Point Blue's Palomarin Blog

Taking the Long View: An inside look at the goings-on at the longest running avian ecology field station west of the Mississippi.

Where Are They Now? Featuring 1983 Palomarin Intern Sophie Webb

03.26.14
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Where Are They Now?

Where do Palomarin interns go after they complete their internship with us? Our growing numbers of Palomarin alumni often continue on in the fields of conservation science and bird ecology, many becoming influential in their chosen field of study. Still others whose lives have gone in different directions have pursued paths of equal remark and fascination. To celebrate the diversity and successes of our former interns, volunteers, and staff, in the “Where Are They Now?” series we share stories of individual alumni, then and now.

Sophie Webb (1983)

Palomarin interns, staff and resident artist Sophie Webb (on left) in 1995

Palomarin interns, staff and resident artist Sophie Webb (on left) in 1995

Earlier this month, Sophie Webb – Palomarin alumnus, Point Blue Conservation Science research associate, and wildlife artist and illustrator extraordinaire – was the recipient of the 2014 Linnaean Society of New York’s highest award, the Eisenmann Medal. This award is given for excellence in ornithology and to recognize the recipient’s efforts in encouraging amateur ornithologists, and we all congratulate Sophie on this well-deserved honor!

Sophie first came to Palomarin in 1983 when she began a “fall gridding” internship with Point Blue Conservation Science (then PRBO), surveying and mapping the autumn songbirds – including our color-banded resident study species – using the local coastal scrub habitat. She subsequently worked with us on Southeast Farallon Island and on the Antarctic Project. She also sketched and painted for years out of our headquarters and cabin at Galloway Canyon, and later
from a small studio (now Tom Gardali’s office!) at the Palomarin Field Station, where a number of plates for the Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America (co-authored
by Steve Howell) were completed. She currently lives and has an art studio in the Santa Cruz Mountains, in Felton, CA.

This beloved Palomarin mural was painted by Sophie Webb, Lydia Thompson, and Steve Howell in the old Palo kitchen in 1983 – now residing post-renovation in what is Diana Humple and Renée Cormier’s office! Not shown: the Rainbow Wrentit.

This beloved Palomarin mural was painted by Sophie Webb, Lydia Thompson, and Steve Howell in the old Palo kitchen in 1983 – now residing post-renovation in what is Diana Humple and Renée Cormier’s office! Not shown: the Rainbow Wrentit.

Throughout her career, Sophie has worked extensively both as a biologist and as an artist, illustrator, and writer. As a biologist, her work has especially taken her onto the ocean as a researcher and naturalist. As an illustrator and writer, her other published books include the Field Guide to the Marine Mammals of the Pacific Coast (with Sarah Allen and Joe Mortenson), and a series of children’s books chronicling her experiences as a scientist, including My Season with Penguins: An Antarctic Journal. 

Sophie painting a traffic light switch in Santa Cruz, fall 2013, with her pup Daiya and buddy Toby looking on.

Sophie painting a traffic light switch in Santa Cruz, fall 2013, with her pup Daiya and buddy Toby looking on.

Check out her webpage, sophiewebb.com, for a chance to view some of her beautiful artwork, and to read her blog about the Farallones, which includes a number of her recent sketches such as the Evening Grosbeaks pictured here.

– Diana Humple, Palomarin Field Station project leader

Sophie’s sketch of an Evening Grosbeak that landed next to her at the Southeast Farallon Island lighthouse in October 2012

Sophie’s sketch of an Evening Grosbeak that landed next to her at the Southeast Farallon Island lighthouse in October 2012

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