Grizzily bear

7:30 p.m. – Online Zoom Presentation

“The Ecological History of the Bay Area and California
Guest Speaker: Laura Cunningham

What was California like 500 years ago—with native bunchgrasses, wildflower fields, vernal pools, giant grizzlies, herds of tule elk and pronghorn antelope, rivers filled with salmon, and condors soaring overhead?  Join Laura Cunningham for a presentation about the ecological history of the Bay Area and California based on twenty years of research for her 2010 book A State of Change: Forgotten Landscapes of California.  Laura will present an hour-long slideshow of her artwork, reconstructing what the Bay Area and California as a whole looked like before European arrival, as well as oak woodlands, grasslands, Native American culture, and fire ecology.

Laura Cunningham studied paleontology at the University of California at Berkeley, then did graduate study at UC Santa Cruz in Natural Science Illustration. She went into the field of wildlife biology, working for California Department of Fish and Wildlife, US Geological Survey, and as a contract biologist in the Sierra Nevada, California desert, Point Reyes National Seashore, and Death Valley National Park.

Laura is a self-taught artist and lives with her husband in the Death Valley region. She works for the conservation nonprofit Western Watersheds Project as their California Director.