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Wednesday Night: The Serengeti Rules


Hefner Lecture 2017


October 18, 2017, 7:30pm, Benton Hall, Room 102, Miami U.- The 2017 Hefner Lecture, The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why it Matters. Sean Carroll is an award-winning scientist, author, educator, and executive producer. He leads the Department of Science Education of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and is the Allan Wilson Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Wisconsin.

An internationally-recognized evolutionary biologist, Carroll’s laboratory research has centered on the genes that control animal body patterns and play major roles in the evolution of animal diversity. In recognition of his scientific contributions, Carroll has received the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Sciences, been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, as well as named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

A prominent science communicator in print, on radio, and on television, Carroll is the author of Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species, which was a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award for non-fiction (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), The Making of the Fittest (2006, W.W. Norton) and of Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo (2005, W.W. Norton). His first two books were the basis for, and Carroll was the scientific consulting producer of, a two-hour NOVA special that was first broadcast in December 2009 on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. He also wrote a regular feature “Remarkable Creatures” for the New York Times Science Times.

Carroll is also author of the student text Into The Jungle: Great Adventures in the Search for Evolution (2008, Pearson, Benjamin Cummings), co-author with Jen Grenier and Scott Weatherbee of the textbook From DNA to Diversity: Molecular Genetics and the Evolution of Animal Design (2nd ed., 2005; Blackwell Scientific) and with Anthony Griffiths, Susan Wessler, and John Doebley of the textbook Introduction to Genetic Analysis (10e, 2011, W.H. Freeman and Co.).

For his educational contributions, he has received the Stephen Jay Gould Prize for the advancement of the public understanding of evolution from the Society for the Study of Evolution, the Distinguished Service Award of the National Association of Biology Teachers, and the Viktor Hamburger Outstanding Educator Award from the Society for Developmental Biology. Carroll was named one of America’s most promising leaders under 40 by TIME Magazine in 1994.

Field Trip, Saturday, October 14, 2017: Rentschler Forest MetroPark


With almost 400 acres, the Rentschler Forest MetroPark includes about a half-mile of frontage along the Great Miami River, acres of woodland, remnants of the old Miami-Erie Canal, a prehistoric Indian earthwork, and a reconstructed wetland. Situated off of Route 4 just east of Hamilton, Rentschler is just a 40-minute drive from Oxford. Expert naturalist Sam Fitton will lead our walk, helping us to locate and identify late migrants and other wildlife.The trip will leave at 8:00 a.m. from the TJ Maxx parking lot (on Locust Street across from McDonald’s) and return to Oxford in the afternoon. Pack a lunch if desired and bring binoculars if possible.

You can read more about the park at:

For instructions on meeting a trip at the trip site, or information on last-minute changes, consult the site or send an e-mail to the trip coordinator at

Steve Beissinger Returns to Miami University (corrected date)


Thursday, October 12, 4 p.m. A Century of Climate and Land-Use Impacts on California’s Birds and Mammals, 218 Pearson Hall at Miami University. A founding member of Audubon Miami Valley returns to Oxford on Oct. 12 for a seminar on the effects of climate change.

Dr. Steven Beissinger, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California, will present the results of the Grinnell Resurvey Project.

Beissinger was a Miami University student when he became a founding member of AMV. Years later, he served on the board of directors of the National Audubon Society. He received his undergraduate and master degrees from Miami University and his doctorate from the University of Michigan.

He is the current President of the American Ornithological Society and the recipient of the AOU’s Brewster Medal recognizing him as their 2010 outstanding researcher for his work on Western Hemisphere birds.

October 9, 2017, 7:30pm- A Runaway Hobby


October 9, 2017, 7:30pm- A Runaway Hobby, Dave Russell, Department of Biology, Miami University.

What started as a sociable birding competition between childhood friends, morphed into a frenzied quest to the four corners of the continent in the pursuit of 600 species–all while keeping a couple of full-time jobs and not trying to spend too much of the grocery money. Join us for an evening of fun and adventure as we crisscross North America chasing birds.

David E. Russell received his BS in Entomology from University of California Davis and his Master’s and Doctorate in Molecular Systematics from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. A Senior Lecturer of Intro and Environmental Biology at Miami University, he teaches a number of courses including Biology, Environmental Biology, and Ornithology. A Master Bird Bander and certified North American Banding Council Trainer, he is the co-founder and Research/Education Director for the Avian Research and Education Institute (AREI), a nonprofit bird conservation, education, and advocacy organization. An avid birder with a passion for sharing the birding world with all that will listen, Dave frequently leads field trips and conducts birding workshops throughout the US. Dave and Jill are also Peony farmers in Alaska and own and operate the business, Boral Peonies.

Audubon Miami Valley meets the second Monday of September through May in the 2nd floor usually in the conference room of the Lebanon Citizens National Bank building at 30 West Park Place. These meetings are free and open to the public.

Bird Seed Sale 2017


Support our programming and feed winter birds by buying your seed from Audubon Miami Valley. Download the brochure by clicking HERE. For additional information or to volunteer at the sale, call Marlene at 513-461-9639.

‘Dr. Bluebird’ spurs AMV nesting box project


Based on the recommendations of our March speaker, Dr. Kent Hall of the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, we built and installed 38 Bluebird nesting boxes. (Hall is known as  “Dr. Bluebird” in Wisconsin!) 

The houses went up at the Hueston Woods State Park Golf Course in three phases. All were built in my woodworking shop with help from Libby Birch, Hardy Eshbaugh, Brian Grubb, and especially George Simonds. 

We have 14 sponsors at $35 each, which nearly covers the entire cost of the houses.  We have three extra houses and can always use more sponsors

We were late in getting the houses installed but they were well-received regardless. We had all 38 houses occupied at some point during the nesting season I plan to move a few houses by next spring to afford easier access for both birds and monitors.  Otherwise the initial locations were excellent. 

Libby Birch and I monitored the boxes several times through July. (The normal monitoring season lasts 7-11 weeks.  As the years pass we will gain more experience and our efforts will become more precise.) Then the boxes were cleaned out and prepared for winter.

I put together two complete sets of monitoring notebooks and tools needed by monitors for minor repairs, box cleaning, etc. I also sewed an AMV flag that is placed on the back of the golf cart to give official status of the monitors while on the course. In conjunction with Matthew Bourne, superintendent of the golf course, a list of monitoring instructions were written.  Training sessions will be scheduled before next spring for anyone wanting to be a monitor.

In the future, we may implement additional Bluebird trails in Hueston Woods State Park, accessible by bike, hike, or auto, and a Bluebird trail on the new bike trail surrounding Oxford. These new trails will require much greater planning and approval by the Board of AMV.  

There is no end to the enthusiasm from members with regard to becoming monitors.  The future looks very bright.  Our first year results are highly encouraging.

— Dick Munson, Conservation Chair