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Lecture Series to Explore Chumash Use of Plants on Channel Islands

Curator Jan Timbrook will explain how they relied on the region's biological diversity for their livelihood.

Jan Timbrook, the curator of ethnography at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, will portray some of the ways in which Chumash people have used plants for food, medicine, clothing, tools, utensils and other essential items during the “From Shore to Sea” lecture series.

The free lectures will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, 113 Harbor Way in the Santa Barbara Harbor, and at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Channel Islands National Park Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center, 1901 Spinnaker Drive in the Ventura Harbor.

Timbrook will explore the complex interrelationships between the Chumash and the environment. The Chumash and their ancestors have lived in the Santa Barbara Channel region for thousands of years, relying on its biological richness and diversity to provide their livelihood.

Timbrook has been with the Museum of Natural History since 1974 and is considered one of the top experts in Chumash studies. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in anthropology from UCSB. Her primary research interest is ethnobiology — the interactions of human societies with plants and animals. Her specialty is the indigenous Chumash people of the Santa Barbara region, particularly their uses of plants in food, medicine and basketry.

She has collaborated on four published books, including studies of traditional history and ritual and the Chumash plank canoe. Her most recent book, published last summer, was a result of three decades of research on Chumash ethnobotany.

The “From Shore to Sea” lecture series is sponsored by the Channel Islands National Park and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary with support from the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. The purpose of the lectures is to further the understanding of research on the Channel Islands and surrounding waters.

Yvonne Menard is chief of interpretation and the public information officer for Channel Islands National Park.


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