top of page


Apr 30, 2020

Citizen Scientist talk with Dr. Rebecca Johnson

Live Book Discussion

Dr. Rebecca Johnson is a wonderful citizen scientist (and professional!) whom I routinely follow around in the tide pools off Pillar Point in Half Moon Bay.  She always knows the names of the squirmy things.  To help foster our community in COVID times, the Citizen Science Association is hosting a book talk with Rebecca and myself, which we will open up to participants about halfway through.  Please join us!


Jan 09, 2020

Rio Vista, California

Trilogy Garden Club

Dec 09, 2019

New York Historical Society

Academy for Teachers Master Class

I'll teach a three-hour class covering evolution and the roots of citizen science in conservation biology; designing citizen science for equity and justice; and butterflies, connected with extinctions and what we can do to slow them.

Dec 05, 2019


TEDWomen: Bold and Beautiful

How amazing if we could get the TED community fired up about citizen science!  My talk will be about butterflies, why I wish they could talk, and what they are telling us today even without words.

Nov 19, 2019

California Alpine Lodge

Legacy of Hope

"Citizen Science and Tomorrow's Earth."  With Rebecca Johnson from the California Academy of Sciences and Allen Fish from the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.  Also on behalf of One Tam.

Nov 12, 2019

Gardening from the Heart of Life

Marin Garden and Art Center

I have a very liberal definition of citizen science, and anyone creating habitat for other species, eradicating invasives, and in general supporting a sustainable tissue of life on Earth, is a citizen scientist in my view.  I'll be talking about the fires and how home gardening connects up to the urban-wilderness interface that is so critical to confronting them.

Oct 05, 2019

Martin Luthur King, Jr. park, Berkeley

24th Annual Watershed Poetry Festival

Bringing together two great subjects, poetry and nature! I'm going to speak briefly about butterflies and then call out iNaturalist, the Oakland Zoo, and Bay Nature Magazine, all of which will be tabling and helping to strengthen community around saving the world we love.

Sep 28, 2019

Quarry Hill Botanical Garden

Il faut cultivar notre jardin

Like it or not, human impacts are ubiquitous upon the Earth, and we must not act as "gods" but as "gardeners."  I think I'm number 3 in Quarry Hill's 2019 lecture series.

Sep 15, 2019

International two-day conference

Rethinking Animals Summit

Reimagining Nature panel.

Jun 26, 2019

The Towers

Unscorching the Earth: How to Address Extinction with Citizen Science

I'll fill in details when I get them!  Pretty sure this talk will be during the day.

May 24, 2019

SFPL Main, Koret Auditorium

Legacy of Hope: Citizen Science and Tomorrow's Earth

I will give a talk with Rebecca Johnson, director of citizen science at the California Academy of Sciences, and Allen Fish, director of the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, about maximizing collective impact to stem extinction.  Scroll down on the Friends website page to get to the event, which is free, and in the morning.

May 21, 2019

The Commonwealth Club of California

The Age of Living Machines

I will interview Susan Hockfield, the former and first woman president of MIT, about her new book, subtitled:  How Biology Will Build the Next Technology Revolution.  I am equally excited and scared about our brave new horizon!

Mar 08, 2019

San Francisco Public Library

Library Laureates

The semi-annual extravaganza on behalf of Friends of the SFPL.  It's the most fun benefit I've ever been part of -- a writer at every table, with a story to tell.

Jan 08, 2019

Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station

Heroes of the Big, Little World

Citizen science bridges scales -- local to global, biotic to existential.  Talk followed by discussion.

Nov 15, 2018

Mechanics Institute Library

Gods and Robots

I will interview Adrienne Mayor, Stanford University classicist, about her new book, in which she traces the beginnings of artificial intelligence and robotics to machine dreams in the ancient world.  Fascinating book!

Nov 05, 2018

David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford University

Nature in the City Map, in all its Glory

We're getting the band back together again to present at the ultimate place on the proverbial map -- Stanford's Rumsey Center.  State-of-the-art projection will beguile participants with the deep beauties of the map, upon which I will expound, in a panel discussion with my co-creators.

Oct 14, 2018

Friends of Edgewood Park

The Power of Place: Evolution, Ecology, and Citizen Science

Plenary speaker for the 25th anniversary bash!

