Speaker Series

Golden Gate Audubon’s monthly Speaker Series in San Francisco and Berkeley features renowned naturalists, photographers, ornithologists, authors, international travelers, and other fascinating speakers.

To cover event costs, we ask non-members for a voluntary donation of $5. Non-members may attend for free if they join that evening. As always, GGAS members are welcome to attend free of charge. Locations are listed on the right side of this page.


North American Birds and Climate Change

Burrowing Owl / Photo by Noreen Weeden

Burrowing Owl / Photo by Noreen Weeden

Gary Langham
San Francisco: Thursday, September 18
7 p.m. refreshments, 7:30 program 

Audubon scientists recently completed a comprehensive analysis modeling the winter and summer ranges of 588 North American bird species in response to future climate change. Using extensive citizen science data and detailed climate layers, these models characterize the relationship between the distribution of each species and climate through the end of the century. Gary Langham will share the results and the implications for conservation. The science is clear that climate change is the biggest conservation threat to birds through the rest of the century. As a result, the fate of North America birds will depend critically on conservation decisions that reduce the impacts of climate change as well as the ability of these birds to colonize areas that become climatically suitable outside their current ranges.

Gary Langham is chief scientist at the National Audubon Society. He grew up in a birding family and started attending Audubon chapter meetings at age seven. He has spent most of his life watching or studying animals across the Americas and Australia. Langham enjoys sharing nature with his wife and six-year-old daughter in Washington, DC.


Art and Environmental Mobilizing

Sculpture of an extinct Great Auk by Todd McGrain

Sculpture of an extinct Great Auk by Todd McGrain

Todd McGrain and Andrew Stern 
Berkeley: Thursday October 16
7 p.m. refreshments, 7:30 p.m. program

Sculptor Todd McGrain and filmmaker Andrew Stern created The Lost Bird Project to raise public awareness through art of five bird species that went extinct over the past 150 years. They share a conviction that art can touch us in ways that ideas and intellect alone cannot. At our Speaker Series on October 16th, Todd and Andy will discuss the role that the arts can play in mobilizing people to address our current environmental crisis. Then on Sunday October 19, GGAS will show their film The Lost Bird Project from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Ed Roberts Campus across from Ashby BART in Berkeley.

Todd McGrain, a sculptor for over 25 years, is artist-in-residence at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Andrew Stern, a practicing Zen Buddhist and neurology professor at the University of Rochester, devotes himself to raising awareness about the environment through The Lost Bird Project.


Three Birds, Three Outcomes

Joel Greenberg and a Passenger Pigeon

Joel Greenberg and a Passenger Pigeon

Joel Greenberg
San Francisco: Thursday November 20
7 p.m. refreshments, 7:30 p.m. program 

Three different birds, three different outcomes at the hands of humans. The Passenger Pigeon once numbered in the billions, yet human exploitation drove it to extinction a century ago. The Kirtland’s Warbler had dwindled to fewer than 200 singing males in 1971, yet today we know how to maintain healthy populations. The Whooping Crane was down to 23 individuals – twice – and its fate still remains an open question. What can these three birds tell us about how to coexist with other species?

Joel Greenberg is a Research Associate of both the Field Museum and the Chicago Academy of Sciences. He is author of A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction and has been a leader in Project Passenger Pigeon, marking the anniversary of the species’ extinction.