Breakfast with the Birds: Advocacy and Conservation in Urban Green Spaces
This EPN Breakfast and Summer Field Trip event will feature hands-on learning activities, networking, food, beverage, and birding at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center. Join this event to explore the places, spaces and people who are increasing community involvement in the outdoors, birding, and ecological restoration in downtown Columbus. Through this program, environmental professionals and naturalists will:
- Discuss the healing power of nature, and pathways for creating access to birding, conservation, and the environment with communities in central Ohio.
- Learn about the presence of birds in metropolitan landscapes in central Ohio, and best practices for architecture, landscaping, and design to enhance migratory and year-round bird conservation.
- Link up with national citizen/community science networks to connect local observations, populations, and research to national movements in bird conservation.
- Tour the Grange Insurance Audubon Center’s specific field-based research and learning sites, and its connections throughout the Audubon network, as a birding hub in the community and a showcase for ecological restoration, conservation stewardship and advocacy that focuses on improving habitat for breeding and migratory birds.
- Learn about the Center’s four unique habitat zones and restoration activities (forest, river, wetland, and prairie) that both improve water quality and build climate resiliency in and around the Whittier Peninsula and local communities.
This program will build on Ohio State, Audubon, and other community-facilitated efforts in Columbus using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation to protect birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow.
7:45 a.m. Doors open at Grange Insurance Audubon Center; Coffee served for in-person attendees.
8:00 a.m. Breakfast buffet served for in-person attendees.
8:15 a.m. Livestreaming service begins for virtual attendees. Christopher Tonra, PhD (associate professor in Avian Wildlife Ecology and chair, Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park) provides welcome remarks.
8:20 a.m. Leigh Ann Miller (director, Grange Insurance Audubon Center) discusses the Center’s four unique habitat zones and restoration activities (forest, river, wetland, and prairie) that both improve water quality and build climate resiliency in and around the Whittier Peninsula and local communities, and the Center’s linkages to the National Audubon Society.
8:30 a.m. Matthew Shumar (program coordinator, Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative) explains how the Center is a showcase for ecological restoration, conservation stewardship and advocacy that focuses on improving habitat for breeding and migratory birds.
8:40 a.m. Shelly Douglas (executive director, Green Columbus) describes the benefits of the Center’s physical, natural and educational spaces to advance environmental restoration and create win-win opportunities for regional organizations and initiatives.
8:50 a.m. Nicole Jackson (founder, N Her Nature LLC) shares about the healing power of nature, and pathways for creating access to birding, conservation, and the environment with communities in central Ohio.
9:15 a.m. Audience Q & A session with Miller, Shumar, Douglas and Jackson for both in-person and virtual audiences.
9:30 a.m. Dr. Tonra concludes EPN Breakfast program component. Break and networking session for in-person guests. Livestreaming service concludes for virtual attendees.
9:45 a.m. Grange Insurance Audubon Center facility, indoor and outdoor tour for in-person attendees begins.
Each of these two 25-minute sessions will view the Center’s specific field-based research and learning sites, and its connections throughout the Audubon network, as a birding hub in the community and a showcase for ecological restoration, conservation stewardship and advocacy that focuses on improving habitat for breeding and migratory birds.
Featured learning areas include:
- Forest and River Areas. Walk the Whittier Peninsula to observe the habitat that made the Grange Insurance Audubon Center an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area! Matthew Shumar and other environmental experts will address the on-site research activities at the facility including the MOTUS Tower, nanotagging methods to showcase bird banding and explaining research partnerships and aviation ecology.
- Wetland and Prairie Areas. This restored wetland and native garden tour will address the importance of native plant habitats in increasing and preserving biodiversity, and how simple actions of gardening can make a difference for birds, bees, and beyond! Marne A. Titchenell (wildlife program specialist, Ohio State University Extension) will lead the wetland and prairie tour.
10:15 a.m. Transition between sessions
10:45 a.m. All participants return to the Grange Insurance Audubon Center. Coffee and snacks are provided for in-person guests. Leigh Ann Miller provides remarks about the future of the Grange Insurance Audubon Center.
11:00 a.m. Program concludes.
