Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology
The Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, (WFVZ), sometimes referred to as “The Camarillo Bird Museum,” hosts a natural history collection specializing in eggs and nests of birds in addition to 56,000 bird study skins from around the world and a good number of mounted specimens. The Western Foundation is a research and education institution dedicated to bird conservation. SFVAS participants have the opportunity to come early (at 6:30 pm) to be treated to a brief private introduction to the collection and a chance to view some of the wonders contained therein. At 7:30 pm the evening’s program will begin.
The WFVZ’s Executive Director, Dr. Linnea Hall, will present a seminar on the Foundation’s long-term research project in Guatemala. Guatemala has been little-studied ornithologically, and was especially neglected during the country’s 30 plus years of civil war, which only ended in the late 1990s. As a consequence, Rene Corado, the WFVZ’s Collection’s Manager, started working in the country in 2001 with two primary objectives: to document and describe breeding by resident Guatemalan birds, and to describe the distribution of species throughout the country. Starting in 2005, Dr. Hall expanded the project to include monitoring birds in central Guatemala, and to describe breeding and population changes in an area that is ravaged by severe environmental degradation. Results from both the first and second phases of the project will be presented and discussed with lots of birds and egg pictures to ensure that everyone comes away knowing something about the birds of this small country.
Dr. Hall has been studying habitat use and population dynamics of wildlife, especially bird, since 1989. She has directed and conducted fieldwork on more than 50 original studies of wildlife of the western U.S. and now Guatemala, and has mentored more than 20 graduate students on their own projects, both as Assistant Professor of Avian Ecology at CSU Sacramento (1996-2000), and as Director of the WFVZ. She co-edited two books on birds (on condors and cowbirds), and is the sole or co-author of over 35 journal articles on wildlife, as well as numerous reports. She also recently co-authored the book, Egg and Nest with Rene Corado. She has been working at the WFVZ since 2002, teaching bird ID and other ornithology classes, conducting research, coordinating staff and volunteers, and fundraising to run the WFVZ.
If you have never been to the Western Foundation, you are in for a treat. First time visitors are always amazed and delighted! For information on carpools to the Western Foundation for this program, please contact: Heather Medvitz at Heather.Medvitz@sfvaudubon.org or (818) 222-4430.