A new speaker series aims to provide a forum for local and visiting biologists to present their research to the public in an informal setting.

The Brown Bag Lunch Talks will be a monthly series at the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center covering anything from bears and birds to West Africa.

Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge (KNWR) wildlife biologist McCrea Cobb proposed the idea as a way to keep people informed.

“The main reason was we wanted to have a forum for biologists from agencies or any organization on Kodiak to talk about their research and projects they’re doing and explain what their doing to the public,” Cobb said.

The first talk on Thursday from noon to 1 p.m. will not cover animals on Kodiak, but Tule elk in California.

“Since I’m pretty new here I don’t have any results to talk about yet, but I wanted to give a talk, so I’m talking about my dissertation research I spent the last six years doing,” Cobb said.

The presentation will look at how the elk — once over half a million strong — dwindled to just 10 animals before being brought back up to 4,000 with about 22 different herds around California.

Ava Kahn, Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center manager, is pleased to have another event for the community.

“It was his idea (Cobb) and he came to us in the Visitor Center about doing a series and we thought it was a great idea,” she said. “We’re hoping it brings people in.”

KNWR sponsors the series, but it’s open to researchers from any organization.

“Our hope is to not to make it a Kodiak refuge biologist focus,” Cobb said. “I want to get other speakers from other agencies and organizations and get any visiting scientists.”

The series will run through May, take a short break over summer and then start back up in September.

“I hope everyone interested in what science is going on will come and show up,” Cobb said.

Mirror writer Louis Garcia can be reached via e-mail at lgarcia@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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