Hitched to Everything: The Amazing Manzanita

Thursday Nov 10 2016   7:30 PM
Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History  165 Forest Ave, Pacific Grove, CA  map

Manzanita first appears in the fossil record 37 million years ago in central California; 35.5 million years ago it began diversifying and dispersing. California now hosts a whopping sixty-two Arctostaphylos species, some of which have dispersed naturally as far as Guatemala and Eurasia. In this illustrated lecture, author and naturalist Kate Marianchild will discuss manzanita’s multiple adaptations to drought, the evolutionary rationale behind the smooth, thin red skin that peels at the height of summer, and “buzz pollination in middle C.” She will talk about manzanita’s relationships with other members of the oak woodlands, including lace lichen, silk moths, ants, bushtits, pileated woodpeckers, and mycorrhizal fungi. Time permitting, Kate will also discuss a couple of unsolved manzanita mysteries.

Before and after the program, Kate will sit behind a table covered with show-and-tell items from the oak woodlands. When she is not waxing eloquent about oak galls and bushtit nests, she and her assistant will sell and sign copies of her book, Secrets of the Oak Woodlands: Plants and Animals among California’s Oaks. She will also encourage you to look at flowers, lichens, and insects through close-focusing binoculars, marvelous new devices that enable you to focus with both eyes on objects as close as eighteen inches. You will also have the opportunity to buy Kate’s laminated, full-color oak identification card.

Doors at 7:00 p.m., program starts at 7:30. This is a presentation to the Monterey Bay chapter of California Native Plant Society. Everyone welcome!

Kate MarianchildWhen Kate Marianchild migrated to the oak woodlands of inland Mendocino County in 2001, she promptly fell in love with an ecosystem. After writing for Audubon and other nature-oriented nonprofits for several years, she began the research that led to the writing of this book. Marianchild studied Chinese language and literature at UC Berkeley and New Asia College in Hong Kong, graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Berkeley with a degree in comparative literature. Following years of grassroots political activism, she moved to Mendocino County in 1980 and supported herself as a carpenter while founding and running Rising Tide Sea Vegetables, a company that is still thriving today under new ownership. For the past thirteen years she has lived in a cozy twenty-five-foot-diameter yurt with no indoor plumbing except a sink and a two-gallon hot water heater. In addition to watching wildlife, leading nature walks, and giving slide presentations, Marianchild sings with two community choirs, kayaks, swims, and participates in the events of her beloved community. (Kate Marianchild was known as Kathy Roberts before she changed her name to honor her deceased mother.)