Detroit Audubon: Annual Conference

Red-Tail Hawk no background


Details for 2019 Coming Soon!


See last year’s schedule and speakers below to see what our conferences are all about!


Annual Conference Schedule: 

8-8:45 am Bird Hike in Natural Area—with Don Sherwood
8:45-9 am Registration, Ray Mix Room
9 am Welcome—Dr. James N. (Jim) Bull, President
Welcome—WCCCD Representative
Sustainable Agriculture Program at WCCCD
9:15-10:00 Ancilleno (Leno) Davis—Preserving “Our Michigan” Birds in the Bahamas, an Overview of Bahamian and Caribbean Conservation and the Importance of Citizen Science
10-10:25 Dr. Larissa Larsen—Can trees improve your health?
10:30-11:10 Julie Beutel—Earth Day: A Musical Celebration
11:15-12:10 Lunch
Update on Detroit Audubon Activities—Terra Weiland, Erin Rowan, Jim Bull
Introduce Young Birder Scholarship Winner
12:15-12:40 Dr. John Hartig, Urban Bird Treaty City Designation, update on Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge
12:45-1:45 Live Hawk and Owl Demonstration with Joe Rogers
1:45 Closing Remarks
1:50 Conference Ends


Don SherwoodDon Sherwood M.S. is a retired Community College Professor of Biology and Downriver resident. A lifelong birder with past experience as an assistant bird bander and raptor rehabilitator. Presently he is involved with U.S.F.&W Service’s Detroit River Hawkwatch each fall at Lake Erie Metropark as a volunteer counter. Mr. Sherwood is well acquainted with the flora and fauna inhabiting the acreage surrounding the Downriver Campus of W.C.C.C.D. where he has observed over 130 bird species over three decades at this site.


Leno DavisAncilleno (Leno) Davis, M.Sc. Leno is an educator, capacity builder, and conservationist from the Bahamas. He was introduced to bird monitoring and conservation through the Kirtland’s Warbler Research and Training Program. Through the program, he and more than a dozen Bahamian students were given the opportunity to learn bird identification and monitoring techniques in the field. Since then he has completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in environmental science and coordinated conservation efforts in the Bahamas, conferences around the Caribbean and in the USA and engaged in conservation capacity building in 11 countries and territories. Mr. Davis is particularly focused on supporting science capacity building for local groups in the Caribbean and his home country, the Bahamas. He is a PhD candidate at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he lives with his wife and son. He serves as a Director at Large to BirdsCaribbean and started Bahamians Educated in Natural and Geospatial Science (BEiNGS), the Bahamas’ go to location for distribution of science opportunities available to Bahamians. Leno has 15 years of experience bringing local perspective to international conservation science, advocacy and action in the Bahamas and around the world.


Larissa LarsenDr. Larissa Larsen, Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning and Natural Resources. Larissa Larsen is an associate professor in the Urban and Regional Planning Program (URP) at the University of Michigan. She teaches graduate classes in environmental planning, land use planning, and physical planning and design. She regularly oversees graduate community-based capstone projects in Detroit neighborhoods. Larissa is the Physical Planning and Design Concentration Coordinator for the Master of Urban Planning Program. Larissa holds an appointment in the School of Natural Resources and Environment.

Larissa’s research focuses on identifying environmental inequities in the built environment and advancing issues of urban sustainability and social justice. Some of her past research has examined urban heat islands, water consumption, and neighborhood mobilization against environmental problems. Most of her current work involves climate adaptation planning and urban heat island studies. In 2012, she and her students worked with the US Green Building Council to write a publication entitled, Green Building and Climate Resilience.  More recently, she collaborated with Marie O’Neill in the School of Public Health to conduct urban heat vulnerability assessments for the National Institutes of Health.  In the last year, she began a green infrastructure planning project with collaborators in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and looks forward to returning with graduate students in summers to come.

Larissa grew up on a farm in Ontario. She completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Guelph, Ontario. Larissa received her Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After completing her Ph.D., she worked as a landscape architect and urban planner for a private firm in Chicago, Illinois. She is a registered landscape architect and has a passion for native plants. Before coming to the University of Michigan, she taught at Arizona State University for two years.


