Sunday, November 29 , 2015, 12:46 pm | Fair 65º

Santa Barbara Zoo to Debut First of Six ‘At the Watering Hole’ Talks

By Julia McHugh for the Santa Barbara Zoo |

The Santa Barbara Zoo debuts a new series of “conversations about conservation” called At the Watering Hole in the new $7.5 million Discovery Pavilion on Friday beginning with wine and appetizers at 5 p.m. and the multimedia, 90-minute talk starting at 5:45 p.m.

Ralph Clevenger
Ralph Clevenger

These evenings are for adults to gather, enjoy wine and appetizers, and exchange ideas. Experts in the fields of conservation, the natural world, and issues facing the planet present topics of interest in an informal setting, with time dedicated for guests to ask questions and discuss the topic.

Six At the Watering Hole talks are scheduled in 2014 (see below).

Tickets are $20 general admission and $15 for Santa Barbara Zoo members. A package of three talks (spring or fall) is $45, or $40 for zoo members. Packages of all six are $80, or $75 for zoo members.

Tickets are available online by clicking here or by calling 805.962.5339.

At the Watering Hole: “Islands of Change”

“Islands of Change” features Ralph Clevenger and Mike Verbois, the two local photographers whose works are on view in Discovery Pavilion’s Volentine Family Gallery. Each discusses their works: Clevenger in the nearby Channel Islands and Verbois at the Galapagos Islands.

Then, Donald Barthelmess tells the story of commercial diving in Santa Barbara through the lens of the abalone and the sea otter.

Both Clevenger and Verbois are well-known nature photographers and graduates of the Brooks Institute, where Clevenger is on the faculty. Barthelmess is a professor of Marine Diving Technology at Santa Barbara City College, and a former submersible pilot and commercial diver.

Future Talks At the Watering Hole

The next At the Watering Hole talk on Thursday, April 17, is an exploration of the Galapagos Islands and the impact of Darwin’s discoveries there, presented by zoo CEO Nancy McToldridge. On May 15, the dramatic comeback of the Channel Island fox is discussed by Dr. Estelle Sandhaus, Ph.D., the zoo’s director of conservation and research, and Tim Coonan, a National Park Service biologist.

Mike Verbois
Mike Verbois

Three talks in fall 2014 are focused on the story of the California condor (September), nature in local stories and myths (October) and behavioral enrichment at the zoo (November). Speakers and details to be announced soon.

About Discovery Pavilion

Discovery Pavilion serves as the hub of the zoo’s many education programs, including the award-winning Zoo Camp, and also overnight Zoo Snoozes, school field trips, keeper talks, and new offerings including a pilot program for local homeschoolers, and after-hours and overnight Safaris for kids.

At the heart of Discovery Pavilion is 2,300 square feet of open space which can be configured into two classrooms, both with independent AV capabilities. The Animal Kitchen has been relocated into Discovery Pavilion, and a new gallery features changing exhibitions that relate to the natural world — both are open during regular zoo hours.

Behind the scenes are a new volunteer lounge and library; a research library open by appointment only; staff locker room; and offices for the Zoo’s education, conservation and research, human resources and other staff.

— Julia McHugh is the public relations director for the Santa Barbara Zoo.

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