Oct 13, 2018

The Berkeley Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival

The Hero's Journey: Earth, Sun, and Citizen Science

Sponsored by Poetry Flash Literary Review, founded by former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Haas.  Along with Haas, poets Brenda Hillman, Forrest Gander, and Tongo Eisen-Martin will read.  I'm the only one in prose!

Sep 14, 2018

The Watershed Institute, Pennington New Jersey

Citizen Science Adds Up

Local citizen science importantly informs nature resource management decisions nearby, but it adds up to collective impacts upstream, downstream, and very far away indeed.  Plenary talk, Citizen Science Conference

Sep 06, 2018

University of California, San Francisco

Story Telling for Science

Talk on communicating scientific research to a general audience for faculty from UCSF and San Francisco State University.

Jul 19, 2018

Deutsches Museum, Munich Germany

Citizen Science and the Anthropocene

Talk on reconciling scope, scale, and evidence collection in the brave new world of open source knowledge production.

Jun 28, 2018

Public Knowledge at SFMOMA: Nature in the City

The Nature in the City map may just be the first of its kind.  A collaboration among artists, scientists, mapmakers, and more, it seeks to express the built world of San Francisco within the larger, older, unfolding, and connected world. Panel discussion and presentation.

Jun 13, 2018

Smith Club of Colorado and Wyoming

Birds, Bees, and Climate Resilience

We aren't only warming the planet, we are also reducing biodiversity at an unsustainable rate.  The good news is citizen science, which enables each of us to help get a global handle on nature and how to save it.  Plenary speaker.

May 22, 2018

Tiburon Library

Big picture, little picture

Book talk at one of the Bay Area's best libraries!

May 17, 2018

Madrean Conference 2018

Time, Place, Purpose -- on a Map

Mexican and North American collaborations to protect biodiversity in the Sky Islands.  I'll talk citsc but also the spine of the continent, of which this is a critical linkage.

May 12, 2018

Grace Hudson Museum, Ukiah, CA

Citizen Science and Climate Change

A two-part talk with Mary Ellen Hannibal, author, and Shelly Ryan, the Climate Reality Project

May 06, 2018

Napa Valley Unitarian Universalists

Guest Sermon: Heroes of the Small World

World-mythologist Joseph Campbell advised that across time, place, and ethnicity, all human stories have a common theme.  The hero's journey is a developmental trajectory and a path of transcendence.  Today's world situation challenges Campbell's notion of the empowered individual, yet there is wisdom and guidance to be discerned in the role each of us play in what he called the solar cycle.  Campbell was a "citizen scientist" and advised that myth is nature talking.

May 04, 2018

Pepperwood Preserve, Santa Rosa CA

Discover Nature -- Citizen Science

Refreshments at 6:30, talk at 7:00 pm

Feb 23, 2018

Brown University, Providence RI

Writing Climate Change: A Roundtable with Public Scholars

Cogut Institute for the Humanities event moderated by Iris Montero, with Cornelia Dean and Elizabeth Rush

Feb 07, 2018

Nature in the City

Making a Deep Map: Beyond Buildings and Views

We'll talk about making a "nature in the city" map that could easily be called "the city in nature."

With original artwork by Jane Kim, story by Mary Ellen Hannibal, and graphic design by Leah Elamin, the map was spearheaded by Nature in the City, a local non-profit dedicated to environmental stewardship and education, in partnership with multiple city agencies and institutions.

Nov 01, 2017

Smith College, Northampton MA

Seeing the World across Time, Place, and with Purpose

Environmental Science and Policy Talk

Oct 13, 2017

Annual Conservation Symposium Speaker

Santa Barbara Botanical Garden

Oct 10, 2017

Plenary Speaker

State of the Estuary Conference

This is the 13th biennial conference of the San Francisco Estuary Partnership -- an amazing collaboration of government and NGO organizations to protect and restore the Bay-Delta estuary.

Sep 30, 2017

Environmental Educators Conference

North Carolina

Environmental Educators Conference

Sep 23, 2017

Exploratorium Symposium

Ricketts Noir

An evening of creative interpretation related to Ed Ricketts and the San Francisco Bay, hosted by The Exploratorium.

