Audubon Florida Virtual Assembly Program

Painted Bunting. Photo: Stephen Pollard/Audubon Photography Awards.

Reimagining Audubon Florida: A Call for Inclusive Conservation

Oct. 20-24, 2020

Join us virtually for Florida’s premier conservation event, when grassroots leaders from around the state connect with Audubon’s professional staff and partners to grow their knowledge and skills to protect Florida’s precious natural resources.

This year’s virtual event will include learning sessions, panel discussions, a chapter celebration, and field trips via video with a theme of inclusive conservation. The Keynote Presentation by J. Drew Lanham, author, poet, and wildlife biologist, will tie it all together.

Keynote Presentation: J. Drew Lanham, Ph.D.

On the board of Audubon South Carolina, Lanham writes and speaks about conservation, science, and his work in the outdoors. In 2019 he was awarded the National Audubon Society's Dan W. Lufkin Prize for Environmental Leadership, which recognizes "individuals who have dedicated their entire lives to the environment.”

In his keynote address on Oct. 24, Dr. Lanham will discuss life his experiences as a Black birder, his work in the conservation field, and his vision for the future.


Roseate Spoonbill. Photo: Tammy Pick/Audubon Photography Awards

Audubon Assembly is supported by the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund

Inclusive. Accessible. Equitable. Collaborative. This is the world that the Jessie Ball duPont Fund hopes to help build. At the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, we’re committed to creating communities of belonging. That starts with a commitment to inclusive conversations and spaces and leads to more equitable opportunities. We’re proud to support Audubon Florida in their goal to make the outdoors accessible, welcoming and safe for all people.

October 20

5 p.m. Audubon 101: What is Audubon?

Speaker: Julie Wraithmell, Audubon Florida executive director

Audubon Florida was founded at the turn of the 20th century. Beyond birds, Audubon protects the natural environment, clean water, and native species important to the Sunshine State. Policies based on sound science make Audubon a unique and influential partner for decision-makers from local communities all the way up to the federal government. Please join us to find out more.

Roseate Spoonbill Sponsor: Darden Restaurants

6: 15 p.m. Chapter Successes Celebration

Moderator: Jacqui Sulek

Experience the heart and soul of the Audubon network! Learn about Audubon chapters across the state and success stories from their communities.

Least Tern. Photo by Rick Lewis/Audubon Photography Awards

October 21

5 p.m. Outdoor Hacks: Tips and Tricks from the Experts for Safety, Comfort, and Enjoyment in the Outdoors

Panelists: Mark Rachal, Audubon Florida; Koko Bergers, Urban Wilderness Yoga; Rafael Galvez, Florida Keys Hawkwatch and Tropical Audubon member; Dr. Jameson Mercie, licensed clinical social worker and life coach

Moderator: Lauren Gay, "the Outdoorsy Diva"

Whether you’re new to the outdoors or a seasoned naturalist, we all need new tips to make our outdoor experiences even better. Join our panel of outdoor professionals to learn their go-to tips for great excursions, learned from years of their own field experiences. You’ll emerge from this session excited and more prepared for your next rustic adventure in wild Florida.

Photo: Luke Franke

Virtual Field Trip! Lake Okeechobee

Trip leaders: Audubon Florida's Paul Gray, Ph.D. and Doug Gaston

6: 15 p.m. Join Paul and Doug as they take a trip across Lake Okeechobee. The largest freshwater lake in Florida, Lake Okeechobee influences estuaries along both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, while providing sought-after recreational opportunities and wildlife habitat.

Lake Okeechobee

Least Tern Sponsor: Florida Power & Light Company

At FPL, we're committed to environmental excellence in everything we do. We understand that our customers care deeply about the environment and not only want affordable, reliable power, but also clean energy today and in the future. That’s why we go the extra mile to protect the air we breathe, the water and land we use and the plants and animals that share our plant. We understand that protecting the environment is a collective responsibility, so we collaborate with organizations like Audubon Florida on education and conservation projects that make a difference.


October 22

5 p.m. Outdoors for All: How Racism Impacts the Outdoor Experiences of People of Color and Recommendations for Allies and Organizations

Panelists: Natasza Fontaine, Herbie Zephir, and Clive Pinnock

Moderator: Barbara Roole, the Director of Equity for the Jessie Ball duPont Fund in Jacksonville

This spring, Black birder Christian Cooper captured on video a white woman falsely accusing him of threatening her in Central Park’s Ramble. This snapped into sharp focus for the birding community that, while public lands belong to all, these spaces have a history of being less welcoming and less safe for communities of color. Join our panel of Black outdoor enthusiasts for a discussion of their lived experiences in the outdoors, and how allies and organizations like Audubon can work to eliminate these barriers.

