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Date: October 28-29, 2016 (Assembly is on Friday-Saturday, but the group rate at the hotel starts Thursday, so come early and enjoy this beautiful beach hotel!)
Price: SOLD OUT. Please call Vicky Johnston at (305)371-6399 ext. 134 with any questions.
Program: Click here to view the event program.
Location: Sirata Beach Resort (Book by October 1 to reserve special room rate, $139/night. Please note, you must book your room separately. Call: 800-344-5999 and mention Florida Audubon.)
Keynote Speaker: Julie Wraithmell, Audubon Florida Deputy Executive Director
The theme for the Assembly is "One Gulf." If you have visited Florida’s Gulf Coast, then you know first-hand the importance of this remarkable ecosystem. Florida’s Gulf Coast is vital to the survival of many different wildlife species, including many nesting and migratory birds. From the remote mangrove islands teeming with life in Florida Bay to the wide, windswept beaches of southern Texas, the Gulf Coast plays a vital role in for our birds, our citizens, and our economy.
Sadly, the challenges to Florida’s Gulf Coast couldn’t be much greater. Increased development, disturbance, dwindling resources, predators, and sea-level rise threaten birds and other animals at every stage of their lives.
Gulf Restoration opportunities made possible by the settlements resulting from the Deepwater Horizon disaster present a landmark opportunity for Florida and our Gulf. Birds are one of the most important measures of Gulf recovery, and connect the Gulf and its restoration resources to the rest of Florida, country and hemisphere.
That’s why we will focus this year’s Assembly on celebrating and promoting discussion about how we can protect and enhance Florida’s coastline for future generations. Our goal is for you to leave inspired and educated to take your conservation leadership back home.
The Audubon Assembly is a great chance for you to reconnect with natural Florida. Attend interesting workshops with leading guest speakers, join local Audubon chapter leaders for field trips to their special places, take part in Audubon Florida’s unique conservation agenda setting session...and much more!
The 2016 Audubon Assembly will be held on October 28-29. We hope to see you there. Please review the below event descriptions to learn more about what we have planned for this year.
Friday Awards Banquet Dinner
The Friday Awards Banquet is always the "can't miss" event of Assembly. Join fellow Audubon members, staff, other attendees, special guests, and public officials for our highly-anticipated conservation awards presentation and keynote speaker.
Audubon Florida Deputy Executive Director Julie Wraithmell will then take us on a photographic tour of the power of the Audubon network. Our organization’s partnership with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in 2016 stands to establish 10 new Critical Wildlife Areas for nesting and resting birds and other wildlife, and expand an additional five existing CWAs. This bold initiative, championed by Commission Chairman Brian Yablonski, would create more of these important protected areas in 2016 than have been established in the last 30 years. Hear how Audubon is helping redefine coastal bird conservation in Florida, how Audubon’s network came together to advance these ambitious proposals, and learn how you can help support final passage of these historic protections in November!
Friday Welcome Lunch
Break bread with old friends and new as we ring the opening bell of the 2016 Audubon Assembly. Eric Draper, Audubon Florida Executive Director, will review the year in conservation and take a look at the challenges our communities face in the future.
Featured Speaker: Former Chair of the Gulf Ecosystem Restoration Task Force and Past Audubon Florida Board Chair John Hankinson will welcome us to the Gulf Coast as only he can.
Saturday Celebrating Chapters Breakfast
Audubon Chapter members are certainly early-risers. That’s why we will meet bright and early Saturday morning for a robust breakfast and networking hour to share ideas about issues facing chapters. We will then launch into our traditional chapter awards celebration. Help us celebrate the heart and soul of the Audubon network and their successes in engaging with both traditional and new partners.
Friday Workshops and Learning Sessions
The Friday learning sessions and workshops at this year's gathering will all focus on our Assembly theme: One Gulf. After our kick-off lunch, you will have the opportunity to participate in three different breakout sessions. Sessions will repeat so attendees will have the opportunity to see two sessions in full. *Session topics subject to change. To learn more about the individual sessions, please click here.
Topics (subject to change):
Saturday Session: Solving the Coastal Water Crisis
Toxic algae, fish kills, dead seagrass. Over the past year, the ecological impacts of excess nutrients and poor water management on coastal waterways have been more visible than ever across Florida. While each ecologically devastating event has different contributing factors, overarching issues connect them. Experts on water quality, water management and ecosystem restoration efforts will discuss the changes needed to prevent these events from recurring, and leave you inspired to help implement solutions.
Conservation Action Agenda Setting Session
Audubon Florida’s annual Conservation Action Agenda will be reviewed and approved on Saturday after the Chapters Celebration. This is a unique event that allows all members to participate in setting Audubon’s conservation agenda for the coming year. Draft versions of the priorities will be distributed before the event. If you would like more information on this process before Assembly, please contact your local chapter president.
Click here to view the draft of the 2017 Conservation Action Agenda.
There is no doubt that the Assembly Field Trips put birds (and fun!) in the Audubon Assembly! This year Clearwater Audubon and St. Petersburg Audubon are your host chapters and will provide local expertise and guidance to some of Tampa Bay’s most special places -- including the amazing Ft. De Soto Park. Most Assembly field trips leave from the hotel early in the morning on Friday, October 28. Please make your travel plans accordingly. There are space limitations on certain field trips; please email Jacqui Sulek to learn more and to reserve your space - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Field Trips List:
Relax and mingle with other Assembly attendees, staff, and guest speakers before the big awards banquet on Friday evening. This reception is a great time to network and have some fun with other passionate Florida conservationists.
Conservation Leadership Initiative
Audubon’s Conservation Leadership Initiative brings the best and brightest college students together with Audubon leaders to network, share, and learn from each other. Through CLI, students immerse themselves with Audubon, attend leadership training, and gain an understanding of future opportunities in conservation careers. Held on the Friday of Audubon’s Assembly, students are paired with Audubon leaders for a day of walking workshops, leadership training, and conservation programs to better develop the next generation of conservation leaders. Contact Audubon’s Katie Warner at email@example.com for more information on how you can participate. Students must apply for scholarships to attend. Space is limited.
You must book your hotel room separately. Please call (800-344-5999) (mention you are with Florida Audubon) and book by October 1, 2016, to reserve your room. The group rate is $139 a night.