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Education - Classes and Resources

The MDAS Education Committee arranges classes for chapter members and the public, serves as a resource for information on local classes through other organizations, and provides links to educational materials and programs available online.

MDAS Classes

Field Identification of Raptors - Bob Power
Two 1.5 hour classes and two 4 hour morning field trips
Class: Tuesday, Oct. 24th and Tuesday, Oct. 31st, 6:15-7:45 PM
Field trips: Sunday, Oct. 29th and Sunday, Nov. 5th,
Lafayette Library and Learning Center, Oak Room (maximum of 15 participants)
Cost: $45 MDAS members/$50 non-members
- Make checks payable to MDAS -
To register or ask questions about this class, please contact Dolores Butkus at doloresbutkus73@yahoo.com.

Class Description: Raptors hold everyone’s attention. Their grace as they dominate the airways and their confidence as they survey the landscape are mesmerizing. The beauty and majesty of a raptor when they choose to allow us a prolonged look on a distant perch always makes a lasting impression. Identification challenges in the field are what we’ll focus on in two classroom sessions and two field trips to some of the Bay Area’s most productive raptor resource areas. Through observation and discussion Bob will help you improve your raptor identification skills while observing these thrilling birds in the wild.

Author Bio: Bob Power was the lead field seminar leader for the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society for ten years, leading and co-leading both domestic and international birding eco-tours. Bob has been a day-leader for the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory’s HawkWatch program for the past thirteen years, taught Introduction to Birding at Palo Alto Adult School for seven years, and has been teaching raptor identification classes and leading raptor field seminars since 2004.

Fall Bird Sounds Workshop: Birding By Ear - Denise Wight
Two 1.5 hour classes and one 3-hour field trip
Class #1: TH September 14 and 21, 6:15-7:45 PM, Sun., September 24, 8-11 AM Tilden FT (FULL as of 8/13/17)
Class #2: Wednesday, October 11 and 18, 6:15-7:45 PM, Sun., October 22, 8-11 AM TBD
Lafayette Library and Learning Center, Oak Room (FULL as of 8/13/17)
Cost: $30 MDAS members/$35 non-members
- Make checks payable to MDAS -
To register or ask questions about this class, please contact Maren Smith at marensmithbkk@yahoo.com.

Class Description: Fall is a great time to begin learning about bird sounds. We will start with learning the songs and calls of some of the birds that live in our area all year, as well returning winter species. This workshop will offer a wide range of tricks and hints on how to learn and connect the birds to the sounds they make.

Author Bio: The San Francisco Bay Area has been my home since I was seven years old. I grew up in Orinda, collecting rocks in the nearby creeks, and building forts on the oak and bay covered hillsides. I have been birding seriously since May 1, 1986, when a male Western Tanager and a male Hooded Oriole visited the bottlebrush bush in my backyard in Martinez.

I began teaching birding classes in 1996, when I took over Norah Bain's classes at the Orinda Community Center. From 1997-2006 I taught evening classes and field trips through Wild Birds Unlimited in Pleasant Hill. I enjoyed being a co-leader on Shearwater Journeys pelagic boat trips from 1993 to 2011, and have led classes and field trips for the Lindsey Museum, Point Reyes Bird Observatory, Mount Diablo Interpretive Association, Golden Gate, and Mount Diablo Audubon Society, as well as for private groups. I taught Birding by Ear at Albany Adult School for seven years, and I continue to teach BBE classes for Golden Gate Audubon at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley. I was program chair for Mount Diablo Audubon Society from 1992 to 2000. For information:www.denisewightbirds.com

Local Classes

The MDAS Education Committee maintains a list of local classes of special interest to members of our chapter for which they may enroll. Links to other organizations are also provided here for information about classes they may offer.

Raptors of Central California and the Bay Area, Daniel Edelstein, M.S.
Daniel Edelstein is an adjunct College Instructor at Merritt College & Diablo Valley College and has been serving as a birding guide since the 1980s. He leads birding tours which can be found on his website at WarblerWatch.com. He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist (Associate) and has been consulting On CEQA/NEPA Projects Since 1998. He has an upcoming birding class: Raptors of the Central California and the Bay Area, taught through Merritt College. Information on the class can found by downloading the flyer here.

Golden Gate Audubon offers classes for all levels of birding skills for members and non-members. You can find out more about them at https://goldengateaudubon.org/education/classes/. They also do Eco-Education programs that offer year-round environmental education to Title I (federally-funded) elementary schools in Oakland, Richmond and San Francisco. To find out more visit https://goldengateaudubon.org/education/eco-education/.

The Point Reyes National Seashore Association Field Institute offers over 140 hands-on outdoor education classes per year that foster the enjoyment of the Point Reyes National Seashore, for over 2000 participants. Their classes are led by expert instructors who take you out of your everyday life and into the natural world. You can find out more at http://www.ptreyes.org/camps-classes-programs/prnsa-field-institute or by calling (415) 663-1200 x307.

Denise Wight's list of birding classes can be found at http://www.denisewightbirds.com/

Ohlone Audubon Society maintains a list of local classes at http://www.ohloneaudubon.org/index.php/education/bird-watching-classes

Online Education

The Education Committee provides links to online classes and educational resources.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has over 200 online courses available. Some require a fee, but many are free. You can explore them at https://academy.allaboutbirds.org/course-list/ or http://www. birds.cornell.edu/courses.

Birds of North America is a subscription website maintained by Cornell Lab of Ornithology that has a wealth of information on birds. You can access them at https://birdsna.org/ This is not a set of classes, but detailed information to assist your learning about individual bird species.

Programs for Teachers:

Audubon Adventures offers a variety of programs for schools at http://www.audubon.org/conservation/audubon-adventures.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has their Bird Sleuth programs for teachers. Find out more at http://www.birdsleuth.org/.

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