Audubon to host presentation on Swallow-tailed Kite Conservation

ATHENS – The Oconee Rivers Audubon Society will launch its 2016-17 season with a silent auction, reception, and a special presentation titled “A Safe Place to Land: Conservation of the Swallow-tailed Kite” by research scientist Dr. Maria Whitehead on Thursday, September 1, at UGA’s Odum School of Ecology.

Dr. Maria Whitehead, Project Director for The Nature Conservancy, will build off of a recent article that was published in The Nature Conservancy magazine that focuses on her work with Swallow-tailed Kites. Whitehead will discuss Kite conservation challenges such as climate change induced habitat degradation and discuss how the life history of this species makes it particularly vulnerable to habitat alteration and loss. Whitehead will also discuss current and future strategies The Nature Conservancy and other organizations are implementing to better monitor and manage this species in the face of climate change and other pressing threats.

Annual Potluck Picnic in Memorial Park

The Oconee Rivers Audubon Society will cap its 2015-16 season with a potluck picnic dinner at a special time and place – 6 p.m. June 2 in Memorial Park, at Picnic Shelter No. 1.

Bring a covered-dish item to share and enjoy an evening of socializing in the outdoors. Dessert will be provided. The gathering will include a short business meeting to elect officers for the upcoming year. The nominees are Brian Cooke, president; Katy Manley, vice president; Mary Case, secretary; and Alison Huff, treasurer.

Update on Managed Forests Project and Prescribed Burn Results - April Monthly Meeting & Program

A long-time Athens-Clarke County parks and recreation professional will describe the initial results of a prescribed burn as part of the Managed Forest Project at Sandy Creek Nature Center during the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society’s next monthly meeting. 

Changes to the 2016 Spring bird walk schedule

Due to the closure of the boardwalk on Cook's Trail we need to alter our usual Spring bird walk schedule.  Our April 2nd walk at Sandy Creek Park usually involved scoping the lake from the dam and the birding the north end of Cook's Trail.  Instead we will meet at the parking lot on the right just inside the gate.  From there we will scope the lake for water fowl from various places, explore a bit of the Lakeside Trail, and then enjoy some of the open field birding that the park has to offer.

Our April 30th Cook's Trail walk and cleanup usually began at the Sandy Creek Nature Center's Allen House and we would bird the south end of Cook's Trail.  Instead we will meet at Sandy Creek Park in the parking lot at the end of Campsite Drive.  This will allow us to bird (and cleanup) more of Cook's Trail.

If there are questions please contact Ed Maioriello, fieldtrip@oconeeriversaudubon.org.

 

Ecologist to explore Athens' importance for butterflies - March Monthly Meeting

University of Georgia ecologist will describe rare butterflies and moths that inhabit Athens and will discuss why this is a special place for them to thrive at the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society’s next meeting, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, March 3, at Sandy Creek Nature Center.

Dr. James W. Porter, Meigs Professor of Ecology and Curator of Invertebrates at the Georgia Museum of Natural History, will give a presentation on “The Flap of a Butterfly’s Wing:  The Extraordinary and Essential Butterflies and Moths of Athens-Clarke County.”

Porter will display specimens from his collection of more than 1,000 butterflies and moths from Athens. In addition, he will share his knowledge about the conservation challenges facing these important pollinators in Athens and throughout Georgia.  This is a rare opportunity to see these amazing local butterflies and moths, and to hear this award-winning speaker talk about natural areas and vital species within our county.

Implications of Melting Polar Ice Caps - February Monthly Meeting

A retired UGA professor who served as a naturalist on Arctic expedition ships will explore the dynamics of sea ice formation and the Earth’s shrinking ice caps in a presentation at the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society’s next meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, at Sandy Creek Nature Center.

Gary Kochert, who lectured on geology and glaciology with Polar Star Expeditions, will give a presentation on “The Frozen Ocean.” In his talk, Kochert will discuss the formation of and seasonal changes in sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctic and describe some of the animals that rely on sea ice to survive.

Riverside Canebrake Restoration - January Monthly Meeting

An expert in propagating river cane will describe the ecological value of North America’s only native bamboo species and his efforts to restore canebrakes in a presentation at the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society’s next meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 7, at Sandy Creek Nature Center.

Thomas Peters of Athens, who earned a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Georgia, has recorded some success in propagating cane, which once formed dense stands along rivers throughout the Southeast.

The Ecology and Health of White Ibis in Urban Florida

Two University of Georgia wildlife researchers will discuss findings from ongoing research into the ways urban habitats are impacting the American White Ibis in a presentation at the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society’s next meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, at Sandy Creek Nature Center.

Postdoctoral research associate Maureen Murray and graduate research associate Shannon Curry will speak on “The Ecology and Health of White Ibis in Urban Florida.” They will give an overview of UGA’s White Ibis Project, an interdisciplinary research initiative led by Sonia Hernandez, an associate professor with the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources.

How Extinction Is Changing Humanity - Nov. Monthly Meeting

A University of Georgia biologist will explore the ways in which extinctions are affecting our relationship with the natural world in a presentation at the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society’s next meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, at Sandy Creek Nature Center.

Georgia professor Mark Farmer, director of UGA’s Division of Biological Sciences, will give a talk on “The Last Penguin: How Extinction Is Changing Humanity.” Farmer’s presentation will touch on how land use and other human activities are affecting the composition of the atmosphere and the chemistry of the oceans, perhaps contributing to the current wave of plant and animal extinctions.

Farmer will discuss the growing evidence that humans are helping to bring about a sixth mass extinction event, why so many extinctions are changing our relationship to the natural world, and how this wave of die-offs compares to past great extinctions like the meteor strike that many scientists believe doomed most of the dinosaurs on Earth.

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