Natural History Speaker Series
2018 – 2019

The Friends of Boyd Hill Nature Preserve presents the Natural History Speaker Series. This program offers fascinating presentations on the natural and cultural history of Florida by individuals who are authorities in their fields. It is cosponsored by the City of St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation Department.

When: Second Tuesday of each month (September through March) at 7:00 p.m. *Please note the April program will be held on Saturday, April 20 at 11:00 a.m.

Who: All ages welcome. Free admission.

Location: Lake Maggiore Environmental Education Center at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve

1101 Country Club Way South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705

Contact: Boyd Hill at (727) 893-7326 or visit

September 11: “Bird Migrations Across Tampa Bay”

Dr. Mary Keith, President, Tampa Audubon Society Tampa, FL

Migration is one of the wonders of the natural world. Not only birds, but bugs, whales, wildebeests and even shrimp migrate. Tampa Bay is a real hot spot for bird migration. This presentation will discuss some of the most amazing flights known so far, and what we’re learning about why, when, and how birds migrate. Learn how you can help them.

October 9: “Attracting Backyard Wildlife”

Lara Milligan, Natural Resources Agent, IFAS Extension Tarpon Springs, FL

Would you like to learn how to attract birds and bats to your backyard? Come join us and learn the ten steps for creating a successful backyard habitat. Find out more about the basic biology of bats and birds, the threats they face, and how you can help through certain landscape practices and the possible installation of bat and bird houses.

November 13: “The Legacy of the American Oystercatcher”

Mark Rachal, Biologist, Audubon Society of Florida Tampa, FL

Learn about conservation efforts and the natural history of one of Florida’s rarest birds, the American Oystercatcher. Our speaker will discuss their fascinating behavior, long- term and very strong attachment to their mates, dedication to their semi-precocious young, and territorial defense activities.

December 11: “Saving the Indigo Snake”

Michelle Hoffman, Central Florida Zoo Sanford, FL

Come and learn about efforts to save the rare Eastern Indigo Snake. This talk will include population management for the captive breeding program, challenges of breeding and raising Eastern Indigo Snakes, how to operate a reintroduction program, photos of this year’s release, and goals of the reintroduction project.

January 8: “Birds and Bombs: Managing Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers on an Air Force Range and Archbold Biological Station”

Emily Angell, Wildlife Biologist, Archbold Biological Station Lake Wales, FL

Come and hear about the strategies and surprises of monitoring a population of federally endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers. This talk covers their biology, habitat needs and research methods. Learn how Ms. Angell’s team uses artificial nest cavity installations, bird translocations and banding to care for their population. Hear what it’s like to be a wildlife biologist at an active Air Force range.

February 12: “The Natural History of Florida”

Christopher A. Nichol Sr., Assistant Professor, St. Petersburg College Seminole, FL

Are you curious to learn more about how Florida formed geologically, its fossil record and early human history? Come join us to learn more about it. Discover how all of this impacts our lives today. You will come to realize what a special place Florida truly is.

March 12: “Conserving a Remnant Population of Gopher Tortoises at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve”

Jeffrey Goessling, PhD, Eckerd College St. Petersburg, FL

Come and learn how Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, one of the last remaining natural areas in urban Pinellas County, supports several imperiled species, including the gopher tortoise, eastern diamondback rattlesnake and Nuttall’s rayless goldenrod. Dr. Goessling will review recent gopher tortoise burrow surveys, current research efforts and ongoing habitat restoration and management efforts.

April 20: 11:00 a.m. “Florida Butterfly Gardening”

Marc C. Minno, PhD, Lead Ecologist, Eco-Cognizant, Inc. Gainesville, FL

Would you like to attract more butterflies to your backyard? Come join us and learn how you can attract them by selecting and planting butterfly attractors. Learn about some of our imperiled species and what you can do to help them. Then stay and join us for a walk through our butterfly garden and nature trails.

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