2018 Audubon Assembly - Rising Tides

Building Common Ground for Climate Change Solutions

Save the date to join us in West Palm Beach for Florida’s premier conservation gathering, where grassroots leaders from around the state join Audubon’s professional staff and partners to grow their knowledge and skills to protect Florida’s precious natural resources.

  • Date: October 19-20, 2018
  • Location/Lodging: West Palm Beach Marriott, 1001 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach, FL 33401, 561-833-1234
    • Click here to book your hotel early! Rooms are $129 night plus applicable taxes/fees. Hotel block closes on September 19, 2018.
  • Sponsorship: Exciting sponsorship opportunities are available. Click here to learn more and contact Victoria Johnston at 305-371-6396 or VJohnston@audubon.org to secure your sponsorship spot today.
  • Registration: Limited time only - click here and receive the early-bird rate!


Schedule of Events

Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018  
Early Bird Reception Thursday evening
Friday, Oct. 19, 2018  
Expert-led Field Trips Friday morning
Welcome Luncheon 12 - 1:45 p.m. 
Learning Sessions (pick two) 2 - 5:15 p.m.
Welcome Reception 6 - 7 p.m.
Keynote and Awards Ceremony 7 - 9 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018  
Networking Breakfast 7 - 8:15 a.m.
Chapters' Celebration 8:15 - 9:15 a.m.
Plenary Session 9:30 - 11 a.m.
2019 Conservation Action Agenda Setting Session & Closing Remarks 11:15 - 12:30 p.m.
Florida Audubon Society Annual Meeting 1 p.m.

Field Trips

As an attendee of the Audubon Assembly, you’re invited to join local Audubon experts in exploring Palm Beach County and surrounding areas on spectacular birding field trips. All trips take place on Friday morning, Oct. 19, 2018. The trips have different start times and are rated according to ease and length of walking. All trips will meet in the conference center lobby 15 minutes before departure time where your trip coordinators will assemble the carpools and provide directions. Advanced registration is required, and registrants will receive sign up information to the email address provided upon registering for the Audubon Assembly. Sign-up is on a first-come, first-serve basis. For questions, please contact Jacqui Sulek at jsulek@audubon.org.

Trip #1 - STA-1E, 7-11:30 a.m. (30-minute drive each way).

Easy/all driving
Audubon Everglades, in partnership with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), is pleased to offer this special driving tour of Stormwater Treatment Area 1 East (STA-1E). The drive is roughly 10 miles around the water impoundments with stops and opportunities to see and photograph the seasonally-changing birdlife of this expansive wetland. Expected species include raptors (such as the Everglade Snail Kite), a wide variety of shorebirds, waterfowl, and resident waders. Bring your scope if you have one. Leaders: Dan O'Malley and Susan McKemy.

Trip #2 - Wakodahatchee Wetlands, 7:30-11:30 a.m. (35-minute drive each way)

Easy/0.75-mile boardwalk
One of Palm Beach County's premier destinations for birders, Wakodahatchee is constructed on 50 acres of previous wastewater utility property. The Southern Region Water Reclamation Facility pumps approximately two million gallons of highly treated wastewater into the Wakodahatchee Wetlands each day. This wetland acts as a percolation pond, naturally cleansing billions of gallons of water while creating habitat for birds and wildlife. While the three-quarter mile boardwalk can be a busy place for walkers it is especially good for beginning birders with opportunities to observe a large number of bird species at close range such as Purple Gallinule, Black-necked Stilt, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck – and babies, and possibly a Neotropic Cormorant. The ponds and islands are also home to turtles, alligators, rabbits, fish, frogs, and raccoons. Leaders: Paton White and Chris Golia

Trip #3 – Frenchman's Forest Natural Area, 7:30-11:30 a.m. (20-minute drive each way)

Moderate/1.5-mile walk on paved and unpaved trails 
Frenchman's Forest Natural Area is a 172-acre natural area with seven different habitats to explore, from a mangrove-lined waterway to scrubby flatwoods with saw palmetto and a boardwalk through a cypress swamp. It’s an amazing array of diversity on one piece of land near the Intracoastal Waterway and a migrant trap during spring and fall migration. This trip could be filled with many surprises. Leaders: Chuck Weber and Bart Scott

Trip #4 - ARM Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, 7-11:30 a.m. (35-minute drive each way)

Moderate/1.5-mile walk
In 1951, a license agreement between the South Florida Water Management District and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, under the Migratory Bird Conservation Act, enabled the establishment of the 143,954-acre Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge’s name was changed in 1986 to include local conservationist Arthur Raymond Marshall. It is the only remnant of the northern Everglades in Palm Beach County. This naturally occurring wetland is owned by the State of Florida but managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for wildlife. Audubon members across the country are familiar with this special place because thousands of Auduboners helped save the refuge earlier this year. In addition to the typical waders (herons, egrets, and ibises), you will have the opportunity to see Everglade Snail Kites, Limpkins, Pileated Woodpeckers, Owls, Northern Harriers, and Carolina Wrens. There should still be some lingering Warblers while some winter visitors will have started to arrive. Leaders: Sue Young and Linda McCandless

Learning Sessions

Wildlife Advocacy and Conservation Meets Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Bird and wildlife conservation for the long term depends on a unified voice by the broad diversity of people in the Florida we all love. Learn how Florida’s young conservation leaders are engaging with diverse groups to build new foundations and bridges between people and wildlife.
Moderator: Mark Rachal
Panelists: Leticia de Mello Bueno, Communications Director, Tropical Audubon Society; Gabriela Buendia, Student, Rollins College; Peter Kleinheinz, President, Apalachee Audubon Society

Coastal Resilience: A Global Issue in Need of Local Solutions

From increasing sea levels to king tides and hurricanes, Florida’s coastal communities face many challenges as they try to meet the needs of people and wildlife. Join this session and learn more about how you can help move forward with resilience work in your community. 
Panelists: Dr. Jennifer Jurado, Director and Chief Resiliency Officer, Broward County; Whitney Gray, Administrator, Florida Resilient Coastlines, Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection; Lee Gottlieb, Habitat Restoration Consultant, South Florida Audubon Society

Why Are Waterbirds Moving: Food, Water, or Climate Change?

Snail Kites, Wood Storks, and Roseate Spoonbills are changing their Florida nesting distributions as food availability, water, and climate change. Audubon scientists present the latest research on what you need to know about the challenges these iconic birds face in Florida’s changing urban landscape.

Moderator: Adam DiNuovo
 Dr. Paul Gray, Lake Okeechobee Science Coordinator, Audubon Florida; Dr. Shawn Clem, Research Manager, Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Dr. Jerry Lorenz, Director of Research, Audubon’s Everglades Science Center

How you can help, right now