. Sunday, April 18, 10 a.m.-noon.

The Earth Moved Lecture with Amy Stewart
With Darwin as her inspiration, Stewart explores the lifecycle and habits of earthworms, uncovering the complex life that exists beneath our feet. The earthworm may be small, spineless, and blind, but its role in the ecosystem is profound. It tills the soil, destroys microscopic organisms that cause plant disease, breaks down toxins, and turns soil into rich compost, creating the most fertile areas on Earth. Stewart will bring a variety of worms to the lecture and participants will have the opportunity to handle several species of earthworms and learn about each species' unique role in the soil. See a book review in the Spring 2004 issue of California Wild. Free to members, $4 Zeum members, $8 non-members; Zeum Theater. Monday, April 19, 2 & 7:30 p.m.

19th Annual BioForum Life in Extreme Environments: A Window to the Universe
BioForum, now in its nineteenth year, is a series on current science topics of interest to educators
Does life exist elsewhere in the Universe? Scientists in the field of astrobiology look beyond our Goldilocks world that is "not too hot and not too cold" to investigate extreme environments such as marine hydrothermal vents and desert hot springs. They are also researching the "extremophiles," or organisms that survive in these harsh places, to learn more about life beyond Earth. Scientists share what they have learned about the extremes of life on Earth and the implications of their findings. Tickets can be purchased by calling (415) 750-7145 or online at www.calacademy.org/education. Registration starts at 8:15 am; $15, $10 students; hosted at the Oakland Museum of California. Saturday, April 24, 9 am-12:30 p.m.

Ask a Scientist
Killer Animals: Fears, Facts, Statistics and Reality
Douglas J. Long knows his killer animals. He's worked with the best of them, from sharks to scorpions to snakes and wild mammals on six continents. With the media's obsession on attacks and killings, what's the truth amidst the hype, panic and paranoia? And how can we best co-exist with the animals that also call California their home? If you were just going to sit on the couch tonight watching Animal Planet, come meet Douglas instead. He might even bring some "special friends"... What does that mean? I don't know!
Monday, April 26th, 7-9pm Free.
The Bazaar Cafe, 5927 California St. (22nd Ave) San Francisco Visit http://www.gallindesign.com/science for more details.

Conversations at the Herbst Theatre Featuring Paul Ekman, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology, UC San Francisco author of Emotions Revealed, Telling Lies, Ekman will be at the Herbst Theatre as a part of the City Arts and Lectures series in conversation with Nina Jablonski, Ph.D. To order tickets, call City Box Office at (415) 392-4400 or visit www.cityboxoffice.com. $18; Herbst Theatre. Wednesday, April 28, 8 p.m.

The Evolution of Human Skin Coloration Special Lecture with Nina Jablonski, Ph.D., Irvine Chair & Curator, Department of Anthropology, California Academy of Sciences
Though human skin is not preserved in the fossil record and we have little direct evidence of its evolution, it has long been recognized that the distribution of skin colors among native peoples is not random. New evidence from the fields of epidemiology and physiology, analyzed in conjunction with remotely-sensed environmental data, clearly indicates that the worldwide pattern of human skin color is a product of natural selection acting to regulate the penetration of ultraviolet radiation into the skin. The level of melanin pigmentation in human skin represents a compromise between the demands of photoprotection and vitamin D synthesis, both of which are essential for survival and successful reproduction.

Thursday, April 29, 7:30 pm; $8; For tickets, call the JCCSF Box Office at (415) 292-1233 or e-mail arts@jccsf.org. Tickets may be purchased at the door when available. JCCSF.

Junior Academy Summer Activities

Summer Explorations For Ages 6-8
Classes take place at the Academy's downtown location, 875 Howard Street. Each class is scheduled from 8:30 am-noon; $35 members, $45 non-members.

Tidepool Creatures - Monday, July 26
Herptacular - Tuesday, July 27
Arthropods Alive - Wednesday, July 28
Birdmania - Thursday, July 29

Weekend Trip

Adult Nature Journaling Workshop in the Trinity Alps
Always wanted to keep an illustrated journal or try your hand at watercolor? Spend three relaxing days nurturing your artistic nature at the Academy's property in the Trinity Alps, about three hours northwest of Redding. Field Workshop for Adults: Thursday, July 15-Sunday, July 18, 6 pm Thursday-2 pm Sunday; $175 members, $200 non-members. (Accommodations and meals are included; transportation is not.)

For more information, please contact Lorie Topinka, Manager of Teacher Services, at (415) 750-7145 or e-mail teacherservices@calacademy.org.

The California Academy of Sciences, the fourth largest natural history museum in the United States, is home to Steinhart Aquarium, Morrison Planetarium and the Natural History Museum. The Academy is beginning an extensive rebuilding project in Golden Gate Park. Pritzker prize-winning architect Renzo Piano is designing the new Academy, which is expected to open in 2008.


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