Flyway Nights Speaker Series
Flyway Nights is a monthly speaker series highlighting environmental issues, current research topics in conservation, and natural history of Northern California.
- First Thursday of the month, unless otherwise noted, from November through April – 7 p.m.
- Events are via Zoom. Registration is required.
- Talks are 60 to 90 minutes in duration.
- A $15 donation is suggested. Donations help ensure that we are able to continue hosting this program.
Creating Habitat: A Statewide Experiment for the Western Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
Halie Goeman – Restoration and Wildlife Biologist, River Partners
December 7, 2023 – REGISTER
River Partners in collaboration with The Xerces Society and Washington State University designed a project that not only aimed to restore western monarch breeding habitat across the state of California, but to also better understand their behavior. This presentation will discuss monarch ecology, the experimental design guidelines of the project, address the lessons learned from the project, and next steps we can take.
Halie Goeman is a Restoration and Wildlife Biologist with River Partners in Sacramento. She has been working with monarch butterflies since 2017 and is passionate about monarch ecology and conservation.
Yolo Basin Foundation Graduate Student Fellowship Recipients
January 11, 2024 – REGISTER
Nicole Rodrigues, PhD, UCD – Effects of wildfire-derived contaminants on behavior and development of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area mosquito culex tarsalis
Nicole Rodrigues is a PhD candidate conducting research in the Attardo Lab at UC Davis. She is in the designated emphasis of biotechnology and currently a “Leaders of the Future” Fellow. Her work delves into the impact of biochar on Aedes aegypti, an invasive Californian species, and, with the support of the Yolo Basin Foundation, on Culex tarsalis, a native California species. Biochar is produced when organic matter is burned in the absence of oxygen, and the focus is on studying the effects of wood biochar, a product of natural forest fires, on the nutrition of these mosquito species. By unraveling the intricacies of biochar’s influence, she aims to contribute valuable insights to the understanding of potential ecological dynamics.
Sara Olstad Rahimi, MS, UCD – Evaluation of YBF Discover the Flyway School Program
Sara Ostad’s research, conducted for the Yolo Basin Foundation, focuses on assessing the impact of programs like Discover the Flyway on K-12 students and teachers’ views on environmental issues through pre- and post-fieldtrip surveys and interviews. The study underscores the need for in-depth evaluation in shaping effective environmental education, particularly as students increasingly advocate for eco-conscious curricula, offering recommendations for the Foundation’s future initiatives and stressing ongoing assessment in environmental education’s success.
Sara Ostad, a PhD student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, specializes in Mass Communication in Life Sciences, holding degrees in Environmental Policy and Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology. Her research aims to connect environmental education, policy, and community engagement for better stewardship of Yolo Basin’s wetlands and wildlife, emphasizing environmental justice.
Stephen Gergeni, MS, CSUS – Phase 2; Population and Habitat Assessment for Threatened Giant Garter Snake and the State Species of Conservation Concern Western Pond Turtle
The objective of this study is to increase the understanding of how the giant gartersnake and western pond turtle distribution changes and evolves after flood events in the bypass. This will be accomplished by determining species distribution in 2022, a year with no flood events, versus the following year’s flood event. Data will be collected using environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling to answer the following questions: Are these species present in the study area, are they co-occurring in the same habitats, how do they distribute throughout the season, how does the distribution compare with historical distribution data and how does a flood event affect their distribution? The Yolo Basin Foundation has graciously provided significant funding for this project in their 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 grants.
Stephen Gergeni is a graduate student studying for his MS in Biology (Ecology, Evolution and Conservation) at California State University, Sacramento.
Public Access and Education Capital Improvement Project for the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area
Martha Diepenbrock – Yolo Basin Foundation
February 8, 2024 – REGISTER
Be a Part of Enhancing the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area!
Your insights matter! We invite you to contribute your ideas to improve the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area and Demonstration Area, creating a better experience for all visitors.
The Yolo Basin Foundation, in collaboration with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, is embarking on the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Public Access and Education Capital Improvement Project. Supported by state funding, this project aims to make targeted enhancements to public access, education, and community engagement within the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area.
What’s on the project agenda?
- Upgrading Educational Spaces: Help us modernize and improve YBF’s indoor/outdoor classroom and education spaces to better cater to educational needs and foster a deeper connection with nature.
- Mobile Visitor Center Design: Share your thoughts on designing a versatile mobile visitor center and education hub. Your input will shape a space that offers interactive learning experiences for all visitors.
- Signage and Multilingual Self-Guided Tours: Contribute to the creation of an engaging, multilingual self-guided tour of the Wildlife Area. Your ideas will help install directional signage and construct wildlife viewing blinds capable of withstanding periodic flooding while offering optimal wildlife observation experiences.
Your participation is crucial to ensure these targeted improvements align with the community’s needs and aspirations. We encourage you to share your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions to create a welcoming and enriching environment for everyone.
Join us in this focused effort to enhance the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area! Your involvement will make a meaningful difference in shaping a better experience for present and future visitors.
Stay tuned for upcoming events and discussion sessions where your input will be valued and utilized to create positive changes in the Wildlife Area!
The Diversity, Life Cycle, and Leg Use Patterns of Dragonflies, the World’s Most Successful
Christofer Brothers – Animal Behavior Graduate Group
March 7, 2024 – REGISTER
Christofer Brothers is a PhD candidate in the Animal Behavior Graduate Group. He currently studies prey capture behavior and functional morphology in both larval and adult dragonflies. Christofer spends his free time catching dragonflies, playing DnD, and making too many puns.
Christofer’s talk will discuss the diversity within the insect order Odonata, the 300 million year old group of insects that are the dragonflies and damselflies we know today. He will place special emphasis on some local species that occur in Davis California, and will also discuss the complex life cycle, mating behavior, and ecological role of dragonflies and damselflies. The talk will conclude with insights into his own PhD research on dragonfly legs and what they tell us about these ancient creatures.