2019 Audubon Assembly

Save the Date - October 25-26, 2019

Save the date to join us in Gainesville 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 25-26, 2019
  • Location/Lodging: Hilton University of Florida Conference Center Gainesville, 1714 SW 34th St., Gainesville, FL 32607. Rooms start at $119/night plus taxes/fees. Book your hotel now. The discounted rate is available until Sept. 27, 2019 or until rooms sell out. 
  • Sponsorship: Exciting sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact Victoria Johnston at 305-371-6396 or VJohnston@audubon.org to secure your sponsorship spot today.
  • Registration:  Online registration for the Assembly will open in July or August 2019. Check back on this page for updates!

 

Draft Schedule of Events

 
Thursday  
Early Bird Reception  
Friday  
Expert-led Field Trips  
Welcome Luncheon  
Learning Sessions  
Welcome Reception  
Keynote and Awards Ceremony  
Saturday  
Networking Breakfast  
Chapters' Celebration  
Plenary Session  
2020 Conservation Action Agenda Setting Session & Closing Remarks  
Florida Audubon Society Annual Meeting  
   

Field Trips

As an attendee of the Audubon Assembly, you’re invited to join local Audubon experts in exploring the Gainesville-area and surrounding areas on spectacular birding field trips. The trips have different start times and are rated according to ease and length of walking. 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.

Host chapters Alachua Audubon, Marion Audubon and Santa Fe Audubon will assist with this year’s field trips. Please note the different start times and difficulty for each activity. Participants will meet in the conference center lobby 15 minutes before departure so that leaders can coordinate carpools and provide directions. When you register for Assembly online you will have the opportunity to sign up for specific field trips. While a majority of the trips are free, most locations require either a state park pass or some type of cash entrance fee and the Thursday kayaking trip $25 covers the kayak and gear rental.
 
Thursday, October 24, 2019
 
Kayaking on the Silver River from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
 
This “Naturalist Edition” tour will be a slow poking exploration of the upper section of the Silver River. The trip will be geared toward the inquisitive paddler and will cover only a couple of miles allowing plenty of time to birdwatch, drift, observe and learn about river plants, animals, archeology, history and other wild love.
 
Hosted by Marion Audubon and led by locally renown author and naturalist Lar Anderson, this easy two-hour paddle will be an introduction to North Florida Springs for the novice as well as the seasoned kayaker. Cost of the trip is $25 per person and includes rental of the kayak and gear. Silver Springs State Park is about an hour south of Gainesville, an ideal stop for those traveling from south or central Florida. Trip limited to 20 participants.
 
Sweetwater Wetland Park
 
Arrive any time before sunset and stroll on your own. Sweetwater Wetlands Park is not only a place to connect with nature, it's a way to protect our environment. The park, which consists of more than 125 acres of wetlands and ponds, was created to improve the water quality of wetlands in Paynes Prairie and the Floridan Aquifer. Now a thriving habitat, Sweetwater Wetlands Park is filled with vast numbers of plants and animals, including birds, butterflies, alligators and Florida cracker horses. At the park, you can walk more than 3.5 miles of crushed gravel trails and boardwalks. This Florida birding hotspot claims over 200 species. You can download a check-list at: https://www.sweetwaterwetlands.org/

Please note a $5 entrance fee per vehicle on site.

Birds and Brews at 5:30 p.m.

Hobnob with local birders! Carpool with your friends and meet at First Magnitude Brewery located at 1220 SE Veitch Street for a stroll to Depot Park to look for birds, and return to First Mag for a cold brew and good conversation. All birding skill levels are welcome; enthusiasm is what matters! Bring your binoculars and a thirst for good craft beer. The walks generally run 45 minutes to an hour and the beer is great!

 
Friday, October 25, 2019
 
Sweetwater Wetlands Park from 7:30 - 11 a.m.
 
Moderate amount of walking on boardwalks and crushed gravel pathways. Alachua Audubon and Santa Fe Audubon will be leading you on a walking tour of this birding hotspot.
Sweetwater Wetlands Park is not only a place to connect with nature, it's a way to protect our environment. The park, which consists of more than 125 acres of wetlands and ponds, was created to improve the water quality of wetlands in Paynes Prairie and the Floridan Aquifer. Now a thriving habitat, Sweetwater Wetlands Park is filled with vast numbers of plants and animals, including birds, butterflies, alligators, and Florida cracker horses.
 
This Florida birding destination claims over 200 species of birds including raptors such as the Everglades Snail Kite, a variety of shorebirds, waterfowl, and resident waders.
 
You can download a check list at: https://www.sweetwaterwetlands.org/
 
Bring your scope if you have one.
Please note a ten-minute drive with $5 entrance fee per vehicle on site.
 
Bolen Bluff from 8-11 a.m.
 
Located off Highway 441, the Bolen Bluff trail travels 2.6 miles through a magnificent oak hammock, giving visitors ample opportunity to see a wide variety of bird species, especially during migration. On the south side of the vast Payne’s Prairie, this forested loop trail provides some of the best fall warbler viewing.
 
The trail is known for mosquitos so be sure to wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and bug spray.
 
Please note a 15 - minute drive with $2 per person entrance fee on site.
 
FPL Horizon Solar Energy Center Guided Tour from 8- 11 a.m.
 
Join Florida Power & Light Company and Adam Zions with Golder Associates, who is also a member of Alachua Audubon, for a trip to one of the first Audubon Solar Sanctuary sites. Solar energy generation supports Audubon’s goals of reducing water consumption and carbon emissions from fossils fuels and solar sites are built to minimize impacts to wetlands and other environmentally sensitive areas. The Horizon Solar Energy Center is a 74.5 megawatt site situated on 684 acres of former agricultural land in Alachua and Putnam counties, a nd includes both existing and enhanced habitats, providing foraging and breeding habitat for various reptiles, amphibians, mammals and bird species. Just
a sampling of types of birds observed include various wading birds, warbler and sparrow species, marsh and sedge wren, white-eyed vireo, indigo bunting, eastern meadowlark, blue grosbeak, eastern bluebird and loggerhead shrike. Experience the unique opportunity to explore a working large-scale solar site and view the types of wildlife that can live in harmony with these clean energy centers. The trip is limited to 20 participants so sign up today!
 
The La Chua trail from 8:30-11 a.m.
 
This easy walking trip is ideal for those who arrive a little later Friday morning or don’t want to get up too early. You can find a surprising number of species on this short boardwalk and wander along nearby “Sparrow Alley." From migrating warblers along the forest edge to water birds in the flooded sinkhole. And you will of course see alligators!
 
Please note a 15-minute drive and Park Pass or $2 per person entrance fee on site.
 
Museum of Natural History and Butterfly Rainforest
 
See the exhibit, "Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World," and much more. For an additional $14 on-site you can visit the Butterfly Rainforest. This can’t-miss living exhibit features hundreds of free-flying butterflies and birds from around the world along with an assortment of other animals including turtles and fish.
 
Take your time to stroll through the lush landscape planted in tropical trees and colorful flowering plants. Skilled interpretive staff are available to help answer questions. Then step outside to visit the native wildflower garden on the west side of the Museum for ideas on transforming your yard into a haven for butterflies and other pollinators or browse the small stormwater treatment wetlands.
 
Don’t forget your camera! Please note a $4 parking fee on site or skip the fee and walk over from the hotel!
 
 
Note: Sign up for fieldtrips will be requested during the registration process in order to be able to secure the proper number of trip leaders. For questions contact Jacqui Sulek at
jsulek@audubon.org.

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