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KVAS Meetings for 2015-2016

Meetings are held at 6:45 pm at the KUA (Kissimmee Utility Authority) Building
1701 W. Carroll St. in Kissimmee     DIRECTIONS

The Public is Invited!

Tues., September 22, 2015 -- Reinier Munguia -- Feathered Jewels (Hummingbirds)

Take a tour to the amazing world of hummingbirds. Learn what separates hummingbirds into a unique and fascinating family of birds. This presentation is full of information and beautiful images of hummingbirds covering all aspects of their life and the adaptations that allow them to survive. Explore the secrets behind their colorful plumage, their mating rituals, and how they build their nests while learning facts unique to the various species. Reinier will share his experiences with hummingbirds from the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Reinier Munguia is a full-time naturalist and nature photographer based in Lakeland, Florida. He serves as President of Lake Region Audubon Society and EagleWatch Volunteer Coordinator. His work has appeared in various publications including books, magazines, and scientific publications. In his spare time, he leads photography workshops in exotic destinations including Galapagos, Costa Rica, and Panama, among others. He spends great amount of time documenting wildlife and their struggles in our constantly changing environment.

Tues., October 27, 2015 -- Randy Schrader & Ian Sikonia -- The Shingle Creek Trail

Did you know that within a few years there will be a public recreational trail that reaches from the shores of Lake Toho near Kissimmee to the city of Orlando and beyond? Come hear about the plans and challenges for building this trail, how it will connect to other trail systems in Central Florida and beyond, and the recreational opportunities it will provide.

Randy Schrader is Senior Planner for the City of Kissimmee Development Services Department.
Ian Sikonia works for the City of Orlando.

Tues., November 24, 2015 -- Shari Blissett-Clark -- Bats: Myths and Realities

This program uses high resolution photography and research results to debunk the folklore, myths, and misconceptions that have plagued bats for centuries. Unfounded fears, often fueled by grossly over-stated disease risk and ignorance, are the major contributor to dramatic declines in world-wide bat populations. This program discusses bat facts, species diversity, environmental and economic benefits of bats, and disease risk. The program runs approximately 55 minutes and is followed by a question and answer period. Live Florida bats will be displayed!

Shari has been involved in wildlife conservation for most of her adult life. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Bat Belfrys and the Florida Bat Conservancy. The recent steep declines in bat populations have spurred Shari to redouble her public education efforts regarding these unjustly persecuted and misunderstood mammals.

Tues., January 26, 2016 -- Karina Veaudry -- Native Plants for Your Landscape!

Karina will discuss Florida ecology; the benefits of native plants; how the lack of native plants in our communities are driving bird populations to higher extirpation and extinction rates; native plants for your landscape and their life-cycle maintenance; and how to design landscapes that are not only important to the existence of wildlife but will transform the exterior environment into a captivating and harmonious vision.

Karina Veaudry is a Certified Landscape Architect. She directs projects throughout the Southeast U.S. focusing on on-site preservation, low impact development techniques, and the role of native plants in the landscape. Throughout her career, Karina has expanded the ability to bring the state's citizen agencies and local governments together to preserve Florida's native plants and their ecosystems.

Tues., February 23, 2016 -- Steve McDaniel -- The Reptiles of Central Florida

Steve will give us the lowdown on an important group of animals that call Central Florida home -- the reptiles. He will provide lots of information on our native venomous and non-venomous snakes, alligators, turtles, tortoises, and lizards.

Steve McDaniel is a Law Enforcement Investigator, Captive Wildlife Investigations, in the Division of Law Enforcement of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Tues., March 22, 2016 -- Christian Newton -- My Big Year

Chris will talk about his Osceola County "Big Year" in 2015. He identified 236 bird species, which is a county record!

Chris works at Disney's Animal Kingdom as an animal keeper. He has identified 680 bird species throughout the US and participated in several important conservation projects.

Tues., April 26, 2016 -- Tyler Beck -- Snail Kite Update
                                      Also Chapter Elections!

Snail Kites have had an uncertain and changing status over the last few decades as problems in their South Florida habitats have coupled with the rise of two non-native species (a plant and a snail) that actually help the birds. Lake Toho has been important for their survival in some years and absolutely critical in others. Learn about the habits of this bird, their latest breeding numbers and locations, and what you can do to help their survival.

Tyler Beck works for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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