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Learn and Have Fun with USGS at the Bay Area Science Festival
Released: 10/25/2011 12:00:00 PM

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Phone: 650-329-4356



Updated Nov. 1, 2011

MENLO PARK, Calif. — A hike along the Hayward Fault, a Science Crawl through San Francisco’s Mission District pubs and cafes, and a workshop on the birds of Alcatraz with U.S. Geological Survey scientists are among the many ways USGS is participating in the upcoming Bay Area Science Festival.

The festival, to be held Oct. 29-Nov. 6 at venues throughout the Bay Area, engages people of all ages with the exciting research being done by local scientists by hosting a week of free talks, exhibits, and hands-on activities. The USGS is among many agencies taking part, in line with its mission of providing data from a range of scientific disciplines to help understand the earth, manage its resources and detect and minimize its hazards. The festival culminates in a daylong event at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

"I like to think that there is a lot of scientist in some of us, but at least a little scientist in all of us," said Dr. Marcia McNutt, Director of the U.S. Geological Survey. "For anyone who has ever wondered about the natural world, why things are the way they are, or wanted to get hands-on with nature, here is your chance!"

USGS events in conjunction with the Science Festival include:

Sat. Oct. 29, 1:30-3:00 p.m.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area Headquarters, 201 Fort Mason, San Francisco
"Life and Death on Alcatraz Island: The Secret Life of Nesting Birds on The Rock"

It may seem like a barren, lifeless rock, but a battle for survival continues daily for the birds that battle for resources on this prime, protected nesting ground. Rare video and an open Q&A follow with biologists Roger Hothem, Peter Coates, and Brianne Brussee.

"Tourists visiting Alcatraz see the famous prison right away, but in the spring and early summer, there are actually hundreds of birds nesting around the island, and hundreds more with nests hidden away in the trees, bushes and rock debris on the island," Coates said. "We want to give kids and the public a peek at the hidden lives of these birds, and also give them a glimpse of what a biologist’s life is like."

Seating for this event is limited to 100 guests. For this event only, visitors should RSVP on Facebook at or email blandis@usgs.gov.

Thurs, Nov. 3, 7:00 p.m.
Science Sampler Talks at USGS
345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park

Tonight's hour-and-a-half program highlights four USGS research projects. Scientists will talk about their recent scientific discoveries in non-technical terms for the general public. Two short talks will cover undersea discoveries near the Golden Bridge, and earthquake studies around the Bay Area. Following the speakers, two USGS award-winning videos, "Delta Revival" and "Wetland Revival," will feature USGS scientific work that serves as the basis to restore San Francisco Bay-Delta ecosystems.

Friday, Nov. 4
Science Crawl
6:00 -7:00 p.m.
"Shaky Ground in the Bay Area," Muddy Waters, 521 Valencia St., San Francisco
7:15-8:15 p.m.
"Previous Earthquakes and Preparing for the Next One," Atlas Café, 3049 20th St., San Francisco

Learn to use Google Earth and enjoy your favorite beverage on this no-host pub crawl through the Mission District with USGS scientists. Join seismologists Luke Blair and Jack Boatwright at Muddy Waters, and Justin Rubinstein at the Atlas Café. This interactive tour of Bay Area faults and earthquake history offers ground-shaking maps, historic photographs, quotes from earthquake survivors, and more.

Saturday, Nov. 5, 10:00 -11:30 a.m.
Science Hike along the Hayward Fault
Hayward City Hall, 777 B St. (at Watkins), Hayward

Join seismologist Jim Lienkaemper on this walking tour to see active traces of this major earthquake fault and learn what could happen in the event of a big quake.

Saturday, Nov. 5, 11 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Discovery Day at Infineon Raceway, Sears Point, Sonoma

Learn how geothermal resources like those in the North Bay that provide energy for our society also drive plate tectonic motions that result in earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Sunday, Nov. 6, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Discovery Day at AT&T Park, San Francisco

Learn about the complex interactions among earthquake faults by squeezing a foam rubber model of L.A.’s fault system. Build a 3-D model of Angel Island using contour lines from a topographic map. Learn about volcanoes, sea otters, redwood trees, and much more in USGS’ nine interactive exhibits at this large daylong event.

All events are free and open to the public.  Except for the "Life and Death on Alcatraz Island" event at Fort Mason, no RSVP is required.

More information about the Bay Area Science Festival is available online


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