Brower Center Events

Flock to the David Brower Center in downtown Berkeley on Sunday, October 17, for a family-friendly afternoon of free bird activities!

The David Brower Center is located at 2150 Allston Way in Berkeley, between Shattuck and Oxford, one block from the Downtown Berkeley BART station.

Advance registration is required for some activities. Registration will open on Sunday, October 10, at 8 a.m. and close on Saturday, October 16, at 5 p.m.  If you try to sign up before October 10, you’ll see a message that registration is closed.

Note: Entry to the indoor spaces at the David Brower Center requires masking and proof of either vaccination or recent negative Covid test. Thank you helping us keep everyone safe!

Winged Wonderment — Poetry, Stories, Songs and more

Winged Wonderment

This four-hour live celebration of our winged friends (both in-person and online) will feature bird poetry, bird stories, bird art, bird photography, and bird sounds from local writers, artists, naturalists and bird enthusiasts. 

Confirmed presenters include: Berkeley’ Poet Laureate Rafael Gonzalez,  former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass, poet and peace activist Brenda Hillman, Side Chick Nation author Aya de Leon,  Woman and Nature author Susan Griffin, California Indian bird artist Meyo Marrufo (Eastern Pomo from Clear Lake Basin), Heyday Field Atlas Artist Obi Kaufmann, poet & performer Noor Al-Samarrai, Golden Gate Audubon’s resident storyteller Ryan Nakano, the Nature Sounds Society, and more. We’ll also stream images of bird art by children from around the world created for the River of Words international children’s nature art competition.

Join us in person or online via Zoom . This program runs from noon until 4 p.m.

Online: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86965937192

Live: Drop in for 15 minutes or stay for the whole afternoon! There will be 40 socially distanced seats available in the second-floor Tamalpais Room. First come, first served; advance registration is not required. If the event is full when you arrive, seats are likely to open up soon. Please sign the waiting list at the festival information table in the lobby.
 
This is an indoor event. Masks plus proof of either vaccination or a recent negative Covid test are required.
  • Berkeley’s own local hero and Poet Laureate Rafael Jesús González: sharing his poems in which birds fly, sing, and flaunt their plumage.
  • Award-winning poet, activist, and Saint Mary’s College professor Brenda Hillman:  reading poems with Western birds from her inventive and transcendent body of work.
  • Renegade publisher of Last Gasp Eco-Funnies Ron Turner performing a dramatic reading of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven.”
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning, former US Poet Laureate Robert Hass: exploring Charles Keeler’s 1899 classic, Bird Notes Afield.
  • Poet Jane Hirshfield, among our foremost literary voices speaking on behalf of the biosphere: reading poems featuring birds from her nine award-winning volumes of poetry, including, the most recent, Ledger.
  • Best-selling naturalist, author and artist Obi Kaufmann:  telling stories about his adventurers becoming a painter of birds and from his acclaimed Field Atlases: stories of the geophysical and anthropogenic forces influencing avian biodiversity in California.
  • Performance artist and writer Wendy Blakley: sharing vignettes of her encounters with birds in varied locales from the Sierra Nevada to the Great Lakes farmlands to the African wilderness. 
  • Local High School English teacher Jeffrey Peterson: discussing how his lifelong love of field guides and the world of nature animate his teaching and bird photography. Peterson’s teaching and photography connect his students to what D.H. Lawrence called “the life of the skies.”
  • Nature writer and award-winning biographer Aleta George: searching for birds in the dappled light of the poetry of California’s very first Poet Laureate Ina Coolbrith (1841-1928).
  • Dan Dugan and Sharon Perry of the Nature Sounds Society:  presenting their field recordings of birds and discussing ways that birders can use audio technology for preservation, research, appreciation, and creative expression.
  • Celebrated writer, poet and philosopher and author of over 20 books, Susan Griffin: reading excerpt featuring red-winged blackbirds from her enduring classic: Woman and Nature; and telling a true story about the mysterious visitations of ravens while she was writing her book, Wrestling with the Angel of Democracy
  • Acclaimed Berkeley writer Aya de Leon,  creative writing teacher at UC Berkeley and director of  the Poetry for the People program.
  •  Celebrated California Indian visual artist Meyo Maruffo (Eastern Pomo): telling stories and demonstrating her technique for creating beautiful drawings and paintings she has dubbed “finger doodles” featuring Native California birds and traditional California Indian basketry. (invited, awaiting confirmation)

Folding Birds

In-person Origami Instruction by the East Bay’s own Folding Justice instructors Jun Hamamoto and Somdeng Danny Thongsy – all origami materials provided!  

