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California Quail

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.

The Education Committee is looking for volunteers interested in helping with tabling events representing MDAS at area festivals, science fairs, and celebrations, set up classes, contacting instructors, brainstorming ideas, collaborating with area conservation groups to provide birding expertise on hikes, and/or working with youth and classroom teachers to further the MDAS mission.

If interested, please contact Maren Smith at or 925-322-9477.

MDAS Registration PoliciesMDAS Classes

Beginning Birding Basics - Pamela Llewellyn
Two 2-hour classes and two 4-hour field trips
Classes: Thursday, May 9 and 16, 7-9 PM
Field Trips: Saturday, May 11 and 18 (locations TBD) 8 AM-noon
Lafayette Library and Learning Center, Oak Room (maximum of 15 participants)
Cost: $45 MDAS members/$50 non-members

Class Description: Join Pamela Llewellyn for this two-week workshop while she guides you through basic identification of the birds seen in the San Francisco Bay Area.Two classroom presentations will provide a straightforward introduction to the identification of our local avifauna. We will cover the basics of identification, field guides and optics. During the field trips we will venture out looking for birds and practice what we learned in class. Binoculars are required for this class. Recommended for beginning birders.

Instructor Bio: Pamela Llewellyn is a San Francisco Bay Area native who has been leading local birding trips for the Golden Gate Audubon Society for the past 15 years, and more recently, taught Raptor Identification classes at the Klamath Falls Winter Wings Festival. Prior to that she spent five years as a bander and docent for the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory. She has lead bird trips through the Point Reyes Field Seminars (PRNSA) and also banded with the Point Reyes Bird Observatory (Point Blue). She has worked as a local bird guide on board Delphinus for Dolphin Charters taking groups on trips throughout the waterways of the San Francisco Bay and it’s tributaries. Pamela studied Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley, is a nature photographer and artist, and she also leads private birding trips in the Bay Area.


Local and Area Classes and Activities

The MDAS Education Committee maintains a list of local and area classes and activities of special interest to members of our chapter in which they may participate. Links to other organizations are also provided below for information about classes they may offer.

MDAS-Save Mt. Diablo - RSVP

Thursday 5/9/19
7AM - Noon
Curry Canyon Ranch

Enjoy a chance to explore Mt. Diablo's east side, in an area not normally open to the public. Join MDAS on a partnership hike with Save Mount Diablo on Thursday, May 9 at 7 AM for a 3-mile, easy/moderate hike on the Save Mount Diablo Curry Canyon Ranch private property. Hike along a riparian corridor in a beautiful valley with rolling hills and shady valley oaks. Expect warblers and maybe a Golden Eagle or two. The hike is free, but reservations are required. Reservations open on March 9 at

Leaders: Jerry Britten (925) 321-5332 and Maren Smith (925) 322-9477 ( Once you have reserved your spot, meet at the Park & Ride at 1000 Peacock Creek Drive in Clayton at 7 AM to carpool to the private property.

MDAS-NPS-John Muir Land Trust - RSVP

Tuesday 5/21/19
9AM - Noon
Mt. Wanda Trailhead
Corner of Franklin Canyon and Alhambra Ave.
Martinez, CA 94553
Public Event, RSVP Necessary

Join Mt. Diablo Audubon Society, National Park Service and John Muir Land Trust to spot some birds and hike to Almond Ranch, free and fun for 25 guests! The moderate 3.5 mile hike begins steeply and levels out with vistas of the Carquinez Straits. Surrounded by grasslands, scrub, oak and bay woodlands; golden eagles, white-tailed kites and ferruginous hawks have been spotted here as well as various species of woodpeckers, hummingbirds, flycatchers and many more.

Please dress in layers for changing weather. Wear closed toed shoes, a hat and long pants. Bring water, bottle and snacks. Bring binoculars and a smart phone loaded with the application E-bird if you like, Mt. Diablo Audubon Society will bring extra binoculars. Rain Cancels. There are no restroom facilities at this site, the closest restrooms are public at the gas station on Alhambra and Walnut Ave.

Please RSVP here: If you have any questions, feel free to contact Hannah Hodgson with John Muir Land Trust at

Walnut Creek Open Space Class

Join knowledgeable Borges Ranch Ranger Dan Bylin for a birding class in the City of Walnut Creek Open Space.

May: Celebrate World Migratory Bird Day where Neo-tropical Migrants will be the subject of study. Discover the birds that call Shell Ridge Open Space their home in the spring and summer, and then spend the fall and winter in the tropics of Mexico, Central and South America. Learn how these birds are capable of flying thousands of miles every year to come and raise their chicks in our backyards. The two-part program will begin with a slide-show presentation in the carriage house barn Friday night, May 10 from 6-8 PM, with a field trip to follow on Saturday morning, May 11 from 8 AM-noon. Cost is $15 and reservations are required. Contact Ranger Dan Bylin at: (925) 943-5899 x 2162 or to sign up for the class.

Interested in Bird Photography?

Join the Fremont Birding Circle on Facebook to learn about monthly walks led by local photographer and birding expert, Jerry Ting, and enjoy bird photography posts by members.
Mono Lake Field Seminars

38 classes including birds and photography

Sterling Wildlife Biology

Gulls, raptors, shorebirds, and more

Golden Gate Audubon offers classes for all levels of birding skills for members and non-members. You can find out more about them at 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

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 or by calling (415) 663-1200 x307.

Ohlone Audubon Society maintains a list of local classes at

Denise Wight's list of birding classes can be found at

Daniel Edelstein teaches classes which can be found on his Merritt College blog and on his website at

John Muir Laws offers classes through his website,

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 or http://www.

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 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

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has their Bird Sleuth programs for teachers. Find out more at

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