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2020 Annual Symposium

From Canopy to Floor: Nature's Hidden Connections

January 25th - Richmond Hill City Center


Talk Title: "Right Tree, Right Place"

Why can't we make maple syrup in the southeastern U.S.? Why do dogwoods look great in north Georgia but perform poorly on the Georgia coast? Please join us as we discuss the needs of trees, and why they succeed in certain places and fail in others. In the face of a changing climate, it is critical to understand not only the requirements of individual tree species, but also the role they play in their larger ecosystems.

Jake Henry - The Savannah Tree Foundation

BioJake is new to the Savannah area, working as the Field Manager for the Savannah Tree Foundation since August of 2018. In this position, Jake focuses on coordinating tree planting and volunteer events, as well as maintaining trees after planting. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Earth Sciences from Cornell University, and his Masters in Forestry from Mississippi State University. Most recently, Jake also became an ISA Certified Arborist.

Talk Title: “The ups and downs of Georgia’s avifauna: birds that are canopy dwellers versus those that prefer terra firma”

The great variety of birds that live in coastal Georgia require a diversity of healthy habitats. Some are quite gregarious and easily visible to the casual observer. However, there are several that are not as visible but no less important. We will explore bird species that spend much of their lives in and need a healthy canopy of mature forests. Then we will look at those that live on or very close to the ground and need healthy, diverse ground cover (e.g., pine savanna).  

Todd Schneider - Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources

Bio: Todd Schneider is a Wildlife Biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division, Wildlife Conservation Section. He is a native of Wisconsin and prior to moving to Georgia worked for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for 8 years as a fisheries technician and biologist. From 1993-2010, he served as the Georgia Breeding Bird Atlas Project coordinator and since 1996 has been the Breeding Bird Survey state coordinator. He has been involved in many major state, regional, and national conservation initiatives. Todd and his wife Jane have two children, Eric (an engineer) and Evan (in college).

Talk Title: “Forests‘ Hidden Fuel: Insects”

A close up look at the insect fuel at all levels of the forest, including the life and death struggles between the predators and prey within this often-hidden world. We will examine the complex interactions and various strategies for survival in this world, and see that roles of predator and prey both apply to a great many of the inhabitants!

Giff Beaton - Author

Bio: Giff Beaton has eagerly studied nature for over 40 years. For the past 25 years, he has led a variety of bird, nature and history tours and given a diverse range of nature presentations. He is the author of Birding Georgia, Birds of Kennesaw Mountain, Dragonflies and Damselflies of Georgia and the Southeast, coauthor of The Breeding Bird Atlas of Georgia and Birds of Georgia, and the senior author and editor of the Annotated Checklist of Georgia Birds. He enthusiastically follows warbler migration, especially at Kennesaw Mountain, with a main focus on photographing birds and insects in their natural habitats. Concentrating on studying and photographing dragonflies, robber flies, tiger beetles, caterpillars and jumping spiders, he is often found far afield searching for these curious and somewhat elusive creatures. He and his wife Allie live near Palmetto, GA, with their two sons, and he has been a pilot for Delta Air Lines for 30 years.

Talk Title: "Mushrooms & the World Around Us."

We all recognize big fleshy mushrooms after rain, but are we aware of their constant year-round presence in the soil and forest around us? I'll be discussing some basic mycology, some interesting local mushrooms, and how the world around us is allowed by fungi.

Ancil Jacques - Mushroom expert

Bio: I was raised in Dixie Union, GA, 13 miles from the nearest gas station (and now they've got their own Dollar General!). Both of my parents were science teachers. They instilled a love of nature in both me and my sister from an early age. As a young child my interest in mushrooms was to kick them or throw them against trees. As I grew the fascination grew with me. Soon I wanted to be able to identify the mushrooms I'd grown up smashing. It turns out some of them were worth money! I graduated with a degree in English. Less than a month after graduating I began finding Tuber lyonii, the Pecan Truffle. The supply was readily available that year, as was the demand. Applying to grad schools faded behind selling truffles. A couple of years in and I started the mushroom farm. I now cultivate anywhere from three to seven varieties of gourmet mushrooms year-round to supply to local chefs. What started as a hobby has now become a career. I currently produce about 350lbs of mushrooms a week. I've got my fingers crossed that I can be a professional mushroom nerd for a living.

Talk Title: “Lichens Color our World”

What exactly is a lichen? With this presentation, Malcolm Hodges will answer this question by presenting an introduction to lichens. He will explain what they are, show some of the incredible diversity in the group, reveal how they reproduce, and talk about what makes them so special.

Malcolm Hodges - The Nature Conservancy

Bio: Malcolm Hodges grew up in coastal Mississippi, and has a BA in Biology from Rice University and a Masters in Zoology from Mississippi State. He has worked for The Nature Conservancy in Georgia as an ecologist and land manager since 1992. His current interests are conservation management of threatened biota in the Southeast US; lichen systematics, distribution and conservation in the Southeast; and just about anything to do with birds. He lives on a small farm in Riverdale, Georgia, with his partner, Keith Poole, and their animals.

Register online click here!

2020 Annual Symposium Agenda

    • 9:00-9:30 am - Registration, Coffee and Snacks
    • 9:30 am - Welcome
    • 9:40-10:15 am - Right Tree, Right PlaceJake HenrySavannah Tree Foundation
    • 10:15-10:30 am - Break, Coffee and snacks
    • 10:30-11:15 am - The ups and downs of Georgia’s avifauna: birds that are canopy dwellers versus those that prefer terra firmaTodd SchneiderGA DNR
    • 11:15-Noon - Forests‘ Hidden Fuel: InsectsGiff Beaton
    • Noon-1:00 pm - Lunch
    • 1:00-1:45 pm - Mushrooms & the World Around UsAncil Jacques
    • 1:45-2:30 pm - Lichens color our WorldMalcolm HodgesThe Nature Conservancy
    • 2:30 pm - Closing Remarks

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