After Dark: Sea Otters

Thursday, September 23, 2021 • 6:00–10:00 p.m. PT

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Adults Only (18+)

Note: Free for After Dark members and donors, only a membership card and ID required for entry. The Tactile Dome is currently closed.

Note: There will not be any live animals at this program.

Get to know one of California’s most charming marine mammals—sea otters. These top predators boast hearty appetites, and they’re essential to maintaining the balance of nearshore ecosystems. This evening’s event, presented in partnership with Sea Otter Awareness Week, features talks by Ohlone Cafe co-founders Vincent Medina and Louis Trevino, recounting the long history of sea otters in Northern California—their thriving pre-colonial populations, being driven near to extinction through hunting, and today’s ongoing efforts to nurture and restore otter populations.  And we’ll join Sea Otter Savvy’s Heather Barrett for the inside scoop on sea otter biology.

Just for Tonight:

Mini-Talk: Sea Otters: A Brief look at Their Biology, Ecology, and History
With Heather Barrett

7:00 p.m.
Bechtel Gallery 3, Phyllis T. Wattis Studio and Osher Gallery 1

What are sea otters and why are they important? Learn more about their biology, discover how their voracious appetite shapes our Pacific ecological communities, and consider: What are we missing in San Francisco Bay?

Heather Barrett is the Science Communication Director of Sea Otter Savvy and a research scientist studying human disturbance to sea otters. Barrett’s interest in sea otter conservation and ecology developed through her undergraduate degree at UC Santa Cruz, an internship through the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and graduate research at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.

Mini-Talks: Human and Cultural Context of Sea Otter Habitats in the Bay Area 
With Vincent Medina and Louis Trevino of Cafe Ohlone

Bechtel Gallery 3, Phyllis T. Wattis Studio

‘uyyakiš • Before
7:30 p.m.
Take a long view of traditional Ohlone culture and stewardship in the Bay Area and how these practices contributed to abundance of life of all kinds.

ṭuyye • Change and Resistance
8:00 p.m.
When the culture and landscape were impacted by invasion and colonization, Ohlone peoples found ways to respond.

ne ṭuuxi • Today
8:30 p.m.
Today Ohlone culture is growing stronger, made possible by the love and strength of older generations. As Ohlone culture heals, the landscape is also renewing itself.  mak-’amham/Cafe Ohlone has an active role in the restoration of Ohlone language, foods, and culture, as well as the restoration of the natural environment in their homeland.

Vincent Medina is East Bay Ohlone, an Indigenous community from the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a leader in the efforts to strengthen the Chochenyo Ohlone language. Vincent was born and lives in his family’s indigenous tribal area of Halkin (Southern Oakland/San Leandro/San Lorenzo/Hayward).

Louis Trevino is a Rumsen Ohlone community member active in the cultural revitalization efforts of his people. He is focused primarily on the revitalization of the Rumsen language and traditional Ohlone foods. He longs for a full and holistic revitalization of the lifeways of his ancestors, including language, story, song, art, food, and every other aspect of traditional Rumsen Ohlone culture, and he is grateful to contribute to the effort. 

Vincent and Louis co-founded mak-‘amham, an organization and restaurant focused on reviving and strengthening traditional Ohlone foods and sharing them with their communities, and educating the public of Ohlone culture through cuisine.

naaniy: Tasting
With Cafe Ohlone
7:00 p.m. until we run out
Gallery 5

As sea otters and Ohlone peoples have long coexisted, there are commonalities between these two cultures and uses of plants. We will share ‘ešxem (fried sea lettuces) from Moss Landing and ‘awwešte-ranna (pickleweed) from San Francisco Bay to communicate, through a salty tasting, the commonalities between humans and otters.

Sea Otters Were Here
With Sea Otter Savvy

6:30–9:30 p.m.
Bechtel Gallery 3

The Sea Otters Were Here sea otter program is dedicated to educating  Bay Area communities and stakeholders that are missing sea otters. Sea otters historically inhabited San Francisco Bay and Northern California and remain ecologically and culturally significant—and there’s a growing conversation about range expansion and possible reintroduction, a critical step to species recovery.   Learn about the process and possible future outcomes of sea otter reintroduction, and join a discussion with representatives from Sea Otter Savvy. Your voice matters! 

Presented in Partnership with Sea Otter Awareness Week

Food and drinks will be available to purchase in our Seaglass Restaurant and at the outdoor bar in Gallery 5 to enjoy in those designated spaces during After Dark. Please note that there is no drinking or eating allowed elsewhere inside the museum at this time.

Curious about what to expect during your visit? Check out our current safety protocols and guidelines.