Sonoma Valley’s Quarryhill Botanical Garden will begin the second annual “Peter H. Raven Lecture Series” from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, July 8, in the outdoor amphitheater in the main garden.

This first of the three-part lecture series will feature Jared Diamond, professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles, and award-winning author, who will discuss “Plants, the Key to Civilization.” Diamond explains the development of agriculture, beginning around 10,000 years ago, and how it launched the development of civilization, including writing and government. Agriculture – the domestication of wild plants – arose only in certain places and at different times around the world, because only a tiny fraction of all wild plant species have proved suitable for domestication.

Diamond began his scientific career in physiology and expanded into evolutionary biology with research interests in biogeography, geography and human society. He teaches classes in world regions and past societies and is the author of “The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies,” “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed” and the acclaimed “Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies,” which won him a Pulitzer Prize as well as Britain’s 1998 Rhone-Poulenc Science Book Prize.

On Saturday, Aug. 26, from 5:30 to 6:30 pm, John Harte, professor of ecocsystem sciences, at University of California at Berkeley, will discuss “Can Civilization Endure?” He will review the major threats to a sustainable future, critique some recently proposed solutions, and describe an achievable course of action to ensure civilization’s survival.

With his wife, biologist Mary Ellen Harte, he authored “Cool the Earth, Save the Economy: Solving the Climate Crisis is EASY.”

The lecture series concludes on Friday, Oct. 13, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. with historian and celebrated author Andrea Wulf. She will discuss her highly praised New York Times bestseller, “The Invention of Nature: Alexander Von Humboldt’s New World.”

The fee for each lecture is $35 for members, $45 for non-members. Refreshments will be available.

For information and all the details about the Quarryhill 2017 Peter H. Raven Lecture Series, go to

Quarryhill Botanical Garden is located at 12841 Sonoma Highway, Glen Ellen. For more information, see or call 996-3166.