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You are here: Home Eastside Audubon Calendar Archive Chapter Events Program Night: Watching the World Melt Away: An Ornithologist’s Observations from Four Decades in a Rapidly Changing Arctic

Program Night: Watching the World Melt Away: An Ornithologist’s Observations from Four Decades in a Rapidly Changing Arctic

Learn about the Black Guillemots, Horned Puffins, and Polar Bears of Cooper Island and the effects of 30 years of warming - Nov 15 (one week early).

  • Program Night
When November 15, 2007
from 03:30 p.m. to 06:00 p.m.
Event Location Northlake Unitarian Universalist Church, 308 4th Ave. S.
Contact Name Sunny Walter
Contact Email
Contact Phone 425-271-1346
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Arctic Alaska and its adjacent seas have undergone rapid changes in the last four decades as increasing air temperature and changes in atmospheric and oceanic circulation have decreased snow and ice cover.  George Divoky has spent more than three decades on Cooper Island, a seabird colony near Point Barrow, where he has been able to watch both the biological and environmental effects of this warming on Black Guillemots, Horned Puffins, Polar Bears, and other species. 


A high arctic seabird, the Black Guillemot, first benefited from increasing temperatures as earlier snow melt allowed earlier and more successful breeding.  After 1990, however, guillemots began to decrease as continued warming decreased the extent of summer pack ice, the primary foraging area of the species.  Concurrently a subarctic species, the Horned Puffin, extended its range to northern Alaska and is now colonizing Cooper Island.  Divoky, a dynamic and engaging speaker, will discuss the implications of what he has ovserved to the Arctic’s fauna and indigenous people and the likely impacts of the predicted continuing reduction of the arctic pack ice. 


"Photograph by Joe McNally"
George obtained his doctorate in biology from the University of Alaska where he now holds a position of Research Associate at the Institute of Arctic Biology.  He is one of the founders of the Pacific Seabird Group and serves on the Board of People for Puget Sound.  He has received several awards for his work, which has been featured in the New York Times magazine and on several television programs.


George Divoky is also the founder of Friends of Cooper Island, a nonprofit scientific organization which compiles, preserves and distributes Cooper Island research on climate change and other Arctic phenomena.  It also develops educational and public outreach programs for children and adults. The story of the Cooper Island Black Guillemots brings home the issue of climate change in a way that is not possible by the recital of physical changes in atmospheric or oceanographic conditions.

Please join us Thursday, November 15 (one week early) for a look at Dr. Divoky’s 33 year study of seabirds and other species on a high arctic island.  Come at 6:30 for the social hour.  Enjoy a brief monthly meeting and refreshments from 7:00 to 7:45, followed by the presentation.

The social hour, meeting, and presentation are free and open to the public.  Invite a friend or anyone who is interested in discovering more about the arctic, seabirds, and global warming.


Directions to Northlake Unitarian Universalist Church, 308 4th Ave. S. (corner of 4th Ave. S. and State). Take I-405 exit 18 (NE 85th, Kirkland).  Drive west on Central Way to 3rd St. (stoplight). Turn left (south) on 3rd St. and follow it as it bears left and changes name to State St.  Turn left on 4th Ave S.


The mission of Eastside Audubon is to protect, preserve and enhance natural ecosystems and our communities for the benefit of birds, other wildlife and people.