Rare book opens CSUF students’ eyes to birds around them – Orange County Register

It took a 200-year-old book to get Cal State Fullerton students out of their ornithology classroom and into the wilds, and not so wilds, of Orange County to really look at birds.

The donation last year of Alexander Wilson’s “American Ornithology,” a rare and valuable book published in the early 1800s, spurred biology professor Bill Hoese to turn his class into a “high-impact” experience, one that spurs students to invest in their own learning.

The 200-year-old book “American Ornithology” by Alexander Wilson, on display in Cal State Fullerton’s Pollak Library, is open to a plate showing a spoonbill and American avocet. (Photo by Wendy Fawthrop, The Orange County Register/SCNG)

Using the book, the students tracked down species of birds living in Orange County, researched and observed them, then pulled together an exhibit now on display in the campus’s Pollak Library that introduces people to their feathered neighbors.

“Learning about birds opens a whole new world to those who study them – because they’re everywhere,” said Hoese. “It’s kind of like being in on a secret.”

Hoese has taught the class since 2006. Last fall, biology alum Nancy Goodhue-McWilliams donated the Wilson book to Cal State Fullerton. The book had belonged to her great-grandmother, Harriett Williams Meyers, who was active in the Audubon Society and is a founder of Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary, owned by the university. Wilson’s book was first published in 1808-14; the donated book is a second edition, published in 1828-29.

Bill Hoese is a professor of biological science at Cal State Fullerton. (Photo courtesy of Bill Hoese)

Goodhue-McWilliams, a retired high school teacher and the widow of CSUF professor emeritus Kenneth L. Goodhue-McWilliams, is a longtime donor to CSUF, including supporting the Gravitational-Wave Physics and Astronomy Center and a scholarship for students pursuing health professions.

Meg Sandquist, Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary director, mentioned the…

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