Sep 10, 2017

And a book swap too!

Reading in the Richmond

The event is 11-3 and I'll be reading at 1:45.

Sep 06, 2017

A festival connecting nature, culture, and community

Visions of the Wild

Opening night book group discussion about Citizen Scientist, free and open to the general public.

Aug 30, 2017

Environmental writers respond to Trump

An Expensive Hoax

I'll be talking with Ken Brower and Susan Frienkel about ways forward.  This is a Litquake event.

Aug 10, 2017

Science in the Soul

Richard Dawkins

I'll be interviewing the author of the The God Delusion, The Blind Watchmaker, and many other provocative and eloquent books, about his latest.

Jul 08, 2017

A camp-out and river rafting event in support of saving old growth redwoods

Great Old Broads for Wilderness

Saturday night speaker

Jun 24, 2017

Citizen Science in the Hamptons

Jointly sponsored by the Peconic Land Trust and the South Fork Natural History Museum.

Jun 17, 2017

Commencement Address

The Ross School, East Hampton

Jun 09, 2017

Climate Ride Talk

Jun 03, 2017

moderating panel with Nathanael Johnson and Michael Branch

Bay Area Book Festival

Jun 03, 2017

Volunteer appreciation party speaker

San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory

Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge

May 17, 2017

Citizen Science Association Conference

Minneapolis-St. Paul


Plenary talk with Sharman Apt Russell, Caren Cooper, and Akiko Busch, all authors of story-driven citizen science books, hosted by NPR's Heather McElhatton.

May 10, 2017

4-6 pm

Steinbeck and the Environment

Bender Room, Green Library

Stanford University


I will be talking mostly about Sea of Cortez, Steinbeck's collaboration with Ed Ricketts.  Gavin Jones, Stanford English professor writing a book about Steinbeck, William Souder, writing a new biography, and Susan Shillinglaw, foremost Steinbeck scholar, will all be speaking.  Valentin Lopez, Chairman of the Amah Mutsun tribal band, will talk about "living Steinbeck."

May 08, 2017

Education and science staff

Wildlife Conservation Society

Central Park Zoo

May 05, 2017

Rethinking Animals Summit

May 5-7, New York City

I will be speaking on a panel called "Tapping the Global Citizen" which looks at ways we are enabling individuals all over the world to do something to impact the world for other species. Other speakers include Alex Dehgan, Co-Founder of Conservation X Labs, Rene Umberger, developer of the Tank Watch App and Stephan Kohn on the National Whistle Blowers Campaign

May 05, 2017

Science staff talk

New York Botanical Garden

Apr 29, 2017

Smith Club of Chicago

Sustainability Includes Creatures

Climate change responses by colleges and universities focus on fossil fuel reduction, which is great.  But colleges could focus on biodiversity and local landscapes to create interdisciplinary knowledge production that includes the creatures (and plants) that co-habit with humans.  #NatureToo!

Field Museum, Chicago

3:30 p.m.

Sausalito, California

Wildcare Donor Event

Talk celebrating Wildcare and encouraging citizen science and networking.

Apr 19, 2017

Cosumnes River College

Earth Day Plenary

Apr 23, 2017

11 am - 5:30 pm


Stanford University, Palo Alto

Book Passage Santa Clara

Earth Day Speaker

12:00 noon

Apr 12, 2017

6 pm

Talk at the Exploratorium

Apr 11, 2017

Reader's Corner with Bob Kustra

Boise State National Radio

Apr 08, 2017

Mountain Science Expo

Asheville, NC

Apr 06, 2017

Malaprops Bookstore

Bookstore talk

Asheville, North Carolina

Mar 12, 2017

10 am

Tucson Festival of Books

Great Places and Honoring Others

Authors were each inspired or changed by the death of a relative during the writing of their books. While each writer was writing about place, they were also writing about their loved ones who have inspired them.

National Parks Experience Center

(Click details for a festival map)

Mar 11, 2017

1 pm

Tucson Festival of Books

Humans and a Changing Earth

What is the impact of humans on our changing planet and who are the change-makers? Award-winning writers David Biello and Mary Ellen Hannibal offer an essential panel for anyone interested in the natural world and its health in the future.