Florida Scrub-Jay Sponsor: Duke Energy Foundation


Virtual Field Trip: Audubon's Center for Birds of Prey and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

6:15 p.m. Our Center for Birds of Prey and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary share birds and the places they need with their their visitors. These field trips will bring virtual visitors on-site and behind the scenes in Maitland and Naples.

Florida Scrub-Jay Sponsor: Wells Fargo

At Wells Fargo, we believe that climate change is one of the most urgent environmental and social issues of our time. We are working to embed environmental sustainability throughout our products, services, operations, and culture. Examples include financing environmentally beneficial businesses, driving efficiencies and responsible resource use, accelerating clean technology innovation, and helping build resilient communities. For more on how we are helping accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy and reduce the impacts of climate change on our business, communities, employees, and customers, go to:


October 23

5 p.m. How Climate and Water Quality Affect Communities of Color and Low Income: Opportunities for Conservation and Justice

Panelists: Salome Garcia, Policy and Campaigns Manager, The CLEO Institute; Alex Harris, Miami Herald climate reporter; Jeremy Orr, staff attorney, Safe Water Initiative at NRDC

Moderators: Audubon Florida's Beth Alvi and Laura Aguirre

Low-income communities and communities of color face disproportionate environmental burdens. Frontline communities, those that experience first and worst the effects of climate change, are increasingly vulnerable as climate change impacts accelerate and worsen. Additionally, with problems ranging from stormwater runoff, sea-level rise, and water shutoffs, these communities face insufficient and inequitable access to clean water. While the government should play a role, advocacy groups and citizens should learn to recognize and support the work being done to respond to environmental justice issues. Join Audubon Florida as we hear from a range of voices on water and climate justice: why it matters and why we should be intentional in addressing environmental injustice as we advocate for strong and protective policies for water and climate.

October 24

9:45 a.m. Workshop: Agenda Setting

After a brief presentation on state-level and regional priorities, we will vote to accept the 2021 conservation agenda.

11:00 a.m. Keynote Presentation by Dr. Drew Lanham

Florida Scrub-Jay Sponsor: Publix

At Publix, our goal is to meet today's needs without compromising what is essential for tomorrow. This means taking care of people and minimizing impact to our planet. Sustainability is ingrained in our culture and represented in our mission statement through valuing our associates, serving our customers, enhancing our ties to the communities we serve, and conserving natural resources.


Coastal Team

Virtual Field Trip: A Day in the Life of a Coastal Biologist

Trip leaders: Audubon Florida coastal staff members Caroline Stahala, Kara Cook, Adam DiNuovo

Across Florida's famous beaches and shorelines, our coastal team protects and monitors iconic, seabird, shorebird, and wading bird species. Take a virtual walk through the seasons as Audubon staff showcases our stewardship and research efforts.

Florida Scrub-Jay Sponsor: Vortex

Why Vortex? It’s actually pretty simple.

For a business that started with a small but dedicated staff in 2002 and has since grown into a leader in the optics industry, it all began with a pretty simple idea: Customers always come first. Not when it’s convenient for us, not only when they have a receipt. Always.

What does that mean for you? It means we stand behind what we do with the VIP Warranty: In the event your Vortex® product becomes damaged or defective, we will repair or replace it at no charge to you. It doesn’t matter how it happened, whose fault it was, or where you purchased it—The VIP Warranty is fully transferrable, no receipt needed. That’s every optic covered. Batteries, no batteries, everything. We promise to take care of you. It’s that simple.


Conservation Leaders

Audubon Florida is pleased to recognize the following individuals for their continued dedication to the protection of birds and the places they need.

Painted Bunting Sponsors

Wild Birds Unlimited is proud to Champion the National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat® Program. Turning your yard, balcony container garden or work landscape into a certified habitat which attracts birds, butterflies, and other neighborhood wildlife is fun, easy, and can help bring birds back.

We can help you create a Certified Wildlife Habitat and make a lasting difference in your own backyard. Ask us how.

Wild Birds Unlimited Florida Stores: Eustis, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Odessa, Palm Coast, Panama City, St. Johns, Tallahassee, Tampa, Winter Springs.


Rayonier forests serve a critical role in our environment today and for future generations. Find out how our team protects wildlife, conserves water, improves soil quality, ensures healthy forests and works with our communities. Rayonier forests serve a critical role in our environment today and for future generations.

We are committed to looking after the land for both current and future generations.


Thank you to all of our generous sponsors!