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. Speaker Series venues are:
Doors open for refreshments at 6:30 p.m. and the speaker will start promptly at 7 p.m.
Thank you to Recology- Our San Francisco Speaker Series Sponsor
Audubon California – Tricolored Blackbird
Thursday, January 17
6:30 p.m. refreshments,
The Tricolored Blackbird is a colonial breeder that is nearly endemic to California. Historically, these birds bred on wetlands in the Central Valley. As a result of the loss of 90 percent of the wetlands, Tricolors increasingly nest in agricultural fields. When nesting and farmers’ harvest schedules conflict high proportions of the Tricolor population are put at risk. Tricolored Blackbirds were listed as a threatened species under the California Endangered Species Act in April 2018 due to sharp, ongoing population declines. In this presentation Conservation Project Director, Samantha Arthur, will discuss Audubon California’s multi-pronged approach to save the Tricolored Blackbird. This approach includes creating new wetland habitat, working with dairy farmers to delay harvest until after chicks have fledged from nests, and advocating for protections under the state and federal Endangered Species Acts.
Samantha Arthur is a Conservation Project Director for Audubon California, focusing on improving wetlands management for the benefit of bird species in the Central Valley. She also manages Audubon California’s campaign to save the Tricolored Blackbird.
Innovative Habitat Enhancement for Birds
Thursday, February 21
6:30 p.m. refreshments,
Please Note: New venue for San Francisco Speaker Series
1590 Bryant Street
San Francisco 94103
Since 1997 Golden Gate Audubon has partnered with the Port of San Francisco to enhance shoreline wildlife habitat at Pier 94, located along the south eastern bay shoreline, on property owned and operated by the Port of San Francisco. After completing successful wetland and beach enhancement projects, in 2013 Golden Gate Audubon initiated habitat enhancements in the adjacent upland areas of Pier 94. Through creative partnerships and modest funding, Golden Gate Audubon mobilized materials, equipment, and people to transform a mostly barren area of shoreline rubble and road into a viable place for native plants and wildlife. This project is a model for beneficial sediment reuse – using clean local “waste” sediment from mining, dredging, and excavation projects for habitat enhancement rather than disposal
Mike Perlmutter is the Environmental Stewardship Team Supervisor for the City of Oakland Public Works Environmental Services Division. The Environmental Stewardship Team supports volunteer cleaning, greening, and beautification projects throughout City of Oakland public spaces such as parks, creeks, and rights of way. Mike holds a Bachelor’s of Science from Tufts University, and a Master’s of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Mike has worked in San Francisco Bay Area environmental conservation since 1998. His experience includes native plant and wildlife habitat restoration with the National Park Service, wildlife advocacy with the National Audubon Society, regional invasive plant management with the Bay Area Early Detection Network, and urban environmental stewardship with the City of Oakland.
Iconic Tower, Iconic Bird – Peregrines on the Campanile
Thursday, March 21
6:30 p.m. refreshments,
As Peregrine Falcons have recovered from endangered status in the 1990s-2000s, they have often been found nesting on bridges and skyscrapers. For the last two nesting seasons, a Peregrine Falcon pair has taken up residence on the Campanile on the UC Berkeley campus, fledging two chicks in 2017, and three in 2018. A team of citizen scientists led by UC Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (MVZ) in cooperation with the East Bay Regional Park District and the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, has monitored the Peregrines, enhancing their nest-site, watching for threats, and serving as an information source for captivated CAL falcon-spotters. In 2019, the Cal Peregrine Team is working on getting a web-cam erected on the tower to deepen our knowledge of these urban Peregrines, and to widen interest in these charismatic falcons via the web.
Beyond their sheer magnetism — the athletic hunting flights of the adults and the clumsy antics of the fledglings – the Peregrines are a profound reminder of the ornithologists of a generation ago who walked a tight-rope between science and conservation activism to bring this species back from the edge of extinction. One of their critical conservation tools? The well-kept and meticulously-labelled egg collections of natural history museums, including our own Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.
Director of the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory (ggro.org) since its founding in the mid-1980s, Allen Fish earned his bachelor’s degree at UC Davis, then returned to teach Raptor Biology there in the 2000s. He was honored with the Maurice Broun Award for achievements in raptor biology in 2003, and the Bay Nature Environmental Educator Award in 2015. A fourth-generation Berkeleyan with deep CAL roots, Fish lives near campus with his wife Allison Pennell, their two kids and a coonhound.