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Santa Clara Valley Chapter

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California’s Oaks and Their Countless Relations, a talk by Kate Marianchild 
Wednesday, November 17, 2021 07:30pm

California’s magnificent oaks support more life forms than any plant species in the state. In a presentation filled with wildlife ̶ from spiders and lizards to woodpeckers, woodrats, and bears ̶ author and naturalist Kate Marianchild will discuss the vital role oaks play in food webs.

We’ll learn about co-evolutionary connections between oaks and caterpillars, jays, and lichens, and we’ll marvel at the tiny wasps who bend enormous oaks to their bidding. As Kate shares stories of oak woodland species, we’ll fight with woodpeckers for mating opportunities, crawl through woodrat houses looking for rattlesnakes, and plummet to the ground with squirrels as they use their tails as both parachutes and landing pads.

Before the talk, try to collect an acorn with its cap from at least two kinds of oak. If you can, also spend some time watching birds, lizards, squirrels or other animals in or around oaks. (Please collect your acorns only from places where you have permission to collect.)

This talk is geared especially for middle school and high schoolers!

Kate Marianchild is the author of the award- winning bestseller Secrets of the Oak Woodlands: Plants and Animals among California’s Oaks (Heyday, 2014). With humor, affection, and scientific accuracy, Kate profiles the behaviors, social structures, and interrelationships of twenty-two species found in California’s oak woodlands.

Kate lives in a yurt near Ukiah surrounded by six kinds of oak and abundant wildlife. Go to to purchase a signed copy of her book, close-focus binoculars, and/or oak identification guides or to learn about restoring insect populations.

This talk will be live streamed on Zoom (requires advance registration) and YouTube (registration NOT required).