Choose from four time slots (12 to 1, 1 to 2, 2 to 3, or 3 to 4 p.m.). Each session can accommodate a total of 18 people at three tables.

This is an outdoor event on the second floor terrace. Masks are required for all; attendees over age 12 must also have proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test.

Paper Cranes

Drawing & Painting Birds

Try out your hand at the basics of drawing and painting your favorite birds (or any birds for that matter) – with local artists who love drawing and painting our winged friends.

Paper, paints, pencils, pastels, and crayons provided. 

Choose from four time slots (12 to 1, 1 to 2, 2 to 3, or 3 to 4 p.m.). Each session can accommodate a total of 12 people at two tables.

This is an outdoor event on the second floor terrace. Masks are required for all; attendees over age 12 must also have proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test.

Feeding Birds — create a gourd bird feeder

Bring birds to your yard with a feeder made from a gourd! Instructors to be announced.

Choose from four time slots (12 to 1, 1 to 2, 2 to 3, or 3 to 4 p.m.). Each session can accommodate a total of 12 people at two tables.

This is an outdoor event on the second floor terrace. Masks are required for all; attendees over age 12 must also have proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test.

Birds on the Sidewalk

Join jocal artists Elizabeth Tanner and Iris Mooreon the corner of Allston Way and Oxford (in front of Gather Restaurant) and spend the afternoon illustrating our local sidewalks between the corner and the Brower Center with chalk drawings of beautiful birds.  Elizabeth and Iris live on the east face of Mt. Diablo, which has inspired them to incorporate birds into many aspects of their art practices. They are looking forward to seeing what kind of birds you create for the Sidewalk Chalk event!  Chalk provided.  Just drop by, no registration necessary. 

This is an outdoor event. Masks are required for all.

Deep Hanging Out with Berkeley Bird Festival founder Malcolm Margolin

Malcolm Margolin book cover

The Berkeley Bird Festival was yet another wonderful and whimsical idea from the endlessly creative mind of Malcolm Margolin, former Heyday publisher and founder/executive director of  the California Institute for Community Art & Nature (California I CAN), one of the sponsors of the Berkeley Bird Festival.  Malcolm will be at the California I CAN table in the Brower Center lobby from 1 to 2:30 p.m. talking with friends and signing copies of his recently published book, Deep Hanging Out: Wanderings and Wonderment in Native  California .

This is an indoor event. Both a mask and proof of either vaccination or a recent negative Covid test are required.

Saving and Protecting Birds

Information and Action tables from local environmental organizations, as well as tables with information from Berkeley Bird Festival Partners and Sponsors will be set up in the Hazel Wolff Gallery & first floor lobby of the Brower Center.

This is an indoor event. Both a mask and proof of either vaccination or a recent negative Covid test are required.

Reading About Birds

Berkeley Bird Festival Partner Heyday Books will offer their beautiful bird-related books for sale, including Birds of Berkeley and Birds of Lake Merritt, as well as a variety of other California Indian, California natural history, Berkeley history, and related books from their catalog in the  Brower Center first floor lobby.

This is an indoor event. Both a mask and proof of either vaccination or a recent negative Covid test are required.

birds of berkeley cover

Birds on Display

A variety of bird imagery, history and art will be on display on both the first and second floor of the David Brower Center, including a 12-panel standing bird exhibition from the Golden Gate Audubon Society, paintings, crafts & photography by local bird artists, and more.

This is an indoor event. Both a mask and proof of either vaccination or a recent negative Covid test are required.

Bird Sounds

In honor of the Berkeley Bird Festival, the David Brower Center atrium and lobby will be filled with the delightful sounds of our avian friends throughout the festival.

Take a moment, close your eyes, hear the songs,  and soar along!

This is an indoor event. Both a mask and proof of either vaccination or a recent negative Covid test are required.