Passenger Pigeon Symposium: From Billions to None | wisconsinacademy.org
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Passenger Pigeon Symposium: From Billions to None

Join us for an afternoon documentary screening and panel discussion on the demise of the passenger pigeon
Saturday, November 1, 2014 -
1:00pm to 4:00pm

Location

UW–Madison Union South - Marquee Theater
1308 W. Dayton St.
53715 Madison , WI

Advance registration for this event is now closed. There are still plenty of seats available, so please come directly to our registration table and check in with us. We'll see you there!

Passenger pigeons were once among the world's most abundant birds. Accounts by early American naturalists, such as John James Audubon, describe flocks of passenger pigeons darkening the sky. In 1871 the largest nesting ever recorded occurred in central Wisconsin. That well documented colony of many hundreds of millions of birds covered 850 square miles with nests in almost every tree. In 1914 the last surviving passenger pigeon died in a Cincinnati zoo, ending a calamitous half-century in which the pigeon declined from billions to one and then to none as a result of uncontrolled market hunting and the resulting disruption of nesting colonies. The loss of one of the world’s most abundant birds stands as the iconic extinction event in our country’s history.

On the occasion of the 2014 centenary of this tragedy, the Wisconsin Academy in partnership with the UW-Madison Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology invite you join us in a exploration of the sobering story of the passenger pigeon and what it can tell us about the ongoing extinction crisis and our relationship with other species.

Free and open to the public with advance registration (see below).

Join us for a screening of the documentary film, From Billions to None: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction (see below for trailer), and comments and panel discussion with film producer David Mrazek, co-producer Joel Greenberg, author David Blockstein, and conservation biologists Curt Meine and Stanley A. Temple. 

  • David Mrazek, producer of Billions to None, will screen and discuss his new documentary film on the passenger pigeon
  • Joel Greenberg (author of A Feathered River Across the Sky) will discuss and sign his new award-winning book
  • David Blockstein will describe the goals and accomplishments of Project Passenger Pigeon
  • Curt Meine will discuss how the passenger pigeon’s extinction influenced the 20th century conservation movement
  • Stanley A. Temple will explore the many Wisconsin connections with the passenger pigeon

Free and open to the public with advance registration (see below).

This event kicks off a two-day series of events commemorating the centenary of the demise of the passenger pigeon that includes a staged reading of The Savage Passengers, a contemporary play the touches on themes of extinction, and a symphonic performance of The Columbiad, a piece composed by Anthony Philip Heinrich in 1839 after seeing immense flocks of passenger pigeons. Or visit passengerpigeon.org to learn more about this amazing bird and its message.

From Billions to None: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction from David Mrazek on Vimeo.

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Contributor: 

Stanley A. Temple

Stanley A. Temple is the Beers-Bascom Professor Emeritus in Conservation in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology and former Chairman of the Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development Program in the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW–Madison. For 32 years he held the academic position once occupied by Aldo Leopold, and during that time he won every teaching award for which he was eligible.

Curt Meine

Curt Meine is a conservation biologist, environmental historian, and writer. He serves as Senior Fellow with the Aldo Leopold Foundation in Baraboo, and with the Chicago-based Center for Humans and Nature. He is also a Research Associate with the International Crane Foundation and Associate Adjunct Professor in the University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology.

David Blockstein

David Blockstein is a Senior Scientist with the National Council for Science and the Environment in Washington DC. Blockstein’s scholarly interest in passenger pigeons began when he was conducting his dissertation research at the University of Minnesota on reproductive ecology and parental investment in mourning doves.

David Mrazek

David Mrazek is an award-winning producer and writer of numerous prime-time PBS and cable TV documentary series. His new film, From Billions to None: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction, is a compelling look at the forgotten story of an unbelievably abundant beautiful bird driven by humans to extinction in less than 50 years, and the serious human threats to species today.

Registration

Contributors

David Blockstein is a Senior Scientist with the National Council for Science and the Environment in Washington DC. Blockstein’s scholarly interest in passenger pigeons began when he was conducting his dissertation research at the University of Minnesota on reproductive ecology and parental investment in mourning doves.

Joel Greenberg is a research associate at the Field Museum and the Chicago Academy of Sciences Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

Curt Meine is a conservation biologist, environmental historian, and writer. He serves as Senior Fellow with the Aldo Leopold Foundation in Baraboo, and with the Chicago-based Center for Humans and Nature.

David Mrazek is an award-winning producer and writer of numerous prime-time PBS and cable TV documentary series.

Stanley A. Temple is the Beers-Bascom Professor Emeritus in Conservation in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology and former Chairman of the Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development Program in the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW–Madison.

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