2021 Speaker Series Presented by LCEC

 

Welcome the 2021 Virtual Speaker Series

proudly presented by

CROW is excited to announce the return of its seasonal “Speaker Series”, which is generously sponsored by Lee County Electric Cooperative (LCEC). These weekly programs, offered January through April, host professionals from across Southwest Florida who engage, educate and entertain participants with information about local conservation initiatives.  

Historically, the Speaker Series has been offered physically within CROW’s visitor center, but, this year, it has been modified as a virtual experience. That means:

  • You can participate from the safety and comfort of your home.

  • We have partnered with well-respected organizations beyond Lee County for some amazing speakers!

  • Of course, we have our local favorites returning too!

All Virtual Speaker Series events will be hosted via Zoom and advanced registration is REQUIRED. Presentations begin at 4:00pm and last approximately one hour. Admission for each device is $10 plus applicable taxes and fees.

 

To register for a topic, click the green registration button in the topic's description below!

 

 

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January 25

Nonnative Large Constrictors in Florida

Presented by Justin Dalaba, Science Writer & Outreach Coordinator for University of Florida's Croc Docs

Why are snakes important? Which ones are harmful and how can you tell? Protecting Florida’s natural resources from invasive species, like the Burmese python, starts with you. Tune in with the UF ‘Croc Docs’ to learn about the history of invasive reptiles and amphibians in Florida, how to identify native and nonnative snakes, and what you should do if you see one.

About the Speaker:

Justin Dalaba is a part of the UF “Croc Docs,” a team of researchers on the forefront of reptile and amphibian conservation throughout south Florida and the Caribbean. Currently, he works to enhance public and scientific understanding of crocodilians and invasive species threats to Everglades restoration. He also serves as outreach chair for the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (ECISMA).

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February 1

FMMSN1954, “Rudolph:” An Overview of Cetacean Care

Presented by Hannah Rogers, Associate Rescue Biologist for Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Clearwater Marine Aquarium works to protect and conserve our world’s fragile aquatic ecosystems and the threatened species that call them home. This presentation will provide an overview of Cetacean rehabilitation practices and the process of transitioning a non-releasable animal into managed care.

About the Speaker:

Hannah was an intern for the Rescue Team in the spring of 2019. In December of 2019 she was hired as staff to assist with the Rehabilitation of Rudolph, a rough-toothed dolphin, and have since remained on the team. Prior to interning/working at CMA, she gained intern experience in wildlife rehabilitation as well.

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February 9

Living with Burrowing Owls

Presented by Beverly Saltonstall, Volunteer for Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife

Cape Coral has the largest population of Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia floridana) in Florida, with an estimated 1000 nesting pairs and an upwards of 2500 burrows within the city limits. While the owls are quite tolerant of humans, their homes are still being threatened. Come out to learn about their habitat and hunting characteristics so you can cohabitate with this remarkable species.

About the Speaker:

Beverly is a 20-year charter member of CCFW a group of dedicated volunteers who are advocates for the Burrowing Owls and other wildlife of Cape Coral. She is a retired nurse who became involved with the group shortly after moving to Cape Coral from New Jersey.

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February 15

Speaker for the Bees: Understanding and Protecting Wild and Managed Bees

Presented by Mary Bammer, Instructional Designer for UF/IFAS Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab

Gain the knowledge and appreciation necessary to become a ‘Speaker for the Bees’, or a one who advocates on the bees’ behalf. In this presentation you will be introduced to why bees are so important, the types of bees found in Florida, and simple steps you can take to support local bee populations.

About the Speaker:

Mary Bammer develops and manages the HBREL's online Extension courses, including the UF/IFAS Master Beekeeper Program. She was formerly the lab's Extension coordinator and recently graduated from the University of Florida with a Master's in Extension education. Bammer works to bring top-notch honey bee education to beekeepers across Florida and around the world through targeted and effective distance education courses.

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February 23

Bats & Lubee 101 - Biology, Conservation & Education

Presented by Brian Pope, Director for Lubee Bat Conservancy

Lubee Bat Conservancy is a non-profit organization that places animal care, conservation, and education as its three core institutional purposes. It is the global leader in fruit bat care, husbandry, and medical management, and this presentation will cover the basics of bat biology, species found in Florida, and Lubee’s role in global conservation, education, and community engagement.

