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Science Cafe December

Essig Museum Jepson and UC Herbaria Museum of Vertebrate Zoology UC Paleontology Museum Hearst Museum UC Botanical Gardens Human Evolution Research Center

December’s Science Cafe

Dr. Kate Wilkin presents “California’s fire history and future with climate change”

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Cafe Valparaiso, 1403 Solano Ave., Albany, California 94706

Rim Fire

Kate and the Rim Fire approaching Yosemite on August 23, 2013 when 51,793 acres burned; is this our fire future? The mega-fire created cloud, called a pyrocumulous cloud, and its own extreme winds which are dangerous for fire fighters and the public.

For one of her Cooperative Extension outreach projects this past summer, Kate Wilkin guided environmental reporter and NPR affiliate Amy Quinton through Yosemite National Park’s Illilouette Creek Basin to discover what fire could be like in California, if fire suppression were replaced with better fire management. Listen to the episode about her trip with Amy on California Burning, a multimedia examination of how Californians are coping with the increased threat, technologies being developed to fight and predict fire, and how we can make forests less prone to mega fires in the future.

Kate Wilkin’s Bio:
“I was first mesmerized by ecological processes in Florida, the lightning strike capital of the US, where I witnessed yearly floods and fire which catalyze native biodiversity and ecosystem health. Here I spent innumerable hours botanizing. As I studied the plants, I began to understand the post-fire patterns in relationship to hydrology, past land use, and connectivity.
I was intrigued by plants’ response to fire and focused on chaparral’s resilience to fire at Cal Poly where I wrote Mimicking Fire to Improve Chaparral Restoration (Madrono, July 2013). During this time I completed small-scale prescribed fires and became acutely aware of California fire management difficulties. The stark contrast between fire programs in Florida and California was partially founded in cultural differences.
Be sure not to miss this interesting talk with live fire demonstrations!

Kate Wilkin

Kate and her undergraduate crew spend up to 40 days a year backpacking in the Sierra Nevada to research how Wildland Fire Use areas effect the diversity of plants and animals.

This difference caused me to expand my ecosystem science interest and engage in outreach as a PhD student in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at University of California, Berkeley. Today I research the natural and social trade-offs of altered wild land fire and facilitate public understanding of fire management in California as Graduate Student in Cooperative Extension trainee.”


Hosted monthly by the UC Berkeley Natural History Museums

East Bay Science Cafe is held the first Wednesday of every month in Cafe Valparaiso on Solano Avenue in Albany from 7 to 9pm. 1403 Solano Ave., Albany, California 94706
This cafe is an informal forum for discussing interesting and relevant scientific issues. The goal is to encourage public engagement with science by inviting members of the scientific community to present topics for a casual evening of conversation. Cafes may vary in length and format depending upon the speaker and the topic. Audience questions are encouraged both during and after!
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