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.

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 Caifornia- Tricolored Blackbird

Samantha Arthur

Thursday, January 17
6:30 p.m. refreshments,
7p.m. program

The Tricolored Blackbird is a colonial breeder that is nearly endemic to California. Historically,
Tricolored Blackbirds bred on wetlands in the Central Valley with dense cattails and bulrush. As
a result of the loss of 90 percent of the wetlands in the Central Valley, Tricolors increasingly nest
in agricultural fields during the spring. When nesting and farmers’ harvest schedules conflict
high proportions of the Tricolor population are put at risk. Approximately 178,000 individuals
were counted in the 2017 statewide survey, down from an estimated 2-3 million in the 1930s.
Tricolored Blackbirds were listed as a threatened species under the California Endangered
Species Act in April 2018 due to sharp, ongoing population declines. The US Fish and Wildlife
Service is conducting a scientific review to determine if the species will be federally listed, with
a decision expected this winter. 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.

Speaker Biography
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, a colonial passerine
that is nearly endemic to California. Samantha has a Masters of Environmental Science and
Management from the Bren School at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Prior to
Audubon, Samantha worked with the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts
to support private lands stewardship across the state. She was also previously a Land Protection
Specialist for the Big Sur Land Trust where she worked with landowners in Monterey County on
conservation easements and land management.



Innovative Habitat Enhancement for Birds

Mike Perlmutter

San Francisco
Thursday, February 21
6:30 p.m. refreshments,
7p.m. program

Please Note: New venue for San Francisco Speaker Series

Sports Basement
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.