2018/19 Programs

You're invited to attend!

Due to renovations occurring within city buildings, SPAS will not be holding 2019-20 meeting at The Sunshine Center. A meeting location has yet to be determined. If you have suggestions for a venue, we're listening!

  • SPAS meeting are held at The Sunshine Center, 330 - 5th Street N., St. Petersburg (near City Hall and the Coliseum).
  • Meeting are held the 3rd Tuesday of the month,
  • Meet and greet begins at 6:30 p.m., programs begin at 7 pm.
  • Free parking is available on south side of the building
  • SPAS programs are free and open to the public.

2018/19 Program Schedule

October 16 : Exploring the Galapagos and Cloud Forest of Ecuador

John and Nancy Ogden will share their Victor Emanuel Nature Tour of Ecuador and the Galapagos , emphasizing the birds of the Cloud Forest, the many aspects of the history of exploration in the region, and terrestrial and marine natural history of the Galapagos. Edit: John & Nancy shared their photos from the presentation here.

November 20: Tampa Bay’s National Wildlife Refuges: Protected Places for Our Feathered Friends

This program, presented by Pat Mundus, Friends of Tampa Bay National Wildlife Refuges, will explore the history of the National Wildlife Refuge, and will address the current status of the Egmont and Passage Key refuges, and some of our lesser known national wildlife refuge islands in Pinellas County. The star of the show, Egmont Key, is one of Florida's largest nesting bird sanctuaries, home to over 30,000 pairs of nesting birds each year.

Patrick Mundus is an active volunteer and board member with the Friends of Tampa Bay National Wildlife Refuges. His work with the group includes public outreach, land management and habitat protection, and working with the interpretive docent program on Egmont Key. A long time recreational birder he believes that the preservation and restoration of wildlife habitat in Florida is key to protecting our feathered friends.

December 18: Ken Meyer & Gina Kent - Short-tailed Hawks and Swallow-tailed Kites: Building their data legacy and nurturing young conservationists - one bird at a time.

With the help of passionate conservationists and their organizations and agencies, including StPetersburg Audubon Society and Ken’s long-time colleague Gina Kent, ARCI has been able to accomplish ground-breaking research on these and other Florida raptors, species at risk for which we have lacked sufficient knowledge to manage them effectively. Ken will revisit some of the nonprofit’s most important study results, work that in some cases began 30 years ago, and describe how what we have learned is helping to sustain some of Florida’s most cherished birds. He also will offer some thoughts and on how we all can help ensure that what we are learning gets translated into effective conservation action – often the most difficult challenge.

ARCI is a publicly supported 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to conduct rigorous research that stimulates and informs effective conservation action for vulnerable species of birds. ARCI strictly limits its infrastructure, overhead, and administrative costs to devote as much revenue as possible to studying the nesting and wintering ecology, habitat selection, demography, migration, and conservation biology of birds that are at risk and of conservation concern due to rarity, population declines, loss of essential habitats, or sensitivities to common natural and anthropogenic threats. ARCI’s studies of 21 species have made use of various types of telemetry when such technology offered the best means of addressing the research questions at hand. Ken Meyer, ARCI’s Executive Director, began building low-cost VHF transmitters and deploying them on hawks in 1979, gradually developing the safest possible attachment methods and incorporating satellite, GPS, and cell-phone technologies into their research on wading birds, seabirds, columbids, passerines, and 10 species of diurnal and nocturnal raptors. This includes the federally listed (presently or at the time) Snail Kite, Crested Caracara, Bald Eagle, and Peregrine Falcon under appropriate federal recovery permits.

January 15: Rock Ponds and Schultz Preserve: What is Using them and When - the Results of 1 Year of Surveys

Rock Ponds and the Fred and Idah Schultz Preserve are properties on the east side of Tampa Bay that are owned by SWFWMD and jointly managed with Hillsborough County CELM. They are reclamation sites, Rock Ponds was ditched agricultural land, Schultz was industrial landfill. The presentation will show the areas that Tampa Audubon has been surveying for over 1 year for SWFWMD and CELM. It will give data on species and numbers of birds using the various areas of these two reclaimed areas, how that varies by season, and the recommendations that we make to further enhance and protect the habitats for our resident and migratory birds.

Mary Keith has been birding most of her life. She grew up in rural Pennsylvania where most weekends were spent in the state parks and woods. She has lived and birded in Florida since 1992. Her degrees have nothing to do with birds (Chemistry and Food Science), but they have supported a life of work around the world where she managed to watch birds as well. She is retired from the University of Florida Extension Service and now has more time to lead bird walks for the Tampa Audubon Society, watch birds, monitor eagle nests and wading bird colonies, count Florida Scrub Jays, and participate in Christmas Bird Counts.

February 19: Jeffrey Goessling - Conservation Ecology of Gopher Tortoises from the Species' Periphery to the Core

Long-term population demographic studies of gopher tortoises have revealed critically important differences in apparently stable populations across the species' range. Ongoing studies will be discussed that relate empirical population data from Alabama and Florida with range-wide conservation targets for gopher tortoises. Threats to population stability, including fragmentation and disease will also be discussed.

Jeffrey Goessling received his Masters (2011) from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville TX, studied physiological ecology and ecosystem effects of invasive Boa constrictor on endemic Aruba Island rattlesnakes and Aruban whiptail lizards. PhD (2016) from Auburn University, studied gopher tortoise disease ecology and demography across southern Alabama. Post-doc at Auburn University investigating ecoimmunology in musk turtles and continuing gopher tortoise demography/disease ecology. Assistant professor at Eckerd College (Jan 2018-present), teaching intro Ecology, Evolution, and Diversity course, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, and Herpetology. Research continues with ecoimmunology and conservation ecology of reptiles in both the southeastern US and Aruba.

March 19: Sensing Nature - Jeanne Murphy & Brian Lane

Increase the number and diversity of birds in your landscape by following the advice of Sensing Nature’s Wildlife Biologist Jeanne Murphy and Ecologist Brian Lane. Learn what providing food, water, and cover, and being sensitive to the seasonal needs of resident and migratory species means. Seeds and berries are only part of the story! Plants harboring insects also provide food and create opportunities for cavity nesters. Watch how birds use your yard, rid invasive exotic predators – these are all ways that will help improve your important slice of Florida habitat. Then after the presentation, put your green thumb to work! Plant a native cutting or some seeds in a container to take home.

Jeanne Murphy and Brian Lane are amongst our most popular speakers - donating their time and energy every year to SPAS' program series as well as to Dr. Harold Albers Teacher Ecology Camp. Learn more about Sensing Nature's environmental education programs here.

April 16

Dinner and a Night Hike!

Join your friends for dinner and a twilight hike at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. Dinner begins at 6 pm, and the hike at 6:45. Details to follow.


Download/Print our 2018-19 Program & Field Trip Schedule

2018-19 Brochure Print .pdf

Print on legal sized paper.