Keynote Speakers

local conservationist, author & historian

Do Birds, Dolphin, and Manatee Think & Feel? Do You?

January 25, 2017
6:30pm - 7:30pm (Doors open at 6:00PM)
Titusville Playhouse See google map
301 Julia Street (approximately 10-15 minutes from East Florida State College - parking will be available in the public lot east of the Playhouse and street parking is plentiful in the surrounding area.)

The Titusville Playhouse is hosting the 2017 Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival opening Keynote Presentation by local conservationist and author, Rodney Smith. Rodney's topic is "Do Birds, Dolphin and Manatee Think & Feel? Do You?"

Festival leaders are presenting an opportunity to Titusville and Brevard County residents to attend this onetime event scheduled Wednesday, January 25, 2017 from 6:00pm - 7:30pm. Tickets may be purchased at the door for $10.00. Please email an RSVP to: so that a seat will be reserved for you. Festival attendees who have registered for this event will retain their reserved seat.

Salmon regularly migrate thousands of miles to and from their breeding grounds. Arctic terns fly ten thousand miles and return to a nest on an island that's half a mile wide amid millions of square miles of oceans. Sea turtles cross oceans and return within feet of their birthplace. Who is superior? In Carl Safina's book, "Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel," he dives into this question of animal awareness. Rodney Smith will open discussion about signs of intelligent life in animals during his presentation.

Rodney Smith, storyteller, author, business owner, publisher, community leader, chairperson, philanthropist, and visionary knows that bringing people together is a big part of success. His loves are the waters of Florida, and all the life surrounding and within the oceans, lagoons, and rivers! Today, his focus is the Indian River Lagoon and all the obstacles facing this unique estuary in the coming years. Growing up outside Tampa in rural Florida and fishing the numerous lakes and the Gulf of Mexico, he eventually moved to Florida's Indian River Lagoon Coast. As former founder of Coastal Angler magazine, Rodney has witnessed many changes in the environment in the Florida - the wildlife, water quality of our lagoons and estuaries, and the fishing industry itself.

During the same period, Rodney built the foundation of the non-profit, Anglers for Conservation with a vision to energize volunteerism and create a new generation of marine stewards. Today, much of this NGO's work centers around educational outreach for kids and their parents; and educating the public on "using — not abusing our waterways".

Rodney has written hundreds of published magazine articles, publisher's letters and editorials; and penned the books, Catching Made Easy, Enjoying Life on the Indian River Lagoon Coast, Road to Matapalo, Weed Queen and Pura Vita (due out January 1, 2017). Rodney has been recognized by the Florida Outdoors Writers Association for his work in conservation and as a philanthropist.

David La Puma

Radar Love

January 26, 2017
6:30pm - 7:30pm

From 2004 to 2014 David La Pumadeveloped and maintained the website where he brought the wonder of radar ornithology (using radar to understand bird migration) to the birding community. He continues to teach others about how they can use radar to better understand bird migration and predict birding conditions in their own backyard. With every passing year, the technology at our fingertips with which to understand bird migration increases exponentially. In this ever evolving presentation, David will take you on a tour of the history, present status, and a glimpse into the future, of Radar Ornithology.

David La Puma is the Director of New Jersey Audubon's Cape May Bird Observatory (CMBO). The mission of CMBO is to connect people to nature and steward the nature of today for the people of tomorrow…so you could say that David is a "people-person". Prior to becoming the director of CMBO, David worked as the product specialist for Leica Sport Optics, as a post-doctoral researcher with the University of Wisconsin, University of Delaware, and New Jersey Audubon's research department. David received his PhD from Rutgers University in 2010 where he studied the Effects of Fire on the Federally Endangered Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow.

Donald Kroodsma

Listening to a Continent Sing. Birdsong by Bicycle from the Atlantic to the Pacific

January 27, 2017
6:30pm - 7:30pm

"Some day I'd like to..." Go ahead. Finish the sentence. Now. And then let someone tell you that "Every year you don't do it, it's less likely you ever will." That's what the bicycle shop owner pulled on me. Given my love of bicycles and birdsong, my paniers were soon packed and I was on my bicycle, my son on his, and we were in Virginia heading west on a listening adventure.

We were not listing the species we identified (except for roadkills), and the binoculars mostly stayed packed away; rather, we were listening to each individual bird express whatever was on its mind at the moment we heard it. And how expressive these creatures are, but we can realize that only if we linger and listen deeply, the most common of birds (yes, robins, starlings, cowbirds, everything) are a marvel. There were mountains to climb, plains and rivers to cross, basins and ranges, the caldera of Yellowstone, Hell's Canyon, the landscape everywhere extraordinary in its own way. There were the people, from coast to coast, kind, considerate, generous (usually!), with their own stories about birds. But mostly it was singing birds as we chased the singing season across the continent from May in Virginia to mid-July in Oregon.

There's a lot of talking to oneself on a journey like this. I talked myself out of a tenured, lifetime job as a university professor and returned unemployed, but FREE TO LISTEN the rest of my life.,, video trailer:

John Moran

Our Water, Our Future

January 29, 2017
2:00pm - 3:00pm

As our waters go, so goes Florida. Although vital to the ecological and economic health of Florida, our waters are imperiled - by pollution, neglect and the groundwater demands of a thirsty state. Join us for a frank and engaging discussion with nature photographer John Moran, whose career as an artist and journalist spans more than 30 years.

Moran's evolving programs focus on Florida's iconic springs as a case study for exploring the larger topic of water, democracy and Florida's future. Combining superb photography with stirring commentary, Moran argues there can be no longterm wellbeing in Florida unless we embrace a new way of thinking about water- mindful that tomorrow's Florida is being shaped by the choices we make today.

Seeking to show and tell the truth more fully as he sees it, Moran partnered with artist and art historian Dr. Lesley Gamble in 2012 to create the Springs Eternal Project. Their collaboration fills museum walls, educates decision makers and develops creative outreach inspiring Floridians to value, conserve and restore our precious waters.

Moran's speaking programs, detailing a photographer's search for the soul of Florida, have been presented to hundreds of civic, professional and educational gatherings from Pensacola to Key West. His programs have been called "exquisite," "lyrical," "eye-opening" and "like nothing I've ever seen."

John Moran's work is a deep meditation on water and Florida's future. Florida author and scholar Gary Mormino says, "If Florida had a Photographer Laureate, John Moran should hold that title." Moran's conference program resume includes Leadership Florida, Florida Council of 100, Florida Humanities Council, Florida League of Cities, Florida Bar Association, Florida Philanthropic Network, Audubon Florida General Assembly, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Association of Museums, UF Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences, Space Coast Birding Festival, Florida Library Association and the National Federation of Garden Clubs.

Sponsored in part by the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners through the Brevard Cultural Alliance and the Space Coast Office of Tourism.

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