National Parks Experience Center

(Click details for a festival map)

Mar 10, 2017

6 pm

Citizen Science and Wildways along the Spine

The Southern Arizona Workspace

Wildlands Network and Sky Island Alliance

talking about how to achieve large landscape connectivity utilizing citizen science!

Mar 06, 2017

12:15 pm

The Rotary Club of Palo Alto

Mar 04, 2017

Keynote / Citizen Science for Conservation in Southern California

Aquarium of the Pacific

Long Beach, CA

Feb 23, 2017

6 pm

Darwin Day (or night, actually)

California Academy of Sciences

I'll be giving two informal talks about that ur-citizen scientist, Charles Darwin, among the groovy mood music and drinks.  Very fun to haunt the halls of the Academy after dark.

Feb 14, 2017

5:40 pm

CKWR KW Magazine (Ontario, Canada)

With John Mariel

Feb 13, 2017

7:30 pm

League of Women Voters

Environmental Concerns Speaker Series

Northbrae Community Church

941 The Alameda


Feb 08, 2017

7:30 pm

Shaping San Francisco

518 Valencia Street, San Francisco

Talking extinction with Ursual Heise, English lit. prof. at UCLA, whose new book is Imagining Extinction.

Feb 08, 2017

3 pm

For the Grandparents

Rossmoor Nature Club

Feb 07, 2017

Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve / Stanford University

Palo Alto, CA

Jan 31, 2017

9 am

KWMR "airwaves" with R. Gallyot

89.9, 90.5, 92.3 FM 

West Marin

Jan 30, 2017

7 pm

KALW "City Visions"

Radio interview on 91.7 FM in San Francisco

with Joseph Pace

Jan 25, 2017

12:00 noon

Century Club lecture

lunch, presentation, and talk!

Jan 05, 2017

East Bay Audubon

Dec 18, 2016

1:00 pm

Book Passage

Corte Madera, CA

Dec 11, 2016

3:00 pm

Port Townsend Marine Science Center

Port Townsend, WA

Dec 10, 2016

12:00 pm

Eagle Harbor Books

Bainbridge Island, WA

Dec 09, 2016

1:45 pm

Port Townsend Salon Series

Port Townsend, WA

Nov 16, 2016

6:30 pm

Mechanic Institute Library

San Francisco, CA

Talk about “wild” in Jack London’s fiction.

Nov 14, 2016

5:00 pm

Innovator Speaker Series / Luskin Center, UCLA

Los Angeles, CA

Nov 07, 2016

7:00 pm

Cupertino Sustainability

Cupertino, CA

Oct 29, 2016

3:00 pm

2016 Mt. Tam Science Summit

Sausalito, CA

Citizen Scientist talk and book signing.

Oct 26, 2016

7:00 pm

Utah Humanities Book Festival

Salt Lake City, UT

Citizen Scientist talk and book signing.

Oct 21, 2016

Distinguished Author Series

Lafayette, CA

Citizen Scientist talk and book signing at the Lafayette Library and Commonwealth Club of California.

Oct 14, 2016

Book Passage

San Francisco, CA

Citizen Scientist talk and book signing at Book Passage in The Ferry Building.

Oct 10, 2016


San Francisco, CA

Citizen Scientist talk and book signing at Green Arcade Books.

Oct 05, 2016

12 noon

Butcher’s Table

Seattle, WA

Citizen Scientist book talk, signing and lunch. (How fun is this?)

Oct 04, 2016

7:30 pm

Town Hall / Seattle

Seattle, WA

Citizen Scientist talk and book signing.

Oct 02, 2016

Oakland Nature Festival

Rotary Nature Center, Lake Merritt / Oakland, CA

Citizen Scientist talk and book signing and also John Muir Laws doing the same—details to come!

Oct 01, 2016

Marin Municipal Water District

Sep 20, 2016

Jewish Community Center of San Francisco

San Francisco, CA

Arts and Lectures Series

Sep 18, 2016

Friends of Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

Moss Beach, CA

Sep 09, 2016

California Naturalist Conference

September 9-10.

Two day conference with Citizen Scientist talks and book signing.

Sep 07, 2016

7:00 pm

Save the Redwoods League

September 9-10.