About the Speaker:

Brian is from Pittsburgh, PA, and has a BSc in Biology from Penn State University. Brian is a dedicated professional who specializes in non-profit leadership, zoological management, conservation and education.  He is extremely passionate about his role in the zoological/conservation field and is working to further Lubee’s status as a global leader in bat conservation and education. 

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March 2

Reframing Our Perspective:  Gardening in Southwest Florida

Presented by Jenny Evans, Native Landscapes & Adult Education Director for Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation

Our yards are often viewed as simply a way to approve the appearance of our house.  In this presentation, Jenny will discuss how your yard can be so much more while still being attractive, including being a place to conserve our natural resources and a refuge for local wildlife.

About the Speaker:

Jenny has been a longtime lover of plants and the natural world.  She came to the horticultural world in a roundabout way, with undergraduate training in biology and theatre (costume design) from Mary Washington College in Virginia, and a graduate degree in public garden management from Cornell University in New York.   Since 2005, she has been the manager of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation's (SCCF's) Native Landscapes & Garden Center and recently became SCCF's Native Landscapes & Adult Education Director.  Jenny has always enjoyed teaching people about the natural world and helping them to make the connection between plants, people, and wildlife.   

           

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March 9

The Story of Ospreys

Presented by Claudia Burns, Volunteer for International Osprey Foundation

Ospreys are large brown and white raptors who breed in southwest Florida from December through April and can be seen diving for live fish in shallow waters throughout the area. Because they build their nests right out in the open, their behavior is easy to observe, but not always easy to understand. This presentation uses photos, videos and recorded vocalizations to explain osprey behavior.

About the Speaker:

Sanibel resident Claudia Burns has been a Nestwatch Volunteer for the International Osprey Foundation for more than 20 years. In the past she has partnered with Bird Westall to deliver this presentation at both the "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge and CROW.

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March 16

Citizen Science & Invasive Lionfish Removal

Presented by Madalyn Mussey, Education & Outreach Program Manager for Reef Environmental Education Foundation

More than 37 non-native marine fish have been documented in Florida coastal waters, most believed to be released aquarium pets. Invasive lionfish, first sighted in Florida in 1985, are the only one of these species to have become established and are now causing severe problems throughout the western Atlantic, Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico. Learn about the threats invasive marine fish pose to their non-native environments and what is being done to combat one of the most infamous invasive fish species.

About the Speaker:

Madalyn has been part of the REEF team for 2 years now, first arriving as an Intern in January of 2019. Accepted into her full-time position in November 2019, Managing REEF’s Education and Outreach Programs allows Madalyn to apply her dedication and experience in hands-on conservation education to give those around her an appreciation for the natural world and instill a long-lasting devotion towards marine conservation.

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March 23

Bobcat Spatial Ecology on Everglades Tree Islands

Presented by Katherine Buckman, MS Graduate Student for Florida Atlantic University

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) engages in collaborative projects to monitor wildlife in its natural habitat. Katherine will discuss a recent research study that is funded by the U.S. Geological Survey in partnership with Florida Atlantic University using data collected from 2005 – 2019 via game cameras. The area of focus for her study is on improving the understanding of mammalian use of tree islands in the Everglades, specifically Bobcats. This presentation will provide insight into how terrestrial mammals respond to changing water levels and why we should conserve these critical habitat areas.

About the Speaker:

Katharine received her BS in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida in 2019. She is currently a graduate student at Florida Atlantic University studying bobcat spatial ecology in the Everglades, and her research interests are in invasive ecology, mammalogy, ecosystem restoration, and Everglades/wetland restoration.                                                                        

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March 30

Economic Value of National Resources in Central and Southwest Florida

Presented by Alexis Horn, Public Outreach Specialist for Coastal & Heartland National Estuary Partnership 

The Coastal & Heartland National Estuary Partnership and the Balmoral Group undertook a study to better understand the economic activity tied to restoration, conservation, and management activities. This study highlights how the protection of water, wildlife, and habitat at a regional and landscape level are beneficial to both the economy and the environment.

About the Speaker:

Alex, a native Floridian, has worked in the environmental field for over 15 years, with a career traversing positions at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the University of Tampa, the Sierra Club, and the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida, and a master’s in Conservation Biology from the University of New South Wales in Australia.

