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Audubon Society Hosts Local Author

MARIPOSA – The Yosemite Area Audubon Society (YAAS) is pleased to inaugurate its 2014-15 program season with a presentation by noted Yosemite author and naturalist Michael Elsohn Ross in Mariposa on Thursday, Oct. 9, at 7 p.m.

Ross will tell the stories of 5 of the 24 women he profiled in his newest book for young adults, “A World of Her Own: 24 Amazing Women Explorers and Adventurers.”

What makes these five special, Michael says, is their encounters with birds.

Michael is the author of 46 books for young people and has worked as a naturalist in Yosemite for almost 40 years, leading classes in botany, ornithology, entomology and general natural history. He lives in El Portal.

Michael’s talk will feature both historic and contemporary women, all accomplished but not necessarily household names outside their respective fields of expertise and achievement.

Marianne North, a prolific 19th-century botanical painter, featured birds in many of her compositions. Twice a world traveler (she visited Yosemite in 1875), she produced more than 800 paintings of plants, notably flowers, insects, birds and landscapes in just 13 years of work.

Pamela Rasmussen, a distinguished American ornithologist now at Michigan State University and formerly at the Smithsonian Institution, specializes in Asian birds and conservation of global biodiversity. She was the author of the definitive two-volume “Birds of Southeast Asia: The Ripley Guide.”

Martha Maxwell was a 19th-century self-taught naturalist and artist who helped develop the practice of taxidermy, the first woman to collect and mount her own specimens, in the early 1860s in the Rocky Mountains.

Aparajitta Datta, a wildlife biologist with the Nature Conservation Foundation in India’s rugged Arunachal Pradesh region, is working to protect hornbills and native peoples. She recently created a community-based conservation program with the Lisu people to protect wildlife by first improving their quality of life.

Lorie Karnath is a former president of the prestigious Explorers Club in New York, only the second woman in the club’s history to hold this office. Focusing her efforts on science and education, she is a member of many international boards and is a fellow of the Royal Geographic Society.

Like all YAAS programs, Ross’s presentation is open and free to the public, although donations to defray program costs and to support Audubon’s local activities are welcome.

The program will be held at the Mariposa Methodist Church parish hall in downtown Mariposa.

Yosemite Area Audubon’s monthly field trip will be extended to a full weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 11 – 12. The trip will include visits to the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve near Watsonville in Monterey County on Saturday and to Pacific Grove Sunday. The trip is free and the public is welcome. The group will meet at the reserve visitor center at 10 a.m. Saturday. Participants who stay the night are responsible for making their own arrangements for overnight accommodations. Visit or contact Jim Ticer,, for more information.

The mission of the National Audubon Society, the namesake of noted 19th-century naturalist and bird painter John James Audubon; its state affiliate, Audubon California; and local chapters such as the Yosemite Area Audubon Society is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.

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