Citizen Scientist book presentation and signing.

Apr 27, 2016

6:15 pm

Marin Environmental Forum

Corte Madera Community Center / Corte Madera, CA

What the heck is Citizen Science and why is it so important?

Mar 22, 2016

8:00 pm

Stegner Lecture

Palo Alto, CA

Peninsula Open Space Trust

Mar 18, 2016

Friends of the San Francisco Public Library Laureates Dinner

San Francisco, CA

Feb 06, 2016

6:30 pm

Berkeley Public Library 15th Annual Author’s Dinner

Berkeley, CA

Oct 08, 2015

1:00-6:00 pm

Lafayette Library and Learning Center / Litquake Event

Lafayette, CA

“Braving the Elements: An Afternoon of Books about the Environment” (moderator)

Apr 18, 2015

9:30 am

SFUSD 3rd Annual Ecoliteracy Conference

San Francisco, CA

“Citizen Science and You.” Keynote speaker for the San Francisco Unified School District’s 3rd annual Ecoliteracy Conference. I’ll be talking about how citizen science connects with STEM objectives and larger social goals (as in, saving the planet). Highlighting local off-the-shelf projects like LiMPETS and Save the Redwoods.

Apr 18, 2015

4:00 pm

“Power of place in the Santa Cruz Mountains”

“Power of Place in the Santa Cruz Mountains, through the lens of citizen science.” I’m the fourth speaker in a series along the way with Stanford to the Sea, with a focus on water. I’ll be talking at 4 p.m. at the Purisima Creek Trail. 

Jun 11, 2015

7:00 pm

“Extinction’s Greatest Hits”

San Mateo Audubon / San Mateo, CA

I’ll be giving my talk based on a series still to come from me and the New York Times. We focus our worries on negative changes to the physical system, aka climate change, but biodiversity loss is a greater threat to Earth’s well-being. As E.O. Wilson recently put it, lose the biological system and everything goes. The good news is, we can save biodiversity! I’ll emphasize Bay Area and California issues. 

Sep 18, 2014

7:00 pm

“Protect the Land”

Sonoma Land Trust

This talk and slide show connects big-scale nature protection to our local landscapes. 

Oct 13, 2014

6:30 pm

“Into the Wilderness”

Berkeley, CA

Litquake is a gas. This event honors the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act is at the fabulous Brower Center in Berkeley. I’ll be joining three brainiac UC professors with incredibly interesting new books. 

Oct 18, 2014

“Citizen Scientists are Our First Line of Defense Against Extinction”

Asilomar, CA

The California Naturalist program trains regular people to observe and know nature in the grand tradition. 

Oct 19, 2014

4:30 pm

“The Art and Science of Restoring the World We Want”

Marin Civic Center

Bioneers is an annual rite. I’ll be hosting a panel with Ellie Cohen, firecracker, and Robin Grossinger, understated wizard. Their work is SO AMAZING and cool and full of maps and data points and new narratives. 

Sep 24, 2014

“Thinking With Nature”

California Historical Society

Check out how Jon Christiansen and Eve Bachrach are curating cultural ascendency in BOOM! A Journal of California. I contributed a piece on Native California burning practices to this issue on “Thinking with Nature,” and I’m still not over it.

Feb 07, 2014

Pepperwood Preserve

Pepperwood Preserve / Santo Rosa, CA

Dispatches from citizen science.  Details to come but check out Pepperwood, it’s a fabulous place with tons of great events all the time.

Jan 30, 2014

Plenary Session

The Wildlife Society, Western Section / Reno, NV

Connecting citizen science to wilderness professionals — pros and cons.

Dec 03, 2013

Tom Kat Ranch

Pescadero, CA

Allan Savory and mobgrazing. I will talk about connectivity both horizontally, across the landscape, and vertically, through species interactions. 

Oct 19, 2013

National Bioneers Conference

Marin Civic Center / San Rafael, CA

Sep 07, 2013

Book Passage

Corte Madera, CA

Aug 29, 2013

The Commonwealth Club of California

San Francisco, CA

In addition, I helped produce special August programming by the Commonwealth Club around “Protecting Biodiversity

1 / 1

Please reload

bottom of page