California Native Plant Society
Santa Cruz County Chapter
in sponsorship with the UCSC Arboretum

General Meeting
Monday September 14
Keying Club 5:00 pm
Mystery Plant ID 7:00 pm
Presentation 7:30 pm

UCSC Arboretum Horticulture Building
1156 High Street, Santa Cruz


Kate Marianchild
Cooperation and Coevolution in California's Oak Woodlands

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Author and naturalist Kate Marianchild will look at life in California's oak woodlands through the lens of cooperation and mutualism rather than the more conventional competition model. In an illustrated lecture, Marianchild will present examples of conspecific (intraspecies) cooperation involving birds such as acorn woodpeckers, bushtits, and California quail, and interspecific cooperation and mutualism involving species such as coyotes and badgers, California ground squirrels and burrowing owls, lace lichen and its host plants, and western scrub-jays and oaks. She'll go on to discuss one of the most widespread symbioses on earth, telling a story that began 1.3 billion years ago with fungi and primitive plants, and continues to the present in ways that humans are just beginning to recognize and understand

Marianchild's widely popular book Secrets of the Oak Woodlands: Plants and Animals among California's Oaks (Heyday, 2014) is a beautifully illustrated and delightfully written romp through California's most widespread habitat type. With the skill of a storyteller, the enthusiasm of a child, and the accuracy of a scientist, Marianchild profiles the lives and interconnections of 22 oak woodland plants, insects, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and birds.

When Kate Marianchild moved from the Mendocino coast to inland Mendocino County in 2001, she fell passionately in love with an ecosystem. Surrounded by acorn woodpeckers, northern flickers, and western bluebirds, she began wondering what they needed from their environment--what food and nest materials as well as which plants for hiding, perching, nesting, and sleeping. Her curiosity led her on a winding path into the lives of oak woodland species and soon she was telling her friends astonishing stories they had never heard--about lizards with third eyes, plants that are pollinated in the musical pitch of middle C, coyotes that hunt with badgers, and quail whose embryos talk to each other through egg shells. Wanting to share these stories widely, she approached Heyday with a book idea and soon began the research and writing that evolved into Secrets of the Oak Woodlands: Plants and Animals among California's Oaks (Heyday, 2014).

Kate graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UC Berkeley in 1976 with a degree in comparative literature. During and after college she was a grassroots activist, over the years working on issues such as the Vietnam War, women's health care, and environmental issues. When she moved to Mendocino County in 1980, she supported herself as a carpenter, massage therapist, and, for 25 years, as the owner of a seaweed business (Rising Tide Sea Vegetables). After she moved inland in 2001, she worked as an events publicist for Peregrine Audubon Society, Grace Hudson Museum, and other local nonprofits while trying to recover from chronic Lyme disease. Luckily she recovered enough to write Secrets of the Oak Woodlands!

Since 2001, Kate has lived in a 25-foot diameter wooden yurt with no indoor plumbing except a sink and a 2-gallon hot water heater. She currently leads walks, gives talks, and teaches classes. In her spare time she watches nature, swims, sings, and participates in the events of her beloved small town.

Kate will be signing and selling her book ($19.50 with tax) and close-focusing binoculars ($155 with tax).

Check out her web site: