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MEETING CANCELED – Joan Walsh, “My Year at Sea: Offshore Wind and Massachusetts’ Birds”

March 9, 2020

7:15 pm - 9:15 pm

Immanuel Lutheran Church

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELED – Offshore wind energy production is a newcomer to the waters of the US, but has been a long-time source of energy in the UK and Europe. As our climate changes and we look for ways to reduce the worst effects of climate change, the states in the northeast are adding offshore wind to their electricity producing portfolios. These efforts, led by Massachusetts and New York, are developing at a dizzying rate.

But, before there were turbines in these waters there was a rich community of wildlife. How will we navigate the complexity of protecting marine birds and other animals as we grow a green future?

This talk will be a primer on this rapidly developing issue, and introduce the areas likely to be developed, summarize what we know about the birds in those areas, discuss what we don’t know, and review the opportunities for the conservation community to shape our Green Infrastructure.


Bio: Joan is Mass Audubon’s Gerard A. Bertrand Chair of Natural History and Field Ornithology. She has been watching—and learning from—birds for 40 years and was the Director of Bird Monitoring at Mass Audubon from 2006-2017. During her career she has focused on research that has direct implications for bird conservation. This interest led to enlisting hundreds of citizen scientists for the creation of the highly regarded Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas 2 and two State of the Birds of Massachusetts reports.

She was a Farallon Island biologist where she studied Elephant Seals, Tufted Puffins, Brandt’s Cormorants, Western Gulls, and even did a little Great White Shark work. She went to graduate school in Georgia, where she studied Wood Storks, and was the former Director of Research at Cape May Bird Observatory in NJ. Her formative years as an ornithologist were spent on Great Gull Island, NY, home to the largest colonies of Common and Roseate Terns in the North Atlantic.

Joan has traveled in the US (only missing OK, HI and KY), Canada, Costa Rica, Belize, Mexico, Ireland, Europe, South America, South Georgia Island and the Falklands (Malvinas). While being particularly keen about seabird and wading bird ecology and behavior, Joan has never met a bird she didn’t love. She travels with an eye for culture as well as nature, and can think of no better way to spend a day than to be in a new place, with new friends, simply watching birds.

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