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Keynote Speaker

Friday Keynote:  Boat Rides, Bug Nets, & Baby Birds: A Quest for Avian Breeders in the Apostle Islands

7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
From windswept beaches and rugged brownstone cliffs to tombolos and old growth forests, the 21 islands and 12 miles of mainland comprising the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore form a unique landscape on Lake Superior. This landscape hosts large numbers of migratory birds in both spring and fall and provides critical habitat for breeding birds, including endangered piping plovers, colonial waterbirds, and many forest bird species. In this three-part presentation, you will take a virtual journey into the islands and discover the birds that call them home. First, National Park Service Biologist Peggy Burkman highlights some of the Lakeshore’s outstanding species and work being done to conserve them. How are the park’s songbirds faring? Ted Gostomski of the Great Lakes Inventory & Monitoring Network shares population trends from surveys conducted there since 1990. The evening concludes with a first hand, photo-filled account from Anne Geraghty, who spent the summer of 2019 living among the islands in search of nesting birds as part of the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas. Join us for an island experience like no other!

Keynote Speakers Bios

Peggy Burkman has a Master of Science degree in Ecology and 28 years with the federal government, including the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Wildlife Biologist), U.S. Forest Service (Fire Ecologist, Landscape Ecologist), and now National Park Service (Biologist).  She considers herself fortunate to enjoy birding in both her professional and personal life, and also spends her spare time doing wood carvings of ducks, owls, and songbirds.

Ted Gostomski is a biologist and science writer with the National Park Service, Great Lakes Inventory and Monitoring Network. He coordinates songbird monitoring in nine national park units in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Ted is also a former coordinator of LoonWatch at the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute and coauthor of Island Life: An Isle Royale Nature Guide. Like Peggy, he resides in nearby Washburn.

Anne Geraghty is a high school science teacher from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. A national park enthusiast, she has visited 55 national parks, including kayaking to 20 of the 22 Apostle Islands.  She has been an avid birder for 15 years, volunteering her skills for many citizen science projects like the Nicolet National Forest Breeding Bird Survey, winter Golden Eagle surveys, and various Christmas Bird Counts. After four years of volunteer work for the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas she was hired to conduct atlas surveys on the Apostle Islands in 2019.