Explorer Series is a program of science based field trips and hands-on workshops for adults who want to deepen their understanding and appreciation of the world around them. Our guest speakers include experienced naturalists, professionals and leaders in their field who love sharing their talents and knowledge with others.
Join us to explore our remarkable natural world!
Proceeds support environmental education programs for all ages that are offered by Yolo Basin Foundation.
2018 Explorer Series
- Nature Printing with Fish (gyotaku) and Plants – led by Chris and Christy Dewees
- Nature Photography Workshop – with Lewis Kemper
- Natural History of Sutter Buttes – led by Dr. Gene Trapp
- Exploring the Delta: Wetlands, Water, Farms and History
- California Rice from Field to Fork – led by John Brennan and Emily James
- Hawks of Summer – led by Jim Estep
- Batty for Bats – led by Corky Quirk
Saturday • January 20 • 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. • 18 guests • $75 SOLD OUT
“Every type of fish is unique and requires a different approach. I like to emphasize the structure and movement of the fish.”~ Chris Dewees
“I don’t touch fish, so I was delighted to discover that the method worked for printing flowers and plants as well.” ~ Christy Dewees
Art is a creative way for Chris and Christy to share their passion and knowledge of nature. In this workshop attendees will learn how to make prints with a method where ink is applied directly to the subject. No previous experience is necessary. All materials and lunch are included.
Chris Dewees has focused on Japanese fish printing (gyotaku) since 1968, and is a co-founder of the Nature Printing Society. He has gained worldwide recognition for his talents with shows all over the world, and enjoys teaching others this ancient art. His modern take on the art form blends his knowledge of fisheries and ecology to document the life histories of fish species. Chris has a newly published book, “A Life Among Fishes – the Art of Gyotaku”. This book documents his journey and growth by sharing fifty years of his experiences and adventures with images of his gyotaku art and photos from his life.
Christy Dewees has a degree in botanical illustration and is also a nature printer who enjoys working with plant prints on fabric.
Visit deweesnaturedesigns.com for more information about Chris and Christy, and their work.
Nature Photography Workshop – with Lewis Kemper
Saturday • February 10 • 1 pm – 9 pm • 20 guests • $100 SOLD OUT
“Helping people improve their photography while having fun is one of my favorite things in life” ~ Lewis Kemper
Are you looking for new insight and inspiration to enhance your photographic skills? If so, you are invited to attend this nature photography workshop taught by Lewis Kemper, a world renowned nature photographer.
Photographers of all levels are welcome at this fun filled, educational workshop designed to improve photographic skills. The group will begin by exploring the essentials of composition and light in a classroom setting, and then as the sun sets, travel to the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area to practice what was learned. After a light supper, participants will have the opportunity to present their photos for group discussion and critique.
Lewis Kemper has a degree in Fine Art Photography from George Washington University, and has been photographing the natural beauty of North America for over 30 years. His work has been exhibited and published in magazines, books, and calendars worldwide. He has taught photography for many organizations including Palm Beach Photographic Centre, Santa Fe Workshops, Light Photographic Workshops, Aspen Workshops and Betterphoto.com. He is a contributing editor to Outdoor Photographer magazine. For more information about Lewis, visit www.lewiskemper.com.
The workshop takes place at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Headquarters office.
Natural History of Sutter Buttes – led by Dr. Gene Trapp
Saturday • March 24 • 8 am – 4:00 pm • 20 guests • $100 SOLD OUT
Join us for a visit to “the world’s smallest mountain range.”
Dr. Gene Trapp will lead this excursion as we learn about the geology, plants, and animals of the Sutter Buttes. Dr. Trapp is a Professor Emeritus from the Department of Biological Sciences at California State University, Sacramento, where he taught Ecology, Mammalogy, Animal Behavior and Behavioral Ecology for 30 years. David Wyatt, a City College biology professor who has been studying the ring tail population in the Sutter Buttes for 25 years, will also be making an appearance along the way.
The day begins at 8:00 am in Yuba City to get a short orientation on the geology, ecology, and human history of this diverse ecosystem in the middle of the Central Valley. Then we’ll head to the historic Dean Ranch in the heart of the Buttes for a three mile hike through grasslands and oak woodlands in search of the Buttes’ endemic animals and plants, and will discuss their ecological relationships. Kathleen and Greg Payne from the Education Program for Middle Mountain Interpretive Hikes will assist Professor Trapp. Lunch will be provided. The event will end back at the museum by 4:00 pm.
Exploring the Delta: Wetlands, Water, Farms and History
Saturday • April 21 • 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. • 20 guests • $75
Learn about this remarkable place, starting with wetland restoration activities on Liberty Island at the lower end of the Yolo Bypass with Campbell Ingram, the Executive Director of the Delta Conservancy. He’ll then lead us to the Delta Cross-Cut Channel where we’ll get an overview of the Delta and its water issues. Next, we’ll visit the town of Locke to learn about the historical Chinese influence in the Delta. After a picnic lunch, we’ll head to Six Hands Winery to learn about agriculture in this unique ecosystem.
For this day-long road trip, we’ll start at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area headquarters to organize carpools.
California Rice from Field to Fork – led by John Brennan and Emily James
Saturday • May 19 • 9 am – 2 pm • 20 guests • $75
Start the day in Robbins for a tour of a rice drying and storage facility. Learn about the history of rice production in the valley, how rice is dried and stored after harvest, and enjoy a complimentary rice tasting of the local Black Fox Brand rice. Then head to the fields to learn about the planting and growing process, and the various stages of rice. Farmer John Brennan and Emily James will speak about Robbins Rice Company’s specialization in Japanese koshihikari rice production, sustainable farming practices, restoration, and mitigation work that provides necessary habitat for wildlife. End the day with a fantastic lunch at Tule Basin Farms restored wetland.
Hawks of Summer – led by Jim Estep
Saturday • June 16 • 7 am – 2 pm • 18 guests • $75 SOLD OUT
Travel with raptor expert Jim Estep to the nesting and foraging sites of the Swainson’s Hawk, a California threatened species, which makes its summer home in Yolo County. You’ll have ample opportunity to identify and learn about other raptors as well.
Just when you’re getting a little tired and hungry the group will stop for lunch at a lovely country home in rural Yolo County where you’ll share stories of the morning’s adventures and hopefully have a chance to see the long-time resident Great-horned Owls.
Jim Estep is a wildlife biologist who has been working with Swainson’s Hawks for over 35 years. He has done research on various aspects of the species’ ecology, prepared management and conservation plans, and conducted surveys throughout the Central Valley and elsewhere.
Batty for Bats – led by Corky Quirk
Saturday • July 21 • 5:30 pm – 9 pm • $55 SOLD OUT
Be part of an intimate bat experience with Yolo Basin Foundation’s own bat expert Corky Quirk. You’ll learn about their natural history and biology and even get an up-close look at live bats. After the program, you’ll caravan to the bat viewing site in the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, traveling past Green’s Lake, an old oxbow of the Sacramento River. As the sun sets, your private party will enjoy fine wines and hors d’oeuvres as you await the spectacular fly-out of hundreds of thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats.