Visit Plumas Audubon Society's YouTube page to view previously recorded Speaker Programs.
2022 Virtual Speaker Series
"How the Year Flew By..." By Liz Ramsey
Liz Ramsey is Plumas Audubon Society’s Operations Director. In her role at PAS she oversees the organization's wildlife and education projects and outreach efforts. She is a Feather River College and Cal Poly Humboldt Alumni with her Bachelors in Environmental Studies, emphasizing in Ecology & Conservation. Liz moved from her hometown in Michigan to Plumas County in 2017 and hopes to continue living and working in the Upper Feather River Watershed as long as she can.
Plumas Audubon Society has had an amazing year working in the Upper Feather River Watershed. From working with youth around the county, to monitoring Grebes at Lake Almanor and Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs and Quaking Aspen near Antelope Lake, our work with our community, wildlife species, and their habitats has been insightful, full of challenges and opportunities to learn, and overall, inspiring! View this presentation to learn about our successes throughout 2022 and our plans for 2023.
"Protect Plumas" by Friends of Plumas Wilderness
The annual Plumas Audubon Society speakers’ program will commence this Thursday, March 10th, at 7:00 PM via Zoom. We are pleased to welcome Darla DeRuiter, Executive Director, and Darrel Jury, President of the Board, of Friends of Plumas Wilderness (FOPW). They will unveil to the public FoPW’s new land protection initiative, “Protect Plumas.” As DeRuiter explains, “It is critical to protect our lands and waters for wildlife, for future generations, and for our own health. We’re seeing large scale changes in our landscapes due to wildfires and other threats, so we want to move this conversation forward.” FoPW has already sought to partner with a number of regional environmental groups and has identified a goal of 400,000 acres of land and 100 miles of rivers in the Feather River Watershed. Despite the high percentage of Federal lands in Plumas County, only 4% of that is permanently protected, far less than the rest of the Sierra Nevada or California in general. Jury adds, “We’ve got some interesting information about ways our region might move forward to change this situation, and we’re seeking information from the public. This is a community-led effort, which is why we’re doing this presentation and others like it.” Friends of Plumas Wilderness has been studying, exploring, and advocating for ways to maintain the integrity of natural ecosystems where the Sierras and Cascades meet since 1974. This is its most ambitious project so far in the 21st century. Please view the presentation to learn more about the project and how you may become involved. For more information about the organization, see plumaswilderness.org.
"Framework for post-fire restoration in California’s National Forests" by U.S. Forest Service Ecologist Michelle Coppoletta
Increasing extent and frequency of high severity wildfires and other large-scale disturbances pose a significant threat to California’s ecosystems. This is apparent in forest and shrubland landscapes, where departure from natural fire regimes may result in large-scale alteration of terrestrial ecosystems and deterioration in the services they provide. Based on these trends and a broader consideration of sustainability, there is a growing need for a comprehensive, science-based approach to post-fire management. We propose a framework to guide the development of post-fire restoration strategies on the national forests in California. The framework is founded on a set of guiding principles and a five-step process that leads to the development of a restoration portfolio containing a suite of potential postfire restoration actions. The restoration framework can inform future post-fire management, monitoring, and research in burned landscapes of California’s national forests.
Michelle Coppoletta is currently an ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service in the Sierra Cascade Province, which covers the Modoc, Lassen, and Plumas National Forests.
"5th Grade Year of the Bird" by Rob Wade
Rob Wade is a place–based educator working in the Upper Feather River region of California’s northern Sierra Nevada. As the Outdoor Education and Science Coordinator for the Plumas County Office of Education (PCOE) since 1995, he has designed, developed, and implemented successful and sustainable K-12 programs in the region, built upon strategic partnership with over 32 agencies and organizations. These partnerships also allowed the 2016 launch of an NGSS K-12 strategy that took outdoor education and stewardship mainstream. Outdoor Core Mountain Kid is a K-12 collaborative that supports every teacher to integrate authentic weekly outdoor learning adventures for every student as part of a year long local theme centered on inquiry and stewardship. The PUSD 5th grade Year of the Bird was co-created with Plumas Audubon Society, and paralleled the establishment of PEEP and the Birds and Climate Change Curriculum.
