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.

Please note the new, EARLIER start time for our speaker programs in 2017! Doors open for refreshments at 6:30 p.m. and the speaker will start promptly at 7 p.m.


Unlikely Urban Environments

Baxter Creek by Ann Riley

Ann Riley
Berkeley: Thursday, September 21
6:30 p.m. refreshments, 7 p.m. program

Over the past 30 years, the East Bay has pioneered a growing movement to restore very degraded riparian corridors, including digging up streams buried underground in culverts. These neighborhood-scale projects have produced unlikely wild areas with remarkable bird and wildlife use in the midst of densely populated cities.

Dr. Ann Riley is the author of Restoring Neighborhood Streams and was recently featured in the PBS show Urban Nature. She has worked as a river scientist for state agencies for over 25 years and was a cofounder of the Urban Creeks Council and California Urban Streams Partnership.





Restoring Seabird Colonies through Social Attraction

Dan Roby
San Francisco: Thursday, October 19
6:30 p.m. refreshments, 7 p.m. program

Caspian Tern and chick by Dan Roby

In 1973, National Audubon successfully restored a breeding colony of Atlantic Puffins on an island in the Gulf of Maine where they had been extirpated in the early 20th century. They relied on social attraction – an innovative use of decoys and audio playback that since then has helped restore seabird colonies across the globe. In the Pacific Flyway, social attraction helped restore breeding colonies of Caspian Terns. It’s currently the centerpiece of a last-ditch attempt to prevent extinction of the Chinese Crested Tern.

Dan Roby is the Unit Leader–Wildlife for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Oregon Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and Professor of Wildlife Ecology at Oregon State University. His primary area of research interest is the physiological ecology and conservation biology of birds, with an emphasis on seabirds. He received a B.A. (Biology) from Antioch College in 1974, a M.S. (Wildlife Management) from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1978, and a Ph.D. (Biology) from the University of Pennsylvania in 1986. Dan  served as Chair of the Pacific Seabird Group during 2005-2006, was elected a Fellow of the American Ornithologists’ Union in 2008, and was awarded the Ralph W. Schreiber Conservation Award from the American Ornithological Society in 2017.


Ridgway’s Rails and Adaptive

Tidal Marsh Restoration

Ridgway’s Rail pair during a king tide at MLK Jr. Shoreline in Oakland, by Rick Lewis

Julian Wood
Berkeley: Thursday, November 16
6:30 p.m. refreshments, 7 p.m. program

Ridgway’s Rail is a species that Golden Gate Audubon Society has worked hard to protect over the decades, fighting to preserve and and then helping restore its habitat in locations like Oakland’s Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline. We are presenting this speaker event as part of our year-long Centennial celebration.

The Ridgway’s Rail, a federally-listed endangered species dependent on San Francisco Bay tidal marshes, is making a comeback after a sharp decline a decade ago. The population is increasing due in part to large-scale tidal restoration projects happening throughout the Bay. Will these populations be resilient in the future as rising seas and storms threaten their populations? How can innovative restoration and habitat enhancement efforts designed to benefit all marsh species help them survive? Point Blue Conservation Science seeks to answer these questions using a science-based assessment framework with the help of multiple partner organizations and agencies.

Julian Wood is the San Francisco Bay Program Leader at Point Blue Conservation Science (formerly PRBO). He works to advance wetland-dependent bird conservation by leading innovative research and informing on-the-ground restoration and management. He also assists agencies and organizations in understanding and preparing for the negative impacts of climate change on wildlife and human communities. Julian has worked for Point Blue for over 20 years assessing and guiding bird-friendly restoration and management in a variety of habitats.