Rob Schulz, Audubon MN executive director and conservation team leader.
Belwin, Bison, and Birds.
Lynette Anderson, Interpretive Naturalist and Restoration Assistant at Belwin Conservancy, will present “Belwin, Bison, and Birds.” She will talk about the wide variety of habitats at Belwin, most notably prairie and oak savanna, and about the introduction of a bison herd onto their land. Belwin was founded in 1971 and launched Belwin Outdoor Science, a collaboration with Saint Paul Public Schools. Belwin has served more than 400,000 students since then and continues to serve over 10,000 a year, currently through virtual field trips.
Restoring Prairie and Savanna Habitat in Western Wisconsin
Marcie and Mike O’Connor will present “Prairie Haven – Prairie and Savanna Restoration on an Old Wisconsin Farm. The O’Connors bought the farm in 2000 and decided to restore the land back to the way it was before it was farmed. Marcie will talk about the restoration and Mike will talk about his project of collecting recordings of birds and animals.
Phil Hartley, photographer and naturalist, will present “Hidden Gems of the North Shore.” Phil will use photography to highlight nearly two dozen great birding spots along the North Shore that are somewhat off the beaten path and used more by locals than tourists.
Darby and Geri Nelson, along with Editor John Hickman, will present “For Love of a River: The Minnesota,” which is also the title of a book by Darby Nelson, published in 2019. Together, the three will tell the heartwarming story of how Darby finished the book as he suffered the beginning signs of dementia. His wife, Geri, and John Hickman, the book’s editor, played key roles in getting the book finished and published.
Dr. Sushma Reddy, the Breckenridge Chair of Ornithology at the Bell Museum of Natural History and the University of Minnesota. In her presentation, “The Dramatic Evolution of Birds on Madagascar,” Dr. Reddy will outline her team’s work so far in uncovering the remarkable diversity of birds on Madagascar and investigating the biogeographic mysteries of how they got to this island.
Alex Roth, Ecologist with Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR), which engages people to protect, restore and enhance the Mississippi River and its watershed in the Twin Cities region. Alex will talk about the large-scale restoration work they are doing at the William Houlton Conservation Area near Elk River. In three years, hundreds of acres of row crops were restored to prairie. FMR is also doing research on different methods as restoration continues.
Alex received his bachelors in Environmental Science from Northwestern University and completed his PhD in Forest Ecology in the Natural Resources Science and Management program at the University of Minnesota, where he also obtained a minor in Risk Analysis for Invasive Species and Genotypes. His research centers on the mechanisms and processes involved in species invasion, with a particular focus on woody invasive plants in Minnesota’s forest ecosystems. He also applies this knowledge to ecosystem restoration strategies to examine the ways in which invasive species eradication methods affect the subsequent regeneration of forest vegetation. Alex comes to FMR with a breadth of experience in both research and land management, having spent time with organizations such as the Ohio EPA, the University of Notre Dame, and The Nature Conservancy.