National Audubon Society executive David Ringer, Audubon’s point man during the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, will speak about humans’ impact on birds and how people can work together to protect their future at the City of Palm Coast’s upcoming Birds of a Feather Fest.
Ringer’s free keynote lecture, “Protecting Birds Together, Today and Tomorrow,” is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, at the Palm Coast Community Center, 305 Palm Coast Parkway. The program is free, but participants are asked to register in advance at www.birdingfest.com.
Bird populations are a good indicator of overall environmental health. They point to habitat changes, disease outbreaks and an increase in pollution. Birds are an important part of the food chain, and they also pollinate plants, disperse seeds and create fertilizer for farming.
“Decreasing numbers of birds or a particular species can tell us much about an ecosystem and how it’s doing,” said Jason Giraulo, who gave the Birds of a Feather festival its wings and coordinates it alongside his digital communications duties for the city.
“For example, you can gauge how the waters of the Everglades are doing based on the population of wading birds,” he said. “The wading birds that live there depend on prey food such as fish and invertebrates, and so a decline in the number of birds indicates that there is a shrinking population of prey. This is likely due to water quality issues.”
An avid birder, Ringer is based at Audubon’s national headquarters in New York. As the National Audubon Society’s Chief Network Officer, he oversees a vast network of hundreds of Audubon chapters, more than 40 Audubon nature centers, partner organizations, and thousands of deeply committed advocates and volunteers.
Ringer leads Audubon’s Bird-Friendly Communities program, which engages people in practical, joyful solutions to protect birds and special places and to make communities healthier for people, too. He is a leader in Audubon’s equity, diversity, and inclusion work, and he oversees Audubon’s public relations and communications team.
Ringer previously served as Audubon’s national communications director, overseeing communications, public relations, and social media, and before that as Audubon’s communications director for the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi Flyway. He was Audubon’s front-line public relations manager in Louisiana during the BP oil disaster.
Before joining the Audubon staff, Ringer provided a wide variety of communications and media for non-governmental organizations around the world, an experience that took him to more than 25 countries on six continents. He writes about bird taxonomy and systematics and other natural history topics. His love of birds began in childhood, and his connection to Audubon started in high school, when he joined the Greater Ozarks Audubon Society of Springfield, Missouri.
The 5th annual Birds of a Feather Fest will be held Feb. 7-10, offering guided birding trips, workshops, social events and family activities for both beginners and experienced birders. Visit www.birdingfest.com for the schedule and to register for Ringer’s talk and other activities. Event headquarters this year will be the Community Center. The festival is sponsored by Florida Power & Light, the Palm Coast Observer and Wild Birds Unlimited.
For more information, contact Cindi Lane at [email protected] and 386-986-3708.
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