Upcoming Programs

The effects of plastic bag bans on bird populations - Feb.12

Tern with plastic bagWe all know the horrific impacts of plastic bags on marine wildlife, but do you know the impact of plastic bag bans?  In 2007, San Francisco became the first major city to ban single-use plastic bags, and over the next decade, many other cities and counties across California followed with their own bans. 

On Wednesday, February 12, Erik Nesson, Associate Professor of Economics, and Rebecca Conrad, a senior economics major, will share their research examining the effect of plastic bag bans on seabird populations.

Over the past few months, they have been using data from the Audubon Society Christmas Bird Counts across California to examine whether these bans impacted seabird populations.  Interestingly, they have found that San Francisco’s ban led to large increases in seabird populations but that later bans in other locations did not affect seabird populations.  Come to our February chapter meeting to learn full details. 

Chapter business and refreshments will begin at 7 p.m. at Kennedy Library, followed by Erik and Rebecca’s program at 7:15.


Tree Swallows, climate change, and heat tolerance – March 11

Mary WoodruffMary Woodruff studies how Tree Swallows may acclimate or adapt to our warming climate by experimentally heating nest boxes and measuring the physiological and behavioral responses of chicks.

Tree Swallows are particularly interesting because, while most species are moving north to avoid rising temperatures, Tree Swallows are shifting their breeding range south. By examining begging behavior, growth rate, and expression levels of heat-activated gene expression differences in chicks during a simulated heat wave, Mary hopes to identify how Tree Swallows here in Indiana may be equipped to handle heat stress.

This work will lay the foundation for future experiments exploring thermal resilience within and among populations, and ultimately, will inform our understanding of how birds respond to climate change.

Mary is a second year Ph.D. student in the Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior Graduate Program at Indiana University.  She was also the recipient of our chapter’s 2019 Fox Student Grant, which helps support her research on Tree Swallows.

On Wednesday, March 11, Mary will present her research at our monthly meeting. Chapter business and refreshments will begin at 7 p.m. at Kennedy Library, followed by Mary’s program at 7:15. As always, non-Audubon members are welcomed!


Stockbridge Audubon Society:  The First Audubon chapter in Indiana – Apr. 8

Snowy Owl from Stockbridge CollectionStockbridge Audubon Society—first founded as Allen County Audubon in 1899—was the first Audubon chapter in Indiana and is one of the oldest in the country.  The chapter’s namesake, Charles Stockbridge, was a taxidermist whose collection of more than 200 birds now resides at Earlham College. In 2019, Terri Gorney traced this collection back to its origins.  

On Wednesday, April 8, Terri will share her research about the chapter’s founders, who were movers and shakers in Fort Wayne, and the Stockbridge’s long forgotten history.  Terri has been a board member of Stockbridge Audubon Society for eleven years and currently serves as secretary. She is also vice-president of Friends of the Limberlost. 

Chapter business and refreshments will begin at 7 p.m. at Kennedy Library, followed by Terri's program at 7:15.