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Release No. COC-11.08.16-ScholarlyPresentation
November 8, 2016

Scholarly Presentation on Nov. 17 to Reveal California’s Ice Age

College of the Canyons geography professor Mary Bates will deliver the scholarly presentation “Ice Age California” on Thursday, Nov. 17 at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC). 

With the use of photos, video, and maps, Bates will share direct and indirect field evidence of California’s Ice Age seen in the state’s coast, desert, mountains, and fossils. 

“My biggest intention for making this presentation is to enkindle curiosity, inspire people to get out into nature, and to show how nature is a great teacher for all our lives, especially in relationships and defining personal success,” said Bates. 

Borne from her master’s degree thesis on the origin of sand dunes in Eastern California, Bates’ presentation is also based on 30 years worth of field trips to various California sites of geological interest, such as Death Valley and Yosemite National Park.

“Nothing is better than feeling the fog roll in at the coastal campsite, crawling over sharp salt in the desert, or shivering from the spray of a waterfall on your face in the mountains,” added Bates, who regularly leads field trips for her geography students. 

In her presentation, Bates will show how the Ice Age modified California’s coastline due to sea level changes, created lakes within deserts, reshaped mountains due to glaciation, and provided an environment for large mammals, now extinct.

Fossil models, rock specimens, maps, coring materials, and an interactive virtual reality sandbox will be on display in the PAC lobby prior to the presentation. 

“Ice Age California” will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17. 

This event is free and open to the public. 

For more information about the Scholarly Presentation “Ice Age California,” please contact the COC Foundation at (661) 362-3434. 

About the Presenter 

A native Californian with a sense of adventure, Mary Bates had no idea what career path to take until she took a field trip to Death Valley with COC geology professor Winston Wutkee in 1988. 

Her interest in geology and geography continued to grow under his helpful mentorship as his geology lab assistant of 10 years. 

After earning a master’s degree in geography with a minor in geology from California State University, Northridge, Bates began teaching at COC in 1999. 

Since then, Bates—who teaches all the geography courses at COC—has served twice as chair of the college’s earth, space and environmental sciences department. She also serves in curriculum development and created the college’s associate transfer degrees in both geography and geology. 
Bates is committed to making earth science-focused field trips accessible to all students and community members. She enjoys getting students to locate places on maps and watching her students evolve. 
Outside of the classroom, Bates loves architecture, interior design, and visiting world-class large cities.  An avid traveler, Bates hopes to continue exploring the world with her children and grandchildren.