Corinne Heyning Laverty

Corinne Heyning Laverty

The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum (SBMM) will present a Zoom webinar by Corinne Heyning Laverty discussing her book “North America’s Galapagos The Historic Channel Islands Biological Survey.” The free talk will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20; registration is required at or 805-456-8747.

Laverty is a research associate and fellow at the Natural History Museum, Los Angeles County, and associate of the Santa Cruz Island Foundation.

“North America’s Galapagos: The Historic Channel Islands Biological Survey” recounts the story of a group of researchers, naturalists, adventurers, cooks, immigrants, and scientifically curious teenagers who came together in the late 1930s to embark upon a series of ambitious expeditions never before, or since, attempted.

Their mission: To piece together the broken shards of the Channel Islands’ history and evolution. California’s eight Channel Islands, sometimes called North America’s Galapagos, each support unique ecosystems with varied flora and fauna and differing human histories.

The 33 men and women who set out to explore the islands hoped to make numerous discoveries that would go down in history along with their names.

More than 80 years ago, a lack of funds and a dearth of qualified personnel dogged the pre-World War II expeditions; but it was only after America entered the war and the researchers were stranded on one of the islands that the survey was aborted, their work left for future scientists to complete.

This untold saga of adventure and discovery is juxtaposed against the fresh successes of a new generation of Channel Island scholars, and attempts to unravel the answer to the age-old question: how and when were the Americas populated?

Laverty will present a slide show featuring historic photographs of California’s eight Channel Islands and the pre-World War II scientific expeditions that went out to them. Her discussion will highlight not only the beauty of the islands, but the unique animals and plants that live nowhere else on the planet.

She will introduce the scientists who dared to do what no one before or since has done, and conclude with a synopsis of what was accomplished and what happened to them the day the Pearl Harbor bombing stranded them on an island in the Pacific Ocean.

Laverty holds a bachelor of science in business from the University of Virginia, and an MBA from the University of Southern California. She spent more than 25 years of her career in banking and finance, holding positions as director, senior vice president and vice president in numerous bank departments including treasury, risk management, venture capital, lending, and syndications.

Laverty has served on the Board of Directors of the Aquarium of the Pacific; as vice chair, Marine Conservation Research Institute; president of the American Cetacean Society Los Angeles Chapter; member, National Board of Directors of the American Cetacean Society; and founding editor of Algalita Marine Institutes’ online newsletter.

She is one of only 229 members of the All Eight Club, composed of the people who have set foot on all eight Channel Islands. She has been published in “Western North American Naturalist,” “Lonely Planet,” “Eco Traveler,” “Whale Watcher” and “Pacific Currents.”

To get the most out of the lecture, SBMM suggests participants read Laverty’s book before her lecture. The book is available through the University of Utah Press website. At checkout, use the promotional code VIRTUALISLANDS after adding both the hard copy and e-book to receive free shipping and both versions for the price of one.

Visit the author’s website:

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