Birmingham Audubon Society programs and general meeting are held the third Thursday of the month, 7 p.m. Board Meetings are held the same day at 5:45 p.m. ****Our meetings are held at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, 2612 Lane Park Road, Birmingham, AL 35223. Please check the sign at the entrance of the building for meeting room information. ****
Birmingham Audubon Monthly Meetings and Programs
September 19 "Mount Everest Adventures" presented by Hans Paul, Birmingham Audubon member
October 17 "Ferns of Alabama" presented by Dr. Dan Spaulding
November 21 "Decline of the Diamondback Terrapin in Alabama and Efforts to Restore It" presented by Dr. Thane Wibbles, UAB, Dept. of Biology
December 5 Holiday Banquet - Speaker, Dr. Jim McClintock
January 16 "The Galapagos Islands: a Virtual Tour of a Natural Wonder" presented by Greg Harber, Birmingham Audubon member
February 20 "The Life and Times if Caterpillars" presented by Dr. Grant Gentry, Samford University, Department of Biology
March 20 TBA
April 24 Membership/Volunteer Appreciation
October 17, 2013
"Ferns of Alabama" presented by Dan Spaulding
Birmingham Botanical Gardens - Hodges Room
Ferns contribute significantly to Alabama's biodiversity with about 120 species of ferns and fern allies found in the state. Dan Spaulding, co-author of the book Ferns of Alabama, will introduce us to this group of non-flowering vascular plants that have been on Earth for approximately 400 million years. He will also discuss the history of the book and pay tribute to the photographers, artists and others involved in its creation. The book, complete with color photographs, describes each species of Alabama's fern, horsetail, club moss, and quillwort by providing range, habitat, history, conservation status, and common names. It was published in 2012 as part of the Gosse Nature Guide series, of which Birmingham Audubon was an inaugural sponsor.
Dan Spaulding is the curator of Collections at the Anniston Natural History Museum. He has also published the first part of the series Flora of Northeast Alabama and is a member of the Alabama Plant Atlas committee. He is familiar to many Audubon members as a faculty member for the Audubon Mountain Workshop, teaching a class on identifying grasses.
Fellowship and snack time begins at 6:30 p.m.
Please come early for refreshments and conversation.
November 21, 2013 - Thursday
Time: 7 p.m.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens - Hodges Room
"The Decline of the Diamondback Terrapin in Alabama and Efforts to Restore It"
Presented by Dr. Thane Wibbles
The diamondback terrapin is a medium-sized turtle that inhabits brackish estuaries, salt marshes and tidal creeks from southern Texas to Massachusetts. In Alabama, it is found along the coast in Mobile and Baldwin counties. At one point in history, a turtle farm at Cedar Point Marsh, across from Dauphin Island, shipped approximately 12,000 turtles a year to fancy restaurants along the east coast to serve as the main ingredient in turtle soup. Now, for a variety of reasons, the turtle is difficult to find and its numbers are at an all-time low.
As a part of our November program, Dr. Thane Wibbles will teach us about how to "head start" a turtle species, why that species' numbers have significantly declined in Alabama, and what he, his lab group and collaborators are doing in an attempt to keep this iconic animal off the endangered species list. As an added bonus, he will have live turtles for you to see and touch!
Dr. Wibbles is a Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His areas of research include the biology and conservation of turtles, specifically the Kemp's Ridley and loggerhead sea turtles, along with the diamondback terrapin. He also studies reptile reproductive physiology. In many reptiles, the temperature at which the egg is incubated, not chromosomes, determines the sex of the animal. This is called temperature dependent sex determination (TSD) and understanding this reproductive system has important implications for turtle conservation.
January 16, 2014
"The Galapagos Islands: a Virtual Tour of a Natural Wonder"
Speaker: Greg Harber
Time: 7 p.m.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands aboard his ship, the HMS Beagle, between September 15 and October 20, 1835. The insights he gained on his voyage were integral to his theories postulated in his book, On the Origin of Species. Mockingbirds, tortoises, and, of course, finches, were among the animals that Darwin encountered.
In May 2013, our speaker, Greg Harber, visited the Galapagos Islands with the UAB Study Abroad Program, under the leadership of Drs. Ken Marion and Jim McClintock. Like Darwin, they too observed mockingbirds, tortoises, and finches, but the Galapagos Islands host many more species – a marvelous variety of flora and fauna.
Greg's program will open with a Google Earth tour of their journey, which spanned May 24 – June 2, 2013. Then, he'll introduce us to some of the animals and plants that give the islands their unique place among natural history destinations. Several species of Darwin's finches and tortoises, numerous species of sea birds, a panoply of terrestrial wildlife, along with an equally astounding complement of underwater life, were captured in the lenses of Greg's camera and he'll share these images with us. Greg will close his program with a selection of images set to a musical accompaniment.
Greg is a graduate of Auburn University with an M.S. in Cell Biology. He is best known though his leadership activities with Birmingham Audubon Society, serving at one time or another as President, Director of Audubon Mountain Workshop, Committee Chair for Audubon Teaches Nature, and Editor of the Flicker Flashes newsletter. He also holds positions with the Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuaries, Inc, and the Alabama Ornithological Society. He is a Research Assistant at UAB in the Department of Microbiology.
His photographs have appeared in Alabama Birdlife, Journal of the Alabama Ornithological Society, the four-volume set Alabama Wildlife, published by the University of Alabama Press, and most recently, the November 2013 issue of Homewood Life magazine. He also has an article on birdwatching at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens published in the February 2012 issue of Birdwatching magazine.