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Avian Taxonomy, Gnatcatchers and Scrub-Jays, with Professor John McCormack – Evening Meeting: Tuesday, Oct. 3, 7:30 p.m.

September 28, 2017

California (née Western) Scrub-Jay, Topanga Canyon (Jim Kenney 10-3-09)

Taxonomy – dividing biodiversity into nameable units such as family, genus, species – has implications for birders and conservation.  Professor John McCormack will  discuss best practices for applying the latest technologies to the naming and discovery of species and subspecies with a focus on two case studies of local interest: the “Western” Scrub-Jay and the controversial coastal California Gnatcatcher, which land developers have long ago sought to remove from the Endangered Species List.
John McCormack is Director and Curator of the Bird and Mammal Collection at the Moore Laboratory of Zoology and an Assistant Professor of Biology at Occidental College.  The McCormack Lab has pioneered the use of new DNA sequencing technologies to better resolve the Tree of Life and is currently applying these advances to unlock the genomes of museum specimens dating back to the 1800’s.”​

California Gnatcatcher (Moose Peterson 1-27-06 Wiki Commons)


Our meetings are at Christine Emerson Reed Park, 1133 7th Street. (between 7th St. & Lincoln Blvd., California Ave. & Wilshire Blvd.), Santa Monica. Previously known as Lincoln Park. If you’re coming from outside Santa Monica, exit the #10 Fwy at Lincoln Blvd., turn north  and drive 5 blocks north to Wilshire Blvd.

Link to Google Map
Meeting Room:
Mid-park in Joslyn Hall, accessible from Lincoln Blvd, California Ave. and 7th St.  Its glass wall faces north towards St. Monica Church on California St.  If you’re walking from Lincoln Blvd., it’s located directly behind (west) of the large Miles Playhouse building. Not accessible directly from Wilshire Blvd.

Meetings begin at 7:30 sharp with a little business, and then our main presentation. Refreshments are served afterward. Please leave your coyote at home, however much they whine to come.

Parking: The entire block between Wilshire and California Ave, 7th and Lincoln, on the sides closest to the park, is metered. Meter enforcement ends at 6PM, so free parking for the meeting!  We had almost 50 attendees in February and we know of only two people who couldn’t find parking. However, the local natives are engaged in a survival-of-the-fittest scramble for free parking, so the after-6pm free parking spaces disappear quickly.  We suggest that you arrive no later than 7:15 pm.

If all those spaces are filled, go south of Wilshire, not north of the park, as resident-only permit parking zones abound to the north. The east side of Lincoln Blvd. is also by permit parking only. We found plenty of spaces on 7th St. or Lincoln south of Wilshire. Most of those seem to be “until 6PM” meters also. Wherever you park, please read parking signs carefully and avoid a big fat $40+ parking ticket.  [Chuck Almdale]

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