Carl Safina at the Harvard Science Center
Alfie and Me:
What Owls Know, What Humans Believe
in conversation with DREW LANHAM
November 7, 2023
6:00 PM ET
(Doors at 5:30)
Harvard Science Center Hall A
1 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA
Harvard Book Store, the Harvard University Division of Science, and the Harvard Library welcome CARL SAFINA—inaugural holder of the endowed chair for nature and humanity at Stony Brook University—for a discussion of his new book Alfie and Me: What Owls Know, What Humans Believe. He will be joined in conversation by author and Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology at Clemson University, DREW LANHAM.
There are two ticket options available for this event. Carl Safina will sign copies of his book after the presentation.
Free General Admission Ticket: Includes admission for one.
Book-Included Ticket: Includes admission for one and one hardcover copy of Alfie and Me.
About Alfie and Me
When ecologist Carl Safina and his wife, Patricia, took in a near-death baby owl, they expected that, like other wild orphans they’d rescued, she’d be a temporary presence. But Alfie’s feathers were not growing correctly, requiring prolonged care. As Alfie grew and gained strength, she became a part of the family, joining a menagerie of dogs and chickens and making a home for herself in the backyard. Carl and Patricia began to realize that the healing was mutual; Alfie had been braided into their world, and was now pulling them into hers.
Alfie & Me is the story of the remarkable impact this little owl would have on their lives. The continuing bond of trust following her freedom—and her raising of her own wild brood—coincided with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a year in which Carl and Patricia were forced to spend time at home without the normal obligations of work and travel. Witnessing all the fine details of their feathered friend’s life offered Carl and Patricia a view of existence from Alfie’s perspective.
One can travel the world and go nowhere; one can be stuck keeping the faith at home and discover a new world. Safina’s relationship with an owl made him want to better understand how people have viewed humanity’s relationship with nature across cultures and throughout history. Interwoven with Safina’s keen observations, insight, and reflections, Alfie & Me is a work of profound beauties and magical timing harbored within one upended year.
Praise for Alfie and Me
"This is a book about a foundling owl, and infinitely more. As it turns out, the universe and all its mysteries, our relationship with our wild kin and a better future for ourselves and the planet—all are reflected through the prism of an eight-inch ball of feathers named Alfie. Carl Safina has never been more eloquent, or more urgent. Alfie & Me is masterful." —Scott Weidensaul, author of A World on the Wing: The Global Odyssey of Migratory Birds
"Carl Safina has written a book of great wisdom and beauty, full of drama and insight. How right to choose an owl, symbol of learning, to help us see anew the twinned truths of compassion and connection—gifts our kind desperately needs to keep our world alive." —Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness
"The rescue of a little screech owl brings Carl Safina the unexpected joy of companionship and propagation of the species, leading him to philosophize about humanity and how much we’re part of nature. A delightful read!" —Frans de Waal, author of Different: Gender Through the Eyes of a Primatologist
Masks are encouraged but not required for this event.
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