Sequoia Audubon Society
                              San Mateo County, California

Meeting Programs

De-extinction and the Vital Ecology of the Passenger Pigeon
Speaker: Ben Novak
May 12, 2016
7:00 p.m.

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In 2012 the non-profit group Revive & Restore formed with a mission to use emerging biotechnologies for 21st century conservation. New technologies can fight diseases, restore genetic diversity, remove invasive species, and even replace extinct species - a process dubbed de-extinction. In 2013 Revive & Restore announced their pilot project "The Great Passenger Pigeon Comeback", stating the extinct passenger pigeon will fly above us again in this lifetime. But what exactly does that mean? How do we bring back an extinct species? Is there a place in nature needing the bird? Ben's collaborative research over the past 3 years pursues answers to these questions, discovering some amazing new things about a largely misunderstood bird. Ben will share these new insights and other progress from the growing field of biotechnology for bird and habitat conservation.

Ben Novak

Ben J. Novak was grew up in the badlands of North Dakota, where Theodore Roosevelt was inspired as a conservationist. He earned studied Evolution & Ecology at Montana State University. Ben's passions are natural history of extinct birds and conservation. He trained in paleogenomics under Hendrik Poinar, at McMaster University. He then joined Revive & Restore taking to lead their passenger pigeon de-extinction work. The project brought him to the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he has written his master's thesis on the ecology of the passenger pigeon while coordinating multiple efforts to move de-extinction forward. His newest venture for the project involves training in avian genetic engineering at the CSIRO Animal Health Laboratory in southern Australia.

Photography Trip to Madagascar - Searching for Endemics
Speakers: Bob and Sue Cossins
June 9, 2016
7:00 p.m.

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SAS members, Bob and Sue Cossins and Larry and Eileen Kay traveled to Madagascar in October 2015.
The photography tour was booked through, Wildlife Worldwide, a British company. The tour leader, Nick Garbutt, is a professional photographer and has written or co-authored several books including Mammals of Madagascar, Madagascar Wildlife, and Chameleons.

The images you will see, taken mostly in the North East Rainforest depict the broad spectrum of animals and plants as well as the people and culture of Madagascar.

The attached photo below is of a Short-Legged Ground-Roller taken by Bob Cossins

Short-Legged Ground-Roller


There are no meetings in July and August. Have a great summer!


note The programs for additional meetings will be posted when available. (Topics subject to change.)

2016 S.A.S.