Director of Cornell Ornithology Lab speaker at April 18 Pelican Island Audubon meeting

VERO BEACH — The noted director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Dr. John Fitzpatrick, is the speaker for Pelican Island Audubon Society’s April 18, general meeting at the Vero Beach Community Center, 2266 14th Avenue starting at 7:30 p.m.

The public is invited to attend. Stay for light refreshments following the program.

Dr. Fitzpatrick writes about Birds Can Save The World.

“In this illustrated lecture I emphasize the vital roles that birds continue to play in fostering conservation of worldwide biological diversity. Most important, birds represent our most accessible and sensitive indicator of environmental health and ecological change. Today, thanks especially to the Internet, individual citizens have unprecedented opportunities to generate essential population trend data at continental scales. Indeed, humans literally can now serve as worldwide biosphere sensors. The question is, do we also have the will to self-correct? Birds present us with numerous motivations to do so, and an excellent barometer for measuring our successes and failures. Rediscovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in 2005 – in spite of the ensuing controversies — provided a clear case in point. I will suggest what both Florida Scrub-Jays and the ‘Lord God Bird’ teaches us about human nature, environmental protection, and our opportunities for saving not just species but also the great natural systems on planet Earth.”

John W. Fitzpatrick, Ph.D. is the Louis Agassiz Fuertes Director, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University. A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1974, and receiving his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1978.

Since 1995 he has been Director of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University. Previously (1988-1995), he was Executive Director of Archbold Biological Station, a private ecological research foundation in central Florida. From 1978 to 1989 he was Curator of Birds and Chairman of the Department of Zoology at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History.

Fitzpatrick has been engaged in applying science to real world conservation issues throughout his career. At the Cornell Lab, he has pioneered the development of Internet-based “citizen science” as a revolutionary tool for continent-scale bird monitoring.

First author on the 2005 announcement of rediscovery of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Arkansas, he has led search efforts to locate breeding pairs of this iconic bird of the southeastern North American swamp forests.

He enjoys hiking and watercolor painting, has been a bird watcher since kindergarten, and lives with his wife, Molly, on a beautiful hillside near Ithaca, N.Y. John and Molly have a daughter, Sarah (Cornell ’08), and a son, Dylan (Middlebury ’11).

For more information, visit or call (772) 567-3520.

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