2018 Lighthouse Lecture Series

Point Arena Lighthouse is pleased to present the fifth season of the popular Lighthouse Lecture Series. Each presentation takes place in the Fog Signal Building Museum on the third Saturday of the month and features a local naturalist, historian, volunteer or expert presenting on topics of public interest relevant to the Lighthouse or our area. Lectures in September through May will begin at 4 p.m. lectures in June through August will begin at 5 p.m.  All lectures last approximately one hour. This year’s lineup is as follows:

Saturday, January 20, 4 p.m.  – Isaac Rios on Through Native Eyes – Presented

Saturday, February 17, 4 p.m. – Jodi Smith on Even Whales Do It: Sex, Mating, and Menopause among Fish-Eating Killer Whales – Presented

Saturday, March 17, 4 p.m. – Sara Bogard on From Captivity to Open Ocean – Presented

Saturday, April 21, 4 p.m. – Scott Mercer on Whale Research and the 2018 Gray Whale Census – Presented

Saturday, May 5, 4 p.m. – Carina Monica Montoya on California’s Pacific Coast Highway (includes after lecture book signing) – Presented

Saturday, May 19, 4 p.m. – Nancy Morin on Point Arena Lighthouse Wildflower Wonderland – Presented

Saturday, June 2, 5 p.m. – Dr. Cynthia Catton on Causes and Consequences of Large-Scale Bull Kelp Loss in Northern California

Saturday, June 16, 5 p.m. – Tom Cochrane on The Geology Around the Point Arena Lighthouse

Saturday, July 21, 5 p.m. – Michael Combs on Logging on the Coast, from a Part-Time Logger’s Perspective

Saturday, August 4, 5 p.m. – Nik Epanchin on Point Arena Light Station Renovation 2008-2010

Saturday, August 25, 5 p.m. – Jeanne Jackson on Nature Sightings at the Point Arena Lighthouse

Saturday, September 15, 4 p.m. – Eric Wilder & Family, topic TBD

Saturday, October 20, 4 p.m. – Judy Bryan Mello on Giraffes

Saturday, November 17, 4 p.m. – Cea Higgins on Farallones Marine Sanctuary & Coastwalk

Saturday, December 16, 4 p.m. – Hank Bernbaum & Song Hunter on Metini-Fort Ross Cultural History

Admission to all lectures is $5 per person, with the proceeds benefiting the Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers, Inc.  To make reservations or for more information on our lecture series and other special events, see our Calendar of Events or call the Lighthouse at 707-882-2809 extension 1.

Spotlight On Our Next Lecture

Saturday, June 2 at 5 p.m.

On Saturday, June 2 at 5 p.m. Dr. Cynthia Catton will present “Causes and Consequences of Large-Scale Bull Kelp Loss in Northern California” as part of the Lighthouse Lecture Series.  Dr. Catton has studied California kelp forest ecology and abalone population dynamics for over 15 years.  She is an Environmental Scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and a Research Associate with the University of California Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory in Bodega Bay.  Dr. Catton is currently spearheading a large collaborative effort to support the recovery of the bull kelp forests in northern California.

Bull kelp forests in northern California have declined by more than 90% of historic abundance due to a combination of environmental and ecological stressors.  The consequences of this large-scale kelp loss have been devastating to coastal communities reliant on strong tourism and fisheries.  Dr. Catton will describe the series of events that led to the current ecological crisis and the collaborative efforts underway to support the recovery of the kelp forests.

Future Lectures

On Saturday, June 16 at 5 p.m. geologist Tom Cochrane will present “The Geology Around the Point Arena Lighthouse” as part of the Lighthouse Lecture Series.  Tom will be reviewing the past and present threats to the Point Arena Lighthouse area:  erosion, sea level rise, offshore and onshore oil drilling, as well as the history of the proposed nuclear power plant.

Thomas E. Cochrane is a CA Professional Geologist (License #6124) who’s lived and worked on The Sea Ranch since 1988. Having begun his career as a teacher, he speaks frequently on local geology and plate tectonics. His recently-published book, Shaping the Sonoma-Mendocino Coast – Exploring the Coastal Geology of Northern California (River Beach Press, 2017, 156 pgs., $19.95) is available at over 45 retailers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties and was just named the #1 bestselling book of 2017 at Four-Eyed Frog Books in Gualala. To learn more please visit River Beach Press.

On Saturday, July 21 at 5 p.m. long time coastal resident Michael B. Combs will present “Logging on the Coast, from a Part-Time Logger’s Perspective” as part of the Lighthouse Lecture Series.  Michael’s history here on the coast and his and his family’s association with its logging industry will be the focus of the presentation, as Michael explains:

“My family moved to Point Arena in 1949 when I was in the 2nd Grade. We lived for a while in the old abandoned high school building across from the Catholic Church, and later built our own home behind the Elementary School. My younger brother Ron and I helped build our home, using a borrowed plow horse and Fresno scraper to dig a full sized basement. When we arrived in 1949, Pop worked for Empire Redwood in Gualala, setting chokers in the Wheatfield Forks area. After that, he worked for several other logging companies in a variety of positions, and eventually became the millwright for Bojock Lumber Company, near Irish Beach. I worked a month at Bojock in 1964 on leave from the Air Force, worked the summer of 1961 for the veneer mill on Biaggi Lane, Manchester, and accompanied Pop several times when he worked on the log pond for Diamatine Brothers Logging Co., on Brush Creek, Piper Ranch. I knew many of the loggers and heard their stories as I grew up in Point Arena, 1949-1960.”