Leigh Ann Miller, director, Grange Insurance Audubon Center
As the former Director of Development of The Dawes Arboretum, Leigh Ann brings to the Grange Insurance Audubon Center a breadth of knowledge in strategically growing philanthropy, fostering community and corporate relationships as well as successfully creating a vibrant volunteer program. She has passion for telling an organizations story and using data analytics to advance philanthropy. Currently, she is board member for the Central Ohio Association of Fundraising Professional and Chair Elect for National Philanthropy Day 2021. Leigh Ann is a member of Newark Rotary Club and serves on Licking County Planning Commission and Senior Levy Advisory Committee. She is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and holds a bachelors of arts from Temple University. Leigh Ann lives in Granville, Ohio with her husband Eric and her two sons, Kevin and Ryan.
Matthew Shumar, program coordinator, Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative
Matthew’s background is in Wildlife Biology with a bachelor and master’s degree both in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from Pennsylvania State University and West Virginia University. The focus of his research is specifically on ornithology and landscape ecology, asking questions about species distributions, why and where they occur, and human impacts to distributions over time. Matthew is passionate about linking research, outreach, and wildlife management to conservation. He engages the public in citizen science efforts to explore new opportunities for collaborative efforts between academia, agency professionals, and amateur ecologists.
Shelly Douglas, executive director, Green Columbus
Shelly is a graduate of Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources with a bachelor of science in Environmental Policy and Decision Making. Prior to serving as Executive Director, Shelly was the Earth Day Director of Green Columbus, hosting an annual Earth Day celebration on the banks of the Scioto. Green Columbus is a volunteer-driven nonprofit promoting sustainable living, environmental education, and community involvement. Through tree cover initiatives, Earth Day volunteer worksites, and Green Drinks networking events, Green Columbus seeks to improve equitable environmental outcomes for the people of Central Ohio.
Nicole Jackson, founder, N Her Nature LLC
Nicole Jackson graduated from The Ohio State University (2011) with a bachelor of science in Environmental Education & Interpretation. A nature enthusiast, park advocate, and birder, she loves spending time outside and has a passion for getting people from historically marginalized communities connected to the wonders of the natural world. She is the founder and CEO of N Her Nature LLC, a Columbus-based nature coaching business that provides nature therapy tools for Black women seeking to find more joy and healing. Nicole is a co-organizer of the national initiative, Black Birders Week (2020), an event week that celebrates Black people interested in building community and knowledge that combines bird watching, culture, conservation, and STEAM topics. In 2020, she also created Black in National Parks Week, an initiative that focuses on sharing the stories and experiences of everyday Black people visiting national parks in the U.S. When not in work mode nationally or regionally, Nicole enjoys nature walks along the Olentangy Trail as well as birding at any of the Columbus Metro Parks.
Marne A. Titchenell, wildlife program director, OSU Extension
Marne Titchenell received her bachelor of science in wildlife management and forestry from The Ohio State University in 2004. She continued her study of forest wildlife in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at Ohio State, where she obtained her Master of Science in 2007. In late 2007, she became the Wildlife Extension Program Specialist for OSU Extension, and later in 2023, the Wildlife Program Director. Marne provides knowledge and builds interest among the public in a variety of areas of emphasis including woodland wildlife management, habitat management, human-wildlife conflicts, and the natural history of vertebrates. She serves as a resource for and works in concert with other OSU Extension professionals to enhance current programs and to develop new programs in areas of focus.
This event’s menu features sausage patties, scrambled eggs, potato hash, and fresh fruit salad, Coffee, hot tea, fruit juices and water will be served. There will be plates, cups, woodware, and napkins.
We strive to host events that are inclusive and accessible to everyone. If you have a disability and require accommodations to fully participate in this activity, please reach out to Callia Téllez (firstname.lastname@example.org). Requests made five business days in advance will generally allow us to provide seamless access. However, we will make every effort to meet requests made after this time frame. You will be contacted by someone from our staff to discuss your specific needs. For the virtual audience, a closed captioning option via EPN’s YouTube live stream will be available, as well as other accommodations as requested on the registration.
Masks are optional for all event attendees at this event, in accordance with Ohio State’s Safe and Healthy Protocols as of this date. In-person attendees will be expected to follow Ohio State protocols regarding the prevention of COVID-19 transmission. More health and safety information available on this Personal Safety Practices page.
This program will be livestreamed on the EPN YouTube page. Additional information on livestream connections are available to those who register as a virtual participant for this event.