Rob has a B.S. from the University of California–Berkeley in Conservation & Resource Studies, and an M.A. from the School of Education at the University of San Francisco. In addition to his regional work in California, Rob is a national facilitator and consultant supporting K-12 program development. He is the 2017 recipient of the Excellence in Environmental Education Award, presented by the California Environmental Education Foundation and a 2020 recipient of the Environmental Law Institute’s National Wetland Award.
2021 Virtual Speaker Series
"Ten years in the Himalaya: an ichthyological journey" by Dr. Ryan Thoni Dr. Ryan Thoni is an ichthyologist specializing in studying the diversity and evolution of Himalayan fish fauna. His research spans the Himalayas with a strong focus on Bhutan, Nepal, and the Tien Shan and Pamir Ranges in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. As climate change, hydroelectric production, and increased development in this region of the world continue to imperil aquatic biodiversity, Thoni is making inventory efforts to help document the unknown biodiversity in hopes that it can be preserved before it is lost forever without ever being known to science. 2021 marks his 10th year working in Asia. His talk will focus on his exploration of the diversity of freshwater fishes including stories from Bhutan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
"Northern Saw-whet Owls" by Ken Sobon What do you know about Saw-whet Owls? If you’re like most of us, probably not much. But these little birds are all around us, year-round, fighting out their fierce lives in our forests and woodlands. Come learn about these neighbors from Ken Sobon, director of the Northern Saw- whet Owl Research and Education Project in Northern California. Ken Sobon is an avid birder, field trip leader, Vice President of Altacal Audubon Society, and is now the Northern California representative on Audubon California board of directors. For the past five seasons he has been the Director of the Northern Saw-whet Owl fall migration monitoring project. In addition, Ken has been a science teacher to middle school students in Oroville since 1995. He has shared his love of science and birding with his students both in the classroom and in field.
March "A multi-year analysis of Aechmophorus grebe breeding populations on Lake Almanor" by Lindsay Wood Hydroelectric production in the Lake Almanor basin continues to threaten our beloved grebes, Aechmophorus clarkii and Aechmophorus occidentalis. Western and Clark’s grebes are interbreeding colonial nesters that have historically nested at Lake Almanor numbering in the thousands. While adult populations are still found in the thousands, reproductive success has been hindered as the bird’s floating aquatic nests are continually beached as a result of reservoir operations. This presentation focuses on the water management decisions and the subsequent effects on grebe reproductive success. Lindsay wood is an alumnus of Chico State and has ten years of environmental consulting experience with a special interest in water policy. She is a wildlife biologist and has conducted fisheries, avian, and herptile research throughout the Sacramento River watershed. Lindsay began studying Aechmophorus grebes in 2014 as a part of the Altacal Audubon's project on Thermalito Afterbay in her hometown of Oroville. Since working with Plumas Audubon Society, she has observed the colony abandonment at Lake Almanor for the past three breeding seasons and is the primary author of Plumas Audubon Society's 10 year report, "A multi-year analysis of Aechmophorus grebe breeding populations at four Northern California Lakes."
"Avian Acoustic Monitoring in the Northern Great Basin" by Danielle Miles Across the northern Great Basin, many land stewardship agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service are clearing large tracts of pinyon and juniper woodlands to restore sagebrush habitat. These conifer removal projects to restore habitat for sagebrush-dependent species, such as the Greater sage-grouse, provide experimental replicates for investigating the most effective use of passive recording devices and the sensitivity of acoustic indexes to detect management impacts on avian community composition. During my PhD at the University of Nevada, Reno, I spent 4 summers collecting sound files to assess the effectiveness of passive recording and acoustic indices for avian biodiversity assessment in sagebrush and conifer habitats. In addition to discussing these new technologies, I will present some preliminary conclusions about song bird responses to conifer removals.
Danielle is an ecologist, educator, and advocate for student empowerment. Currently, she is working towards completion of her PhD in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology at the University of Nevada, Reno (2021). Danielle describes her work as "a delicate balance between research and course instruction". The topics she is most interested in are:
Novel acoustic methodologies for studying wildlife community ecology
Faunal responses to vegetation alterations especially from conifer removal projects
Impacts of mammalian disease and predation on faunal communities in talus habitats