After Dark: Trees

Thursday, April 14, 2022 • 6:00–10:00 p.m. PT

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Adults Only (18+)

Note: Free with museum admission—and it's always free for After Dark members and donors. Just bring your membership card and ID. The Tactile Dome is currently closed.

Roots that run beneath the soil, canopies that skim the sky—the world of trees is as evocative as it is essential to our ecology. Tonight at After Dark, grow what you know about these intriguing organisms. Discover the amazing array of California tree species, explore a forest ecosystem, get a taste of the acorn’s role in Indigenous cuisine, and more.

Fire Among Giants: World Premiere and Panel Discussion
With Science Communication Lab

7:30 p.m.
Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum

What happened after the CZU Lightning Complex fires scorched the much-beloved Big Basin Redwoods State Park in 2020? Fire Among Giants (2022, 12 min.), produced by the Science Communication Lab, profiles the forest’s rebounding ecology. Walk through the burned landscape with an environmental scientist, a pyrogeographer, and a mycologist to see the destruction and regrowth among the redwoods. The film will be followed by a discussion with the featured subjects moderated by the Lab’s Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives, Jennifer Frazier. 

Portia Halbert is a Senior Environmental Scientist with the Santa Cruz District of California State Parks. For 19 years she has been part of a resource-management team that works to manage parkland and restore habitat in the 70,000 acres of parks in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties.

Don Hankins is a Professor of Geography and Planning at California State University, Chico. Drawing from his academic and cultural knowledge, he is particularly interested in Indigenous traditional knowledge and policy and its application as a keystone process to aid in conservation and stewardship.

Christian F. Schwarz is a mushroom enthusiast and taxonomist and a citizen science advocate from Santa Cruz. He is coauthor of Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast, and is slowly building a mycoflora for Santa Cruz County. He also writes a blog called Notes of a Mycophile.

Jennifer Frazier is the Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Science Communication Lab. Jennifer’s work focuses on creating public experiences that engage the public with science through new tools, artworks, and live programming. For 18 years Jennifer was a Senior Scientist and Curator at the Exploratorium, where she co-led the museum’s program in biological sciences.

Oak and Acorn
With Vincent Medina and Louis Trevino of Cafe Ohlone

8:30 p.m.
Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Studio

As an endemic species in the Bay Area, oak trees are part of an ecological relationship with human and nonhuman inhabitants ongoing for millennia. The acorn, the nut of the oak tree, is a staple of the Ohlone diet. Learn about the steps taken to process acorns for consumption, and about the cultural relationships humans have cultivated with oaks even in the face of threats from colonialism, development, and climate change. 

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 are currently Urban Fellows of the Fisher Bay Observatory, where they are in conversation with the Exploratorium about ways to prepare for Bay Area climate resilience. They are also advisers and contributors to the upcoming Plants exhibition scheduled to launch in the spring of 2023.

Vincent and Louis cofounded mak-’amham, an organization focused on reviving and strengthening traditional Ohlone culture and food and sharing them with their communities. Through Cafe Ohlone, which they founded in 2018, they educate the public about Ohlone culture through cuisine. Cafe Ohlone’s Berkeley location closed in March 2020 and is reopening this spring.

With Teacher Institute Staff

7:00–8:00 and 8:30–9:30 p.m.
Moore Gallery 4

Dendrochronology is the study of tree rings. Trace the life of a tree with your own fingers on a locally obtained specimen. What do you notice? Trees contain some of nature’s most accurate evidence of the past. The growth layers, which we see as the rings on a cross section of tree trunk, record events that happened during the lifespan of the tree, including records of past climate. 

Trees (Kinda) Suck! 
With Visitor Experience Facilitators

6:30, 7:30, and 8:30 p.m.
Moore Gallery 4 Explainer Station

Unlike humans sucking water up a straw, trees draw water from their roots through capillary action. Explore gravity-defying phenomena that will demonstrate how even the tallest of trees can bring water from deep underground up several hundred feet into their leaves. 

Tall Tree Trail
6:00–10:00 p.m.

Pace a path through the center of the museum to experience the sheer variety in height that can be found among eight species of trees endemic to California. From the shrubby manzanita to the towering sequoia, you’ll learn facts about these local flora and experience their relative sizes on a horizontal scale. 

DJ Worldwise
From Hip Hop for Change

6:30–7:45 and 8:15–9:30 p.m.
Bechtel Gallery 3

Get ready to dance your way through the night as a DJ from Hip Hop for Change sets the vibe and keeps the party moving all night!

DJ Worldwise hails from San Jose and has been spinning discs since 1987. Deeply rooted in hip-hop culture since the beginning of his career, Worldwise cofounded Funk Lab Productions, which focuses on bringing the culture to local schools and community centers. Currently, you can find him DJing at all of the local hotspots in San Jose, such as SP2, Rec Room, Five Points, and Branham Lounge.

Hip Hop for Change is an Oakland-based nonprofit that uses grassroots activism to educate people about socioeconomic injustices and advocate solutions through hip-hop culture.

Food and drinks will be available to purchase and enjoy in our Seaglass Restaurant and Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery 6 during After Dark. Please note that there is no drinking or eating allowed elsewhere in the museum at this time.

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