Location: Castro Valley Adult School 4430 Alma Ave., Castro Valley CA 94546
Speaker: Dorian Anderson
On January 1st, 2014, Dorian Anderson boarded his bicycle for an eco-friendly twist on the classic birdwatching “Big Year”, a project during which a birdwatcher tries to maximize the number of bird species observed during a calendar year. Where his predecessors utilized cars, planes, boats, and even helicopters, Anderson used only a bicycle, and in the 12 months following his departure he pedaled 18,000 miles through 28 states in search of birds. He saw the country like no birder before him, overcame immeasurable physical and mental challenges, and found an incredible 618 species by year’s end.
Anderson will speak about the genesis of the trip and why he decided to resign his long-standing scientific career to pursue the project. He’ll provide a recount of his travels, and his personality and enthusiasm will be on full display as he spins tales of birds, bicycles, extreme weather, landscapes, and everything else he encountered on America’s roads. His story should not be missed!
Dorian Anderson started birding in his family backyard in Philadelphia at age seven, and his interest grew to encompass the Delaware Valley and Jersey Shore during his preteen years. He attended several of Victor Emanuel’s youth birding camps as a teenager and was a very active birder until the responsibilities of boarding school pushed the interest to into the background. He attended Stanford University where he studied Biochemisty and Molecular Biology and he worked in the department of Molecular Biology at Harvard University after graduation. In 2004, he moved to New York to begin his doctorate in Developmental Genetics and Molecular Cell Biology at NYU. He completed that degree in 2010 and moved back to Boston for a post-doctoral fellowship in Molecular Neuroscience at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. However, by the end of 2012 he decided academic science was no longer his calling and wanted to reconnect with his childhood birding passion. He resigned his position in the middle of 2013 and began preparing for his Big Year adventure.
Momentum from that project opened up many doors including public speaking, travel writing, and tour guiding. He recently spent two months working with the Audubon Society in Colombia, and he leads international birding tour pelagic trips for the Bay Area-based ecotourism company, Alvaro’s Adventures. He is an accomplished bird photographer, and is working to finish a book about his bike-birding adventure.