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California Quail

Education - Classes and Resources

The MDAS Education Committee arranges classes for chapter members and the public, serves as a resource for information on local classes through other organizations, and provides links to educational materials and programs available online.

MDAS Classes

Fall Bird Sounds Workshop: Birding By Ear by Denise Wight
Two 1.5 hour classes and one 3-hour field trip
Class #1: TH September 14 and 21, 6:15-7:45 PM, Sun., September 24, 8-11 AM Tilden FT (this class is FULL)
Class #2: Wednesday, October 11 and 18, 6:15-7:45 PM, Sun., October 22, 8-11 AM TBD
Lafayette Library and Learning Center, Oak Room (maximum of 20 participants)
Cost: $30 MDAS members/$35 non-members
A possible longer, and more advanced 4-week class with 2 field trips is being considered. If you would be interested in taking such a class, please contact Maren Smith at:

Class Description: Fall is a great time to begin learning about bird sounds. We will start with learning the songs and calls of some of the birds that live in our area all year, as well returning winter species. This workshop will offer a wide range of tricks and hints on how to learn and connect the birds to the sounds they make.

Author Bio: The San Francisco Bay Area has been my home since I was seven years old. I grew up in Orinda, collecting rocks in the nearby creeks, and building forts on the oak and bay covered hillsides. I have been birding seriously since May 1, 1986, when a male Western Tanager and a male Hooded Oriole visited the bottlebrush bush in my backyard in Martinez.

I began teaching birding classes in 1996, when I took over Norah Bain's classes at the Orinda Community Center. From 1997-2006 I taught evening classes and field trips through Wild Birds Unlimited in Pleasant Hill. I enjoyed being a co-leader on Shearwater Journeys pelagic boat trips from 1993 to 2011, and have led classes and field trips for the Lindsey Museum, Point Reyes Bird Observatory, Mount Diablo Interpretive Association, Golden Gate, and Mount Diablo Audubon Society, as well as for private groups. I taught Birding by Ear at Albany Adult School for seven years, and I continue to teach BBE classes for Golden Gate Audubon at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley. I was program chair for Mount Diablo Audubon Society from 1992 to 2000. For

Local Classes

The MDAS Education Committee maintains a list of local classes of interest to members of our chapter in which they may enroll. Links will are provided to the organization offering the class.

Golden Gate Audubon offers classes for all levels of birding skills for members and non-members. You can find out more about them at They also do Eco-Education programs that offer year-round environmental education to Title I (federally-funded) elementary schools in Oakland, Richmond and San Francisco. To find out more visit

The Point Reyes National Seashore Association Field Institute offers over 140 hands-on outdoor education classes per year that foster the enjoyment of the Point Reyes National Seashore, for over 2000 participants. Their classes are led by expert instructors who take you out of your everyday life and into the natural world. You can find out more at or by calling (415) 663-1200 x307.

Denise Wight's list of birding classes can be found at

Ohlone Audubon Society maintains a list of local classes at

Online Education

The Education Committee provides links to online classes and educational resources.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has over 200 online courses available. Some require a fee, but many are free. You can explore them at or http://www.

Birds of North America is a subscription website maintained by Cornell Lab of Ornithology that has a wealth of information on birds. You can access them at This is not a set of classes, but detailed information to assist your learning about individual bird species.

Programs for Teachers:

Audubon Adventures offers a variety of programs for schools at

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has their Bird Sleuth programs for teachers. Find out more at

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