After graduation from Point Arena High in 1960, Michael went to Humboldt State a year, Santa Rosa Junior College a year, then the Air Force for 21.5 years – married his high school sweetheart Marilynn (had three sons) – and attended five other colleges while in the Air Force. He started as a Russian linguist, then became a Budget and Finance Officer and Internal Auditor. After 14 moves, an MBA and CPA, Michael retired from the Air Force and worked at Lockheed, Sunnyvale, for ten years, then on to some other jobs including Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, and Nummi, Fremont. Marilynn died of breast cancer in 1988 just after their 25th anniversary, and he chose Alice from a book and they married in 1989. Michael retired in 1998 and he and Alice moved to Gualala, which they love over all places, while traveling quite a bit and loving coming home.

On Saturday, August 4, at 5 p.m.  Nik Epanchin will present  “Point Arena Light Station Renovation 2008-2010”  as part of the Lighthouse Lecture Series.  Nik, a key member of the team that managed the restoration of the Lighthouse Tower and Fog Signal Building, will share a brief status of the Light Station prior to renovation, the effort required to obtain funding for the renovation and the details of the renovation itself.

Nik, a local resident and currently Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers, Inc. (PALKI) Co-Vice President along with Laura Franklin, joined the PALKI Board in September  2006 and soon he and Pauline Zamboni became the co-Project Managers of the Light Station renovation effort.  His main task was the day to day field work and keeping an accurate track of the costs to keep both the Board and California Cultural and Historical Endowment (CCHE) informed.  In February 2010 hewas elected VP and two years later President, serving as such until April 2017 at which time he became VP.  Since March 2018 he and Laura Franklin are co-VPs.  Nik continues to be involved in the maintenance and upkeep of the Station, leads the popular Full Moon Night Tours and participates as best he can in preserving the Station for future generations. Nik has also been a winter docent at the Point Reyes National Seashore since 2002.  He has welcomed visitors, helping them view, understand and appreciate northern elephant seals and their unique life cycle; gray whales and their south and north migrations and other coastal fauna, thus promoting the public’s awareness of these species and their need for protection.  As docent he also leads tours of the Point Reyes Light House.

Monarch Butterfly by Catherine Miller

On Saturday, August 5, at 5 p.m. author Jeanne A. Jackson will present  “Nature Sightings at the Point Arena Lighthouse”  as part of the Lighthouse Lecture Series.  Jeanne will present a slideshow of what you might see in late August and early September, from whales to wildflowers.

Bobcat by Allen Vinson

Jeanne moved to the coast 22 years ago from the San Francisco Bay Area where she grew up. Twelve years ago she queried Editor/Publisher of the Independent Coast Observer, Stephen McLaughlin, about writing a column where people share their nature sightings. Jackson’s popular column has expanded to be one full page. To further share the many photos she receives every week, she started a daily Sightings blog from her website. She is the author of “Mendonoma Sightings Throughout the Year.” Jackson enjoys hiking with her husband, Richard, and their rescue golden retriever,  believing that her connection with Nature adds immensely to her life.

On Saturday, September 20 at 4 p.m. Cea Higgins will present  “Partners in Protection-The California Coastal Trail & Marine Sanctuary”  as part of the Lighthouse Lecture Series.  Cea, as Executive Director of  Coastwalk/California Coastal Trail Association,  is uniquely qualified to teach the audience about the history, intent, and future of the California Coastal Trail-when completed the trail will run 1200 unbroken miles from Oregon to Mexico and provide public access to the coastline and a spectacular venue for outdoor recreation & coastal preservation. Coastwalk has lead hikes on the California Coastal Trail for 35 years and works to inspire, educate, and increase the community of coastal advocates for both coastal protection and access.  Hear the stories of the first thru-hike which brought attention to the need to protect the Coast from over-development and resulted in the Passage of Proposition 20 and the Coastal Act. Learn about the intrepid souls who have walked the trail such as the  senior “Coastwalkers” who have spent 2 decades to complete the journey or the first woman to run the trail solo in under 44 days.  Learn why the Trail  and Sanctuary provide a “sandwich” of coastal preservation and how you can best advocate for their preservation.

Cea serves as the Executive Director of Coastwalk California-the only statewide nonprofit with the mission to promote, preserve, and complete the California Coastal Trail-when completed the trail will run 1200 unbroken miles from Oregon to Mexico and provide public access to the coastline and a spectacular venue for outdoor recreation & coastal preservation. Coastwalk has lead hikes on the California Coastal trail for 35 years and works to inspire, educate, and increase the community of coastal advocates for both coastal protection and access.  Cea is currently working on developing programs to increase opportunities for underserved populations to experience the Coastal Trail.  Cea is also the Policy and Volunteer Coordinator for Sonoma Coast Surfrider where she has coordinated beach clean-ups & conducted youth and community marine debris education programs for the last 20 years. She also serves on the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and chaired the Sediment Management Working Group working with governmental agencies and County planning departments to develop climate-smart adaptation policies to more effectively deal with coastal erosion and sea level rise.

An avid surfer, hiker, and trained in marine mammal and sea bird rescue, Cea believes in giving back to the ocean  and coast that she is blessed to enjoy and work to protect.