Urban Wildlife: Exploring Our City's Wild Side

Join us for the 2024 lecture series, Urban Wildlife: Exploring Our City's Wild Side, featuring talks on mammals, reptiles, birds, and fish found in Portland’s urban environment. The garden opens at 6pm for an after-hours stroll, appetizers, and beverages, with a captivating lecture beginning at 7pm. The lectures will run approximately one hour.

July 24th, August 21st, September 18th, & October 16th

Sponsored by Portland Nursery

Wildlife in our Backyard: The value of urban habitats big and small - July 24th

Leslie Bliss-Ketchum, Wildlife Ecologist
Grey Fox

Have you seen coyotes in your neighborhood? Maybe even a fox? A surprising number of wildlife species make their home in our urban area. Learn more about them and about local efforts to preserve and enhance habitat connectivity in the metro region. Find out about an exciting international project with local connections that is designed to help us better understand the patterns and predictability (or lack thereof) of urban wildlife.

Leslie Bliss-Ketchum is the owner and director of Samara Group LLC. She completed her Ph.D. in Environmental Science from Portland State University and is an adjunct faculty member at Portland State University, teaching courses in field methods in wildlife science and urban ecology. Leslie is a Past-President of the Oregon Chapter of The Wildlife Society, and is currently serving as a board member for the Urban Wildlife Working Group. As a wildlife ecologist with over 16 years’ experience, Leslie has been actively monitoring the impacts of the built environment on habitat connectivity for wildlife, supporting feasibility studies and conceptual design projects aimed at building wildlife crossing structures, developing connectivity assessments, and supporting connectivity modeling efforts at a variety of scales.

Purchasing tickets to all four lectures? Use the code ALL4 and receive $5 off! (applies to non-members only)
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Reptiles of Portland - August 21st

Laura Guderyahn, Ecologist

Did you know our native turtles survive winter by breathing through their butts?  Or that we have at least 3 kinds of garter snakes, but to tell them apart you have to look at their lips?  How about that the Western skink is the only native reptile we have that stays with its nest to guard its eggs?  Come learn all these fun facts and more on August 21st with local herpetologist Laura Guderyahn, Ecologist at Portland Parks and Recreation.

Laura Guderyahn has worked as an Ecologist for 18 years, first for the City of Gresham and now for Portland Parks and Recreation. She actively works to restore natural areas throughout the Willamette River and Columbia Slough watersheds, making them as healthy as possible for the wildlife that live there and the people that visit. She works closely with volunteer groups of all ages, helping them to steward the land and learn about the plants and animals that live in our city. Laura’s personal love is for frogs, salamanders, and reptiles of all kinds, and you can often find her with her binoculars, searching for our two native turtle species. In her downtime, she climbs, mountaineers, and racks up as many miles as possible backpacking with her husband and dog, Wizard. Their 4 tortoises prefer to stay home.

Purchasing tickets to all four lectures? Use the code ALL4 and receive $5 off! (applies to non-members only)
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Winging It: Migratory Adventures of Portland’s Birds - September 18th

Sarah Swanson

How many species of birds can be found in Portland? This seemingly simple question is an entry point into the complexity of bird communities and the ways that they are shaped by both seasonal migration and long-term changes. The varied migration strategies used by different groups of birds create an ever-changing mosaic of bird diversity and abundance during the course of the year. Through spotlighting the migrations of some fascinating local birds, we’ll explore the larger patterns and processes that create the assemblages of birds found in our backyards and local greenspaces. As we learn about the wonders of migration and the needs of migrating birds, we’ll also gain a new appreciation of the risks of migration and how we can help to reduce and mitigate them.

Sarah Swanson cares deeply about the conservation of birds and their habitats, as well as the connection between people and nature. She has pursued this passion as an author of bird books, an environmental educator, and a fundraiser and event manager for conservation nonprofits. Her fascination with birds began when she was in fourth grade and it shows no signs of waning. Sarah has served as the president of the Oregon Birding Association and currently manages the Birdathon and Wild Arts Festival fundraisers for Bird Alliance of Oregon. Sarah’s most recent books are: Best Little Book of Birds: the Oregon Coast and Best Little Book of Birds: the Cascade Range and Columbia Gorge (Timber Press). She can often be found birding with her husband and their dog.

Purchasing tickets to all four lectures? Use the code ALL4 and receive $5 off! (applies to non-members only)
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Fish Tails in Portland - October 16th

Melissa Brown
Jumping salmon

After a 1996 tour for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in the Bering Sea, Melissa realized that fisheries were more than just fish. It became apparent that a complex mix of history, politics, and conservation were integral to management decisions that shape future abundance and distribution, and that a biologist working for species recovery should be versed in all three.

In 2010 after working for the Lummi Nation to restore habitat in northern Puget Sound, Melissa Brown moved to Portland to serve the City as the senior fish biologist for the Bureau of Environmental Services. Today, her job takes her to every corner of the city’s rivers and streams year-round to wade or boat, collecting data on fish genetics and population metrics. In this presentation, Melissa will share what she has learned. Along with photos and anecdotes, she will discuss projected trends and expectations for future conditions as the city continues to be transformed by its citizens’ protection efforts, economic development, and climate change.

Purchasing tickets to all four lectures? Use the code ALL4 and receive $5 off! (applies to non-members only)
purchase tickets