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April 6

The Story of Ospreys

Presented by Claudia Burns, Volunteer for International Osprey Foundation

Ospreys are large brown and white raptors who breed in southwest Florida from December through April and can be seen diving for live fish in shallow waters throughout the area. Because they build their nests right out in the open, their behavior is easy to observe, but not always easy to understand. This presentation uses photos, videos and recorded vocalizations to explain osprey behavior.

About the Speaker:

Sanibel resident Claudia Burns has been a Nestwatch Volunteer for the International Osprey Foundation for more than 20 years. In the past she has partnered with Bird Westall to deliver this presentation at both the "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge and CROW. 

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April 13

Shy Wolf Sanctuary: To Heal Hearts and Minds Through Rescue, Sanctuary and Education

Presented by Debbie LoVerde, Community Education Coordinator for Shy Wolf Sanctuary

Shy Wolf Sanctuary provides refuge and rehabilitation to non-releasable wild and captive-bred exotic canines, including wolves and wolfdogs. Their team works diligently to share the message of the preserving wolves in natural ecosystems, respecting wild and captive-bred exotics and encouraging coexistence with wildlife. 

About the Speaker:

Debra LoVerde joined Shy Wolf Sanctuary in September of 2020 as the Community Education Coordinator. In her role with the organization, Debra is responsible for building relationships with organizations and communities to educate people about the work of the Sanctuary and to expand on the Healing Hearts Program. This program provides experiences for participants of partner organizations to learn how animals cope with a variety of stressful situations that may mirror those experiences in humans. She is developing a new initiative called “Tell me your Story” to empower children to speak up about the stresses they have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Debra holds a Doctorate in Education, with certifications as a school psychologist, elementary education instruction, and school administrator from her home state of New York. She has extensive experience in developing and managing special education programs.

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April 22

Conservation Biology of Reddish Egrets, Mangrove Cuckoos, and Swallow-tailed Kites on Sanibel Island: Racing Time in a Rapidly Changing World

Presented by Ken Meyer, Senior Research Ecologist & Executive Director for ARCI - Avian Research & Conservation Institute

ARCI’s ongoing research on three fascinating species of Sanibel’s birds – the Reddish Egret, Mangrove Cuckoo, and Swallow-tailed Kite – helps illustrate Florida’s biological richness and the delicate, finely tuned ecological interplay of its diverse plants and animals. Illuminating data from direct observations, field surveys, and sophisticated tracking technologies point to the threats faced by these three spectacular birds of conservation concern. ARCI’s results reinforce the need for more sustainable land-use policies and wildlife management, and for insightful research that will teach us how to counter losses of habitat to development, as well as to sea-level rise and other imposing effects of climate change.  

About the Speaker:

Ken Meyer has studied the behavior and ecology of rare and imperiled birds since pursuing his PhD, which he received from the University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill in 1987. His professional interest always has been to generate reliable data that informs management and conservation action, a quest that led to the formation of the nonprofit Avian Research and Conservation Institute (ARCI) in 1997, where he serves as Executive Director and Senior Research Ecologist. Studies by Meyer and his team, co-led by Gina Kent (now 20 years with ARCI), has helped address the conservation needs of 16 species of birds of critical concern in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. For these efforts, ARCI has received two Research Awards from Partners in Flight and a National Wildlife Stewardship Award from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative for cooperative studies that have advanced the conservation of Swallow-tailed Kites.

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April 26

Tracking Loggerhead Sea Turtles from One of the Most Important Nesting Sites in the World

Presented by Dr. Daniel Evans, Senior Research Biologist for Sea Turtle Conservancy

Dr. Evans has been tracking the migrations of loggerhead sea turtles from the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge on the central east coast of Florida since 2008. The Carr Refuge represents one of the most important nesting beaches for loggerheads in the world. The research has identified important loggerhead migration pathways and feeding areas, as well as discovered some unusual behavior. Dr. Evans will be talking about the findings, and conservation implications, of his satellite tracking research.

About the Speaker:

Dan is responsible for STC’s educational activities, public presentations, organizing volunteers to help with STC’s sea turtle monitoring research programs, administers the Florida Sea Turtle License Plate Grants Program, and is the principal investigator on STC’s sea turtle tracking research program. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Management from the University of Massachusetts, a Masters in Wildlife Ecology from Frostburg State University, and his PhD in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida. He has been working at the Sea Turtle Conservancy since 1996. 

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