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Speaker to discuss human-caused extinctions, conservation efforts

Published: Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014 11:11 p.m. CDT

RINGWOOD – Three different human interactions have decided the fates of three entire species of birds, according to an upcoming guest lecturer at Glacial Park’s Lost Valley Visitor Center.

Guest speaker Joel Greenberg will cover how the passenger pigeon went from the most abundant bird in North America, if not the world, to extinct; how the number of Kirtland’s warblers went from less than 200 in 1971 to healthy population levels today despite a very limited breeding range; and how the population of whooping cranes dropped to 23 birds twice and, despite extensive conservation work aimed at saving them, still faces an uncertain future.

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

Author of three books, Greenberg has taught natural history courses for the Morton Arboretum, Brookfield Zoo and Chicago Botanic Garden. He helped spearhead Project Passenger Pigeon to focus attention on human-caused extinctions.

The presentation “Hope is the Thing with Feathers: Americans and Three Birds” will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 12 in the Savanna Room of Glacial Park’s Lost Valley Visitor Center, located near the intersection of Route 31 and Harts Road in Ringwood.

Greenberg will have his book, “A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction,” for sale after the presentation.

The program is open to those ages 14 and older. It is free for county residents and $6 for nonresidents.

Registration is required by Sept. 8, and space is limited. Registration can be completed online at; by mail-in and drop-off at Prairieview Education Center, 2112 Behan Road in Crystal Lake; by drop-off only at Lost Valley Visitor Center, Route 31 and Harts Road in Ringwood; and for free programs only, by calling 815-479-5779.

More information about upcoming programs and a sign-up for McHenry County Conservation District’s seasonal magazine “Landscapes” also is available at the district’s website.

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