Calendar – August 2021

Calendar – August 2021
by Sheila McCormick

August 4, 6pm
Oakland Public Library: Birds of Lake Merritt book launch event with author-illustrator Alex Harris

This charming full-color field guide introduces us to fifteen waterbirds easily found in the urban wildlife refuge of Lake Merritt in Oakland. In his introduction, author-illustrator Alex Harris includes a history of the lake, providing context for a place that is alluring to humans and shorebirds alike. Each species profile of the lake’s feathered residents is accompanied by a beautiful, detailed watercolor that captures the bird’s distinctive coloring and sinuous physicality.

Register here.

August 5, 12:30–1:30 pm
Oakland Rotary Club  Civic Thursday – Stephen Menendian on Roots of Structural Racism

Stephen Menendian is the Director of Research at the Othering & Belonging Institute of the University of California Berkeley. He is the lead author of “Roots of Structural Racism” (June 2021), a study of racial residential segregation and its consequences. At a time when the U.S. is becoming more segregated, his work focuses both on the causes and mechanisms of inter-group inequality, and seeks to design effective policy interventions.

This is a Zoom ONLY meeting.

August 5, 5:30–6:30 pm
Camron-Stanford House: Virtual History Happy Hour – Arresting Dress

In 1863, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors passed a law that criminalized appearing in public in “a dress not belonging to his or her sex.” Adopted as part of a broader anti-indecency campaign, cross-dressing law became a flexible tool for policing multiple gender transgressions, facilitating over one hundred arrests before the century’s end. Over forty U.S. cities passed similar laws during this time, yet little is known about their emergence, operations, or effects.

In this talk, professor Clare Sears traces the career of San Francisco’s anti-cross-dressing law from municipal courtrooms and codebooks to newspaper scandals, vaudevillian theater, freak-show performances, and commercial “slumming tours.” Using a wealth of archival material, they show that the law did not simply police normative gender but actively produced it by creating new definitions of gender normality and abnormality. Their talk also highlights the tenacity of people who defied the law, spoke out when sentenced, and articulated different gender possibilities. Register here. 

August 5, 5:00 – 7:00 pm
First Thursdays Art Exhibition at Alchemy Restorative Medicine

Featuring Original art by:

  • Alicia Taylor Low
  • Amandalynn
  • Felicia Ann
  • Marley Sutter
  • Natalie Gabriel

Family-Friendly – Light Refreshments Served

August 6, 7:00 – 8:00 pm on Zoom
Rotary Nature Center Friends – Lakeside Chat #9 featuring Susan Schwartzenberg, Director of the Bay Observatory, and Shawn Lani, Director of the Studio for Public Spaces, at the SF Exploratorium.

Susan Schwartzenberg and Shawn Lani will talk about the Exploratorium’s environmental and place-based work, emphasizing new work exploring social science themes. The Bay Observatory has developed the concept of museums as field stations monitoring physical, biological and social dimensions of place in our urbanized world. The vision is to create linked learning hubs around the Bay – with Lake Merritt a key site!
Register before 6 pm on August 6th to give us time to send you the zoom link.

August 12, 12:30–1:30 pm
Oakland Rotary Club Civic Thursday – Liz Ortega, Secretary Treasurer of the Alameda County Labor Council

She will address the Rotary Club on the topic of Organized Labor in Alameda County 2021.

In person in the ballroom or via Zoom and Facebook live

August 12, 7:00pm
Oakland Heritage Alliance: John & Sara Lemmon: Early California Botanists

John and Sara Lemmon built a home on Telegraph Ave. in the late 1800s to house their Herbarium–a collection of plant specimens they had collected throughout the American West. John had served in the Union cavalry and survived the notorious Andersonville prisoner-of-war camp. He came west to California to recover his health. While living with his ’49er brothers in the Sierra, he was fascinated by the surrounding alpine plants. Not formally trained in botany, he was dismissed by Bay Area scientists, but he persisted in his study. Many California plants today bear his lemmonii species name. He met his wife Sara, who is responsible for the campaign to have the California Poppy recognized as the state flower. John was a charter member of the Sierra Club and served on the Oakland City Council. He was involved in many civic projects, including planting trees along city streets and developing Oakland city parks. The Lemmons are important figures in the history of Oakland, and represent a remarkable intersection of Civil War history, the West, the early environmental movement and citizen science.

Brad and Kelly Agnew are a father-daughter co-author team. Brad is a retired professor of American History, living in Oklahoma, and Kelly is a biologist teaching at Cal. Their book is available at, where interested viewers can read a portion of the biography. Register here.

August 17, 6:30pm
Oakland Public Library: Naturalist Talks with East Bay Regional Park: The Fascinating World of Flies!

There’s so much more than meets the eye when it comes to flies! Come hear fly enthusiast Constance Taylor tell some stories about how these insects can help solve crimes, live in some of the most inhospitable places on earth, have advanced science in significant ways, and much more. Learn why these little critters are worth a second look!

August 18, 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Grand Lake Neighbors Meeting via Zoom

October – October 16 – 18
Gardens at Lake Merritt Autumn Lights Festival 2021 – Tickets for sale beginning September 1

Sheila McCormick is an Adjunct Professor Emerita in Cal’s Department of Plant and Microbial Biology. Prior to her retirement in January 2016, she had a research lab at the USDA/ARS-UC-Berkeley Plant Gene Expression Center in Albany, studying the molecular biology of plant reproduction.

She is also helps with editing and is a frequent contributor to the Splash Pad News, beginning with a series of seven neighborhood walks – the first of which was posted in April 2017.