Julie BeutelJulie Beutel, Folksinger, Translator, Editor, Peace and Justice Activist. Julie is well known in Detroit for offering her singing talents to many peace and justice rallies and social gatherings and she produces concerts for other local musicians including several house concerts hosted in her own house on the far eastside of Detroit.  She has a rich and expressive voice.  She is also an accomplished actress as well including playing the part of Clara Ford in the opera, The Forgotten, about a Methodist Minister and union organizer who was murdered in the Ford Rouge Plant, with Ford Company enforcers strongly implicated.  She also narrated several documentaries, and done other voiceover work. She is fluent in Spanish having lived in Spain for one year and Nicaragua for two years, and has lived and worked with Mexican and other Latino-Americans in the Detroit for over 20 years. She holds a State of Michigan certification as a Spanish and English teacher. She has translated and interpreted Spanish-English for over 20 years. She is also a certified English teacher a writer, avid reader, and a passionate lover of words and language.


John HartigDr. John H. Hartig, Manager, Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, member Detroit Audubon Advisory Board and Great Lakes Safe Passage Committee. Dr. John Hartig is trained as a limnologist with 30 years of practical experience in environmental science and natural resource management. He currently serves as Refuge Manager for the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. From 1999 to 2004 he served as River Navigator for the Greater Detroit American Heritage River Initiative established by Presidential Executive Order.

Prior to becoming River Navigator, he spent 12 years working for the International Joint Commission on the Canada-U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. John has been an Adjunct Professor at Wayne State University where he taught Environmental Management and Sustainable Development. He has authored or co-authored over 100 publications on the Great Lakes, including authoring three books: Ecological Benefits of Contaminated Sediments Remediation;  Burning Rivers: Revival of Four Urban Industrial Rivers That Caught on Fire;  and Bringing Conservation to Cites: Lessons from Building the Detroit International Wildlife Refuge, and editing the anthology : Honoring Our Detroit River Caring for Our Home, . John has received a number of awards for his work, including the 2003 Anderson-Everett Award from the International Association for Great Lakes Research, the 1993 Sustainable Development Award for Civic Leadership from Global Tomorrow Coalition, and Detroit Audubon’s Conservationist of the Year Award.


Jim BullDr. James N. Bull, President of Detroit Audubon (3rd time).  Jim holds a Ph.D. in Natural Resources from U of M; M.S. in Fisheries & Widlife from M.SU.; and a  Biology & Earth Science from Adrian College.  He is a professor at Wayne County and Macomb Communitiy Colleges, worked for the  National Park Service, US Forest Service (Kirtland’s Warbler Guide), Nature Centers and environmental non-profits.  He is co-author of a chapter on the biodiversity of the Detroit River  in John Hartig’s anthology Honoring Our Detroit River: Caring For Our Home.  He has also published scientific articles on the Kirtlands’ Warbler, the Brown-headed Cowbird, and Great Blue Heron, as well as numerous articles for the popular press.  He alslo writes poetry, is adept at photography and dabbles in nature painting and drawing.


Erin RowanErin Rowan, currently our Research Coordinator and Office Administrator, was our chief volunteer Black Tern Researcher in 2016.  She has extensive bird banding experience from her time managing MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) stations in Yosemite National Park, Southern Oregon & Saipan. Prior to moving to Michigan, Erin managed the North American and Pacific Island Bird Banding Programs as a Staff Biologist for the Institute for Bird Populations. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Conservation and Resource Studies with a focus on Wildlife Ecology and Management.


terraTerra Weiland, our Program Coordinator since early December 2015, graduated from Middlebury College with a degree in Conservation Biology, a minor in Elementary Education, and holds two teaching certificates.  At New York City Audubon she conducted the “Be A Good Egg” outreach program at public beaches about protecting shorebird nests.  She also was lead summer counselor for a Massachusetts Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary. She researched the biomechanics of dragonfly flight at Harvard’s field station, conducted research on bird safe glass at the Bronx Zoo, and has bird banding experience.


Joe Rogers

Joe Rogers received his degree in biology from Central Michigan University, and spent many years of work in the field studying raptors. Nest studies of bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, great horned owls, American Kestrels, barred owls, and Eastern Screech Owls were a part of his early studies. Through Michigan’s Nongame Wildlife Fund, and in conjunction with the Ottawa National Forest, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore,and The Nature Conservancy, Joe spent almost thirty years working on reintroduction and monitoring of peregrine falcons at Michigan’s Wild Sites.

Joe has received numerous awards for his educational presentations in which the focus is live birds of prey, and the goal is to capture the interest of the audience so that they might become involved in becoming stewards of our environment and protectors of the natural world.

During slow times, Joe enjoys the swamp, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, and his awesome pups.