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Public Lecture Series with Vernon R. L. Head

The Search for the Rarest Bird in the World: A Personal Understanding of Birdwatching

In 1990, a group of Cambridge scientists on an expedition to the Plains of Nechisar in Ethiopia found a wing of an unidentified bird. This wing would set the world of science aflutter. Experts were mystified. The wing was entirely unique. It was like nothing they had ever seem before. Could a new species be named based on just one wing? After much discussion, a new species was announced: Nechisar Nightjar, or Camprimulgus Solala, which means "only wing." And so birdwatchers like Vernon began to dream.

Twenty-two years after that discovery, Vernon joined an expedition of four to find this rarest bird in the world. The resulting story of his journey is meditation on nature, exploration, our need for wild places, and the human compulsion to name thingsā€”a celebration of a certain way of seeing the world that will bring out the explorer in everyone who hears it.

Vernon will unravel the story of the expedition to find the rarest bird on earth. He will also explore the mind of the birdwatcher, the explorer. He will unpack the meaning of exploration as he sees it, along with the power and mystery of maps. He will discuss what rareness is in the natural world and he will analyze what it means to enter the Pristine and collect. He will look at the power of names and naming in nature and he will reach conclusions that will hopefully offer relevant insight into the need for nature in our troubled, shrinking world of cyberspace and global change.

Vernon R.L. Head was born in Cape Town, South Africa in a bungalow by the sea. He is an award-winning architect and has worked for two decades with BirdLife South Africa, one of Africa's biggest and most influential conservation organizations, spending four years as Chairman of the Board. He was appointed to the Advisory Board of the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology at UCT (a Centre of Excellence) in March 2015. When not working on environmental matters, he is either designing special buildings or traveling the world looking for rare birds. The Rarest Bird in the World is his first book.

Date: March 14, 2016

Time: 6:00 pm Reception, 7:00 pm Lecture

Location: Club Headquarters, 46 East 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: $10

Guest Ticket Price: $25

Student Ticket Price:

$5 with a valid Student ID

Reservation Notes:

Reservations are allotted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

To secure a reservation, please call us at 212.628.8383 or email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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