Refuge biologist Jeremy Conrad will address the impact of global influences on local water issues.
Refuge biologist Jeremy Conrad will address the impact of global influences on local water issues.

“Ding” Darling Senior Biologist Jeremy Conrad will address climate change and sea level rise on a global and local level during two special presentations at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Friday, March 15 at J.N. “Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge -- part of the 2019 “Ding” Darling Friday Lecture series.

His “Sea Level Rise: Globally& Locally” programs will draw possible correlations between recent water quality issues and global influences. 

“While some of our water quality issues can be attributed to climate change, my discussion will focus more on a general description of climate change with a focus on sea level rise and our ecosystem’s responses to it,” said Conrad. “I will discuss local water quality issues and how the management of Lake Okeechobee may impact the resiliency of our coastal wetlands to sea level rise.”

Conrad joined refuge staff in March 2010. Before that, he served as an invasive species biologist at Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Boynton Beach, Florida, and earlier spent four years at Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

HighTower/Thomas & Swartz Wealth Management sponsors the 11-lecture series with support from the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS). The free lectures are held twice each Friday through April 12 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The season’s remaining schedule is listed below. 

Lectures take place in the admission-free “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center. Seating for the lectures is limited and available on a first-come basis. Early arrivals can save their seat and one extra with personal items and then can explore the Visitor & Education Center or Indigo Trail before the lecture starts. Saved seats must be filled 15 minutes before lecture time or they risk being reassigned.

As usual, Wildlife Drive closes on Friday, but visitors are welcome to enjoy the Visitor & Education Center, Indigo Trail, and recreational opportunities at Tarpon Bay Explorers, the refuge’s official recreation concession located at its Tarpon Bay Recreation Area.

Note: Opinions expressed in guest lectures do not necessarily reflect the views of refuge and DDWS management, staff, and board of directors.

For more information, call 239-472-1100 ext. 241 or log on to

March 15 – Jeremy Conrad, “Sea Level Rise: Globally & Locally”                                                                                     

March 22 – Dusty “Wildman” Crum, Robbie & Geoff Roepstorff, Mike Kirkland, “Pythons: The Hunters, the Science

March 29 – Marine scientist Lauren Blickley , "Drastic Plastic - Turning the Tide on Plastic Pollution" 

April 5 – Ornithologist Dr. Jerry Lorenz, “Flamingos & Spoonbills: Pink Canaries in a Coal Mine”

April 12 – Author Denege Patterson, “Five Islands Never Flooded: A Tour of the Islands of Pine Island Sound, Florida”- book signing to follow